Terra Health & Wellness Market in Independence has signed on as a Carrot Gold partner. The specialty food store is recognized for excellence in local purchasing, sustainable operating policies and healthy choices.
The market is owned by Lori Perry, an Independence woman who wanted to fill a need in the community after the neighborhood health food store was sold to a national chain.
Razor thin industry margins and more organic produce being sold even in mainstream markets mean Terra staff need to work extra hard to keep the store competitive.
To set the store apart, Terra staff offers as much local food in the widest varieties possible. Everything in the produce department is USDA Certified Organic or carries the organically grown label. Often, the latter is more impressive because some of the methods those farmers employ exceed the USDA’s qualifications.
“We won’t buy or sell anything conventional out of produce department,” said produce manager Denise Vansickle, “You won’t find artificial colors or flavors, and we don’t knowingly stock products made from genetically modified ingredients.”
The lack of labeling laws make it impossible to know for sure, and this is where local farms give her (and the rest of us) an advantage. When you know your farmers, and visit their farms, you can see for yourself exactly how things are grown and handled during and after harvest.
To cut down on food waste, Terra donates surplus produce to charities. Whatever is not edible or appetizing to humans is collected by different farmers each day and is used to feed chickens or make compost.