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Bethesda Co-Op


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We've mentioned this store in several threads, but have not yet dedicated a topic to it. After my trip yesterday, I figured it was time to fill the gap.

Whenever I find myself at Carderock or near River Road, I make it a point to pop into the Co-Op. Their website indicates they are the area's oldest natural food store, but what appeals to me are the careful selections. This is not a large space, but surprisingly well-stocked, offering a super resource for anyone grappling with a limited diet (gluten free, low-sodium, raw food, etc.). The store is fueled by all-green energy and features compostable produce bags, walking the talk of environmental concerns.

A Peter Rabbit fantasy, the produce section displays outstanding quality and locally-raised selections. Bethesda Co-Op is one of the few natural food stores in the area that still grinds their own nut butters, their Almond Butter nearly always finding its way into my basket. Yesterday, I noticed they carry Dublin Roasters coffee, and picked up the Volt blend. Obviously fresh and bright, the blend will become a regular on my morning ritual rotation.

Bethesda Co-Op is a single location, residing a high-rent district, and prices can edge a bit above comparable selections at MOM's markets. A $50 annual membership translates into a 5% reduction for non-sale items, and volunteering at the store brings further discounts. A business worth supporting, both in mission and in product quality.

(i reclaimed my carderock mayorship)

(just yesterday)

(4square 4fun)

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As the co-op is now my neighborhood grocery store, and because I like what they do, I make an effort to shop there first before going elsewhere. I love it for its hippie quirkiness. But to provide a counterpoint to (my friend) KMango's praise, let me tell you...

The produce is good except when it isn't. Look it over carefully. Especially the stuff on sale (which can be a great bargain if you have a discerning eye). OTOH, the best tomatoes I got all season were from the co-op's "local" bin.

They sell some frozen meat, but no fresh meat.

Items that don't turn over quickly sometimes are forgotten and left on the shelf past their sell- or use-by dates. A few weeks ago I picked up a package of corn tortillas that were two weeks past.

The fresh cheeses are usually great, and really fresh. But look carefully at the already cut and shrink wrapped hard cheeses. Even if it's before the sell-by date, they're frequently moldy or ammoniated.

Nonetheless, it is a really cool store. Remember 30 years ago when we used to call it "health food"?

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