Berkshire Co-Op Market
42 Bridge St
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Great Barrington has this small hippie problem. I hail from Northern California and am a ex-Waldorf kid. I know my hippies intimately, and I was somewhat amused/appalled to go to Great Barrington and encounter the exact same people I saw every day back home. They all congregate to the Co-Op where, wearing comfortable shoes and off-brown colored clothes, they discuss their Ashram yoga classes and the suckiness of Bush. Somewhere up in heaven Rudolf Steiner is smiling.
The Co-Op offers a variety of coffee, sandwiches, and a hot and salad bar. I've tried a Chuck Berry smoothie ($4.99), which featured strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and apple juice. It was nowhere near big enough or delicious enough to be five dollars. I expect grated gold in five dollar smoothies. I expect fruit sourced from the mighty highlands of Djibouti. It should not cost 5 bucks to throw some fruit in a blender with some ice and swirl it. I don't care how morally superior you are.
The sandwiches are pretty good, though, again, exponentially overpriced. We tried an Athena's Theory, which featured a garlic herb tortilla, balsamic vinaigrette, feta, fresh guacamole, apricots, walnuts, and lettuce. This was very tasty and very fresh, and I enjoyed the addition of the balsamic vinaigrette coupled with the tangy guacamole. I think I will make this at home and not pay them.
We also sampled an okay creamy peanut butter noodle dish and a not-half bad salad featuring sun-dried tomatoes and corn. You can construct a pretty good, if expensive meal here around a sandwich and a few pre-packaged side dishes, if you share with a friend.
They do have good, if ridiculously expensive fruit here. I like to buy organic green grapes here. They are totally delicious and a wonderful breakfast treat. Only problem: I shelled out 8.95 for my last bunch. Holy moly.
Service here is bizarre. They have lately employed a couple of truly brain dead, if sweet, teenage girls who enjoy: letting your grapes escape everywhere over the dirty counter and doing nothing to, you know, pick them up, stacking heavy things on top of soft fruit, and staring blankly when you ask for a, you know, bag. Cute.
Should you shop for food at the co-op? Yes, if you can pay slightly jacked up prices for organic hippie food that will make you feel good about yourself. Those cows are happy. Those chickens are free-range. Those cheese doodles are infused with the goodness of the mighty Earth Mother. They do feature a wide variety of fresh produce, breads, and cheese and deli products - and lots of hippie frozen entrees for when your evening meditation class runs over and the kids are officially sick of eating Annie's Macaroni and Cheese.
I am personally more then a little suspicious of whether I am actually doing a good deed by buying all this organic food, but I have unfortunately been a northern California resident for so long that I literally seize up a little when eating something with chemicals in it. I try to eat a can of Pringles, take the top off, and my hand just stops a foot away from the chips. It's horrible. Stay away from Northern California if you want to be able to eat like a normal person.