At the Co-op

  • Local Produce
  • October 28th, 2014
  • The CSA season has come to an end and the Farmer’s Markets have closed shop for the season, but that doesn’t have to be the end of your local eating habit. You can continue to support our farmers by selecting local items from the Co-op produce department (or local items throughout the store).

    Not sure what to do with all that fall produce? Saveur has a great “Fall Produce Guide” with storage tips and recipes for those weird roots and funky greens.

    Living Land Farm – St. Peter, MN

    111_0872parsnips, turnips, lacinato kale, red potatoes, red onions, shallots

    Tucked into the heart of the MN River Valley, on the outskirts of St. Peter, Adam and Lupita are at the tail end of their 4th season as both a CSA provider and as a wholesale supplier to the Co-op. Throughout the growing season, they have a bountiful array of organic produce and, this time of year, have the delightful root vegetables and cold-loving crops aplenty.

    East Henderson Farm – Henderson, MN

    111_0875red giant mustard greens, golden frill mustard greens, leeks, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, orange bell peppers

    Josh and Sally of East Henderson Farm are located on the bluffs of the Minnesota River near scenic Henderson, MN, nestled among mature trees, deep ravines, and crop fields. They grow Certified Organic produce for a CSA membership and wholesale to restaurants and grocery stores, including the Co-op. More than just a vegetable farm, Josh and Sally also raise a variety of animals, are entering the honey business, and tap maple trees for syrup in the spring time.

    Kohnert Organic Farms – Montgomery, MN

    111_0868curly parsley, flat parsley, cilantro, red Russian kale, assorted beets, and savoy cabbage

    Kohnert Organic Farms is a wholesale supplier of certified organic medicinal herbs. With land that has been farmed organically since the late 1980’s, Erik, the Co-op’s produce manager, and Jason Kohnert worked out a deal to also grow organic vegetables wholesale to the Co-op. Their beets are among the best you can find.

    Other local produce

    111_0885rutabaga, celeriac, green cabbage, red chard, bag and bulk gold potatoes, mini sweet peppers, assorted hot peppers, squash, sprouts, 11 varieties of apples (both conventional and organic), and Pepin Heights apple cider

  • Bulk Week
  • October 13th, 2014
  • bulk

    *According to a 2012 bulk foods study from Portland State University Food Industry Leadership Center

  • From Co-ops to Co-ops: Alter Eco Exclusive Truffles
  • October 10th, 2014
  • Oswaldo Vasquez_Acopagro_PeruDeep, dark smooth chocolate sourced from Ecuador and Peru surrounds these sumptuous bite-sized truffle delights. Pure organic coconut oil sourced from India combined with milk and cacao creates the silky-smooth, melty filling.  Shelf Talkers_2.33x2.25_EXCLUSIVEOnly available at community-owned food co-ops, this exclusive 8-pack of Swiss-made, organic, fair trade truffles from Alter Eco launches with two new flavors, Salted Caramel and Sea Salt, to accompany their wildly-addictive Black and Velvet Truffles. These co-op-exclusive truffle assortments are available for a limited time at food co-ops around the country, and are making their debut just in time for Co-op Month.

    Founded in 2005, Fortaleza del Valle Cooperative is the source for the rich, fruity cacao used in Alter Eco’s Black, Sea Salt and Salted Caramel Truffles.  Located in Calceta, Ecuador, this cooperative of small-scale cacao farmers has been working to improve their farming techniques in order to enhance quality and expand market opportunities. The fair trade premium has enabled the cooperative to invest in infrastructure, processing equipment and pre-harvest financing for the 630 members.  Through crop biodiversity, the farmers are now able to include the planting of cacao, banana, coconut and timber in their fields, using this diversification to catalyze their business.

    Oswaldo Vasquez_Acopagro_Peru

    Oswaldo Vasquez; Acopagro, Peru. Photo courtesy of NCGA.

    Nestled along the river Huayabamba at the edge of the Peruvian Amazon, the farmers of the cacao found in Alter Eco’s Velvet Truffle survey a landscape that’s entirely different than it was 15 years ago.  In 1994, a United Nations program made it possible for these farmers to begin replacing their illegal coca crops (used to make cocaine) with cocoa, releasing them from an oppressive, volatile and often dangerous relationship with drug traffickers.  Located in the San Martín region of Peru, the ACOPAGRO Cacao Cooperative has over 2,100 members of small-scale cacao farmers.  The fair trade premium has allowed ACOPAGRO to invest in a new office and warehouse facility, equipment and quality trainings for its members, and social programs such as access to medical services like dental and eye care.

