Not Made of Money recently wrote a post called The Basics of a Food Co-op which gives a nice introduction to what a co-op is and how they work.
I have been wanting to join a food co-op again, but I was hesitant because the last time I was part of a food co-op there were some strict requirements. Now as a stay at home mom, I was able to fulfill my end of the deal so it wasn’t a problem. Even so, I always felt like it was kind of silly to make everyone “work” when our group wasn’t that big. It seemed like we were all in each others’ way and bumping heads on how to do things. The closest one to me was quite a distance away, and eventually I dropped out.
A few years later, I put my own food co-op group together. It’s not too hard to do, but we did have to come up with a minimum $500 order. Thankfully I had a couple of members who ordered more than $200 each, and then a few who ordered at least $50. I did all the work and didn’t charge a membership fee. I think I maybe even delivered one lady’s order every month. I forget, it’s been over a decade.
The food co-op I was involved with dissolved a few years ago. I was very surprised to find that Tucson Cooperative Warehouse was no longer in business when I went looking for a food co-op to join.
Then I kept hearing about Azure Standard. I checked a couple of years ago, but they didn’t have a route into Arizona. I decided to check again a couple of weeks ago and found that they do have a club located about 30 miles west of where we live. I was so hesitant to contact the group because they usually have the membership fee which increases the cost of the food you are ordering, and also they require members to “work”. I don’t have time to “work” for a food co-op and I am sure I wouldn’t be able to convince Mr. A to go in my stead.
I decided to make the call anyway, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the group is small enough that they do not require members to work. The lady who runs the group unloads the truck with her husband and children and then put out calls to the members to let them know they can come get their orders.
I was also pleased to see that Azure Standard allows you to order through their company online, and pay for your order.
Here are few things I’ve found at killer prices:
- 1 pound onion granules $3.85 sale price at Fry’s Grocery $6.99/pound
- 50 pounds sea salt $12.25 $0.245 cents per pound, we’ve been paying over 1 dollar a pound for sea salt from the grocery store, and you can’t even buy regular iodized salt for this price!
- 1 pound cumin seed powder $5.40 Mr. A has been buying one ounce packets for $0.69!
- 1 pound ground black pepper $5.05 sale price at Fry’s Grocery $7.99/pound
The best way to find if you can order from Azure is to call them or email them and ask. They may have a food coop in your area that you can participate in.
Have you ever belonged to a food coop? Do you now? How do you like them?