Corners of the Mouth, Mendocino, CA

Set in an old, red church in lovely downtown Mendocino just blocks from the sea, Corners of the Mouth food co-op is a treasure. Founded in 1975, this is one of the few-and-far-between classic co-ops that are increasingly hard to find, but will change you for the better once you have the opportunity to browse its cozy nooks and enjoy a wholesome, delicious snack outside in the sun.

The open interior lends a gaze out the stained glass windows, and narrow isles are packed with all the staples and an abundance of locally-produced specialties and bursting-with-flavor local produce. We recommend any of the sauces from the Larrupin Cafe up north in Trinidad, for spreading on a sandwich or enhancing your bbq. And if you’re gluten-free, by all means stock up on some of their GF macaroons and brownies, as they’re some of the very best we’ve EVER tasted.

One would be remiss not to spend at least a couple days in this foggy, clapboard-lined town simply dawdling and exploring its rugged coast. Within walking distance from the downtown inns and shops lies a sandy trail atop the seaside bluffs, perfect for a contemplative afternoon stroll, an after-dinner walk to digest and converse, or simply to gaze at the stars as the waves lull you to unwind for the day. Enjoy a cup of sustainable, family-owned Thanksgiving Coffee at the Mendocino Bakery, and DO NOT leave this area without a trip to the stunning Stanford Inn by the Sea and it’s organic, vegetarian restaurant, the Ravens. The kitchen is supplied by the on-premise organic gardens, and they have a killer wine list full of the region’s best offerings. The owners also have an affinity for friendly kitties, and you will bump into them throughout your visit. Cozy up next to the roaring fire with a fantastic glass of wine and say hello.

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Liberty Heights Fresh, Salt Lake City, UT

Liberty Heights Fresh is the kind of quaint specialty foods market set in a colorful old gas station of the 1920’s that makes you want to visit multiple times every week. Decorated with hanging ristras of dried New Mexican chile peppers and purple garage doors that provide an open-air market on all but the chilliest of days, LHF is a visual feast. Buckets of fresh flowers for sale adorn an entire corner of the store, and podiums of fruits, squashes and vegetables dot the interior. There are always new items arriving fresh from local farms and producers, mouth-watering European cheeses, the best oils and vinegars from around the globe and lots and lots of specialty CHOCOLATE! (Try the single-origin, locally-made Amano bars and the sultry Poco Dolce squares dotted with grey sea salt in flavors like Aztec Chile and our personal fave, Almond Coconut.)

Steven Rosenberg has built relationships with purveyors and growers for 20 years and is able to provide some very unique items not-so-widely available. I’m thinking specifically of the sweet, seductive Black Mission figs, known to convert even the most skeptical. They literally melt in your mouth, they taste like caramel, and there’s only one place on earth where they grow ~ in a small neighborhood in Phoenix, AZ. Stock up from November through January!

With each new visit, you’ll be introduced to items you’ve never seen or only heard of in legends, and tempted with tastes of delectable offerings you had no idea even existed. There’s nothing like some elusive Persian sweet limes to perk up a frosty February afternoon. Also, do not miss the perfect, 100% organic Coke Farm strawberries from California and the best ice cream on earth, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (in flavors like Salty Caramel, Brambleberry Crisp, Whiskey & Pecans, and spicy Bangkok Peanut).

LHF offers a fantastic selection of sandwiches, soups and prepared foods like the irresistible honey-coriander slaw and caper-laden creamy potato salad with dill. Plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free offerings ensure you will not go away hungry. This is the perfect place to stock a picnic basket for a summer evening concert at nearby Red Butte Garden (http://www.redbuttegarden.org/concerts).

801.58.FRESH (801.583.7374)

http://libertyheightsfresh.com

1290 South 1190 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84105

High Falls Food Cooperative, High Falls, NY

Began in 1976 and nestled in a peaceful, artistic community in the Catskill Mountains of New York, the High Falls Food Cooperative is among the best of the best in this category of small, quality co-ops maintaining incredible integrity. A staple in the community and surrounding towns with over 500 members, the High Falls Co-Op offers the very best quality organic grocery items, produce, local meats, homemade sauerkraut and a variety of tasty to-go items. The co-op’s board is committed to supporting local producers and sustainable products.

