With the green movement and a more informed consumer, the demand for organic produce increases daily. Frightening statistics regarding the use of harmful pesticides, poor worker hygiene, and the use of hormones in livestock, have left many shoppers searching for healthier alternatives. The number of organic grocers and health food providers continues to grow even in areas formerly under served by the natural foods industry.
Despite Georgia’s increasing involvement in organic farming, organic food markets still tend to be found in more affluent areas such as the suburbs of Atlanta. However, Macon, located in Central Georgia, has a small, but excellent variety of organic grocers who excel, not only, in the knowledge and helpfulness of their staffs, but also, in offering many locally or regionally produced selections. Three markets stand out in their service and offerings that extend beyond just organic produce into vitamins, gluten-free products, and natural health and beauty aids.
Yvonne’s Natural Market, located in The Prado at 4123 Forsyth Road in Macon, tops the list. This light and open store offers a panacea of organic fruits, vegetables, herbal teas, vitamins, and whole foods products. The true resources, however, are the owners, Yvonne and Alan Mourfield, who are available to answer questions and steer you in the right direction. Alan has firsthand experience in the healing properties of fresh, natural foods, while Yvonne is certified in Homeopathy and Nutritional Science and takes a personal interest in her customers. The family atmosphere promotes a sense of comfort with a visit seeming more like a stop by an old friend’s than a shopping trip.
The market also offers pick me ups such as fruit smoothies and gourmet deli sandwiches served up with the finest ingredients including organic meats and fresh produce. During the summer, a wonderful array of locally grown organic produce including peaches, carrots, lettuce, apples, and sweet peppers are featured from area farmers such as Andi Berger. Regional choices complement the store’s daily offerings of 100% certified organic produce.
Mia’s Health Foods, located at 3105 Vineville Ave. in Macon, has the distinction of being the first true organic grocer in the Macon area, having opened its doors in 1972. The locally owned and operated market remains a trusted resource for organic produce, natural food, health, and beauty products. Delightful vegetables and fruits await the consumer, including unusual selections such as Japanese Sweet Potato.
The Fresh Market, located at 4357 Forsyth Road, Macon, is the only major regional chain grocer on this list, but despite its size, this upscale market features an assortment of local and regional produce in its growing organic section. Although organic offerings are clearly marked, like other large market chains, not all of the store’s produce is certified organically grown. Therefore, the consumer needs to be aware and check labels carefully.
The Fresh Market is to be commended in its creative offering of regional organic chefs and farmers including Salsa Artisan, Toney Jones, who uses organic produce in his amazing salsa blends. Also featured are Watsonia Farms, a South Carolina, family owned organic farm, known for some of the finest to be found yellow squash, zucchini, green bell pepper, and yellow peaches. Alderman Farms, a Florida family venture, is another of the market’s regional producers who grow a number of organic vegetables and fruits including tomatoes, eggplants, and summer squashes.