    Coconut oil is the perfect complement to antioxidant-rich dark chocolate. Besides the many health benefits, coconut oil is a sustainable alternative to the palm kernel oil often used in traditional truffles. Alter Eco sources its coconut oil from Fair Trade Alliance Kerala, on India’s Malabar Coast. Founded in 2005 Kerala has more than 3,500 members. This farmer-owned co-op practices jaiva krishi, a sustainable farming method that mimics virgin rainforest.  FTAK farmers grow a host of tropical products such as cashews, coconut palms, coffee, cocoa, pepper, nutmeg, vanilla and other spices on their small plots. The mixed-crop plantations play an important role in preserving local biodiversity and, at the same time, safeguarding the food security of the farming members.Thomas Xavier Kalappura, Coconut and rubber farmer cuttingopen a coconut, Kannur, Kerala.

    Alter Eco has taken their commitment to sustainability one step further with these truffles by introducing new eco-friendly packaging.  Alter Eco has developed a groundbreaking wrapper — printed with non-toxic compostable ink — that will decompose in yard waste and at-home compost bins. “Alter Eco’s goal is to provide consumers with a decadently delicious taste experience, while never compromising our own values,” said Edouard Rollet, Co-Founder and President of Alter Eco. “With these truffles, we’ve taken goodness to a whole new level.”

    Look for these delicious truffles the St. Peter Food Co-op. You can learn more about cooperatives at, and find out about Alter Eco at

  • Free Movie Screening
  • October 3rd, 2014
  • Thursday, October 9 at 7pm at the Treaty Site (1851 N Minnesota Ave, St Peter, MN 56082)

    Join us for a free screening of Connected by Coffee, “an inspiring and thought-provoking documentary about the lives and history of the people who grow the coffee we drink.”

    A community event sponsored by the St. Peter Food Co-op, River Rock Coffee, St. Peter Reads, Nicollet County Historical Society, and St. Peter Community and Family Education.



    About the film (from

    The film follows two North American coffee roasters on a 1,000-mile journey across Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua to listen to the stories of the people who grow their coffee. On the way they meet with soldiers who have become growers, powerful women who are controlling their own destinies and countless small-scale farmers joining together to form cooperatives.

    This film serves as a starting point to educate coffee drinkers about the basics of fair trade, cooperatives, social justice, shade grown/organic, the conflict in fair trade, coffee rust – AND invites the viewer to not only make conscious purchasing decisions, but to learn more, get involved, and take action. Created by Aaron Dennis and Chelsea Bay Dennis of Stone Hut Studios. Read More

  • Five Fab Facts About Co-ops
  • October 1st, 2014
  • From “Co+op, stronger together”

    We think co-ops are fabulous. Cooperation is, after all, a word that implies people working together towards the same end, mutually benefitting one another and the larger community. Both economically beneficial and socially responsible, these community-minded businesses make the world a better place—and that’s a beautiful thing. Here are five fab reasons to celebrate co-ops: 

    DSC_03751. October is National Co-op Month. The cooperative model is unique. A co-op exists to serve its members, but the members are also the owners. With ownership comes an opportunity to participate in some co-op decision-making and to reap economic rewards for ownership, often in the form of patronage dividends.

    Globally, there are nearly one billion people who are cooperative member-owners. And in the United States, there are more than 29,000 co-ops, including—but not limited to—retail food co-ops, like the grocers that are members of NCGA, the organization that brings you this website. Beyond your neighborhood food co-op, cooperatives exist in other areas such as brew-pubs, coffee, dairy farms, credit unions, electric, hardware stores, crafts, housing and chocolate to name a few.

    2. The Magnificent 7. Cooperative businesses proudly operate with seven principles. One of those principles is concern for community, working towards more sustainable communities through initiatives undertaken by management under Ends approved by a democratically elected Board.

    Co-ops are positioned to respond directly to community needs and collaborate with other organizations, setting goals that extend beyond financial DSC_0071growth. By shopping at a co-op, you might be helping to support your community with hunger relief, nutrition education or environmental conservation. Steve McQueen would most definitely approve of these magnificent seven principles.

    3. DOTcoop. Look up to the top of your browser. Find that familiar address bar and the notice DOTcoop at the end of our URL. As co-op fans, we like to brag about this little badge of honor that demonstrates major credibility. The .coop puts co-ops on par with the web domains like .org, .edu and .gov. Co-ops have their own domain so that when you’re on .coop you can trust that you’re working with a verifiable cooperatively owned business.

    DSC048684. Employees Are Some of Our Favorite People. Beyond offering awesome products and services, cooperatives are committed to the health and happiness of the people that fuel them. So it’s no surprise they treat their hard-working employees right. According to a recent study, the average food co-op earning $10 million per year in revenue provides jobs for 90+ workers. And, on average, 68 percent of those workers are eligible for health insurance, compared to 56 percent of employees at conventional grocers. Food co-op employees also earn an average of nearly $1.00 more per hour than conventional grocery workers when bonuses and profit sharing are taken into account.

