Earlier this week we had a chance to check out Jacksonville’s newest all-natural grocery store, Earth Fare. With stores in nine different states, Earth Fare celebrated the grand opening of their Jacksonville location this past Wednesday. The brand new store is located near Kernan and Atlantic.
I was so excited to check out the new Earth Fare store that I braved the crowds and headed out on grand opening day. It was absolute mayhem…but in a good way. Yes, there was a line about 20 people deep standing outside in the blazing heat just waiting to get a shopping cart. Yes, there were so many people inside that you could barely turn around without bumping into someone. Yes, the checkout lines stretched all the way from the registers to the back of the store. But, the store was bright, cheery, and immaculately clean. There were a ton of friendly, knowledgable employees ready and willing to answer questions and point you in the right direction. And the selection and quality of what they had to offer in-store was top-notch. So it made it worth the craziness to get a peek at what Earth Fare is all about.
According to their website, Earth Fare’s goal is to provide products free of artificial ingredients and “as close to the ground as it gets.” This was evident as I browsed through the aisles. The products were all mostly organic or all-natural. Many were gluten-free and nut-free. No artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives here! And no synthetic growth hormones in their meat or dairy either. Earth Fare even has a “Boot List” of ingredients and products that they refuse to carry in their stores. And they ask shoppers like you and me to patrol and let them know if something on the banned list slips through the cracks and onto store shelves. Even with all the organic and all-natural offerings, the prices at Earth Fare seemed pretty reasonable. To me, it seemed like sort of a cross between Whole Foods and Publix…two of my favorites. So I was in grocery store heaven during my shopping trip on Wednesday. I was especially excited about the bulk section, offering everything from granola, trail mixes, baking goods, nuts, and candies. The meat and seafood counter was also very impressive, as was the bakery. However, I was most intrigued and excited by their “Jacksonville Kitchen” prepared food selections. They offer tons of healthy options like fresh juices, smoothies, wraps, sandwiches, and sushi. Oh my…the sushi looked really tasty. And there was a surprisingly wide variety of sushi to choose from. They also have yummy hot pizza ready to eat. And not just your standard sitting-under-a-heating-lamp-for-hours prepared pizzas. These are more gourmet, flavorful pizza options like Mediterranean, BBQ Chicken, and Vegetable Harvest just to name a few. Yum! Between that and the fully-stocked salad bar and olive bar, you could feed your family a tasty dinner for just a few dollars a person. There’s even a comfy eating area where you can “Have a seat and stay awhile.”
I’ll definitely be going back for another visit…but maybe next week after some the hoopla dies down a bit. Maybe I’ll even be able to get a cart next time! In the meantime, be sure to check out their website for information on the store and for details on their in-store events like Take Out Tuesday and Family Dinner Night. There are lots of good deals and healthy things happening at Earth Fare..don’t miss out!
For this review we welcome a member of our own JRR family: Rhonda Kovar is a former call center manager turned stay-at-home mom. She grew up in the heart of North Carolina and moved to Florida after getting hitched in 2002. She is a graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne University and a lover of all things crafty, musical, or edible. Rhonda loves finding new and delicious ways to turn her two tiny picky eaters into future foodies.