Real Food

Real Food Co-op

We turned off highway 101 and onto Rhododendron Drive. Right at the turn was a tiny store with a sign on the window, Real Food Co-op. I collect Co-ops like some people collect recipes or old cars. We didn’t have time to stop as we were overdue to meet my brother and his wife at their new Florence home. Sometime during the evening I asked them if they had visited the co-op. My sister-in-law said “yes, but they don’t have anything on the shelves. I think mostly what they have is different kinds of handmade soap.”

This sounded sad to me and I debated if I even wanted to go see a grocery co-op with only soap on the shelves. A couple days later we did go. The general manager was standing at the counter with a beautiful welcoming smile on her face. I felt instantly at home and never did see the soap. Instead there was a row of bulk basics, grains, beans, flours, etc…also a row of liquid bulk foods, oils, vinegars, and more. I found my favorite brand of canned salsas, enchilada sauces, and pickles from a Eugene company who only uses locally grown certified organic ingredients. The cold case contained all the dairy products that I buy as staples and there was a small freezer case with an assortment of frozen locally raised meats. The back of the store was given over to a three compartment sink and counter for washing and prepping produce. The produce selection was limited but looked very good. Jen Nelson the manager told me that a fresh shipment was due in that very afternoon from a Eugene distributor who also supplies Ashland Food Co-op. They deliver to this little coastal co-op twice a week.

To my brother and sister-in-law I said, “This is how it all starts, small and with a great deal of integrity. Jen told me the co-op has been here for four years and is in the black with 200 owners. It will continue to grow and serve its community. People say shop the perimeter of a grocery store, not the middle. This little co-op only has a perimeter, that’s why it may feel to you like there’s nothing on the shelves. If I lived in Florence I would shop here because everything I need to make quality meals is on these shelves.”

More Co-op News

2018 Electronic Coupon Schedule

To further our sustainability efforts and to serve you better, we began offering Electronic Owner Coupons in January 2017 at the register.

No more forgetting to bring your owner coupons. No more waiting for your newsletter to arrive. Cashiers simply ask if you want to use your owner coupons when you check out.

As we enter our second year of Electronic Coupons we wanted to share a couple of friendly reminders and the 2018 month by month schedule.

Please note:

What Does Democracy Have to Do with Cooperatives?

By Annie Hoy, Marketing Manager

We often refer to cooperatives as “democratic enterprises.” But what does that really mean? The Ashland Food Co-op, like all other co-ops in most economic sectors, is owned and controlled by the people who use its services.

Proposals Sought for the 2018 Community Grants

The funding cycle for the 2018 Co-op Community Grants for nonprofit organizations begins in February.

Every spring, for more than 20 years, we’ve been donating to area nonprofits through our Community Grant program. We are committed to creating healthy, sustainable communities and this program helps us fulfill that commitment by supporting the amazing work of local nonprofits. The Community Grant program is also the highlight of Cooperative Principle 7, Concern for Community, and is something we take to heart.

From the General Manager’s Desk

By Emile Amarotico

As we commence our lap around the sun in 2018, I wish to recognize the longstanding contributions of an amazing group of professionals. We are blessed with the dedication of eleven department managers expertly coordinating the daily flow of people, products and services that breath life into our Co-op!

  • Lynne (35+ years’ tenure) our Grocery Manager oversees keeping the aisles abundant with shelf stable products and coolers full of fresh perishables.

The Role of the Board in Co-op Governance

By Gwyneth Bowman, Vice President

After serving on the AFC Board for fourteen years my passion for the Co-op model has strengthened my commitment to the Cooperative Principles and Values. Of special importance is how we work together as a governing body with one voice. We are the ultimate decision-makers of our Co-op and hold a trusteeship for the benefit of our owners and community.

Fall Favorites from the Co-op

Like it or not, the cool weather has arrived. Whether you are heading out for a hike or enjoying a good book by the fire, the Co-op Deli has what you need to fuel your favorite fall activity. Stay warm with these comfort food recommendations from the Co-op Deli.
 

From the General Manager's Desk

By Emile Amarotico

A recent visitor commented that our parking is totally inadequate to our business volume. What’s true is that we cannot create more parking due to space and municipal code constraints. Thus, the value of each available space is increasing over time. Assuming only half of Co-op shoppers use automobile parking, each space supports at least $200,000 in annual sales.

Meet Board of Director Julie O'Dwyer

When not working on Board of Director efforts, my profession is an Interior and Building Designer. I own the Ashland Design Studio, located in the Historic Railroad District, and have a design services studio there - JulieO Design. I have been in the architectural design business my whole life; from crawling around my father's architectural studio to traveling around the world working on buildings large and small to now having created my own niche in the local building community. I took a few years off this path to own and run Tease Restaurant here in Ashland.

5 Reasons to Love Co-ops

October is National Co-op Month, so what’s the big deal? Being a co-op is special. Yes, we know we are biased, but being a cooperative enterprise means we do business differently. We don’t have a single owner living on their private island drinking margaritas all day without a care in the world. We are owned and governed by you, our 10,000 members. We share the burden in hard times and share the benefits in the good times. We put people, the planet and our principles before profit.

From the General Manager's Desk

By Emile Armarotico

This spring, National Co-op Grocers recognized Ashland Food Co-op as a Co+efficient Sustainability Star for our excellent sustainability efforts.

Our Sustainability Vision aims at being carbon neutral by 2030. We’ve taken a great stride toward this by installing a 39 kilowatt solar electric system on our rooftop with the capacity to generate approximately 7% of our electricity usage. The cost was partially offset by a $27,000 REAP (Rural Energy for America Program) Grant.

Local Starts at the Co-op

When we say local, we mean local. We source our local goods from within 200 miles of the store. By purchasing goods from local producers, we aim to create and maintain a healthy local economy and support family farms. What could be better than helping your community by buying local goods?

With all the local products that we offer, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But that’s exactly what we asked our staff to do. Here are some of their go-to local eats.

Your Fruit. Your Cider.

How often can you browse the shelf at your neighborhood grocery store, see a bottle of hand crafted, local cider and say, “Hey, I help make that!” Well, at the Co-op you can.

Millions of Peaches, Peaches for Me

Many of us wait all year for this moment. We spend the winter months dreaming of a certain fuzzy stone fruit, its sweet juices dripping from our face and the buttery golden pie crust those yellow-orange slices will inhabit.

Good news! The wait is over. That local, sweet orb of sunshine has finally arrived. That’s right. Rolling Hills peaches are here!

2017 Board Election Results

The Ashland Food Co-op Board of Directors is pleased to announce the results of the 2017 Board Election. There were five excellent candidates running for three Board positions. In total, 733 votes were cast, representing 9% of owners. 
 
Congratulations to the following candidates who will serve three-year terms on the Ashland Food Co-op Board of Directors.

We're Sustainability Stars!

Deep in our hearts we've always known we were sustainability stars, but now we have an award to prove it.

We recently received a Co+efficient Sustainability Star award from National Co-op Grocers (NCG) recognizing our positive environmental and community impacts.

Co+efficient, NCG’s sustainability program, measures social, environmental and local economic impacts from participating food co-ops across the country.