Native Roots Market in Norman, Oklahoma is one of my favorite stores. It’s not like your normal natural food store. Sure you will find your favorite organic products, bulk bins, and all of that wonderful stuff but you will find so much more. Native Roots is helping Oklahomans buy local products.
I got the chance to ask Sara Ann Kaplan one of the founders of Native Roots Market some questions about the store, here is what she said.
What is the motivation behind Native Roots Market?
Initially, when Matt & I were developing the idea for the store we were talking about opening up a tiny spice shop that sold really amazing spices that we would search the world to find the best & most exotic.
At about the same time (early 2006) we learned about the Oklahoma Food Co-op and started getting all of this amazing local food. And we kind of thought it was a no-brainer that this is what people should be eating. It’s fresher, tastes better and is better for our health and the health of the planet. So, our concept kind of expanded from there.
We honestly thought that the organic foods would be the draw and the Oklahoma goods would be just kind of a fun extra niche. But it’s worked out to be almost the complete opposite; people really come for the items made in Oklahoma and the organic foods just fill in the gaps, which is really cool.
What are some of the products you offer?
We like to say that we are a full service grocery store, so unlike other specialty foods stores we carry a little bit of everything.
We have local & organic fresh produce; locally raised buffalo, beef, pork, chicken and lamb; canned and jarred foods, fresh baked bread from 2 local bakeries; fair trade chocolates, coffees, and teas; bulk foods; spices by the ounce; local and organic dairy; farm-raised eggs; drinks; chips, cookies, cereals, green cleaning supplies & paper goods; organic health & beauty stuff, pet food…Really, a little bit of everything.
Why do you feel it’s important to have stores like yours?
I think stores like ours are important because people have really lost any connection to their food, where it comes from, how it’s raised. We try to keep our staff really educated on food issues so that when someone asks a question like “why don’t you have fresh strawberries” in February. Most people have no idea when things are supposed to be in season and are so used to getting anything from the big grocery stores at any time of year. But when they actually try a strawberry that is in season and not one of those massive industrial berries, they discover what a strawberry is actually supposed to taste like. And just promoting the idea of going back to the days where people actually prepare their own meals and that mealtime is about enjoying a moment with family and friends and shouldn’t be just about putting fuel into your body.
Do you have anything new coming up?
We are constantly adding new things to improve our selection for our customers, so there’s something new almost every week.
My favorite new product is the coconut ice cream from Luna & Larry’s. It’s vegan, soy-free, gluten-free and sweetened with agave nectar. The coconut makes it super creamy, it may be better than regular ice cream : ) Right now we only have vanilla and cherry amaretto, but we’re going to get more flavors very soon!