"The Heart of the Matter"

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Week: 527.4 Guest: Dianne Fasolina, Marketing Project Manager/ Fresh Fields Topic: Visiting a Healthy Foods Supermarket- One Part Host: Steve Girard Producer: Ed Graham

NEMA: Today, a visit to a healthy foods supermarket....Fresh Fields, to be exact. We're talking with Dianne Fasolina, the marketing project manager today. What makes this market different from the conventional one?

FASOLINA: There are many things that make this different...one, you can see the obvious, which is just the ambiance, the way the store has natural lighting, hardwood floors, there's a feeling that you could come in and really want to explore as well as shop and aside from the aesthetics, the most important thing is the selection, what we offer...everything being fresh, everything being natural, and the highest quality foods.

NEMA: Where do these foods come from, and does the existence of a place like this evidence that the organic farming movement is gaining strength and credibility?

FASOLINA: For a long time, you could only go to very limited places to get organic foods, maybe your local farm stand down the street or something like that....but more and more people are becoming aware about what they eat, what they want to eat, and what they don't want to eat, more importantly, including preservatives, additives, artificial colors and chemicals, these are things that we don't have. When more stores, like ourselves, open up, it gives more buying power for people in the industry. The farmers that were once restricted to only a little bit of crops can now produce more because the market's out there. People want these organic fruits and vegetables, and people who are raising hormone free, steroid free beef...these guys, their lots are growing, their herds are growing, its a good thing to see. Same thing with free range chicken, people really didn't pay much attention to those things, and now people prefer it.

NEMA: What terms, definitions should people coming into a natural or organic supermarket know?

FASOLINA: Well, the first thing you'll probably notice is the produce...I mean the produce is abundant, its beautiful and its fresh. And you're gonna see the orange signs that say organic'. Basically organic means that it has not been grown with any artificial pesticides or herbicides. you'll notice a difference...right there, you'll notice it in the color, and the texture and definitely in the taste. In terms of having things hormone and anti-biotic free, it means that the meats that we carry were not raised with them, they're grain and grass fed, they're not fed those combinations of feeds that so many people have been concerned about lately, and rightly so. And the same thing with the free range chickens, their not cooped up they're free to roam, which means you have less stress, the birds produce a better tasting meat because of that....and these are just the things that are indicative of, its almost the way that a farmer would've farmed a hundred years ago...he couldn't have gotten artificial colors and feeds for his animals, and this is what its about.

NEMA: Better quality...but higher prices....

FASOLINA: Well, um, I'd say maybe with the meats, slightly. But again, those are coming down as well. If you were to take a laundry list of your groceries and come in, item by item I think you'd be really surprised...you could get everything you wanted here and while there might be a slight difference in a few things, its not really gonna be that extreme.

NEMA: How do you find the companies that produce these healthy products?

FASOLINA: We search them out, sort of two fold...one, they search us out because these are people that have a product they believe in, which is gonna meet out parameters of what we want to carry. and also, we also send out buyers are on the road constantly, we constantly hunt for, and search and try to find the best of everything.

NEMA: I noticed some brand names on the shelves, is that a compromise?

FASOLINA: In one word, I'd say convenience. What we've found is that, while we know that we're offering 99% of the products that fit the parameters that we have...if we clearly marked one percent of our items as something we call crossover, meaning that they are going to contain some of the ingredients that we really don't prefer, we're going to do that as a convenience.

NEMA: Our thanks to Dianne Fasolina, who is a marketing project manager at Fresh Fields...a great store, and boy, the healthiest snack food aisle I've ever been in. I'm Steve Girard.

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Last modified: November 01, 2021