I've never shopped at an Earth Fare store before and to be honest, I barely batted an eye at the news that they were coming to town because this location isn't convenient to me- the same reason I rarely make my way out to Fort Wayne Custom RX or Nolt's Marketplace for GF goodies. This place is different though, and I do now plan to make the drive much more often.
Finding quality, affordable GF items is an absolute must for me as a Celiac with a tight budget. Earth Fare definitely values quality. It will not sell any products that contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial fats or artificial trans fats, artificial colors, artificial flavors, artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, bleached or bromated flours, or antibiotics or synthetic growth hormones. They are very receptive to customer requests for products as long as the products fit within their food philosophy. When I looked through their store, I was more concerned with finding my favorite GF products and new GF products that aren't offered anywhere else in town- at a price that would make it worth the drive when all of my other favorite local spots are closer. I was thrilled to see many great products that I already purchase or would like to try at prices comparable to anywhere else in town. It's possible that I may actually be able to consolidate shopping trips by getting more things here at Earth Fare. Just to make it a little more worthwhile on the cost, I signed up for their Tomato Bank to earn points to save money.
I know that shopping at a new store can be intimidating, and when you're used to flying past aisles and aisles of food you cannot eat, it's sometimes hard to slow down and find everything you might enjoy. Earth Fare builds in a lot of little visual cues to help you find your way around a little more easily. Let's go on a tour...
Want organic produce? The label advertising the price is a circle instead of a square. Circle= o for organic.
(sorry, no picture)
Want gluten free? Look for the wood paneling on the edge of the shelf:
Also note the red price labels and red arrows. These are items that Earth Fare has committed to selling at a low price every day. No sales, just deals.
Want to find a sale? Those are labeled in green:
GF products are indicated in one other way too, as you can see in this large selection of beverages:
You will need to be a little more careful in the frozen foods section:
Some labels are just easily recognized from a mile away (bonus if they're on sale):
Earth Fare works hard to stock local products as much as they can throughout the store. So if you've been a shopper in another location, you will find that this store is different because it's in a different location. While some favorites (like my yogurt) are not region-specific, others may be.
I've been told these taste just like Fig Newtons. I can't wait to find out!
There are other new products there that I've never tried before:
This could be fun!
Okay, on to other things.... like cosmetics!
I have used the same brand of makeup for 7 years- as long as I've been GF- but they recently quit carrying my colors. Since then, I've been on a mission to find cosmetics to meet my needs- and being 100% GF is a huge selling point for me so I can shop with ease. I found not one, but TWO brands at Earth Fare to choose from!
Zuzu Luxe from Gabriel Cosmetics is certified GF and its brochure states: "Our cosmetics do not contain any of the following: coal tar derivatives or FD&C coloring agents; nano/micro sized particles; mineral oil, lanolin, or talc; propylene glycol; parabens; hydrogenated oils; gluten.
Mineral Fusion's brochure states: "Our cosmetics are free from parabens, artificial colors, fragrances, gluten, phthalates, and talc to ensure that even the most sensitive skin stays beautiful."
Okay, are you ready to go shopping yet? Can you believe I'm not even done?!??
Thursdays at Earth Fare are Family Dinner Nights (starting NEXT week here in FW). Yes, they have a dining area where some menu items can be prepared wheat free (they do not guarantee GF due to the risk of cross-contamination). If one adult buys a meal for at least $5, up to 6 kids- YES, SIX- present with them can eat free on Thursday evenings. My kids are not GF, so this will be a lot easier for me to do than some of you dealing with more food restrictions... but WOW... I could get a salad or something else GF for me, and my children will eat for free on Thursdays. This is an amazing deal for me with two little ones; I can only imagine how my friend with four kids will react!
Just remember- you can't get that deal tomorrow. Wait until the 15th. Sorry.
Have I covered everything yet? Will Blogspot be able to support a post this long? Did I make silly errors in typing that I'll never catch because I've been working on this for so long?? I suppose we will just have to find out, huh? Please make sure to like Gluten Free Fort Wayne and Earth Fare Fort Wayne on Facebook, share this with your friends, and let me know all about your shopping experience and if all of my work just now at the keyboard was worth it! Enjoy!!