Friday, June 12, 2009

Isla Vista Community Cooperative

If you haven't been to the Isla Vista Food Co-Op, you need to go there! They buy the freshest seasonal fruits and vegetables from local farms. You can buy bulk organic herbs and spices and just about anything else you need to fill your pantry at really reasonable prices... because it's a cooperative. That means you pay a yearly membership fee. You can volunteer hours of work, but it is not required.

A Little History

Dave and I first participated in the co-op during the summer right after the IV riots. We'd rented an inexpensive apartment in IV and discovered that we could get really fresh produce and cheeses if we bought through a group that met a someone's house. Our job was to gather the cheese orders, pick up bulk cheese from Quality Market (a lovely market at Mission and De la Vina where the baby store is located today), and cut it into portions to fit the orders. Then we took it to the Saturday gathering place (someone's yard) for other members to pick up. This was the late 60s and early 70s at their best. It seems like there were about 20 participants, but there might have been more.

The Co-op Today
Now all this is available 7 days a week under one roof. It's even fresher and they offer a whole selection of dairy products, healthy snacks, and even eco-friendly housecleaning products.

Fostering community is still an important mission. They have frequent tastings and special events. In fact, there is an event coming up on July 3rd, but don't wait until then to check it out.

They also make delicious sandwiches, so if you work in Goleta, you can shop at lunch AND get a great healthy sandwich.

IV isn't crowded during the summer and the co-op would really love it if more Santa Barbara folks would come out to shop there. When you go out to Costco, drop by the Co-op as well.

To get there, take Storke Road toward the ocean. When Storke dead-ends into El Colegio Road, turn left onto El Colegio. After the next stop light, turn right onto Camino Pescadero. Then turn left on Seville (you'll see the Swiss Chalet apartments at that corner). The co-op will be on your right.

A Request
Since I've agreed to help the Co-op put together a summer newsletter, I want to know what interests you about the market. So here's my proposition. If you already shop there, email me a note about why you shop there. If you don't shop there now, go out there for a visit and email me your impressions. What would you come back to buy? What would you like to know about the Co-op?

The Reward
Everyone who emails me about the Co-op will be entered in a drawing for a pan of 8 sticky buns (not vegan). I'll choose two winners. The deadline for the drawing is June 27, but the sooner the better.

Here's my pitch for buying local seasonal food:
  • You support and help maintain local food sources
  • Your food is fresher and more flavorful because it can be picked when it is ripe
  • Seasonal food gives you something to look forward to
  • Food traveling long distances is more likely to have begun to deteriorate, losing nutrients and fostering more bacteria growth