In their own words, “From groceries to produce, from bulk grains and nuts to deliciously-prepared deli foods, what we sell reflects a philosophy that what we eat matters, and that sustainable use of resources and commitment to cooperative principles help to build the community we seek to serve.”

Well worth a beautiful, winding trip from the nearby towns of New Paltz and Rosendale. Be sure to check out the small falls in the town of High Falls, and spend some restorative time at Minnewaska State Park, Mohonk, and exploring the Shawangunk Mountains (known as “the Gunks”) for a hike, bike ride, bouldering and world-class climbing. This area is rife with quaint inns, galleries, fantastic live music, creative cafes and award-winning restaurants. Get lost for a few days of bliss meandering your way through the bustling college town of New Paltz, picturesque Rosendale and up north to Woodstock. Autumn is an especially spectacular time to visit this region.

845.687.7262                                                                         http://www.highfallsfoodcoop.com (not up-to-date)

1398 State Route 213, High Falls, NY 12440

Hungry Hollow Food Co-Op, Chestnut Ridge, NY

In a world increasingly dominated by the homogeneity and questionable ethics of Whole Foods, nothing warms my heart more than returning to one of the original co-operative markets that set the standard for authentic excellence. I’m talking about the kind of small, community market with hardwood floors, earthy smells and crowded aisles where you know and trust that you will never find an item for sale with a single questionable ingredient. The co-op board has dedicated itself to making informed, intelligent decisions about which products to offer and which products to avoid, for the highest goal of safely feeding its patrons.

The Hungry Hollow Food Co-Op is such an organization, and has been serving the community in this way since 1973. Still tiny but slowly expanding over the years, Hungry Hollow offers an impressively wide variety of grocery items including pantry items and dry goods, beautifully fresh produce (including hard-to-find specialty items like local fiddleheads in season!), body care & household products, locally-baked organic breads and pastries, and a thorough selection of deli items made on-premise. There is something delicious and truly healthy for everyone, including salads, sandwiches, home made soups and sweets, most of which are vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten-free.

Hungry Hollow Co-Op is affiliated with an intentional community called the Threefold Educational Center which includes the Green Meadow Waldorf School, Fellowship elderly community and Pfeiffer biodynamic agriculture & environmental education center, among others. Shopping here is a delight to the senses, and is also satisfying knowing that you’re supporting a conscious, vital community dedicated to the health of our planet.

Check out their mission statement to get the full effect, and be sure to make this a side trip when you’re in the NY/NJ area ~ it’s unparalleled!

http://www.hungryhollow.org/about/about.html

845.356.3319                                                                             http://www.hungryhollow.org  

841 Chestnut Ridge Road, Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977

Prana Yoga, Salt Lake City, UT

Prana Yoga is a dream studio-community. Located in a vibrant downtown neighborhood close to everything, it’s a culmination of dreams by three of the greatest teachers out there: Scott Moore, Matt Newman & Jennifer Ellen Mueller. Designed and built by co-owner and green builder Matt Newman, this space is contemporary peaceful simplicity defined. Floor-to-ceiling windows, cork floors and carefully-constructed altars shine against simple white walls and exposed industrial beams. Your shoulders will relax as you exhale through the front doors.

The classes are truly unparalleled and provide a wide array of styles including Prana Flow, Anusara-inspired, power vinyasa, and restore for basic through advanced levels. Prana Yoga also offers healthy, chemical-free spa services, massage and complimentary steam showers. After class, head to the lounge adjacent to the reception area and enjoy a light meal, smoothie, fresh juice or locally-roasted coffee (triple-certified Caffe Ibis) at Cafe Supernatural, an organic, vegetarian, gluten-free cafe. If only there was a Prana Yoga in every city!

801.596.3325                                                                          http://pranayogaslc.com

602 East 500 South (315 Trolley Square), Salt Lake City, UT 84102