Patrons and vendors who visit Green Earth natural food store in Oneonta are often invited to linger over a new culinary treat or a conversation about the politics of food.
The store is considered a community center, where those interested in eating naturally grown food, have dietary restrictions or are interested in yoga or meditation spend time with other like-minded people. Green Earth offers organic produce and meat as well as gluten-free meals and natural milk products. There is a community room in the back of the store that features classes on meditation and yoga.
For owners Dean and Emily Roberts, it is a way of life.
“Every day there is something going on,” said Dean Roberts.
A man of intense curiosity, Dean Roberts takes an interest in every customer and vendor who walks through the door of Green Earth. He and his wife, Emily, are always looking for new, local vendors and modern ways of distributing healthy, natural food to their customers.
“It is such an industry now,” said Emily Roberts. “About 70 percent of everything we order comes from UNFI.”
United Natural Foods Inc. is a national distributor that sells natural, organic and specialty foods, as well as products such as nutritional supplements, personal care items and organic produce.
Much of the other 30 percent of their inventory comes from local and regional suppliers who have small farms on which they raise and produce organic foods.
Illyssa Berg of Garrettsville owns Painted Goat Farm. She is a suppliers of organic goat cheese.
“I have about 75 goats,” Berg said. “I milk them in the morning and make cheese. It takes about three days to make a fresh cheese – from milking to packaging.”
In addition to Painted Goat Farm, some of the other local suppliers include Middlefield Farm, which makes organic jams; Toonie Moonie Organics in Stamford, makers of organic marshmallow cream; Applegarth Farm and Pottery in Maryland, a supplier of organic chickens; and Flying Rabbit Farms, from which organic, seasonal produce is supplied.