Nourish Organic Market
NOURISH carries a complete line of nourishing, traditional foods:
- Organically grown fruits and vegetables
- Organic bulk foods- beans, grains, fruits, nuts, etc.
- Local grass-fed meats, eggs, milk, cheese
- Fair-trade and organic chocolate, coffee, tea
- vegan, gluten-free, raw options
Hours of Operation:
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Nearly a year ago, Sheri Rop made the transition from selling local and artisan food online to opening a storefront on Wealthy Street. What began as a small endeavor including just her and someone to help has blossomed into an ever-growing food establishment that employs seven people, two of them full time. And she is always looking for more help.
"I can't believe how naive I was a year ago," says Rop. "I had enthusiasm and an idea, but not much else. I thought I'd open this little store with the kinds of local/organic/pasture-raised food I'd been excited about and had been selling in the Artisan Food online store, and just get someone in to help me out a little!"
Despite the limitations of a small space, Nourish added a bulk food section last fall, finds room for 50 to 70 Fresh For You (CSA-type) baskets each week, and has recently added added more freezer space so they can carry a broader array of meat, including Lake Superior fish, which will arrive in a couple of weeks. They are also in the process of getting a cheese cooler so they can offer all the available Michigan-produced cheeses that are made from the milk of pastured animals. With all of this, the addition Rop is most excited about is the new kitchen.
"A kitchen was always central to the vision of Nourish. We're in the business of convincing people to eat real food. This absolutely means cooking from scratch- there is no other way to eat healthily," says Rop. "But so many people today have no experience with cooking and find the idea intimidating. So not only do we want to cook wonderful foods made from the best local, organic ingredients that we sell in our deli, but we also want to help folks see how easy and pleasurable and economical cooking beautiful real food can be for them at home."
"We started out some time ago with a tiny licensed kitchen in the back," Rop continues. "But our miniscule back room is also office space, storage, break room and processing room . . .so it has been enormously difficult to make it work as an effective food preparation space. Additionally, we wanted badly to make the process of cooking visible to our customers so they could see the beautiful colors and smell the wonderful scents and become engaged themselves by watching it happen. So we're taking a little chunk out of the middle of the store, and an unused closet, and making a tiny display kitchen. Cara Camp, who's cooking for us, loves to help people notice the beauty and fragrance of the process, and loves to talk to people about how to make wonderful things happen in the kitchen, so we think it will not only ease our space constraints but also energize a lot of new cooking enthusiasm in our customers."
As part of its expansion plans, Nourish also hopes to make additional connections with people with low income food budgets. Rop is quick to point out that they have always accepted Bridge Cards, have recently formed a partnership with Baxter Community Center, and has dedicated staff hours to reaching out to people who think that organic food wouldn't fit within their budgets.
Finally, Rop hopes to make the connection to farmers even stronger for consumers. "I can't talk about our growth this past year without talking about our fabulous producers, without whom none of this could happen. We have been enormously blessed to be able to work with a group of farmers and food artisans that are not only committed to producing healthy, beautiful, ethical food, but are willing to go out of their way to make a relationship with Nourish work in ways that benefit everyone. It's such a privilege to be able to bring the food that results from their hard, committed work to the people who can enjoy and appreciate it."
Fundraiser for World Renew by day, locavore foodie and marketing consultant by night. Blogging at http://eatlocalwestmichigan.com
Reports on: Food Beat