- The Utah Co-op is open to the public and located at 4892 South Commerce Drive in Murray.
- Market hours are Thursday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are no commitment requirements or fees.
- Specialty and sale items, new items, expected produce, recipes and nutritional information is posted regularly on the co-op’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/UtahCoop.org
Processed foods often travel long distances to get from the farm to the table and often lack nutritional value and quality. For those interested in sustainable living at an affordable price, the Utah Co-op in Murray can help them get started.
The volunteer-driven food co-op provides an opportunity for people to enjoy locally grown and produced vegetables, fruits and grains that are freshly delivered on every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“Organic food [at the co-op] is fresher when you get it because it doesn’t have far to travel,” said Mercedes Zel-Pappas, Utah Co-op volunteer. “The food is never outdated or damaged and there are no chemicals, so it tastes better.”
Purchasing foods closer to home requires less energy spent on transportation, thus reducing carbon emissions. Supporting local farmers helps to keep food local.
“Farms that were there just a few years ago are now gone,” Zel-Pappas said. “Now it’s all houses…so our farms are disappearing.”
The market is in about six small rooms. The main room supplies a selection of fresh, seasonal produce. Distributed by local organic growers, an assortment of grains and gourmet cheeses are available. Other rooms display international foods themed by country. The store stocks traditional Jewish, Greek and Asian foods that are usually found only at specialty markets. Items typically found at the Downtown Farmers’ Market and Whole Foods are available at discounted prices.
“Through collective purchasing, we order mass quantities of these items at very low prices,” Zel-Pappas said. “The main purpose of a food cooperative is to combine local farmers with their communities and build a sense of community by promoting a volunteer service that brings people together.”
The co-op is community driven, so requests for produce and other items come directly from the community. Gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian items are often available.
Besides offering local organic foods at affordable costs, the co-op provides food, clothing and other donated items to charities locally and abroad. Last year’s Angel Tree program supported 1500 local individuals ranging from small children to the elderly. Utah Co-op also donates regularly to Utahns Against Hunger and Feed the Poor.
For those interested in community gardens, the co-op participates in a neighborhood trade in which local gardeners are invited to bring abundant produce to trade with other growers. The exchange provides an ideal opportunity to redistribute fresh items so that they don’t go to waste.