Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Grocery Opens Wednesday; Earth Fare Natural Foods Market Has Only 1 Other Store in Florida So Far

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Grocery Opens Wednesday; Earth Fare Natural Foods Market Has Only 1 Other Store in Florida So Far

Article excerpt

Byline: Roger Bull

The latest entry in Jacksonville's grocery market opens Wednesday. Earth Fare's first store in Northeast Florida opens in the Atlantic North center at the corner of Atlantic and Kernan boulevards.

Earth Fare describes itself as a natural foods market and still has a semblance of the store it was when it opened in Asheville, N.C., in 1975 as Dinner for the Earth.

Dozens of nuts, herbs, candies, cereals and grains are available in bulk. You can bring in your own containers - jars for example - weigh them up front and have that weight deducted when you check out.

But it's also significant in terms of what it doesn't carry. It has no food with high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, artificial colors or sweeteners and no synthetic growth hormones in fresh meat and dairy.

Even its bulk bin of candy-coated chocolate drops has far less shiny and bright items such as M&Ms, for example, because only vegetable coloring is used, said Amanda Arnet, marketing manager.

Though about half the size of a full Publix or Winn-Dixie, it is a full service grocery store. But some categories of food or non-food - laundry soap, for example - will just have a few natural products rather than long shelves of national brands.

The store does carry national brands, but only those that fit its criteria. It also carries hundreds of its own brands.

There are a lot of gluten-free items, but not in a special section. They're marked and shelved among the rest of the food.

Earth Fare has what it calls a wellness section, with lotions and makeup that meet the same standards as the food, Arnet said.

"Your skin is still an organ," she said. "What you put on it is just as important as what you eat."

But there is no pharmacy.

It carries wine and beer. The Coke and Pepsi come from Mexico where cane sugar is used instead of corn syrup.

There's a deli where bread and pizza are made from scratch. There's a hot bar and a salad bar (both $6. …

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