Local Vendor Focus January 2013:
Ope's Patties from Kalamazoo
by Lisa Bashert
You asked for Ope’s and now the Co-op carries these popular—and tasty—vegan burgers in both Black Bean and Veggie (in the large freezer case).
Ope's was founded ten years ago by Dr. Richard Oppenlander out of a concern for food choice and its impact on our world and our health.
Ope's has added a "Made in Michigan" logo to their labeling, displaying their commitment to using the freshest and most locally-grown/-produced ingredients possible. Ope's decided to give up its USDA organic certification in 2012. They believe that it’s more important to work with local farmers so they can see where produce is grown and use it fresh, directly from Ope’s own gardens and the gardens in the area. Many Kalamazoo area farms cannot afford to through the USDA organic certification process. Ope’s trusts local farmers more than organic produce that might be coming from as far away as Mexico. (See our article in Nov 2012 Ypsi Mix on the difficult issues of organic certification vs local.)
In June, Ope’s became Vegan Certified, meaning that everything within their facility, every ingredient, right down to the cleaning supplies, is free of animal by-products.
Due to a concern about food allergies, Ope's recently decided to switch cheese companies. The cheese is delicious and melts and looks like a dairy cheese, but it is tapioca-based and is gluten-free, vegan, and heart-healthy. It’s an outstanding cheese that has won several awards as the best-tasting vegan cheese on the market.
Try Ope’s patties in the new year! Click the following link for a full list of our Local Vendors!