May Member-Owner of the Month – John McGuiggan

Our member-owners are part of a collaborative effort that creates numerous positive impacts for our community, both near and far. The Co-op would not be successful without the support and involvement of our nearly 9,300 members, including those who shop here, round up at the register, bring reusable bags, serve on committees, and volunteer at events.

Recognizing a member-owner of the month is just one of the ways we say thank you to those members who have been such an important part of everything we do. This month, we recognize John McGuiggan, a writer and editor who lives in Montpelier with his wife, Wendy, and daughter Josephine. There’s a good chance that you’ve seen him and his dog Lola if you ever walk through Hubbard Park, or seen him volunteering at our Truckload Sales and Annual Meeting.

1) How long have you been a member-owner?

I’ve been a member-owner since 2017. I’d been shopping at the Co-op for quite a while before joining up. Typically, I’d go with my wife, who is also a member, but I started working from home full-time and it made sense to get my own membership as my solo trips grew more frequent.

The deals were certainly a draw, but the opportunities to get involved here and there—earning discounts along the way, typically—while supporting local businesses and agriculture are what I value the most. I really enjoy working the truckload sales and under the swap meet tent during the Earth Day events.

2) What is something you love about your Co-op?

It’s all about keeping things local. I try to shop conscientiously in general, and this certainly goes for what I purchase to eat. In Vermont, we have plenty of opportunity to support local farmers and to eat meat from animals that we know were treated ethically and humanely. Not everyone has those opportunities, and it’s something I strongly value.

Supporting local farms is clearly something the Co-op does wherever possible, and I appreciate how easy they make it to do so. I also try to make sustainable seafood choices, and the labeling on the seafood products makes this easier, too. It’s tricky to navigate these waters when you’re trying to eat meat ethically and sustainably, and if these issues matter to you then I definitely think supporting and joining the Co-op is something to consider.

3) What are your favorite products?

There are definitely a lot of items I specifically go to the Co-op for. Misty Knoll turkey breasts are a favorite (brined in cider and spices overnight, smoked with applewood chips), and we give the peanut grinder a lot of use. The bulk department is a great resource for everything from dried beans to spices. While I obviously eat meat, I’m also a huge fan of Rhapsody tempeh, and their big, unseasoned blocks are a good value. And if you haven’t had Bubbies pickles yet, they’re great!

If you’re looking for a unique dessert, the Liberty chocolate bars (100% honey sweetened) are among my favorites, as well as the Hail Merry tarts and bites. They may not be quite as essential as the items above, but they often wind up in the cart. If you’re going camping or for a hike, I also recommend Epic bars. Great protein option for the backpack with a lot of interesting flavors.