Chicago's new Dill Pickle Food Co-op has opened its doors in time for residents of the Logan Square neighborhood to stock up on plenty of local and organic food for the holidays. It's a good thing too, because despite a wonderful (but seasonal) farmers' market, grocery options in the neighborhood are somewhat limited.The co-op has been open for a little over a week, and things seemed to be running pretty smoothly when we stopped by over the weekend. Though its footprint is much smaller, the storefront's setup is similar to a larger grocery store. When you walk in, you're in the bakery and produce section, which leads you to the refrigerated cases filled with local cheese and meats, and some high-quality vegetarian protein items.
The shelves in the middle of the store are stocked with canned, bottled and dry food items, most of it organic, as well as some eco-friendly cleaning supplies and high-grade pet food. There's also an extensive bulk section with a variety of grains, nuts, granolas and quite a few spices.
You don't have to be a member to shop at the co-op, but members will receive a discount of some sort – the details are still being worked out.
1. The first aisle stocks bakery, produce, cheese and meat items as well as a variety of pantry essentials.
2. It's December in Chicago, but local produce is still to be found. These Sunchokes from Green Acres would make a great puree and go well with fish.
3. These Golden Ball turnips from Genesis Growers could be used for a soup or a risotto.
4. Field Roast Grain Meat Co. sausages have become an exception to our anti-fake-meat stance lately, so we were happy to see them in the refrigerated case.
5. You can also find plenty of high-quality meat products of the non-vegetarian variety.
6. The co-op stocks dairy products from producers in surrounding states such as Castle Rock Organic Farms in Wisconsin and Traders Point Creamery in Indiana.
7. There is also a variety of hard and soft cheeses.
8. The co-op has highlighted value items around the store with a Basic Needs Basket label.
9. A nice selection of bulk spices.
10. Where possible, the co-op has stocked local canned items like these Sun Gold preserves from Tomato Mountain in Wisconsin.
11. A long row of bulk bins.
12. Lots of eco-friendly cleaning products.
13. Organic mustard in several flavors.
14. Sign up to rent an organic apple tree, or just sample some cider.
15. The checkout counter.
(Images: Joanna Miller)