When we think about shopping locally at the neighbourhood grocer, it’s easy to chalk it up to veggies, summer berries and fall apples. But the delicious reality is that when your grocer values the importance of supporting local farmers and producers, it’s actually pretty easy to “shop locally” throughout the store!
Shoppers at the Otter Co-op grocery stores are likely familiar with the produce department stands that share what’s local for the day, and which farm it came from.
But as you browse the aisles, you can also keep your eye open to stickers and shelf tags highlighting a whole host of other local items, from Twisted Cowboy beef jerky, from Chilliwack, to all-natural BC Buzz Honey from Langley Township, fresh-made jam to hot sauce, notes Darren Glencross, Otter Co-op’s Food & Hospitality Division Manager.
“We put a lot of focus on local products,” Glencross notes. “As a co-op, we need to support other local businesses.”
He points to farmers who buy their fuel or feed from Otter Co-op as the ideal example. When it comes time to buy their farm-produced products, Co-op is at the front of the line.
“It’s a symbiotic relationship,” Glencross reflects. “If they thrive, we thrive.”
Some, like Birchwood Dairy Farm, are right across the road, while others come from a little farther, like tasty Natural Pastures cheeses, Island Farms ice cream, and Phillips Brewing’s non-alcoholic beer line, Iota, all from Vancouver Island.
While supporting local growers and producers is part of Otter Co-op’s DNA, it’s also important to shoppers. “It’s very important to our customers. We often get a higher demand for local products,” Glencross says.
It’s not only about neighbours supporting neighbours, although that’s part of it. Shorter transportation needs can mean fresher products, with a lower carbon footprint than those trucked from farther away. And ‘local’ doesn’t need to cost more – Glencross points to a two-kilogram back of Hunky Bills perogies, straight from Langley, for just $5.
They’ve also partnered with the University of the Fraser Valley on a vertical growing initiative that’s produce gorgeous – and delicious – living lettuce at a great price.
“Here at Otter we take pride in being able to support local producers and we know our guests appreciate it as well. It’s great to be able to feature local products in our store and know that we are benefiting our own community by doing so,” says Glenn Chisholm, Langley Food Store Manager. “One guest favourite is Houwling’s Lettuce. It’s sold living and looks amazing!”
While you certainly don’t need Co-op membership to shop with Otter Co-op, it definitely brings rewards! For just $10 for a lifetime membership, use your Co-op number when purchasing gas, fuel, groceries, liquor, agriculture supplies and more, then once a year, you’ll receive cash back and equity, based on your annual purchases.
Learn more today at www.otterco-op.crs or stop by your local store.