Darryl Bellows, Produce Manager from Otter Co-op in Langley.

Savour home-grown goodness at your local grocer

At Otter Co-op support includes local growers and community

As Fraser Valley produce shoppers know, local tastes better. The fact that it also supports community makes choosing fruits and vegetables from local producers all the sweeter!

With 20 years of grocery experience, Josh Silverman, produce manager at the Mt. Lehman Otter Co-op, appreciates the Co-op focus on local in produce section.

Not only are the fruits and vegetables fresher, sourcing closer-to-home also means they get from the farm to your kitchen with fewer carbon emissions.

“It really is a farm-to-fork philosophy,” says Silverman, who enjoys the opportunity to visit local farms and farmers to see what’s growing. “Sometimes when we need something at the store, I can go right down to the farm and pick it up!”

As plentiful as the local agriculture scene is, not everything can be grown right here in the Fraser Valley, but the produce teams at the Valley’s three Co-op grocery stores work together to source as locally as possible.

Having the three stores ordering together also delivers more buying power, for greater value for shoppers, he adds.

While the produce selection is delicious, not everything will leave the stores with shoppers, so Otter Co-op partners with local food banks to donate produce that would otherwise go to waste, to local food programs. Last year, the Co-op donated $155,217 worth of food products through its Food Donation Program

It’s just another way the local grocer continues to give back as it celebrates 100 years.

Otter Co-op continued its 100th anniversary festivities last month with the announcement of a $100,000 donation to local community organizations. Over and above the more than $400,000 Otter Co-op already contributes each year through donations, sponsorships and scholarships, in honour of their milestone, they’re inviting organizations across the region to apply for one of 100 cash donations of $1,000.

Grant applications will be open through Sept. 30, with successful recipients contacted in October, in time for a big anniversary celebration.

READ MORE: Co-op turns its centennial celebration into $100,000 gift for the community

Member-owned since 1922, Otter Co-op is a diverse and growing organization with locations throughout the Lower Mainland and Okanagan, including three food and pharmacy stores, clothing and hardware, 26 Angry Otter liquor stores, two feed mills, two bulk petroleum facilities, and a feed and hardware store in Pitt Meadows. In addition, there’s Angry Otter Tap & Forno, Angry Otter Brewery in North Vancouver, the Highwayman Pub in Abbotsford and 11 gas station/convenience stores.

And while you certainly don’t need Co-op membership to shop with Otter Co-op, it definitely brings rewards! For just $10 for a lifetime membership, use your Co-op number when purchasing gas, fuel, groceries, liquor, agriculture supplies and more, then once a year, you’ll receive cash back and equity, based on your annual purchases.