Mon-Fri, 8am-10pm; Sat, 6am-10pm; Sun, 6am-7:30pm
B, Q at Seventh Ave.; 2, 3 at Grand Army Plaza; R at Union St.
The members-only Park Slope Food Coop takes the 'hippie coop' stereotype—brown rice and granola, blackstrap molasses and herbal teas—and stands it upside down. Alongside the organic produce, which is lush, varied, and grocery-store-price reasonable, and bins of grains, seeds, and legumes, the Coop sells high-end, sustainably grown beef and specialty meats, fine cheeses, fancy jams, and imported oils for discerning domestic cooks. Founded in 1973, the Coop has survived a generation of similarly idealistic peer institutions by responding to the neighborhood's ongoing evolution, adding luxury items alongside kitchen staples. Prices are low because members are required to work approximately three hours every four weeks; with 13,000 members, that's a lot of sweat equity the Coop doesn't have to pay for. Members also provide child care in a large, airy upstairs space (12 children maximum, with screened, trained member-caregivers). In a 6000+ square foot retail space, choices rival local chain stores, with prices often half of those seen in fancy-food shops. The aisles could be cleaner, but it's hard to imagine that the food could be any fresher.Orientation
The Coop requires that prospective members attend a two-hour orientation before joining, after which they submit a refundable deposit, set a work schedule and pay modest annual dues. New members be warned: The aisles and checkout lines get jammed on the weekends.