I died and went to heaven.
Or, I drove to the other side of town and finally visited the Earth Fare that opened recently.
The organic grocery store is the first of its kind in my tiny pocket of northeast Indiana. While we do have a Fresh Market, there is not a store of this size or one with similar buying power devoted to healthy living and organic produce. The opening had people so excited that the northeast store had caused traffic back-ups and shopping was cart-to-cart, according to friends who live in the area and went to explore.
If you are unfamiliar with Earth Fare, the company says that, "What really sets Earth Fare apart from other stores is the list of things we don't offer...like any products containing high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, artificial colors and sweeteners, and synthetic growth hormones in fresh meat and dairy. We believe food should be as close to the ground as it gets, and we are proud to read the labels so you don't have to!"
According to me, what sets Earth Fare apart is the taste of big city shopping that we just don't have here. The store was clean and bright, the signs were fun and bold and the selection was wide. I was particularly happy to see things like bulk bins for nuts, grains and beans that I don't have at my neighborhood Kroger (though some of the nicer ones do).
There was also freshly ground nut butters and dispensers for honey, agave and maple syrup. Again, given what's available in the city and my neighborhood, especially, it was all so novel. If I didn't have self restraint and serious hunger pangs from HIIT training, I might have gotten all the stuffs as everyone needs 10 pounds of nut butter.
Rather, I limited myself to a few choice things including Lemon Lime Zevia, which I had not seen before, a few bars for California and a special treat for Mark - specialty raviolis from the bulk pasta bins. I was sure that the goat cheese sundried tomato variety would make up for my cross-country solo trip. I even got fresh Parmesan to complement the dish.
I will say that my one moment of weakness came when I spotted the salad and hot bars. I was hungry, tired and the cucumber-tomato salad I had packed seemed less than sexy compared to some of the things I spotted. And, the hot bar is oh-so-cool. Right? Maybe. Not so much if you live in a major metropolitan area (and are thus not even reading this because you don't care about my Earth Fare).
But I resisted. If anything, it gives me a reason to go back.