Organic Raw Food Produce in Fort Worth Texas
When Jennifer Pittman moved to Forth Worth, Texas and discovered a lack of organic food providers, she decided to create her own source of raw food produce and products. Pittman started an organic co-op called Blueberry Market…
Beyond the Chains, Local Options Limited
by Amy Culbertson
Star-Telegram Food Editor
When it comes to organic options outside supermarkets and natural-foods markets, Fort Worth and environs aren't exactly overflowing with options. Where in other cities, farmers markets are primary sources for local organic produce, you won't find any organic farmers at the Cowtown Farmers Market, the group of local farmers selling produce on Wednesday and Saturday mornings at the Benbrook Traffic Circle.
Ben Walker, president of the North Central Texas Farmers Market Corp., which operates the Cowtown market, says his group has just one organic farmer, who sells only at the Grapevine Farmers Market. The dearth of organic-food providers was what motivated Jennifer Pittman to launch a fledgling organic and raw-food business from her home near Texas Christian University several months ago. Pittman had been running an "environmentally safe cleaning business" in Austin before she moved here and found the options for her goal of a raw-food diet suddenly limited.
Through her Blueberry Market Organic Rawfood business, Pittman brings in organic produce, seeds, grains, nuts and nut butters, oils, herbs, teas and skin-care products for pickup every two weeks. She gets most of her items from several national distributors but has recently added some produce from a local organic farmer. She's looking for a storefront to offer a retail location in the future and eventually would like to be involved in the growing end of the organic-food business. For now, however, her business is mostly e-mail. Pittman joins a short list of local organic co-ops that includes Monica Brown's Your Health Source co-op, probably the area's largest.
Your Health Source, which Brown started four years ago, provides organic groceries for about 825 families. Brown lives in Weatherford, but her co-op is based in downtown Fort Worth, from which groceries are delivered to a network of "host" sites — homes or small businesses — for pickup within a two-hour radius. At the host sites, members "sort the food and get it ready for the people to come pick up," Brown said. Each member family pays $25 to join and gets a basic box of fruits and vegetables — some weeks include local produce — every other week for $40. Members can order extra shares or whole cases of produce; many members split cases. Other groceries available for order include local pastured meats, eggs and dairy products, along with dry goods such as bulk grains, seeds, nuts and nut butters; local honey; and oils.
Members also have access to e-groups to discuss health issues and share recipes, and Brown does frequent cooking demonstrations at various sites. All the co-ops operate a little differently — some have fees to join; some require that their members work a certain number of hours sorting food or doing other tasks. But all buy in bulk to offer price advantages over retail outlets, and most deliver a basic box of produce at set intervals, usually every other week.
Fort Worth Raw Food Related Co-ops
TCU area of Fort Worth: Specializing in vegetarian, vegan and raw-food items. Every-two-week pickup; individual orders; no joining fee. www.blueberrymarket.com. e-mail: email@example.com
Aledo: Kristy Bell specializes in organic grains and mills. Also produce, grocery items, dry goods. Every-two-week pickup; pre-assembled produce box $25; individual orders and on-site sales. No joining fee or minimum order. (817) 441-7074.
South Fort Worth: Produce; frozen, refrigerated and dry goods; grain grinders and mills. Every-two-week pickup, produce box $20-$36 with a onetime $5 box deposit. No joining fee or minimum order. (817) 294-1873.
Your Health Source
Fort Worth: Produce, dry goods, groceries. Every-two-week delivery, produce box $40. $25 joining fee. (817) 793-3509; (888) 280-0494.