EARTH FARE ARRIVED IN VIERA WITH ‘CLEAN’ IN MIND
The mood was upbeat while a palpable energy permeated the proceedings — Earth Fare was opening in Viera.
A ceremonial ribbon-cutting marked the occasion at the Viera East Village Shopping Center, as did a check presentation to an urban farm school that uses agriculture and sustainability to connect academic subjects across the entire curriculum, and there were gift-card giveaways, among other activities. More than 500 area residents showed up … before 7 a.m.
That was back in January. At the time, Frank Scorpiniti, Earth Fare’s president and CEO, pointed to helping “shoppers make the connection between ‘clean’ food and living longer, healthier, happier lives” and vowed area residents to continue to “bring the ‘cleanest,’ healthiest options for years to come.”
In reporting the news, one media outlet called Earth Fare a “brand- new phenomenon in Brevard County.”
Since then, by an unofficial count, nothing has occurred at this location to alter the optimism.
Earth Fare touts itself as an authentic specialty natural and organic food grocery store and full-service supermarket. In reality, it’s a community gathering place — a natural attraction — for Viera and much of Brevard County.
Want groceries? Earth Fare’s 1,000-plus private brand food products all are sourced using only non-GMO ingredients, with new products regularly being added. Further, the store offers more than 4,000 other non-GMO items storewide, along with more than 1,000 gluten-free products and an assortment of products to meet special dietary needs.
And that’s just a sampling of goods.
Aside from groceries, the approximately 26,000-square-foot store features Earth Fare’s Heirloom Café and Juice Bar, including juices, smoothies, coffee drinks and custom blends. Similarly, there’s a deli and prepared-foods section, consisting solely of Earth Fare’s staple: ‘clean,’ natural choices. The same goes for the bakery.
For the unfamiliar, in this instance clean is defined as “natural food, neither processed nor refined, eaten to promote or sustain good health.”
For Earth Fare, it’s a concept that is nearly 45 years old. Founded in 1975 in Asheville, North Carolina, Earth Fare began as a single storefront selling organic dried bulk goods and wellness products before growing into one of the largest natural and organic food retailers nationwide. Through the years, it distinguished itself as a leader in the healthy foods industry, even to the point of developing its own Food Philosophy and launching its own magazine, The Clean Plate — a guide to eating clean and living a healthier, longer life.
Consider a few of the chief principles: no added hormones, no artificial fats and trans-fats, no artificial sweeteners, no bleached or bromated flour, no antibiotics, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial preservatives and no artificial colors or flavors.
More food for thought: Eggs are cage-free, and the chicken is American Humane Certified, which is an industry label representing high standards. And meats are “always humanely raised on a vegetarian diet and never administered antibiotics or added hormones,” according to company officials.
The overriding premise, those official say, is that “food should not be complicated” or, in any way, compromised.
For good measure, the Earth Fare brand also has a line of value- priced, all-natural cleaning products and wellness supplements that are all about, you guessed it, living ‘clean.’
Not coincidentally, there are more than 40 locations across 10 states in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest.
At the Viera East Village Shopping Center, a plaza that itself has undergone substantial redevelopment, the Earth Fare store is part of strong Florida expansion. The Viera Kitchen — a deli and prepared-foods section that doubles as an indoor/outdoor café — is especially popular. Highlights include an organic salad bar, self- serve pizza station, sandwich counter and bar area for hot foods.
The Food Philosophy is promoted on walls throughout store. Also, there is active participation on the store’s local Facebook page, with more than 4,000 followers.
The healthy approach comes in the form of energy conservation, too. Examples: The Viera store’s LED light bulbs use up to 75% less energy. Reusable plates, cups and utensils in the café reduce landfill waste. The containers for to-go food items are made from plant-based, recycled materials.
Likewise, a sense of community is evident in a corporate emphasis on fostering local relationships with organizations, such as Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce and others. So, expect the creation of community gardens and fun family road races. The corporate mandate: support local organizations that are dedicated to broadening access to healthy food and healthy lives.
Most of this was on full display last January as Earth Fare introduced itself to Viera. Nearly a year later, the optimism and excitement continue.