When I was a kiddo growing up in the 70s and 80s, my mom volunteered at our local food coop. Instead of paying the annual membership, she would show up at her assigned time and break down all the bulk nuts, grains, cheeses, and whatever into smaller twist-tie bags. She’d weigh them and mark the price on the tiny sticker. We’d do our monthly coop shopping when she completed her assigned duties.
Well, one small note… when I said she was a volunteer, I also meant that -by default – I was also a volunteer!
Volunteer day at the coop was fantastic. I was fascinated by everything about it, from the expansive wooden plank floors to the fact that you had to step down into a basement to access it. Delivery trucks and farmers would unload, and dust would fill the air. Everyone who volunteered delivered, or received all seemed so happy and connected.
Deep down in my heart, I knew that I would work at that coop when I grew up.
Coops and food clubs care deeply about quality food.
That coop experience made its mark on me. Ever since I’ve always loved bulked foods and the hunt for unique places where people who cared passionately about food would gather.
When I moved to Northwest Arkansas, Dennis and I immediately joined the Ozark Natural Foods Coop. We would go to its warehouse way out – in what seemed like the middle of nowhere – on the eastern side of Fayetteville. I still go there at least once a month to cherry-pick a few frozen foods, stock up on Dennis’ favorite organic Cab Sauv, and see which local farms are featured in the latest in-season produce.
Coops and food clubs are unique. Yes, there are name brands you’ll recognize, but there’s something else to them. And that something else is the people who fiercely and passionately believe in stocking quality foods, non-GMOs, and overall support the local community.
I love that.
As an Azure Standard Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you.
Who and what is Azure Standard?
Azure Standard is a natural health food company that delivers bulk and specialty health foods to communities across our nation. It’s a family-owned company that started in the 80s with a commitment to organic farming. That was long before the organic-farming practice became widespread.
The family began to share and sell their products with other people in their little community that cared about natural products. Demand grew. Customers grew. And they branched out to source high-quality brand products in food, health and beauty, household, supplements, and outdoor and garden categories. Over time, they became a full-service distributor all across the United States!
How does it all work?
In my little town of Bella Vista, there is a drop once a month in the parking lot of a church just five minutes from my home. Your community may have multiple drops each month and at different locations. You must enter your zip code and see where the closest one is to you. You can even organize your own drop in your neighborhood.
Azure Standard has over 2,600 pickup locations from sea to shining sea in rural and urban areas.
Check out the locations and start shopping.
When you start shopping, you’ll notice there is a countdown clock. That tells you how long you must put your order in and finalize it. Buy it and lock it in, and you’ll get it!
Your local drop-off coordinator will welcome you into the group and provide instructions on where to meet and when the pickup will arrive. Arrive a little bit early and get to know everyone by pitching in and helping unload the grocery items off the truck. If you’re introverted, you can skip this part and just show up to pick up your stacked items next to your nameplate. Don’t worry – you won’t be called out!
One more thing, as an Azure shopper, you’ll earn Azure Cash store credit!
These are some of my Azure Standard favorites.
The first thing I ordered was bulk organic beans, peas, and sunflower seeds. I bake with almond flour and have a pretty good stash. I will stock up on bulk flour when it starts to dwindle down.
I shopped around (Walmart and Amazon), and Azure’s prices for gallon storage jars are the best everywhere by a long shot at $18.77 for a 4-pack!
My monthly standbys are European Style organic grass-fed butter (better than Aldi’s prices!) and Safe Catch low-mercury tuna. I will always throw something interesting in the mix to try out, like Goat Yogurt, Canned Wild Pink Salmon, Sriracha Sauce, grass-fed ground beef with organs, and organic yams.
This week I will pick up my August order, and I threw in Azure’s line of Fragrance-Free Dish Soap, Fragrance-Free Floor Cleaner, and Natural Drain Care Treatment and Cleaner. Next time I will try the Natural Septic cleaner since they were out of stock. And definitely try out more of their vegetables and frozen meats.
Coop day is still fantastic.
Even though I never ended up working at the coop of my youth, I still take the time to seek out quality food sources. By now, you know that I love discovering new food sources and sharing them with you. If you have any to share with me, please drop them in the comments below.
Life is short.
Let’s make the most of it!
Eat simple and live happily,