Ode to Health Food Stores
Wendy Darling remembers a health food store in her hometown of Andover, Ma., in the early 1980s. "My mom would go to get dried fruit and other goods for our camping trips, since that was one of the only places. But we'd find other great things too, which we'd bring home and try out, even though for the most part our diet at that time was more...homogenous American processed food. That was the first place I ever had frozen yogurt, which at the time tasted like yogurt. Today's frozen yogurts seem designed to taste like ice cream or are flavored. Miss those days!
Sandra Slotte talked about a store on Manhattan's Upper East Side, near 68th Street and Lexington Avenue. "My grandfather worked at NY Hospital and would stop there and buy Familia Muesli and Tiger bars."
Jackie Smith discussed Our Daily Bread, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. "I took my kids when they were young, very small store, then they expanded when the kids were a little older and had a lunch bar with sandwiches made with their own homemade bread, I got all my kids Christmas and Easter candy there, no sugar, made with carob, they had bunny's at Easter, etc… The other day I took my granddaughter, my kids are 24 and 29 now, so I have been going a long time. "
Jess Hyman remembers a little bit about a store in Easton Corner, Quebec. "The only things I remember are the big bins of bulk grains and the donuts that I made and sold from a big glass jar on the counter - I was 6 or 7 years old and I calculated all the ingredient costs and reimbursed my parents. I don't remember if the ingredients were organic or conventional, but the donuts sure were good!
Brenda Drew reminisces about her first veggie burger. "Whole Foods Store - Orleans, MA and Chatham Natural Foods both here on Cape Cod. Had my first veggie burger on a whole grain bun made at one of these stores, fell in love with whole naturals foods and was sold. Also, even though this is not a store - does anyone remember The Greenline Diner in Princeton NJ where all the university students went. It...was an old silver diner from the 30's and they served nothing but organic, vegetarian, whole natural meals and that also made a permanent impression on me."
Stefanie Herren recalled a healthy treat. "The Good Earth, on Pearl Street in Boulder CO, 1981. I went with a friend who taught me to eat tofu. Even at the age of 9 I still thought it was cool. I loved the sesame candies. I still do."
Jennifer Gray found a revelation in a natural food store. "Chico Natural Foods...way back when I moved out of my parents' house and realized how horrid the food I grew up on was."
Anna Maijala recounts a tale from Florida. "It was Mother Earth in Gainesville, FL in the 1980's when I was a little kid. My family owns an organic farm, so it's always been important for us to know where our food comes from, and to grow and buy sustainable stuff."
Subby Lala wins our vote for funniest story. "The first one was probably in Amsterdam, where I lived with my hippie parents from ages 2-5. I remember putting a bean up my nose once, from the great, big bins of bulk beans. "
Alexa Hamil Berryhill found out that carob isn't chocolate. "GNC. My mother always went in to buy vitamins, still does. I remember trying carob treats, and I was so disappointed that it didn't taste enough like chocolate, lol!"
MerryLee Conway remembers a health food store that was the real deal. "The first health food store I went to wasn't one. It was a little country store in Northern Pennsylvania that a farmer owned and he was selling what he grew. "
We thank you for these and all your great comments. Keep them coming!