Local food

Ward’s Independent Grocery Store

Ward’s offers a myriad of grains and dried goods for sale.

The only independent grocery store in Gainesville, Ward’s is a mecca for all the local and organic goodies this community has to offer. They’ve been in business for over 60 years and have become a fixture in the community due to their dedication to quality products and services.

Walking in the door is like entering a foodie’s wonderland. The produce section is expansive and well stocked – I counted at least four different types of sweet potatoes! Juxtaposed to this vegetarian paradise is a butcher section with excellent prices and an array of delectable looking meats that would warm any carnivore’s heart.

My favorite part of the store, however, is the row of grains and other dried goods. Offering products like quinoa at the astonishing price of $3.99 a pound, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the many healthy, inexpensive choices. I suggest trying a tiny bit of anything that looks good. Who knows, you may discover a delicious and healthy new addiction.

The store is stocked with a variety of brand name goods in addition to their own brand. I have found that the Ward’s brand is usually cheaper and fresher than the competitors. One of their more popular products, the honey roasted peanut butter, has quickly become a must on my grocery list. My roommates and I love Ward’s for its low prices and wide selection of local produce and meats; we try to shop there as often as possible.

Ward’s is a great way to stay sustainable because they go to great lengths to stock their store with the most local products possible. Supporting a local business like Ward’s keeps the money within the community, thus nurturing a community of small businesses dedicated to high quality goods and services.

Become a part of your local community and help your planet at the same time with Ward’s Supermarket. You can visit them at their location at 515 NW 23rd Ave. Gainesville, FL or check out their website.

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First Stop: The Farmers Market

Where in Gainesville can you find fresh, local produce, mouth-watering empanadas, gorgeous orchids and live entertainment – all at the same time? The Farmers Market of course! Every Wednesday retailers meet at the Bo Diddley Plaza to show off their goods.

Not only is the Farmers Market a generally fun place to hang out on a weekday afternoon, it offers a variety of products. I’ve heard rave reviews of the salsa stand, and can personally attest to how awesome both the boiled peanuts (Cajun, of course) and the lemonade infusions are.

The market offers a medley of produce stands from all over Gainesville. They are an excellent resource for fresh, local and organic produce. Local is the number one way to stay sustainable. Locally produced food travels short distances, using significantly less energy to transport the produce and can generally be harvested later, making sure your food is at its peak ripeness and freshness.

One such stand belongs to Sasabrill Nursery, a regular at the market with a farm located at 5801 SW 53rd Place Gainesville, FL. They grow and sell fresh produce, fruit trees and native plants. I talked to Daniel Freed, the proprietor of Sasabrill Nursery, about his farm and the importance of local and organic farming practices.

“My farm is certified naturally grown, and we grow a lot of stuff. There’s all sorts of fruit trees: fig, peach, plum and pear. The figs are popular,” Freed said. He sets up his stand at the Bo Diddley Plaza farmers market every Wednesday and at the Alachua County Farmers Market every Saturday.

“I think it’s important to use local and organic growing practices; your food is just better,” Freed said. And it absolutely is. I was able to take home some of the hot peppers he had for sale, and they were absolutely fantastic!

Freed talked about how supporting your local farmers allows them to continue to provide the highest quality products for the lowest prices. Local farmers are an integral part of Gainesville’s economy and a simple way to get the kinds of food you need to be healthy and sustainable. So check out the market, there’s something there for everyone!

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More information about Sasabrill Nursery, including their selection of fruit trees and schedule, can be found at their website. http://hotdoodle.com/novusabeoinformation/?section=home

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