Syracuse Real Food Coop: Where Organic Groceries & Friends Collide
Syracuse Real Food Coop: Bringing organic and local products to the Westcott community
Year-round the Westcott area can walk to an organic market that offers fresh products to locals and students alike.
The Syracuse Real Food Coop, located on Kensington Street off Westcott Street, offers anyone who stops by access to an assortment of goods, including locally butchered meats, dairy, and organic produce. Aside from the food, the coop also gives anyone who walks through the door a chance to partake in the local community.
Jeremy DeChario, the general manager at Syracuse Real Food Coop, said having worked at the coop for five years, he can’t walk to or from the store without stopping to visit with a friend he met there.
“I could walk around and tell you people in here by name,” DeChario said, laughing. “This is more than a grocery store; you see your neighbors, your friends.”
Open since 1972, the coop actively supports the local businesses. They stock Recess Coffee and even have their own flavor of chocolate developed by Lune Chocolat in Manlius, called the Coop Crunch. DeChario describes the bar as a swirl of sweet granola chunks and slightly bitter dark chocolate.
Rachel Cary, a grocery clerk at the co-op, grew up in the neighborhood and appreciates the store’s vegan options. She loves the nutritional yeast they sell because it helps her limited diet.
Cary said she used to work at chain restaurants and felt a lack of belonging.
“The coop is really big on people and culture,” Cary said. “Here, it’s not just talking points. It’s nice to give back to my community.”
Customer’s of the coop can invest in the store by purchasing a regular membership for $100 or a student membership for $50. With their purchase members have a say in the store’s operation and also receive discounts.
Theresa Shepherd, an occasional customer, drives from the town of Minoa to stock up on bulk grain. For her, the coop offers a better selection than stores in her area while keeping the local economy thriving.
“It’s nice to keep business in the area,” she said.
DeChario, the general manager, hinted at a possible second location in the near future, but until then said they’ll continue providing for the Westcott area.
“People are really interested in whole, local, unadulterated foods,” he said, “foods you can pronounce.”