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Delicious Food, Healthy Eats, and Community Cares at the East End Food Co-op

by Janet Jonus

Eat Fresh, local, and organic at the East End Food Co-op

If you are looking for a great EEFC-inspired recipe, check out FamilyFunPittsburgh’s Orzo with Carrots, Scallions and a White Wine Sauce. It is a FFP Family favorite and it comes together in less than 20 minutes. Look for that recipe here: http://familyfunpittsburgh.com/family-fun-food-orzo-with-white-wine-sauce/

The East End Food Co-op as been providing Pittsburgh with high-quality, fresh, locally sourced and organic food and groceries for forty years. Long before “Farm-to-Table” became a thing, the East End Food Co-op (EEFC) has been working with local farmers to bring the freshest produce to the store. The EEFC welcomes everyone, you do not need to be a member to shop or enjoy the fresh juice and hot food bars. The EEFC packs a lot into a moderate space.

Kids twelve and under can join the free EEFC Kids Explorer’s Program by signing up at the Customer Service desk. At every visit, kids can choose a piece of fruit from the specially marked basket to enjoy while shopping. (Kids can recycle their peel or pits in the compost bin in the dining area.) For more information check here: https://www.eastendfood.coop/shop/coop-kids/

The Co-op carries fresh produce and meats. The produce comes from local farms as much as possible. Peak months for locally grown produce are late July through October. The EEFC also carries carefully curated, distance-grown produce like bananas and citrus. The meat sold at the EEFC has been sourced from local, family-run farms that practice humane, organic farming methods. The Co-op carries beef chicken, pork, bison, turkey, lamb, goat, and fish. They also have seasonal roasts available for holidays.

The frozen section carries a wide selection of international foods, specialty items, desserts, and fruits and vegetables. The Gift section has cards, kitchen accessories, bags, incense, and candles. If you are looking for inspiration the EEFC carries a selection of cookbooks and food-related books.

The EEFC carries dairy from Bunton Dairy and Turner Dairy as well as Frank White Farms and Swiss Villa. They have milk, raw milk, goat’s milk, buttermilk, butter, and yogurt. Pasture-raised chickens provide the EEFC’s eggs. Local, artisanal cheeses sourced mainly from the Eastern half of the country are available daily. Dairy alternatives are also featured. Fresh-baked breads are delivered throughout the week from local bakeries. Everything is fresh.

The Co-op has a complete selection of groceries including paleo, vegan, gluten-free, and organic selections. The Co+Op basics program has grocery basics at really low prices. The popular bulk foods section has a large selection of items that can be bought in large or small quantities. Bulk foods include beans, grains, cereals, herbs, seeds, roots, snacks, and more. If you are looking for a reason to make a trip to the Co-op, the bulk foods and juice bar top the list!

By far one of FamilyFunPittsburgh’s favorite places in the Co-op is the hot foods, juice bar, salad bar, and prepared foods sections. Go hungry and eat at the Co-op. The Co-op has a large selection of prepared foods in their deli section. The Hot Bar serves daily vegetarian specialties. The wide selection is well-seasoned with herbs and spices. We don’t even miss the meat. There are several healthy soup selections daily, try the tomato soup, and a small salad bar. The ginger dressing is excellent. The juice bar serves up fresh juice and smoothies. The coffee bar has coffee and espresso drinks. Stop at the bakery for muffins, brownies, and cookies. Collect your goodies and pay at the cash registers. There is a small dining area in the front of the store. Kids love the “separation station” where you dispose of your garbage in the appropriate receptacles – organics/compost, recycling, and garbage/landfill. The Juice Bar and the Café Counter are open from 800AM-700PM and the Hot Bar is open from 1100AM- 700PM. The EEFC serves up a vegetarian brunch every Saturday and Sunday. For more information check here: https://www.eastendfood.coop/shop/departments/cafe/

The Co-Op also sells seedlings for gardens. The seedlings go on sale in March. The EEFC has a huge May Seedling Sale every year. Like all Co-Op products the seedlings are locally sourced from regional farms.

The EEFC supports local charities. Seventy charities apply each year for the EEFC Round-up. The Co-Op chooses twelve charities a year, one for each month. Shoppers can round up their purchase total to the next dollar amount. All Round-up proceeds are given to that month’s charity. The EEFC has donated more than $100,000 to Round-up charities since 2013. The Co-Op also donates produce and food to the 412 Food Rescue, a local charity that accepts donations from groceries, farms, and restaurants and distributes them to food insecure families and individuals.

There are many ways to save at the EEFC. There are monthly and weekly specials, daily sales, and the Co+Op basics program which are available to everyone. The Co-Op accepts SNAP/EBT cards and offers SNAP beneficiaries an additional 10% discount on their purchase. On Tuesdays and Thursdays seniors 62+ receive a 5% discount on their purchase. Discount information can be found here: https://www.eastendfood.coop/shop/snap-senior-discounts/

Members receive many benefits. Co-op membership costs $100 payable in one payment or in four quarterly installments. Membership is paid ONCE, NOT yearly. You pay your $100 fee and you are a lifetime member of the EEFC. There are no yearly or monthly dues. The Co-op is run by members and every member gets one vote in membership elections. Members have access to the Co-Op credit union, discounts at Co-Op community partners, check-writing privileges, and the ability to make special orders on your favorite Co-Op items. Members also get a 2% discount on all purchases. Once every quarter (three months) members get a 10% discount on a transaction of your choice. Member discounts can be added onto other discounts such as the senior discount. Member information can be found here: https://www.eastendfood.coop/membership/become-a-member/

There is a parking lot between Penn Avenue and Meade Street. The parking lot is shared by many businesses and can get filled up in the evenings and on Saturdays. Port Authority bus routes 67, 69Trafford, and 71C all stop near the Co-Op on Penn Avenue.

The East End Food Co-Op is open daily from 800AM-900PM. The Co-Op is located at 7516 Meade Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15208/ 412-242-3598 / https://www.eastendfood.coop/

If you are looking for a great EEFC-inspired recipe, check out FamilyFunPittsburgh’s Orzo with Carrots, Scallions and a White Wine Sauce. It is a FFP Family favorite and it comes together in less than 20 minutes. Look for that recipe here: http://familyfunpittsburgh.com/family-fun-food-orzo-with-white-wine-sauce/