Earth Fare makes it easier to eat healthy in Cleveland

Tonight, I died and went to Earth Fare.

(via Earth Fare Cleveland's Facebook page)
You see, I fell in love with the natural food grocery chain when I lived briefly in Raleigh, NC, last winter. Their vast organic produce section, diverse bulk bins, stellar wine selection and Earth Fare-branded products won me over and I was heartbroken when I realized that there would be no Earth Fare when I moved to Cleveland in the spring.

Luckily for me, things change. Earth Fare opened their newest store in Fairview Park on Cleveland's west side today. They opened the store at 7:45am and I can't imagine what it must have been like. Unfortunately, I couldn't be there, so I decided to stop by in the evening on my way home.

(via Earth Fare Cleveland's Facebook page)
I wasn't the only one who had this brilliant idea. The parking lot was overflowing. The aisles were elbow-to-elbow. Children were yelling. Employees looked frazzled.

It looked like it was a great day.

Since I was already familiar with Earth Fare's fare, as it were, I took my time and observed one common reaction of my fellow shoppers over and over. People were poring over products they had never HEARD OF before, let alone seen in person. From the packaged seitan to vegan mayo to kamut pasta and on, I heard mostly amazement and joy as I nudged my way carefully down the aisles.

Of course, I came in with a grocery list myself. I had a number of items in mind that I wanted to pick up, but hadn't been able to locate anywhere else on the west side of Cleveland. I was able to get everything on my list - and then some. Stay tuned to future posts where I'll review a few special items that managed to fall into my shopping cart. In the meanwhile, check to see if there's an Earth Fare near you and if you haven't visited, take the time. Just think twice about going on opening day.

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Pick from these Holiday Gift Ideas and Nobody Gets Hurts

Cruelty-free holiday gifts aren't just for the vegans on your shopping list. Help make the world a better place, one purchase at a time, by choosing vegan items that are eco-friendly, affordable, and 100% animal-free.

1. The lovely folks at Vegan Cuts, home of the vegan daily deal, put together Holiday Shopping Guide in PDF format. It's got ideas for him, her, yourself, Mom, and even the dog. It's even got a few recipes for DIY  gifts, if you prefer to make your own holiday gifts rather than purchasing them.

2. Vegan Mainstream's 2011 Holiday Gift Guide is chock full of gift options and many of them carry a special discount for VM readers. Here are some of my favorites from the list:

Soft, fleecy hand-warmers from Xmittens in a variety of colors and styles (I have a pair of these and I <3 <3 <3 them!)

(via Xmittens)
Belt made from recycled coffee bean bags:

(via Etsy)
3. The list of Holiday Gift Ideas from Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe includes edibles, wearables, and other cool items to help the vegans on their list show their veg pride, like the ever-popular "vegan" cereal bowl:

(via Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe)
And cool vegan t-shirts from Herbivore Clothing:

(via Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe)
No matter what the culinary persuasion of the gift recipients on your list, consider shopping from one of these small businesses and support their efforts to make the world a slightly better place, one gift at a time.

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