The Dill Pickle
Located along Fullerton Avenue, the Dill Pickle Food Co-op offers a range of organic and local products.
Upon entering, the bread section is the first thing on the left. Only local vendors are used, and all of the bread is freshly baked, though they do have some day old bread that is for sale. That includes offerings by Red Hen, Crumb, and...
The Dill Pickle also carries Bread Man, which is baked in nearby Naperville. Its most popular item in the store is the little boule.
Onions, Garlic, and Potatoes
Fair Trade Bananas
"Bananas are always the number one in produce," said Hoyer. "We only carry fair trade bananas, so people come from all around to get them.
This pickle producer is one of a number of locally made products that you can find on the shelves.
As well as being local, only non-homegnized milk is sold. Pictured above is Castle Rock, which is produced in nearby Osseo, WI. A glass bottle deposit is offered to try and encourage people to return the bottles.
Rochdale Farms uses milk from a collective of Amish dairy farmers in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The Yogurt Section
Hoyer admits that they "can't keep this section in stock," because it's so popular.
Here you'll find an impressive selection of locally produced cheeses.
Hoyer likes to call this "Raw Land," which she admits is a "hugely growing segment." All of the products here can't be heated above 115 degrees to be labeled as raw.
Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream
The Dill Pickle was one of the first places in Chicago to sell Jeni's Ice Cream, which is produced in Columbus, OH. Currently, "it's the number one thing out of the freezer section."
Also in the Freezer
Along with some national brands of organic frozen food, there are locally produced ones, including these vegetable burger patties from River Valley Kitchen.
During the growing season, this fridge is stuffed full of as many vegetables as will fit. During the winter, the shop has to "prioritize root vegetables," but you'll always be able to find basics like carrots, celery, and onions.
You'll always be able to find a range of local mushrooms.
Want to grow some of your own food?
Jake's Country Meats
Jake's Country Meats is a local producer from Cassopolis, MI that mostly sells pork. Asked about its most popular item, Hoyer admitted that it was definitely the bacon.
One of Dill Pickle's biggest draws is the bulk section, which seems to continuously grow. Hoyer didn't even try to hold back her enthusiasm: "Bulk is awesome. You use less packaging and it's more affordable."
There are so many options, it'd be impossible to discuss them all. But when asked what item the store was particularly proud of carrying in bulk, Hoyer mentioned these Missouri Pecans.
But if you're looking for the most popular item, that would have to be rolled oats. "Oatmeal is king."
Most of the locally roasted coffee is sold in bulk, including offerings from two of my favorite local brands, Bridgeport Coffee and Bang Bang Pie Company. You can also buy bulk teas from Rishi and Frontier.
You'll also find an epic selection of bulk spices, along with some medicinal herbs. The shop just added bulk olive oil and soap dispensers.
The body care is another growing part of the store, as customers are coming from all over the city to check out the specialized selection.
Kombucha is another section that has expanded over time. Hoyer is particularly proud to carry the brand Arize, which is produced in Chicago.
The other half of this fridge is filled with supplemental produce. Currently, this is where you'll find cabbage, broccoli, and some peppers, though it changes all the time.
The middle aisle is filled with packaged items, though there are still many local products. In the flour section look out for Breslin Farms whole wheat flour, which is made in Ottawa, IL.
You can purchase numerous kinds of pasta, including this gluten-free version made from quinoa.
In the front of the store are more freezers of meat. Though initially worried that boneless, skinless chicken breasts would be the most popular item, the whole chickens from TJ's Free Range Poultry are actually the best seller.
Here's the Beef
The beef comes from Heartland Meats in Mendota, IL.