Each year we increase the number of locally and cooperatively produced products available on our shelves. This initiative is fueled by activities like the Eat Local Challenge but sustained by the everyday purchases made by Willy Street Co-op Owners like you. There is little that individual consumers and co-ops can do without each other. Moving forward, it will be important for the Willy Street Coop to further develop and strengthen relationships with our local and cooperative producers.
Recently, during a brainstorming session at a National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) conference, a colleague from Iowa spoke of his frustration with our major distributor buying black beans from China. His concern was that the distributors, like individual consumers, aren’t supporting their domestic producers by buying crops grown in the U.S. He suggested that with the buying power of the NCGA on a regional and national level we could draw enough resources to specific commodities (like black beans, which was just his example) that farmers would be motivated to grow crops that would otherwise be less competitive when compared to cheaper imports.
The goods news is that there is a great example of a regional grower and miller reaching out to local stores for the same support described above. Over the last few months, the Willy Street Co-op has been transitioning a number of bulk flours from national millers to a Wisconsin company called Lonesome Stone Milling. Lonesome Stone Milling works with Wisconsin farmers to grow organic wheat in Southwest Wisconsin to be milled into numerous bulk and packaged products. This is a fine example of doing what’s best for our community, one product at a time. Come check out what’s in stock and the selection will grow from there.
One of the best things about fall is the fresh pressed apple cider. The cider we offer is heat- or ultra-violet pasteurized as required by law. In order to obtain unpasteurized cider, you will have to purchase it directly from the producer at a farmers’ market or farm as it is illegal for third parties to sell unpasteurized cider. Don’t forget to pick up some of Frontier Herb Co-op’s organic mulling spice available in our bulk aisles. Delicious!