New Ulm Community Market promotes healthy food options

NEW ULM – The New Ulm Community Market and Cooperative held an open market Saturday that showcased regionally-grown products and attracted buyers from all over the area.

Present at the market were vast varieties of jams and jellies, fresh meats and eggs and bags of organic popcorn, to name just a few options. The co-op carries food that is as nutritious as it is delicious, and the best part of the co-op’s selection? Since all of the items are produced locally, their sales directly support local growers and small business-owners.

The co-op hopes to offer more than just locally-produced food, though. It aims to provide opportunities for community enrichment in the areas of health and nutrition in a variety of ways. Presently, the co-op gives visitors a chance to take recipes out of the many cookbooks they have in-store. According to Elizabeth Anselmo, the organization’s secretary and treasurer, the co-op hopes to offer classes regarding topics such as cooking, healthy eating and gardening.

Anselmo and her colleagues seek to be as inclusive and accommodating as possible to all members of the community. The co-op offers many vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options. In fact, it has already hosted a gluten-free potluck night.

Members of the co-op’s Board of Directors have proposed a Kickstarter campaign to help with the full-time opening of the store. The goal is to collect donations totaling at least $15,000 by July 1. Pledgers are offered incentives such as a NUCMC t-shirt, a heaping basket of co-op goodies and a place on the co-op’s wall-of-fame.

Currently, the New Ulm Community Market and Cooperative has 138 members, but it hopes to have at least 300 when the store opens on a full-time basis. Basic membership rates start at a one-time fee of $150 (payment plan available). With a membership, one can enjoy member-exclusive sales and discounts on various products, reduced registration fees for co-op classes and community-based newsletters that discuss recent co-op happenings.

The co-op isn’t only for members, though; open houses and markets – held once or twice a month – are open to all. “We’re open to the community, and we love meeting new people,” Anselmo said. “The community has been very receptive.”

She wasn’t lying. Mere seconds after Anselmo uttered that sentence, an enthused market-goer passed by and proclaimed, “We love our co-op!”

For more information or to apply for membership, visit the co-op building at 526 S. Minnesota St. or look to its website, www.nucommunitymarket.com.

The co-op’s next open markets will be held July 12 and 26.

To support the local co-op monetarily, search for “New Ulm Community Market” on www.kickstarter.com.

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