Today, I was given a special sneak peek tour of the new Earth Fare opening in the former Scott’s location on Dupont Road. When I walked through the front door, workers were bustling around applying the last few coats of paint and employees were stocking shelves in preparation for the ribbon cutting tomorrow morning at 7:45 and official open at 8.
Before I dive in with my review, here’s some background. Earth Fare was founded in 1975 in Asheville, NC, as a small grocery and cafe focused on local organic foods. The demand for groceries escalated quickly, so the little shop expanded. Today, Earth Fare has 32 locations, mostly in the southeast region of our country, but it is slowly expanding to the midwest, with several locations near Indianapolis and the new location opening tomorrow in Fort Wayne.
What interests me most about the grocery chain is its philosophy. You will not find food on its shelves that contain any of the following:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Artificial fats or trans fats
- Artificial colors
- Artificial flavors
- Artificial preservatives
- Artificial sweeteners
- Antibiotics or growth hormones
- Bleached or bromated flour
So, my first impression? The place is beautiful. Fresh organic produce is the first thing to greet customers as they enter the store and a local section is prominently displayed right around the corner where I spied Best Boy & Co. dessert and savory sauces. Earth Fare defines local as within 100 miles, and I know from personal experience that they take helping local food producers very seriously, which is a HUGE plus.
Next up was an expansive bulk foods section that includes organic honey, maple syrup, and agave nectar, as well as beans, lentils, nuts, quinoa, and fresh ground peanut and almond butter. Something to note here: if you need to buy in bulk, Earth Fare will give you 10% off your purchase for buying the entire container. Keep this in mind for holiday cookie baking marathons! Next to the bulk foods section is a row of shelves my tour guide identified as “hard to find items,” many of which I had never heard of like light muscovado sugar and pumpkin seed oil.
The Health and Wellness section in the back of the store contains cruelty free/vegan cosmetics, toiletry products, essential oils, probiotics, supplements, and more. I could spend a lot of time (and money) in that area if I am not careful. After that, we strolled by the meat counter. Hello gorgeous! All meat sold is free of antibiotics, added hormones, and artificial flavors, colors and preservatives, and it is humanely raised and vegetarian fed. The seafood carries a similar promise: it is sustainably managed, responsibly raised, and hormone and antibiotic free.
As we made our way to the dry goods and freezer sections, my tour guide informed me that the Earth Fare brand is 75% organic and less expensive than comparable organic brands. Also interesting to note: gluten free items are clearly marked and stand out on wooden shelves for easy identification.
Perhaps the most impressive section of the store is the cheese and cured meats section. Of course, I am a sucker for both, but I was incredibly impressed with the quality and selection of the meats and cheeses, and I cannot wait to go back to pick some up. There’s also an immense deli, hot bar, and salad bar, as well as a “fast food section” with take-and-bake pizza, egg rolls, and other yummies. In this section resides a deli counter with loads of sandwich options, smoothies and natural juices. My tour guide said they will also have fresh made sushi.
While I am a big proponent of shopping local, I am glad Fort Wayne has another healthful food option for those who can’t make it to our locally owned stores. Plus, Earth Fare’s commitment to its philosophy outlined above is exciting. In fact, it is so committed to healthy eating, on Thursday evenings between 4 and 6PM, for every $5 you spend as an adult, up to 6 of your kids can eat for free.
Of course, there’s more, but this is a blog post after all and really, you came here for the $50 gift card, right? Okay, here’s where I tell you that Earth Fare did provide me with a $50 gift card for myself and one to give away in exchange for writing this blog. They did not however, tell me I had to give a glowing review. I did that of my own accord.
So how can you win?
1- Share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter
2- Leave a comment below with why healthy eating is important to you.
A winner will be drawn at random on Friday morning.