Earth Fare is the newest grocery addition to this little city I call home, having opened Wednesday amid some mixed emotions among locals. There is both excitement at new clean-eating options -- but also uncertainty over Earth Fare's impact on the long-running local co-op grocery store down the street. I love New Leaf Market, so I want both to do well and sincerely hope this city can support them both.
Earth Fare has until now had 19 stores in five states in the Southeast. Tallahassee makes 20, and the first in Florida. I am admittedly surprised that little Tallahassee snagged the first Florida Earth Fare, but totally excited. This place is heaven for anyone who, like me, loves to eat and cook yet is conscientious about health, nutrition and the importance of eating 'real' unprocessed foods.
In fact, Earth Fare's self-described "Food Philosophy" is to sell "foods that are as close to the ground as it gets." That means Eight Golden Rules:
1 NO hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils (added trans-fats)
2 NO high fructose corn syrup
3 NO artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners & preservatives
4 NO antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones or animal by-products in the feed (fresh meats & milk)
5 NO bleached or bromated flour
6 NO irradiated single source spices, produce or meat (Badass Foodie is happy, as you can see!)
7 NO animal by-products in pet foods
8 NO inhumane treatment of the animals providing us with dairy, meat and egg
Earth Fare is so serious about these rules, they will give patrons a $50 gift card if they find anything sold in Earth Fare that contains any ingredients on the so-called "Boot List" of banned ingredients. Awesome. They'll also give you a healthier Earth Fare version of opened or unopened items (peanut butter, cereal, etc) from your pantry that contain these banned ingredients. Double Awesome.
And don't even get me started on the bountiful deli cases filled with seafood, hormone-free meats and prepared foods like grilled salmon and balsamic-roasted vegetables.
So why I am writing all this about Earth Fare? Well, besides the fact that I simply LOVE this place, the important thing is WHY I love it. Earth Fare is a bright, produce-filled reminder that the Badass Journey does NOT have to be paved with rice cakes.
It does not mean depriving ourselves of flavorful foods and desserts (If it means an extra few miles, run them - straight to the Earth Fare bakery section....). It does not mean eating frozen processed "diet" meals.
The Badass Journey is about living fully, and enjoying the ride. Earth Fare is the kind of grocery store where food seems more alive. It is more real. More adventurous. More fun. It is the kind of grocery store that every city in America - especially the ones where obesity and heart disease is so prevalent - should have.
America is a long way from that goal, but I am proud to know that Earth Fare believes enough in the Badass potential of my city to plant its Florida roots here first.
Now excuse me while I nibble on some of these roasted Brussels sprouts with caramelized onions...
Coming next week: Your 2010 Badass Holiday Gift Guide, and a soup worthy of winter from Badass Foodie! Plus another workout....