Spring has been less then stellar here in the Midwest. I am ready for 80 degree days and the shining sun. All we have been getting is clouds and cold wind and me pouting in a fleece jacket while I attempt to put in our garden. I am ready for cold beers and hot grill action! Not chili and soup. But you have to make the best of what you got right?
Fortunately for us making the best also came with a new grocery store here in Fort Wayne (FTW), and their sweet cheese section, but I will get back to that in a moment. I had grown used to having many natural food options when I lived in Chicago. I was in walking distance from about 5 different stores, and a very nice farmer’s market. When I moved to Indiana and in with Jeff, the options were not very impressive. But it is improving.
Our Barr Street farmer’s market, which only had about 10 vendors when I started visiting FTW, now boasts an impressive 40+. And now we have like 10 market’s to choose from, almost daily!
But still, off-season natural and organic shopping was rather limited. Till now.
Earth Fare, who’s mission states “to connect communities and improve lives through food” is one we share. We plant a HUGE garden every spring and share what we reap with all our friends, family and neighbors. And being obsessive lovers of food and beer, we also entertain friends on a regular basis, filling their bellies with only the best. So we were intrigued when Earth Fare decided to open their doors in FTW.
The first thing we noticed at Earth Fare – that they made making healthy food choices easy. No foods with trans fats. No high fructose corn syrup. No artificial colors or sweeteners. No synthetic hormones in fresh meats or dairy. Want to eat healthier? No problem.
They also make it super easy to eat every color of the healthy rainbow. Which is a fantastic rule to get your daily veggies and fruits in. (Sorry, colored sprinkles on cupcakes do not count as part of the healthy rainbow. It disappoints me too.)
The girly girl in me (she’s THERE I swear) went ape for these all natural soaps by the ounce and scoop yourself body scrubs.
The carnivore in me fainted on site of the charcuterie. Jeff asked me twice to stop licking the glass.
Throw in an expansive Indiana and Midwest craft beer selection, a large gluten free selection (ahem, mom), a juice bar, a pizza station, salad bar, tons of ready-to-eat options for healthy eats on the fly and an amazing group of friendly, courteous, helpful employees and I think we have a winner Fort Wayne.
BTW they have locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee. And where this might upset some of the 100% local natural food establishments in town, it shouldn’t stop you from visiting them and giving them a try. They aren’t here to steal business from any farmer’s markets or natural food stores, they are here to give us more, easily obtainable healthy food choices. And that is NEVER a bad thing. Ever. Never ever ever.
And to get you to eat better we are going to tempt you with a $50 gift card to earth fare. All you have to do is share this post (helpful links at the end of my rambling) and in the comments section, tell us what your favorite healthy go-to snack is. Extra credit if you also tell us your favorite beer. (Giveaway open to only residents of Indiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee, but we still want to hear about your favorite beers if you are NOT from one of these states.) Winner will be picked Friday May 16th at 3pm et.
Almost forgot. Their cheese selection. To die for. (I was jumping for joy which explains why the pic below is slighty blurry.)
Which made us think of this amazing beer cheese Fondue. And we just had to share it with you.
2 T Butter
16 ounces shredded high quality sharp cheddar cheese, dusted with flour (do not use pre-shredded cheese)
1 onion finely diced
4 cloves of garlic finely diced
2 Jalapeno finely diced
2 Serrano finely diced
12 oz Bottle Farmhouse/Saison beer (we used Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale)
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoon Whole Grain Mustard
1/4 cup cream
Salt and pepper to taste.
Melt butter over low heat. Saute onions, Serranos and Jalapenos till soft.
Add in garlic. Cook for 5 minutes.
Increase heat to medium, and pour in the bottle of Saison, Worcestershire sauce & whole grain mustard. When it begins to boil, add the cheese in hand-fulls and stir till completely melted.
Add cream and stir until creamy.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Dust paprika over the top.
Serve with apple slices, grapes, pears, crusty bread and/or hot pretzels.