Nature’s Food Patch, My Neighborhood Store in Clearwater
One of the best things about my life is my local grocery of choice, Nature’s Food Patch, here in Clearwater, Florida. It’s 4 minutes away from my house. It has a huge parking lot. And, it is of manageable size, while offering a large variety of organic fruits and vegetables.
I hate supermarkets! Parking on Mars, trotting around on hard floors under florescent lights, followed by standing in line with people with baskets full of frozen dinners, chips and boxed mac and cheese is not for me. Sometimes these shiny behemoths have a tiny number of organics, but generally it’s more of a tease than a real selection.
GREAT FRESH ORGANIC FRUITS AND VEGETABLES AT NATURE’S
In addition to offering a full 10% off to seniors on Wednesdays, he best thing about this lovely neighborhood natural food store is the produce guru, David. Because I’m pretty new to this cooking business, there is a great deal to learn. He already knows it! Always on the lookout for new high fiber ingredients, I often wander into unknown territory and he’s always there to guide me. I don’t have his sensitive touch, or his finely tuned sniffer, so when he gently squeezes or smells a mango, asking if I’ll be using it today or tomorrow, I squeeze and sniff right along with him hoping to develop his acute perceptions. So far, I feel like I’m wearing an astronaut’s space suit, complete with bubble helmet and hot pad gloves. But, I’m determined and believe that I can develop his silky finesse.
They always offer a nice selection of produce and cold case foods from local producers. Clearwater and surrounding towns were once major citrus producers and today, Florida still has its share of food production, of which they are big supporters.
FRIENDLY, KNOWLEDGABLE STAFF
The next best feature is all the people who work there. When you ask any question about anything, either they have the answer, embellished with answers to questions that I didn’t know to ask, or they scurry off to find an expert. They are very serious about food and nutrition and they all must have been taught manners by their mothers.
Being serious about food, they take a strong stance on GMOs. I grew up in what was for years had been an orange grove, playing in a yard with decades of pesticide spraying, most of which are banned now. My gut health was compromised by this and I have great enthusiasm for anyone guarding the microbes of our future generations.
I give Nature’s 5 stars for this stance which they took in the 90’s when their store director sat on the National Board of Directors of the Natural Products Association, lobbying congress on the dangers of GMO’s.They have brought nationally known speakers to their seminars and are participants in the Non-GMO Project who work to educate the public, encourage non-GMO farming practices and provide third party verification and labeling for non-GMO food and products.
Recently, Nature’s opened a second store in the next town north of Clearwater, Dunedin. It’s an artsy village, founded by Scots and it’s not unusual to see a kilt wearing gentleman or two on the street. I attended their grand opening with my husband, got my picture taken in a pair of pineapple glasses, and admired their lovely display of organic produce. Like the Clearwater store, they offer everything from a large variety of apples, to my favorites, purple sweet potatoes and plantains- ingredients for quick and easy, gut friendly dishes. They also carry an array of chopped, shredded fresh and handy frozen veggies and fruits for the busy woman. See you at Nature’s Food Patch. I’m the old lady loitering near the broccoli!