Gluten-free. Paleo. Clean. Organic. Local. These are the buzzwords of today's food movement, which emphasizes consuming non-processed, fresh, wholesome and healthy food.
That sums up Earth Fare's philosophy and sets it apart from "regular" grocery stores. Fort Wayne's first Earth Fare store opens at 8 a.m. Wednesday at the corner of Coldwater and Washington Center roads, in the old Scott's grocery store location.
On Monday the media was invited to tour the new store as workers put finishing touches on the interior and exterior. Some fresh produce was set out, but that was just temporary, to see how everything would fit — it all would be put back in refrigerators until Wednesday's opening, said Amanda Arnet, new store marketing coordinator.
"We try to source locally when we can," she said, acknowledging some produce, such as pineapples, have to be shipped in because they don't grow in Indiana.
Nevertheless Earth Fare sets high standards for the products it sells, and has a "boot list" of ingredients it won't sell. You shouldn't see products with high-fructose corn syrup; artificial fats or artificial trans fats; artificial colors; artificial flavors; artificial preservatives; artificial sweeteners; and no antibiotics or synthetic growth hormones in the store's fresh meat and dairy cases.
Arnet acknowledge the organic items, like organic items at any grocery store, will be priced a little higher. But Earth Fare also sells staples, such as milk, cereal, eggs and butter, at low prices every day.
The store will take manufacturers' coupons, although it doesn't carry a lot of brands sold in mainstream groceries. However, Arnet said customers can really save by signing up to get store coupons emailed or texted to them. "We have some great deals opening week," she said.
To learn more about saving money at Earth Fare, go to www.earthfare.com and click on "Savings and Coupons."
With its emphasis on wholesome, healthy products, Earth Fare offers a lot not found in a traditional grocery store. Here's just a sampling:
*You can grind your own almond or peanut butter.
*For bulk foods you can reuse your own containers; just stop by the front desk to have your container weighed empty first.
*Earth Fare sells supplements, vitamins and organic skin care products.
*Customers may "try before they buy" within reason. For example, customers may sample cheeses, bulk items, even some packaged foods. Ask an employee first.
*Earth Fare makes all its breads fresh daily.
Earth Fare is a traditional grocery store, but also is a place to grab food to go or eat it there. Customers can choose from a salad bar, soup bar, or from the deli department, which will sell sandwiches, deli salads, sushi and smoothies.
The store offers a special deal 4-8 p.m. Thursdays, starting May 15. Up to six kids can eat a free kids meal with an adult meal purchase of $5 or more.