organic: produce grown without conventional pesticides, artificial fertilizers, human waste, or sewage sludge, and processed without ionizing radiation or food additives; animals reared without antibiotics and growth hormones (Wikipedia)

local food: a “collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies – one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution, and consumption is integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place” (Wikipedia)

If you’re shopping for organic or local food, any farmers market or grocery store is a great place to start. But my recommendation is The Fresh Market — an innovative grocery store modeled after a small European market. The low-lighting, open layout and friendly, accessible staff create a most pleasant shopping experience.

Yet, it’s the variety of fresh products that really make this store a stand out. District Manager John Craven said at least 10 percent of Fresh Market’s products are organic. And the store definitely makes an effort to label it’s food. You’ll find signs that read grown locally, organic or conventional; organic is written on packaged items, and some foods like apples have small individual labels on each fruit. In addition to a great selection of food you will find other special items, like a fabulous assortment of well-priced flowers or a delicious collection of tasty wines.

Chapel Hill residents can find a newly opened store on 1200-A Raleigh Road, just down the street from campus where South Road becomes Raleigh Road in Glenwood Square.

When you step through the doors you’ll find yourself browsing and taking a little more time then usual. Your weekly visit to the grocery store may just become something you look forward to.

By Nora Jorgensen