Ideal Green Market Cooperative helps put local food on your table

A recent selection of organic and/or local produce at the Ideal Green Market Cooperative. Photo courtesy of the co-op's Facebook page

Did you know that the Whitefish Area has its very own co-op? And that it's stocked with delicious local, healthy, organic foods? Ideal Green Market Cooperative opened in 2015 and will soon expand its operating hours for the summer.

As of May 10, the co-op hours are Wednesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Ideal Green Market carries local produce from across the state, as well as a selection of organic produce from other parts of the country. They've partnered with area farms to make the goods of local growers available to the public. Offerings include bulk spices, local meat, poultry and eggs, local dairy (including milk and cheese), non-dairy options (milks, cheeses, coco whip and more), local greens, local scallions, a wide variety of organic fresh produce (from lemons to avocados to potatoes to strawberries), fresh baked bread from Duluth, local wild rice, and much more.

This summer, the co-op plans to carry grab-and-go salads and sandwiches. The co-op also has a selection of delicious chocolates, healthy snack foods, and beverages that are otherwise hard to find.

Ideal Green Market, just off County Road 16 between Crosslake and Pequot Lakes, opened in 2015. Photo courtesy of the co-op's Facebook page.

Everyone is welcome to shop at the co-op, but member-owners are able to take advantage of special weekly deals, order products by the case at the bulk price plus 15 percent, and feel the sense of community pride in supporting the co-op's mission and values. Members also get a discount on the classes held at the o-op and have a vote at the annual meeting, held each June.

Every Saturday in the warmer months, the co-op has a farmer's market in its parking lot. This year the farmer's market will begin May 20. While it may be too early for some local produce, early crops like radishes will be available. Other sellers at the farmer's market carry fresh-baked goods, handmade soaps and lotions, sunflower oil, hand-milled flours, canned goods, honey, chaga, and much more.

Occasionally the co-op also has a $5 lunch option at its farmer's market, and will celebrate the kickoff of the season with just such a meal on May 20. The market is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The co-op also periodically holds classes open to the public and discounted for members. Past classes have included "Ideal meals," highlighting the flavors and products of the season, and kombucha making classes. Check the co-op website for information on upcoming classes.

Ideal Green Market Cooperative is located in Ideal Corners next to the Old Milwaukee Club, just off County Road 16. For more information on the co-op, including info on local providers who sell their goods at the co-op and recipes, visit the store's website. Updates are also posted on the store's Facebook page.

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