Co-op Blog

How To Build the Best Graduation Party Platter

Graduation is a special time for graduates, families and friends. Celebrate achievements and milestones with festive food. Select your favorite vegetables, fruit, cheese and create memorable party platters using everyday grocery items.

Go Bite-sized:

  • Fruit Kabobs – thread fresh berries, cubes of apples, mango, melon, pineapple or other fruit on a skewer. Optional: mix 1 cup yogurt with 1/4 cup honey and pinch of cinnamon, serve for dipping.

  • Burger Mini-Sliders: grill up your favorite patties – try the Co-op’s handmade Mushroom Black Bean Burger or  add to toasted mini-buns and add sliced onions and sauce. Or get indulgent and serve Tater Tot Skewers with bacon slices.
  • Wrap it Up – use tortilla wraps as a base for lunch meat, condiments and veggies. Or slice up a Falafel or Thai wrap from the Co-op’s Deli. Read an earlier post A Cut Above – Taking Cold Cuts to the Next Level for recipes like Herbed Turkey Pinwheel sandwiches and other flavor combination ideas.


Make the Ultimate Seasonal Veggie Platter

Showcase local fruits and vegetables at their finest. Spring and early summer brings abundant produce from many Northwest farms. Prepare raw vegetables such as cucumbers, celery, carrots, cherry tomatoes, peppers and broccoli for a fresh raw vegetable platter. Sliced radishes and rinsed snap peas also make good additions.

Serve up a batch of homemade Toasted Pita Crisps. Simply brush pre-made pita bread wedges with a bit of olive oil and roast in the oven at 400 degrees F for 8-10 minutes, turning once, until bread begins to brown. Garnish with minced parsely.


Adding Cheese & Meat

Pack in the protein and assemble a creative assortment of cheese and cured meats to feed your guests. Add at least three types of cheeses – soft Brie, sharp Cheddar and creamy Monterey Jack are a good basic pairing.

For easy self-service, cut the cheese and meat into bite-sized portions. Serve cheese slices – such as Rumiano’s line of organic cheddar or Pepper Jack – or cube up some Gouda or Havarti with tooth picks or serving utensils. Compliment the cheese with a selection of sweet items – jams or fresh fruits – and savory nuts such as Marcona Almonds. Add tangy flavor to your veggie tray and serve marinated veggies like mushrooms, pickled peppers, onions and olives from the Co-op’s Olive Bar. Read more about designing Epic Cheese Board Ideas here.

For a meat lovers: discover a grand selection of artisan smoked meats at CURED meat counter at C~Square. There you’ll find dozens of hand-made meats, seafood, cheese and olives. Have questions? Ask a Co-op staffer for serving tips or recommendations.

Deli Dips & Chips

Build vegetable crudite platters around one or more dipping sauces. Make your own or pick up one of these ready-to-enjoy spreads, made fresh daily in the Co-op’s Deli. Select a spread and your favorite dippers – tortilla chips, sliced baguette, potato chips, etc – and you’ve got a tasty snack tray. Many Co-op spreads are vegetarian and most are gluten free:

  • Creamy Dips: Choose from a variety of tasty cream-cheese based dips, including Caramelized Onion, spicy Jalapeno Artichoke, smoked Chipotle Cheddar, Spinach Dip and Clarity’s Roasted Red Pepper Dip, and more.
  • Hummus – it’s so nutritious and tasty that we make three different varieties: Green Chile, Classic and Roasted Red Pepper. Green Chile has a lively medium heat, and Roasted Red Pepper is milder, great for topping bagels or celery. All three are vegan and gluten free.
  • Salad dressings – look for our fresh, in-house made dressings in the Produce cooler by salad mixes and fresh mushrooms. Choose from classics like Thousand Island and Honey Mustard, and our popular Tofu Ranch and Roasted Garlic Balsamic Dressing.

Read on for a few recipes for cooked dishes to serve at Graduation celebrations:

Crescent Ham & Cheese Pinwheels

Recipe & photo adapted from


  • (8-oz.) tube crescent roll dough
  • 1/2 lb. deli sliced ham
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 8 oz. sliced Swiss cheese
  • 4 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. poppy seeds


Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-x-8″ baking pan with cooking spray. On a lightly floured surface, unroll dough and separate the sheet into rectangles. Pinch the perforations to seal. Spread mustard onto each rectangle. Top with sliced ham and cheese. Starting with one short side, roll up each rectangle. Pinch edges to seal. Cut each roll into 5-6 slices. Place cut side up in baking pan. In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, garlic powder and parsley. Brush over pinwheels, then sprinkle poppy seeds on top. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the rolls are golden.

Artichoke Parmesan Pasta

Recipe and photo from Seward Co-op Grocery and Deli. This quick and simple pasta salad is packed with delicious flavor. For a non-vegetarian version, serve it with sliced links of Co-op’s Own Italian sausage. Serve pasta cold or room temperature.


  • 1/2 pound pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, quartered, drained, and rough-chopped into large pieces
  • 1/2 cup mixed chopped olives or chopped, pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoons juice from capers
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Cook pasta until al dente (slightly chewy) and drain. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the bell peppers and garlic for 2-4 minutes. Add artichokes, olives, capers, and caper juice and sauté a couple minutes more. Toss the pasta with the sautéed vegetables and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, basil, salt, pepper, and Parmesan.

By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and was on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op from 2010-2018, writing the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter.