Did your New Years resolution involve eating local? Cooking more? Buying organic? Well then I have the place for you. Harvest Co-op Market in Central square is a mecca of local produce, organic wine, and bulk spices and grains. According to the store's website they are a "community-owned market" that supports "local, organic, cooperative and fair labor suppliers."
When you enter the store, you will probably first notice the impressive selection of fruits and vegetables. Besides being mostly organic and local, the variety here is what really stands out. With 15 varieties of apples and 10 kinds of potatoes there is something for every taste and price point. Every tried a Black Gilliflower apple? Maybe you will find a new favorite.
Local food is obviously a hot topic, and for good reason. In this economy people are interested in supporting local producers, and Harvest co-op is no different. On their website you will find a list of every local product that they carry, and where it comes from. Local is defined as produced in New England or New York and covers everything from ice cream to hummus to cupcakes.
The bulk section is probably the most popular section of the store for obvious reasons. Every spice imaginable can be bought at a reasonable price. Anyone attempting to cook more in the new year can try new flavors without the risk of purchasing in larger amounts. Teas, seeds, beans, flours, and granolas of all kinds are also featured. People focusing on a gluten-free diet can find any number of alternatives to wheat. Or if you simply want to make soup with 6 different kinds of lentils, you are in the right place.
Maybe you aren't cutting back on alcohol in the New Year, but the opportunity to buy organic or local wine and beer might fit in with your resolutions. An impressive selection of microbrews and organic wines offer options for any taste. Some local fair-trade chocolate might go well with that new bottle of wine.
While vegetarian and vegan lifestyles are embraced here, meat-eaters will find plenty to enjoy as well. Local grass-fed beef is fresh and reasonably priced. A large variety of local cheeses and eggs are also available.
The conventional groceries are the only thing you may want to skip on at Harvest. While packaged foods such as cereals, crackers and cookies are also featured, they are priced at a premium. If you aren't buying fresh foods or in bulk, you may want to head to another supermarket for the rest of your shopping.
Overall, you can feel good about spending your money at Harvest in the new year. Not only will you be supporting local and organic agriculture, you will also be supporting your health. Sometimes these considerations are worth a few extra dollars out of the grocery budget.
Harvest Co-op is located at 581 Mass Ave in Cambridge, with an additional location at 57 South Street in Jamaica Plain. Please visit their website (http://www.harvestcoop.com/) for more information. Happy shopping!