Bulk Digest

This is your ultimate guide to everything you need to know about BULK! Co-ops are known far and wide for their fabulous bulk sections.  Many other retailers have gravitated to this trend but I’m proud to say that our co-op still carries the most unique and comprehensive selection of bulk items (i.e. not just snacks and candy.)

How to SHOP BULK

At the co-op, shopping bulk is an action verb. The bulk section is where you get to see, smell, and taste (asking for a sample is always welcome!) your food. You can always find ways to step up your bulk game.  Using your own containers is just one of the many ways to do this.

Here are some basic tips for your bulk shop:

⇒ Look for items you usually purchase in packages or cans. Many everyday essentials can be found in the bulk aisle. Don’t forget! We have hand soap, dish soap and laundry detergent in bulk too!

⇒ Explore! Our bulk department contains nuts, seeds, flours, beans, unique grains, granola, candy, coffee and more!

⇒ Purchase reuseable containers. We sell a vast selection of containers you can put to use right away. Remember to weigh your empty container before you fill it so you don’t get charged for the weight, and don’t forget to tell your cashier that you are purchasing a new container. We have paper and plastic bags available free of charge.

⇒ Bring your own containers from home. Remember to weigh the empty container before you fill it! Write down the weight and the PLU number from the product bin on the label and the cashier will weigh and price your product at check-out.

⇒ Get inspired! Often you can find instructions on how to cook bulk items right on the product bins, snap a pic and you’re ready to cook!

⇒ Stock up with a special order! Many of our bulk products can be special ordered in 5 to 25 pound bags. Owners, save 10% when you order a case!

⇒ Shop local. We carry a variety of local products from small vendors in our bulk section.

⇒ Save money! Most items are much more affordable when purchased in bulk!

⇒ Most importantly, don’t be intimidated by the bulk foods section! It’s a fun and budget friendly way to get what you need.

The BEST bulk CONTAINERS

Yes! We sell all of these!

BYO Bags made in St. Paul

(picture courtesy of @zerowastedmn)

Ball glass jars

(picture courtesy of @sustainyoself)

Bee’s Wax eco-wrap made in Vermont

(picture courtesy of @sustainyoself and @zerowastedmn)

Luminarc working glass

To Go Ware stainless steel containers

Frontier Iowa made glass containers

Delta white plastic jars

Bormioli Rocco glass jars

Stepping Stones canvas bags

Wyndmere Naturals cobalt blue and amber glass containers

UConserve containers

RECIPES!!

From Cultivate Newsletter

Sausage, Kale and Bean Soup

Roasted Beet and Farro Salad

Lentils 3 Ways

Power up with Grain Bowls

Cumin Black Beans

Muesli Bars from Seven Sundays

DIY Spice Blends from Wellness Mama

Miso Soup from The Kitchn

Homemade Salad Dressings from Bless This Mess 

Matcha Green Smoothie Bowl from Minimalist Baker

Tumeric &  Black Pepper Latte from Frontier Spices

DIY Personal Care from Sustainyoself (toothpaste, deodorant, body butter, lip balm, dry shampoo, etc..)

The FULL COMPENDIUM of Bulk

What are all the categories of Bulk the Co-op Carries?

  • Beans
  • Grains
  • Seaweed
  • Sprouting Seeds
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Flours
  • Oats
  • Sweeteners
  • Baking Mixes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Dried Fruit
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Raw Foods (aka refrigerated bulk)
  • Baking Chocolate
  • Snacks
  • Candy
  • Trail Mix
  • Granola
  • Pasta
  • Fresh Nut Butters
  • Honey
  • Oils
  • Syrups
  • Vinegars
  • Spices
  • Medicinal Herbs
  • Personal Care
  • Household Products
  • Pet Food (Linden Hills only)
  • Kombucha (Linden Hills only)

Meet the Bulk Buyers

Meet Mary, Wedge Bulk Buyer

Bulk buyer, Mary G., has been with the Wedge since October 2001. She was already an owner and saw a posting for part-time openings. It was just a month after 9/11 and Mary was looking for work that could keep her rooted in community while pursuing graduate studies. She eventually moved to full time and became the unofficial bulk assistant before taking over the role of the main bulk buyer.

Why Bulk? – Creating less waste with less packing, buying smaller quantities to be able to try something new and cut down on food waste.  Fair trade is also very important to me and in the bulk department it can be easier to buy fair trade ingredients when I just get what I need for the week. Fair trade provides fair compensation and makes a huge difference for families and entire communities – I saw this for myself when I visited Nicaraguan coffee plantations. Farmers should get paid a living wage for the food they produce.

When she’s not at the Wedge Mary enjoys making her own pottery. She started 3 years ago as part of a date night class that was on her bucket list of things to try. Mary fell in love with the pottery process and she began selling her beautiful wares here at the Lyndale store.

Top Bulk Picks

Go-to Snack – Grandy Oats Turmeric Ginger Cashews are a nice blend of zest with a touch of warmth.

Favorite Treat – Sunridge Farms Dark Chocolate Coconut Chews are a perfect little dessert

Unsung Hero – Orca beans and all the heritage beans – Jacob’s Cattle, Cranberry, Christmas Lima, all the beans are really delicious and can make hearty, healthy, and lower-cost meals.

Drink of Choice – Anything from our great local coffee roasters! They all work with cooperative growers to offer the best coffee while supporting the farmers and communities.

Last Word – The wall of beans, rice, grains and dried fruit can get overlooked but we have a truly outstanding selection. It’s worth the ride over!  I love our line-up of beans (see above) and there are even 5 varieties of seaweed to choose from!

Meet Robert, Linden Hills Bulk Buyer

Bulk buyer, Robert, has been with Linden Hills for two years. He was a grocery stocker before moving onto becoming the bulk buyer.  He continues to hone is bulk buying skills, always looking for the next best product to add.

Top Bulk Pick

Favorite Treat – sea salt caramel chocolates (a little salty, a little sweet)

STAFF picks in Bulk

Katrina, front end, Wedge

Wasabi peas and roasted, salted peanuts (see above)

Charlie, meat and seafood, Linden Hills

Garlic Salt from Frontier Co-op Spices

‘A simple and flavorful seasoning for any meat.’

Wes, grocery, Wedge

Thai Seasoning Frontier Co-op Spices

“This seasoning is so easy to use, great for flavoring Pad Thai,  It’s also very cost efficient because you don’t need to use much to add flavor so you can buy a small amount in bulk.’

Abel, grocery, Linden Hills

Strawberry vanilla hemp granola

‘my all time favorite granola, love the clusters!’

Michelle, front end, Wedge

“Sweet Baby” Pecans from Missouri Northern Pecan

Amanda, HBC, Linden Hills

Chunks of Energy raw cacao with goji from Dancing Star

‘I eat this in place of candy, just the right amount of sweet.’

Peg, HBC, Wedge

Shea Butter from Togo, West Africa (Alaffia)

Dandy blend tea

‘A roasted dandelion beverage that is also a prebiotic drink!’

Emily, scanning, Linden Hills

Barsy’s Almonds Smokies

‘great snack for work’

Tony, produce, Wedge

Brazil nuts

(Fun fact: not actually a nut! It’s really a seed.)