Whatever else is on your shopping list, you can also buy a share of the store at Seward Co-op Grocery & Deli in Minneapolis.

The natural foods co-op on East Franklin Avenue in the Seward neighborhood features a supermarket-like selection with a farmers’ market emphasis on local and organic food.
The co-op is open to all shoppers, but those who make a $75 stock investment to become member-owners enjoy a number of benefits, including a 10 percent discount on one shopping trip each quarter and (in profitable years) a refund based on the amount spent there, said general manager Sean Doyle.

The co-op also offers classes with member discounts, a book club and a monthly film series. Seward is one of six co-ops nationally taking part in Principle Six (P6), which promotes small and local farmers, co-ops and non-profits. Seward’s new SEED program enables customers to donate to charitable causes by rounding up or specifying an amount to add to their bill.

Sales and membership have doubled since the co-op moved into its current location in January 2009, said Tom Vogel, marketing and member services manager.It now has more than 8,500 members – that’s 73 percent of all shoppers.

The co-op, founded in 1972, is hardly all tofu and sprouts these days. The expanded meat department features store-made sausages and even haggis.

Three and out with Tom Vogel

  • Best sellers?

Vogel: The Vietnamese pork sandwich, bahn mi, from our grab-and-go case is one of our top-selling sandwiches. We sell a lot of fair trade coffee. Rotisserie chickens -- a lot of places do them but ours is the only free-range rotisserie bird.

  • What about the haggis?

Vogel: We’re one of the few places in town if not the entire metro area where you can get haggis (made from local beef organ meat and pre-cooked). On poet Robert Burns’ birthday, it’s a tradition for people to eat haggis and we sold out that day.

  • What can people look forward to this summer?

Vogel: A program called “Know Our Grower.” We’ll have nine different farmers from the local area in store throughout the summer and into the fall. They do demos, have recipes and chat.