    5. Everyone is Welcome. Are you ready for this final fabulous “did you know” moment? Okay, here it is: at co-ops, everyone is welcome. At food co-ops, you don’t need to be a member to shop or participate. Although membership is encouraged and often provides additional rewards, your local co-op is democratically owned and operated, and all consumers are welcome. So check out the fresh, delicious food that food co-ops have to offer and, if you want, get involved, no matter your capacity for commitment right now. Anyone can go co-op.

    How do you like those local apples? These are just five of the many fab facts about co-ops. If you are ready to become a smooth cooperator, drop in to the St. Peter Food Co-op. Everyone is welcome, everyday.

  • Wellness Wednesday, this week!
  • September 22nd, 2014
  • By Klea Brewton-Fitzgerald

    The fall equinox is a great reminder that cooler weather is on the way. With the kids, young and old, back in school sharing pens, books, and germs of various sorts, it’s prime time for stuffy noses and coughs.  And the germs don’t stay as school, they get carried home to share with the family.  Fortify your kids and yourself with immunity boosters from the Co-op Wellness Aisle such as:  Vitamin C, Elderberry, Colloidal Silver, Rescue Remedy, Multivitamins, Mushrooms, Probiotics, Omegas, Herbal Tinctures, Essential Oils, and other supplements.  Wellness staff, or any Co-op staff, are happy to help you find the best product for keeping you and your family feeling fine.  The next Wellness Wednesday is September 24; all Wellness Products are 10% off (excluding items already on sale).  We wish you a wonderful, healthy new school year!

  • Upcoming Events
  • August 29th, 2014
  • mailchimp_Sept_MNONMULMinnesota on Mulberry, the 2nd Season
    Friday, September 12

    Join us on the patio for the final Minnesota on Mulberry of the season.  The meal will showcase an abundance of local fare, featuring a pork tenderloin from Mrs. Pork (Glencoe, MN).

    Nestled in the small farming community of Glencoe, MN, Mrs. Pork is locally owned and operated by Dave and Terry Theis. Dave has been in the pork business for a long time, starting out as a farmer and herdsman, eventually earning the recognition as one of the top 10 best-managed farms in America by Top Farmer Magazine. He and Terry have since transitioned to processing pork, rather than raising it. However, they retain quality relationships with their area producers, all five of which are located within 50 miles of the Glencoe processing facility.

    Mrs. Pork products are all Certified Duroc Pork – raised on a purely vegetarian diet and with strict growing guidelines to ensure healthy animals. Minimally processed without added chemicals, artificial ingredients, or coloring ingredients, Mrs. Pork is a delicious all-natural local pork option.

    Kids @ the Co-op
    Tuesday, September 16

    kids club logo

    Come celebrate Farm-to-School month and get new ideas for back to school lunch and snack ideas at the St. Peter Food Co-op’s “Kids @ the Co-op” on Tuesday, September 16 from 5-7pm.  A free event, geared for kids under 12 and their families, complete with live music by Gallimaufry, activities by Community Education and the St. Peter Art Center, free samples, and a chance to meet several of the Co-op’s local farmers and vendors.

    Kids @ the Co-op is an opportunity to celebrate good-for-you foods and encourage kids to experiment with their taste buds. It also gives the whole family a chance to learn where their food comes from, especially during Minnesota’s peak harvest season.  Complete with free samples, great giveaways, and a chance to meet Mulberry Moo, our Co-op Kids Club mascot.

  • Thousand Hills Cattle Company Beef Sale!
  • July 25th, 2014
  • Starts today! Only while supplies last.

    Thousand hills_case sale

    If you were to take a trip to Todd Churchill’s ranch in Cannon Falls, MN, you would see a herd of cattle idly grazing on pasture rich with grasses and legumes growing in fertile soil. Picturesque, no? If you were to make your way to this small piece of Minnesotan pasture, you would not just be looking at any herd of cattle, but home base for Thousand Hills Cattle Company.  Started back in 2003, THCC was the brainchild of Todd Churchill, whose main goal was to grow and market superior tasting beef. His solution: carefully selected cattle that thrive on a 100% grassfed diet without any added hormones or antibiotics getting in the way of flavor and quality.  With time, Todd’s 500 acre farm could not stand up to the nation-wide demand for Thousand Hills beef all on its own, so he has developed a network of independent farmers throughout the Midwest committed to raising beef following THCC’s established protocols. Through the rapid growth of the THCC brand, Todd has remained true to the founding principles of humanely raised beef that is truly a cut above the rest.