Reviews written by Beatrice74

Registered on Aug 9 07

Syracuse Real Food Coop in Syracuse, New York
Aug 9 07

rating star

Oh what a confused establishment this coop is. On one hand, it's an extremely convenient stop-over if you live in the Syracuse University neighborhood. It has the best selection of vegetarian/vegan groceries in town. Their organic and bulk raw foods offerings aren't bad. And the hours (9 to 9 every day) are easy to remember and quite accommodating.

At the same time, the staffers at Real Food seem more interested in turning their coop into some vague 24/7 meeting than a fully functional grocery. Though the store layout has greatly improved over the past year, the powers that be still seem reluctant to move to a much-needed bigger space. The produce at the coop is sometimes pretty sad. A year ago I found a dead fly in a bag of pine nuts from Real Food - so I suggest carefully inspecting any bulk foods. The bread Real Food gets most mornings from a couple of local bakeries is good, but don't expect to find an extensive array of pre-packaged prepared veggie meals there.

On the whole, coop staffers tend to be rather cliquish and defensive. Real Food is totally in love with its blog. Perhaps that's where you can find mention of in-store events (like late spring veggie plant sales), but fat chance seeing these happenings clearly publicized in the store, on the official website, or advertised in any local publication. In theory shoppers can submit questions and recommendations to the in-store "suggestion box," but the posted responses are often so hostile in tone it just isn't worth the effort.

I and several friends (separately) volunteered to help out at the coop (supposedly you can trade hours for store credit), but no one ever contacted us about assisting in any way. There's a lot of talk at the coop about "community building" and "grassroots activism," but not much substance behind the words. A recent coop survey actually asked how important the respondents thought it was to shop at an establishment that supported "justice." What? Rather than tossing around a lot of vague liberal rhetoric, Real Food coop would be better served by focusing on improving its facilities, service, and food quality.