Why I Shop at the Co-op #7

January 14, 2022

Jamie Smith finds support for healthy eating at the Fredericksburg Food Co-op.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Jamie loves the Co-op’s bulk section.

I’m originally from Florida and my husband Clayton is from Chesapeake Virginia. We met at the University of Florida. We have two sons, Brad, who lives here in Fredericksburg, and Chris, who lives in North Carolina with his wife Rachel and their two children, Rita and Asher. We enjoy visiting them in North Carolina and we love spending time with our wonderful grandchildren. Clayton and I have lived in Stafford County for 26 years. I’m a retired social worker. Now I work part time in an office. Clayton served in the Marine Corp for over 20 years and we travelled all over the world. We still love to travel. We enjoy giving give back to our community. Clayton is the board chair of the United Way. I served on the board of the Food Bank for many years. I continue to do volunteer work, including with our local CSA. And both my husband and I are very involved with our local church.

When did you first hear about the Co-op?

I first heard about the Co-op through the people I met at the Fredericksburg Area CSA where I volunteer. And I saw the Co-op table many times at the Farmers Market at Hurkamp Park. We finally became Co-op owners in 2019 when my son Brad gifted us a Co-op membership.

What are your favorite products at the Co-op?

I love the bulk items. We especially enjoy the bulk rice and beans. We are also really pleased with the Late July brand of snacks that the Co-op carries. We love the Late July chips and sauces. I love to buy the bok choy and the local oyster mushrooms that are grown by Francis, a local farmer I’ve known for years. I sauté the bok choy along with the mushrooms in sesame oil that I buy at the Co-op. It’s delicious! Buying local foods is really important to me. The Co-op carries products from so many of the local farmers who I know — Botanical Bites, Francis and so many more. I’ve seen many of these farmers at the CSA for years. It’s nice to know who the farmers are and that adds a special value to the products I buy at the Co-op. 

Botanical Bites & Provisions provides local produce to the Co-op.

What do you love most about the Co-op?

I like that the Co-op caters to the community and the Co-op listens to the dietary needs of the community. I think that’s awesome! When you go to a corporate grocery store, it’s all about the dollars and not necessarily about the community. Both Clayton and I have significant health issues. We are able to manage those through diet and the Food Co-op is a big part of that. For more than 15 years, we’ve been focused on improving our health through better food choices. We both feel better.  At our recent doctors’ appointments, the doctors couldn’t believe how good our numbers are. They said, “Whatever you are doing, just keep doing it.” For us, it’s more than a diet; it has become a way of life. I cook sometimes three times a day, but at least twice a day. The Co-op carries the products that we need to stay healthy. 

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

Very recently I suggested a few specific organic, non-GMO products. It’s wonderful that we can make a product suggestion and the Co-op will carry the item if at all possible.

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

Definitely give the Co-op a try and do as much of your shopping there as possible. The Co-op is local and we get to shop for local products and our dollars stay local with the local community. You are part of those dollars. You have an investment in this. You belong at the Food Co-op.