Tucumcari food cooperative set for third delivery

Russell Anglin

The Tucumcari Food Cooperative is set to conduct its third monthly food delivery July 30 at the Quay County Fairgrounds.

David Swenson, president of the board, said approximately 65 buyers have joined the co-op since it started delivering food in April.

Members pay an annual $15 fee to order food. The buyer’s club offers a selection of 50-60 items, including dry goods, fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products.

Swenson said the foods, which are purchased from La Montanita Co-op in Albuquerque and transported by truck to the Quay County Fairgrounds, are organically grown and, in many cases, kosher, made in the U.S. and free trade. The co-op also delivers organic products from Tucumcari Mountain Cheese Factory.

“Quality is what we’re after,” Swenson said. “Rather than buying high-cost, low-quality food, this is low-cost, high-quality.”

Swenson said members hope to open an organic foods store in Tucumcari to bring residents specialty items on demand. He said the board of directors considers the store’s opening to be a long-term goal.

According to Swenson, the cooperative system allows members to order, transport and deliver food items with a minimal price markup to cover transportation costs.

Swenson said cooperative members will split any profits the club may accumulate throughout the fiscal year ending in August. The co-op conducts monthly board meetings that are open to all club members.

Tucumcari resident Margaret Spankowski joined the co-op when it began its monthly food deliveries. She said she has benefited from the products offered by the buyers’ club.

“Of course I’ve always preferred organic (products), especially knowing what happens with hormones and mad cow disease and things like that. But being rural, you have to travel real far, like Amarillo or Albuquerque, to get anything. To have organic food come to us is just such a pleasure, and the prices are really not much more than non-organic foods,” Spankowski said.

“The last gallon (of milk) I bought was roughly $5, but it was a quality I don’t remember having. It tasted like cream. It was wonderful.”

Co-op ordering committee member Christina Fleming said the main purpose of the organization is to offer Tucumcari residents a variety of food options that were previously unavailable. She said the cooperative system also offers its members a social outlet to meet people with similar interests.

“I think definitely we discovered some of our neighbors that we didn’t know were into some of the same things we were. As a teacher, I discovered a lot of teachers are really into certain kind of foods and health choices that I wasn’t aware of,” Fleming said.

“I think it’s kind of opened all of our eyes to, ‘Wow, there’s really a market for this.’ There’s really a niche in this town to fill that’s not being met.”

To join the Tucumcari Food Cooperative, or for more information, send an e-mail to:

tucumcarifoodcoop @gmail.com

or search “Tucumcari Food Co-op” on Facebook.