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Rooted in Nature: An Independent, Natural Food Store in South Glens Falls

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Rooted in Nature: An Independent, Natural Food Store in South Glens Falls

New South Glens Falls Eatery Brings Fresh Food from Local Farms

Rooted in Nature. Photo by Ben LaphamRooted in Nature on Route 9 in South Glens Falls opened last Saturday, October 1, 2011. The store is owned and operated by Glens Falls residents Colleen Sommer and Cheri Lawson. Colleen has a background in managing a Saratoga eatery and working many roles at a natural goods store in Plattsburgh. Cheri works for some area farms, including Paul Arnold’s Farm (you generally can see her on Saturdays at the farmers’ market in Glens Falls). Together, they bring the connections that can bring food from great small farms to your plate.

I talked with Colleen and Cheri this week about how they enjoyed their first week as the new independent natural food store, the surprises they encountered and what motivated them to start this market in the first place.

Colleen said she talked with Cheri a year or so ago and said, “want to start a co-op?” (We laughed because I am involved with a group of Glens Falls people who are organizing a co-op in Moreau, which we hope to launch later this fall.) Cheri said the co-op sounded hard to organize (more laughs). Later, Cheri said she came back with – then, how about a natural good store? Cheri liked that! And so the seed was planted. They felt there was an obvious need for a new natural food store in the area (Pure & Simple has been a successful natural goods store on Washington St. for many years with a focus more on supplements and dry goods than farm fresh foods – there seems to be room for both to prosper). People come to the farmer’s market and express how much they would love to get the real farm food at a time other than Saturday morning. The Queensbury market has been losing the depth of organic and certified natural vendors. So this new venture, Rooted in Nature, is giving the Glens Falls area some of this great farm fresh food that is grown all around us. People have said they love real food and really are looking for something more convenient than the Saturday morning only farmer’s market or a 45 mile drive to Honest Weight.

Rooted in Nature. Photo by Ben LaphamWhen Rooted in Nature opened, it became clear that there are many people in the Glens Falls area looking for alternatives to gluten in their diet. Cheri, Colleen and I all have difficulties eating gluten although none of us are diagnosed with celiac disease. It was interesting to see how many people came in to check out Rooted in Nature’s gluten-free selection. (In the interest of full disclosure, I grilled a local farm burger from a local grass fed cow at Brookside Farm and put it on a multigrain bun from Saratoga Gluten Free goods last night for dinner, and it was delicious!) The gluten free goods are moving briskly. Twelve loaves of gluten free bread arrived at 2pm on Friday and they were all sold out by 3pm. Colleen says they are running orders for the bread now (so just contact her to make sure you get your bread). They are looking to expand to other offerings soon such as Dickinson’s non-certified gluten free baked goods and Canyon River Lake House Bread in addition to organizing buyer’s club special orders. Another thing they will be organizing is pastured turkeys for Thanksgiving. (Just drop in and you will get the details.)

Rooted in Nature. Photo by Ben LaphamThe certified organic designation is an interesting thing. Michael Kilpatrick of Kilpatrick’s Family Farm has a description of it on their website (he has written some really great pieces on this subject, but I can’t seem to spot one right now). Michael Pollan (who will be appearing Tuesday, October 25 in Troy at Hudson Valley Community College) described several of the issues with certified organic in his book, [amazonify]0143038583::text::::The Ominvore’s Dilemma.[/amazonify] My favorite question on this is (for an American eater): what’s so organic about asparagus from Chile? The organic and gluten-free certification systems are expensive and set themselves against the principles that attract people to the local, natural food movement. Cheri and Colleen are working closely with the farms that really hold true to the spirit of local-vore movement.

The most popular items at the store in its initial opening are the pastured meat and Greek yogurt. This week they will be adding whole pastured chickens to the freezer which they expect to be very popular based on customer feedback. Cheri said that she talked to Mack Brown Farm in Argyle about the new store and they said Rooted in Nature will have built in customers from people already commuting from Queensbury to the farm. Having the store in South Glens Falls is a great convenience for people making these trips.

One of the great things about small scale operations is the intimacy between provider and consumer. In the halcyon days of Red Fox Bookstore, Naphtali would have recommendations for regulars the moment you walked in the door. A small supply is mitigated by the great selection — more fruit, less chaff. And I see that spirit developing at Rooted in Nature. It is a great place for like-minded people to get together and nourish each other.

Ben Lapham is a Contributor to The Free George. Photos by Ben Lapham.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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1 Comment for “Rooted in Nature: An Independent, Natural Food Store in South Glens Falls”

  1. [...] from there. Click here for their website. It isn’t much, but you can get their address. Click here for an article about the store. Find them on Facebook (they post their hours, specials, and stuff [...]

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