Organic grocers: The pulse of the community

“The bulletin board in any organic store is the pulse of the community. You can find yoga, massage, concert listings, bookstores, used van parts (crucial for a touring band), community political information and even lost cats.” — Michael Franti

ORGANIC GROCERY STORES ARE BECOMING a hub in more communities, including the ones in our region. We also glance at the bulletin boards of our local organic grocery stores for community updates, even in the internet era. Here’s a sampling of local organic grocers:

In Grass Valley, the BriarPatch Co-op just turned 40 and is undergoing numerous upgrades, ranging from new signage (the BriarPatch logo in a hand-carved woodcut style) to a 469,000-kilowatt solar array that produces up to 55 percent of the store’s electricity needs. The deli is popular with lunch-goers and it has a new manager.

Nevada City is home to California Organics, featuring certified organic meats, wild and sustainable caught seafood, organic produce and dairy products and a cafe. Owner Chris Kysar is an organic food champion who opened the store in 2001.

In Nevada County, the Bottrells are the longtime owners of Mother Truckers on the San Juan Ridge, Natural Selection in Grass Valley and now The Country Store, also on the Ridge.

In Yuba City and now Chico, the New Earth Market is a popular locally owned health food store. Founders Kevin and Kellie Cotter are the store managers. They have both worked in grower’s cooperatives around Yuba, Sutter and Butte counties.

Newcastle is home to Newcastle Produce, offering locally grown and organic vegetables and fruits, gourmet foods, a full-service deli and cooking classes.

In Kings Beach, Tahoe Central Market has pioneered bringing fresh, regional produce to the Lake Tahoe region year-round. With a motto “farm to you, overnight,” the store offers fresh, regional produce, deli goods, organic dairy products and beer and wine.

Reno is home to the Great Basin Community Food Co-op, which has been community owned since 2005. Like BriarPatch, Great Basin Food has continued to expand. In 2002 it opened a 7,000 sq.-ft. store and wellness center at a new downtown location.

(Photo: Tony Finnerty)

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