Swarthmore Co-op: A One-Stop-Shop for All Things Holidays

This article is sponsored by Swarthmore Co-op Food Market. 

Swarthmore coop

Need delicious, local products to fill your table this holiday season? Look no further than the Swarthmore Food Cooperative (341 Dartmouth Ave, Swarthmore PA), a consumer-owned food market that was started by the wives of Swarthmore University professors during the Great Depression.

The Co-op, the third oldest in the nation, boasts nearly 1,500 members. It has become a staple of the community and acts as a makeshift hub for local businesses and events. I recently paid a visit to the Co-op and spoke with marketing director Anthony Saufley to find out what goodies the store has to offer for a holiday feast.

Start Off Right: Appetizers, Soups and Sides

Gods Country Cheese

No meal is complete without an appetizer, and the Co-op has a myriad of exceptional cheese options from around the world. The local offerings are impressive, including a selection from God’s Country Creamery out of Ulysses, PA. Serve their Tomato Basil Havarti, Luddington Lake Swiss or Black Gold—“Gouda with a dark side”—as an appetizer. Trust me, your guests will thank you.

Sides Display

There is also an abundance of freshly made soups, sides and salads at the shop, many of which can be viewed and ordered from The Co-op’s online holiday menu. Pick up some mini crab cakes, coconut lobster skewers and an antipasto platter to kick off your meal. They offer six soup selections, including creamy butternut squash soup and lobster bisque, starting at $8.99/quart, and plenty of freshly made sides such as roasted garlic mashers and grilled portobello mushroom risotto.

The Good Stuff: Carefully Selected Meats and Entrees

A wide selection of fresh meats are available, including giant cuts of rump roast, rib eye and flank steak. Saufley ensures that their non-local selections undergo a vigorous vetting process. “We make sure it is humanely raised with shelter and sufficient space and have the ability to engage in natural behaviors,” he said. “We make sure that the animals are never given antibiotics or hormones and are fed 100 percent vegetarian feed so there is no cannibalism. We verify the origins of where they come from as well.” The store also has two full-time butchers who cut down full portions of cows, pigs and chickens daily, so if there is a specific cut of meat you want they are happy to accommodate.


If you don’t feel like cooking yourself, the store offers several catered entree options ranging from veggie lasagna and poached salmon to smoked hams and lamb roasts, which can be par-cooked upon request.

Go Italian: Fresh Fish and Pasta


There is an amazing selection of fresh delicacies from the sea—including meaty salmon and swordfish steaks, shrimp, oysters, and scallops—perfect options for any Seven Fishes feast. “We bring the fish in whole; we get fish deliveries every day,” Saufley says. “They are extremely fresh and sustainably farmed. We filet and debone them in-house as well.”

Severino Pasta

What is an Italian meal without some pasta? If you don’t have time to roll out your own, the store has several dry options, including Jersey favorite Severino Pasta. The pasta is homemade in Westmont, NJ and pairs well with marinara sauce from another local vendor, Vesper Brothers, out of Wayne, PA. Add some hot Italian or luganega sausage, all of which are ground in-house and available at the store’s deli counter.

Sweet Endings: Don’t Forget Dessert

Little Baby's Ice Cream

The dessert department is anything but lacking. The holiday menu offers homemade cakes and pies from local favorite My House Cookies, in flavors such as pecan, pumpkin, mixed berry and apple caramel walnut. And don’t forget the ice cream. Unique selections from Philly favorites Little Baby’s Ice Cream and Zsa’s Gourmet Ice Cream are abundant in the freezer aisle.

My House Cookies Pie

Top off the night with a delicious cup of joe from One Village Coffee, a specialty roaster out of Souderton, PA. The Co-op even has its very own dark-roasted blend from the brand, which is described as bold with a smooth cocoa finish. Want to really impress your guests? Offer them an authentic Dutch stroopwafel from Lancaster-based company Stroopies. The flavorful cookie can be enjoyed as a snack, or on top of a steaming cup of coffee.

One Village Coffee

Get Your Last-Minute Gifts

Forget to grab something for your kids’ teacher or an old pal? Fear not, the Co-op has ton of non-edible artisan gifts. You can pick up hand-woven hats, scarves and gloves from Andes, a fair trade brand that gives back to the communities that produce its products.

Andes Knitwear

You can also pick up beer and cheese starter kits from New York-based company Brooklyn Brewery. Saufley recommends this gift for any beer and cheese lovers out there, and will be giving a kit to a pal himself this year.

Co-Op Sign

Find Swarthmore Co-op at 341 Dartmouth Ave. in Swarthmore; phone: (610) 543-9805. Visit the Swarthmore Co-op’s website and check them out on Facebook.

Photographs credited to Nina Lea Photography & Laura Hibbs McKenzie.