An introduction to this Minnesota-based co-operative, which supplies organic and locally-sourced produce to its community. Includes information about its departments, opening times, location, and more!
Valley Natural Foods Valley Natural Foods is a member-owned co-operative based in Burnsville, Minnesota, which specializes in selling natural food and resources to its community. The co-op ensures that its product selection is based on the demands on its local community, and that those products are of the healthiest variety possible. For example, in their deli, all the coffee is organic, locally roasted, fair trade, and shade-grown. Their dairy products are similarly locally-sourced, whilst their cooks try and use as much natural and organic food as possible to ensure that their customers remain healthy and satisfied. VNF operates as a co-op in all areas; specifically, its principles are based on voluntary and open membership, concern for the community, a democratic system of member control, co- operation will other co-operatives (as well as local farmers, markets, etc.), autonomy and independence, and bridging the gap between the seller and buyer. Opening Times Valley Natural Foods is open Monday to Thursday (8am until 9pm), Friday and Saturday (8am until 8pm), and Sunday (10am until 8pm). It also has a drive-thru window for its Java and juice bar, which is open Monday to Saturday (6:30am until 8pm), and Sunday (9am until 8pm). In summary, the store is open 7 days a week and never closes earlier than 8pm. Departments • The deli, juice and Java department is happy to make many delicious 'family favorite' dishes such as rotisserie chicken, seasonal fare, and pizzas. It also contains a sizable selection of fine cheeses, including mature English Stilton and local frescas. The juice and Java bar provides its customers with freshly-brewed coffee, fresh and healthy juices (including carrot, wheatgrass, and orange juice), as well as a selection of teas (including iced teas and chai tea). • The produce market specializes in organically-grown and locally-sourced fruits and vegetables. It is a good idea to ask the staff of this department what is in season to ensure that you get the freshest and most nutritious food. The staff are especially knowledgeable about local agriculture and they are always willing to answer your questions about it. • The grocery department focuses on bulk, refrigerated, frozen, dairy, general merchandise, packaged grocery, and pet products. Its staff ensure that the products are free from genetically modified ingredients, herbicides, growth hormones, and pesticides. The food is sourced locally (unless stated otherwise), and there are products available to suit most customers' needs. For example, if you are intolerant of gluten, then you'll appreciate the grocery's large selection of gluten-free products. • The meat and seafood market sells organic elk, buffalo, beef, pork, poultry, and seafood. The meat counter is stocked daily with 100% grass-fed beef, and since the meat is cut and ground on-site, you can always request smaller or larger packages to suit your family's needs. • Finally, there is the wellness center, which is a fully-serviced health and beauty department that carries a large selection of aromatherapy, supplements, herbs, skin care, cosmetics, books, yoga supplies, homeopathic remedies, and personal care products. The trained staff ensure that the utmost attention is given to the customer, and that all their needs are met. As you can see, Valley Natural Foods is much more than just a local alternative to national or multinational health food stores; it is a multi-layered operation that is owned by people who are part of the community it serves. This business-customer interaction is what sets co-ops apart from faceless chains and other profit-driven enterprises, and that is why we should always support them whenever we can. About the Author Michael Ravensthorpe is a writer and researcher of nutrition from the United Kingdom. He is the creator of the website, http://spiritfoods.net, which contains interesting and useful information about the world's healthiest foods, from semolina to buckwheat.
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