By Catherine Reid Day
It’s soup season again. Tomatoes, pumpkins, squash, chili beans and garbanzos, enhanced with accents of garlic, cumin and turmeric, simmered into rich soups and stews. When I walk into my favorite Twin Cities food co-op at the corner of Hampden and Raymond avenues, my senses awaken to the warm smells coming from the soup bar. I have to go over, lift every cover and peek to see what the co-op soup maestro Jon has cooked up for us. The Hampden Park Co-op soup and deli case are among the top attractions for those who shop there.
I’m a big fan of our very special co-op. When I ask others what they most appreciate about it, the list always includes the wonderful staff, the soup bar and deli, scones and Bogart donut supply, local fresh and organic produce, the special gift items and the scale of the store that makes it easy to shop efficiently and quickly.
This time of year is when the co-op holds its annual member meeting and elects its board of directors. This will be an especially important meeting because it will be the first one held in person since the pandemic.
You may recall the special challenges the store had to address as we took precautions from spreading COVID-19. Today the co-op has come through the storm and emerged with new strength. Our newly appointed general manager, Matt Hass, reports co-op sales of $2.9 million for the year! More of us are shopping there for our weekly groceries and making the co-op stronger.
As board president, serving on an interim basis to assist with our post-pandemic revival, I invite you to get excited about joining my fellow board members, other owner members and staff for the Annual Meeting of Members. (Did you know a membership makes you a co-op co-owner? A membership is $30.) At this meeting we will elect a new slate of eight board directors from applicants who fill out a brief application.
The Annual Member meeting will be on Tuesday, Oct. 24. We’ll be gathering at the Barrel Room of Urban Growler, 2325 Endicott St., beginning at 5 p.m. with an opportunity to enjoy a delicious Urban Growler beverage and savor a light supper sampling of co-op soups and sides.
Our program will begin at 5:45 p.m. with a talk by neighbor, member and restaurant co-owner Angie Pierarc, whose Herbst Eatery and Farm Stand is profiled elsewhere in this issue of the Bugle. We will also hear an update from General Manager Matt Hass on the year past and some goals for the new year.
With eight slots open for board members, this will be a very important meeting and election. We encourage you to apply for an open position. You have what it takes to share your skills and talents to serve the co-op. Board members receive a quarterly stipend for their service. You can get a board application from a cashier or online.
Catherine Reid Day is owner of Storyslices and was a founder of the Creative Enterprise Zone. She currently serves as board president for the Hampden Park Co-op.