New PCC addresses changing lifestyles
Last updated 9/2/2016 at Noon
A first-time visit to the newest PCC Natural Market brings to mind part of an expression used in other instances: This isn’t your mother’s grocery store.
The new PCC, part of the 63-year-old Puget Consumers’ Co-op that residents formed with a goal of improving the quality and nutrition of available foods, has evolved with the surrounding population to meet the needs of today’s consumers.
Located about 4.5 miles south of Mill Creek’s Town Center at 22621 Bothell Everett Hwy., Bothell, the 25,245-square-foot store has been reconfigured to feature a large deli along with the other grocery departments customers are accustomed to seeing.
The deli includes a nearly 1,500-square-foot kitchen PCC’s largest where soups, entrees and salads are made from scratch daily.
It also features: The Rotisserie that offers cooked meats that are sustainably raised and includes organic rotisserie chicken and porcheta as well as a rotating menu of other offerings like lamb shoulder marinated in a feta brine and turkey breast; The Taqueria featuring seasoned fillings like pork adobado, beef barbacoa, chicken verde, and roasted squash and garbanzos, along with freshly prepared salsas; a deli case and hot food service bar where nearly 100 percent of the items are made from scratch daily; and, of course, a commitment to the environment with 95+ percent of all seasonal produce organic and, usually, locally sourced.
“We’re known for our produce and deli,” store director Celeste Coxen said. “Our produce is the jewel of the store.”
The expanded deli area is a nod to the faster, busier lifestyles that people live today. Shoppers in a hurry will find plenty of choices in their healthy fast-food section, including prepackaged salads, pizzas, casseroles and protein packs.
But, of course, the PCC also includes departments typically found in a grocery store.
There is a large bulk food section the top sales area for dry groceries which includes all the usual offerings, such as beans, rice and nuts, but also spices and herbs and, yes, some sugary temptations.
The beer and wine department features top labels for organic beverages. Schedule a visit between 4-6 on Wednesdays and Fridays for beer and wine tastings, and keep an eye out for the “Quite the Find” stickers, exclusive to PCC, that offer even better bargains. “We’re very value-oriented,” Coxen said.
The meat department offers organic, grass-fed, sun-fed beef and other meats not typically found elsewhere, with fresh beef ground daily. Their latest addition Mary’s air chilled chicken includes a label that can bring a chuckle (“Our chickens spend their lives in lush pastures ”), but it’s a serious method that inhibits the spread of bacteria while reducing their environmental footprint.
The seafood selection isn’t large, but buyers have the satisfaction of knowing they’re purchasing fish from sustainable fisheries per the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program, and that there won’t be unsafe levels of PCBs or mercury.
There’s the familiar, wide-ranging cosmetics department that features local lines like Gabriel Cosmetics and ZuZu Luxe and, if you want to dress up your dining room table, a nice selection of sustainably-grown, fresh flower bouquets.
For customers who have the time and still prefer to cook their own meals, PCC offers an award-winning cooking school. In 2009, the International Association of Culinary Professionals voted it the best non-vocational cooking school in the nation.
Coxen said classes are fun, reasonably priced, and even include a coupon for shopping later.
In keeping with its commitment to the environment, PCC does plenty behind the scenes, too. The Bothell store is the fifth location to have a WISErg Harvester that turns food waste into organic fertilizer that’s packaged and sold onsite.
However, they try to minimize waste by joining with community-based partners like food banks, and has entered a pilot program with the Northshore Nourishing Network to donate leftover prepared dishes to address food insecurity for seniors, families and others in need.
PCC also continues its work to ensure that land for organic farms will remain and grow.
Along an entire wall behind the checkout registers at the Bothell store is a photograph of a farm in Sequim that is part of the Farmland Trust, founded in 1999 as a separate, nonprofit organization, that focuses on conserving sustainable and organic working farms.
They help buy down development rights so it’s affordable for farmers to buy the land and keep it in organic farming in perpetuity.
If you want to check out the newest PCC, feel free to ask for samples. “We love to offer samples,” Coxen said.
And bring the kids. PCC always offers a piece of free fruit for them to munch on.
PCC is open all but two days of the year, from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.