Why I Shop at the Co-op #3

September 16, 2021

The Poseys are dedicated to eating plant-based and appreciate all the choices they have found at the Co-op.

Bobby & Barbara love the fresh produce!

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

We are a retired couple in our 70s who eat plant-based whole foods as recommended by Drs. Esselstyn, Campbell, Greger, and others, after experiencing the film Forks over Knives and subsequently completing an online nutrition course from Cornell University. We have meditated twice a day using the Transcendental Meditation technique for over fifty years.  We met in high school and married just after college. Bobby retired from a career in software engineering; his last position was at a digital forensics lab. He is a long-time musician as well, having played electric bass in many bands throughout our years together and even before. He keeps and plays several guitars and basses at home and also enjoys piano. Barbara had a checkered career in graphic design, morphing to webpage creation, but since 2011 has been a full-time artist and a member of Artful Dimensions Gallery on Caroline Street.  She also appreciates music and has a small skill with the violin, though a much-neglected one. 

When did you first hear about the Co-op?

Soon after our first viewing of Forks over Knives in 2011, we stumbled onto the Fredericksburg Vegetarian Group, which at the time met monthly for a potluck lunch — the best lunch in town, we were told, and oh yes, it was! Through that group we met Rich Larochelle, and later his wife Linda, a fellow artist, and gradually became involved in a small way in the growth and creation of the Co-op. 

What are your favorite products at the Co-op?

We have been delighted to see the lush organic and local produce; Barbara is especially fond of the cocktail tomatoes on a cardboard tray. For years, we have bought Wegman’s Campari tomatoes, which come in a plastic clamshell box; the Co-op’s version is at least as delicious and produces much less waste. Bobby is particularly fond of the baby kale. Treeline vegan cheese — it’s oil free, a Boursin-type spreadable cheese, and utterly delicious. Also the English smokehouse style vegan cheese. Fermented seaweed salads — we’ve bought the unfermented version, too, but the Co-op is the only place we’ve ever seen the fermented kind. Bobby appreciates the great selection of craft beers and the Co-op’s beer and wine curator has a keen understanding with excellent experience. She offers great advice on choosing beers for specific tastes as well as providing such a well-chosen selection.

What do you love most about the Co-op?

I don’t think we can reduce what we love to one thing. We love the location, which is a big improvement for us on previous stores. We love that it’s compact, but it has almost everything we need or want, and it’s not stuffed with products we consider non-foods, so that we’d be forced to wander aisles and think, who eats this stuff? We love that the staff is friendly and cheerful, that we meet friends (hi, Rich!) almost every time we shop. We enjoy eating and shopping (a favorite to order is the Rio Grande bowl). 

Have you ever made a suggestion to the Co-op and what was it?

Barbara has made several suggestions and each one was met with a prompt response. I asked for Amy’s Rice Mac and (vegan) Cheeze, and wow, the next time we arrived, there it was in the freezer! I asked about the So Delicious almond ice cream sandwiches; sadly, they are not currently available, but the next time we shopped, Chris had found a substitute. I have mentioned that more vegan and oil-free options would be lovely and I see more appearing on the shelves. 

What advice would you have for someone thinking about checking out the Co-op?

Do it! Join! Invest! Come shop — you don’t have to join for that! — check out the website, talk to anyone you know who shops here and/or is an owner. This Co-op is a community resource; anyone can choose to become an owner by joining. That means the company is responsible to us, the community, instead of some corporate office off in Somewhere Land. Providing jobs here, buying from local farmers, producing dividends for us, setting prices, pay scales, and employee benefits that do not have to allow for a $4 million dollar Ferrari and multiple palatial homes for some CEO — all those benefits come from our Co-op. Which is your Co-op as well if you choose.