My two trips to Huntsville, AL's new Earth Fare market
I've now made two kind of brief (well, in normal time-space, they would be brief, but once you factor in 10-15 minutes of waiting in line and 10-15 minutes of elbowing through people, they ended up being kind of long) trips to the Earth Fare market on University/72 near the Best Buy and once but no longer Barnes & Noble shopping center. Across from the mall. The store with all of the cars and people out front. That place. It is brand new, and kind of nice looking, with lots of stuff to do out front. It is also amazingly, completely, totally packed with curious shoppers. Avoid, unless you think a vertical cuddle party with organic produce in hand is your idea of a good time.
This is not a review, straight up, of the place because it was too busy for me to really get in and browse. Instead, I'll just lay-out the good and bad of it and try to avoid saying how busy it was over and over again (I got elbowed by a cute woman, so there was that, if I was into that sort of thing). My first trip was with my friend Allen. I was mostly wanted to see their non-sweetened tea selection and their naked juice selection. Organic stuff is available elsewhere, but finding good and real tea and juice can be impossible on this side of town (consistently, anyhow). In both regards, I was thrilled. I picked a foursome of Adagio Tea's AnTEADote*, four for five dollars. While not a tea review, per se, I will say that all came across as servicable. The oolong is the best, the black tea possibly the worst, with the white and green teas a little overwhelmed by their grassiness probably brought about by their baking soda content. The rest of the tea selection was impressive enough. There was some Steaz and some Ito En's Oi Ocha. Honest Tea. Others. Most have no sweeteners, or just use juices or such. For now, the best spot in Huntsville to get such things (I love Garden Cove, but their pre-made tea selection is about as random as it gets, and Food4Life's selection is more consistent but not quite as exciting). I was also there to pick up some Naked Juice, which they have in spades. I realize that Naked has to have more than the three of four blends that you can find around Huntsville, but I was still surprised to see two whole rows of them. As well as other, similar products. The price seemed to be about normal for such things (I think I paid seven dollars for two). Picked up some awesome organic apple juice for, I don't know, maybe five dollars?
The next trip wasn't quite as nice. It took longer, since it was Sarah and myself getting some lunch prior to work. Had it not been so utterly packed, then half the problems would have went away. There still would have been the other. Let me break it down, though. I went to the "cold deli". Where you get some meats or salads and such in little containers and pay ala carte. On the plus side, I got edamame-mushroom salad, mediterranean wheat salad, and an excellent cold salmon steak (filet?) that had been salted and lightly baked. On the down side, a cup each of the former two and a seven oz slice of salmon ran me about fourteen dollars. That's pretty rough for to-go food in plastic containers. Sarah's veggie-pesto panini was more affordable (five or six dollars) but they did screw up the order the first time. There is apparently a grilled cheese panini that sounds tasty. Taste wise, mind you, everything was good. Great even. Just, well, the above meals had a combined price tag of $24.95. Plan accordingly.
My take is that I am going to give it a week or two before going back and doing a longer shop. As of right now, I see them as an incidental, instead of a regular store [for me]. My heart is still more with Garden Cove, anyhow. But, well, they are at least worth giving a browse: juice-bar, salad-bar, soup-bar, cold-deli, and a sandwich/pizza counter on top of the produce, grocery, juices, teas and such. Sarah says they have an amazing cheese selection. I'll take her word for it ;).
UPDATE: Yes, to any eagle-eyed spotters. The original title of this entry misspelled Huntsville. That's awesome.
UPDATE: Some links that might interest you
Si Vales, Valeo
file under Huntsville, AL
and Tea [shops]