Earth Fare Market (located at 3045 SW 34th Street – behind Carrabba’s) officially opens its doors to the public tomorrow, August 12th at 7 AM. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the latest addition to Gainesville’s stellar groceries, and came away very impressed. The store is beautiful, with a bright modern design similar to Lucky’s, albeit smaller. What I liked the most about the place was the fact that everything has been carefully curated. While the store isn’t all that big, there’s a whole lot of quality packed into it. The team at Earth Fare has high standards for what they’ll put on their shelves, and have a strict list of criterion that must be met before they’ll sell a product. Every single item in the store has no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial fats or trans fats, artificial colors, artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, no antibiotics or hormones in any meat or dairy, and no bleached or bromated flour. Get the idea? They give a shit.
While not everything is going to be local (nor do they claim it to be), they take great care to curate the best quality. Local is great, but it’s not always going to be the best, particularly if something isn’t in season. Earth Fare recognizes that. All of the produce sold is either organic or natural, with a large bulk foods section, and a small but formidable meat/seafood section of items flown in from all over the world. Each piece of produce or meat has a card that tells you exactly where it came from. What they do sell local, has to come from within 100 miles of Gainesville. I particularly enjoyed the large selection of olives at the Olive Bar, the cooler of fresh made raviolis you can pick and choose then pay by the pound, and the bakery that has really good items like macarons (yes, and they’re only $1.50 each), cakes, and fresh baked bread.
Baguettes are always 98 cents each, fresh-made sushi rolls by Hissho Sushi are $5 a roll on Wednesdays, and you can get half a sandwich with soup for $6 each day. There’s also a hot bar, made-to-order pizzas, and a large salad bar. Wash it down with a variety of smoothies and fresh squeezed juices at their café with both indoor and outdoor seating (free wifi too). There are plenty of gluten-free options in every department, scattered throughout the store for all you gluten-intolerant friends out there. Even the gluten-free bread is made separately so all our Celiac friends can stay safe. Healthy people will be happy to know there’s an entire cooler devoted to probiotics, a large health supplement and natural beauty products section, and another entire cooler devoted to various kombuchas.
The great thing about the place is they make it easy for people to eat better. You don’t have to pick up every label and read it because they already did it for you. I looked at various labels throughout the store, and I’ll be damned if there wasn’t just a handful of ingredients in every single one, all of which you can actually pronounce. And if by some chance you find something that shouldn’t be there, speak to a manager; they actually have procedures in place to test any products their customers question. If they deem it doesn’t mean their guidelines, they will pull it from all of their stores nationwide. Commitment, they has it.
Their doors open at 7 AM, and the first 100 customers get a gift card that varies in denomination up to $500. But the nice folks at Earth Fare gave me a $25 gift card to give away to you beautiful people. Head over to my Facebook page and share my Earth Fare post for a chance to win. I’ll pick a random person at midnight to take home the prize. Seriously, check this place out. There may not be beer while you shop, but they take great care to only sell you the best quality stuff. I think you’ll find that while other stores may have more, they have more items you want to buy. Me? I’m just happy they sell macarons and…erm…CHEESE CURDS! YES! I CAN FINALLY MAKE MY OWN POUTINE!!!