NEW LOOK, NEW LOCATION, SAME INTENTION
This June Whole Health Natural Foods store (aka Whole Health Center) opened at its brand new location in the heart of Abingdon. Conveniently situated between I-81 exits 17 and 19, the new location is nestled between neighboring restaurant 128 Pecan—a fun, casual spot with some vegetarian dishes and a vegan option or two—and the trailhead of the beautiful Virginia Creeper Trail.
We are sorry to report that Ecolicious is no longer in business. Ecolicious – Charlotte, NC’s Most Environmentally Friendly Market Is Locally Sourced!
In one of the cutest little houses located in the heart of Charlotte is a general store like no other. From its humble beginning as a few shelves containing only a few items, housed within another business, Ecolicious has come into its own. “We came about just over three years ago,” says Ecolicous founder, Marley Claridge. “My former partner and I saw a need in Charlotte for a place to buy vegan things. We started out with just a few items on a few shelves. Then people kind of took to it. I wanted to make it larger, and nicer, with more of a boutique feel to it. More than just a convenient store look.”
Marley has done just that. After her early partnership dissolved, she joined up with long time friend, Fiona Humphrey, who had previously worked in finance. Fiona had planned to sell her house and move to Oregon. As luck, or fate, would have it, the market crashed and selling her home was no longer an option. The opportunity to partner with Marley presented itself and the rest is Ecolicous history. The two share a vision for the company which has continued to foster a relationship with the community and an awareness of how our purchasing decisions impact our lives, the lives of innocent animals and the health of our planet. Buying locally affects our carbon footprint as well, which is a credo for the fledgeling business.
Here is a great interview from Bill Moyers on Farmers Markets
Once in a blue moon I’ll discover a truly unique gem of a resource that I simply feel duty bound to share with the world. Natural Imports of Asheville, NC, is one such discovery. Natural Imports is a purveyor of traditional Japanese culinary products of the highest caliber. Great care is taken to assure excellence, offering foods of a medicinal quality, prepared in time honored traditions by skilled Japanese craftsmen. Mass production and quicker, low-quality methods are threatening the livelihoods of these Japanese artisans, who prepare foods using the principal of Ishoku Dogen, “medicine and food have the same source.” You’ll find no mass market food and no arsenic laden Chinese seaweed here, only traditionally crafted products and sea vegetables grown in deep waters of Japan, protected for centuries with organic, sustainable practices.
Bruce MacDonald, now semi-retired, is the founder of Natural Imports. His daughter, Crystal, has been his partner and business manager since its inception in 1993, since she was 19 years old. Crystal speaks fluent Japanese and is a wealth of information about all aspects of how the seaweed is harvested, the medicinal and nutritional ingredients of every product, the sustainability practices of her suppliers and any glitch that effects the ecosystem and thereby affecting the quality of their products. She is a dynamic powerhouse who stays on top of all issues pertaining to Natural Imports.
Crystal essentially grew up in the business. Her parents divorced when she was young and she spent summers working at Commodities, a Japanese import store Bruce owned in New York City, where she learned about Japanese food. Bruce had previously worked for Erehwon in Boston, which was the original importer of natural foods in the US and subsequently for Erehwon West in California and later for Bread and Circus, which was sold to become the original Whole Foods Market.
by Danielle Bussone
If you find yourself low on organic supplies while tooling down Interstate 81, pull off at exit 19 in Abingdon, Virginia and stock up! Just a couple minutes from the Interstate on Main Street is a small family owned health food store called Whole Health Center. You can find organic bulk items, some fresh locally grown vegetables, packaged items like Bob’s Mills grains, coconut oils, date sugar, Braggs Amino Acids, Coconut oil, essential oils, soaps and the ubiquitous shelves of supplements.
Sean and Donna Bossie bought Whole Health Center two years ago from, Charlie, its former owner of 27 years. They had been visiting Abingdon from North Conway, New Hampshire, where they owned a coop. Their daughter had moved to Abingdon where she teaches school. The winters in New Hampshire on White Mountain were as brutal as the name suggests. Their children were grown and moved away and there didn’t seem to be much tying them to their home in the north. When Charlie commented one day, “You know, if you ever want to move closer to those grandbabies… I’m thinking of selling if you are thinking of possibly buying,” the wheels begin to turn in the Bossie’s brains. After a year of negotiating through snail mail (Charlie was not computer savvy), Whole Health Center became theirs and Abingdon, Virginia became home. (more…)
If your travels take you down Interstate 81, you may want to stock up on healthy staples and have lunch at one of the quaintest little restaurants slightly off I-81, Cranberry’s in Staunton, VA. Rich and I stopped by for Sunday brunch in response to an anonymous request by one of our readers. We are so glad we did.
Sunday may not be the best day to stop if you are looking for a variety of vegan lunch items as their brunch menu is quite abbreviated. However, they did offer two sandwiches which we enjoyed. Rich had the Garden Wrap Raw Veggies in a spinach tortilla with hummus for $7.49. I had the New Street Burrito, made of black beans, brown rice, lettuce, tomato, red onion and salsa. ($7.19) They were both served with potato chips. They also carried a Southwestern Tofu Scramble which is tofu scrambled with scallions, bell pepper, roasted chilies and spices served with whole grain toast.($7.89). On other days they offer five vegan sandwiches ranging in price from $7.19 to $8.39, the Southwest Tofu Scramble and something they call Unwraps, which is a wrap’s fixins on a bed of greens. You can also build your own sandwich paying for the items a la carte.
There are two or three booths and a few other tables. It was quite busy by the time we left. You order food at the counter and they’ll bring it to your table. The ambience is that of a charming, old-fashioned main street mercantile with a diner in the back. Check out the rest room’s old fashioned toilettes with the tank high on the wall and a pull chain to flush. (more…)