BEST NATURAL FOODS GROCERY - 2003
These intimate neighborhood co-ops are for those who like to shop as much as they like to cook. First of all, you can get what you need without endless (and hopeless) wandering. Here merchandise is arranged not to seduce or awe, but to help you get what you need and move on. You can buy major staples--from brown rice and chocolate chips to laundry soap and cat food--in bulk, saving money and useless packaging. The real reason we shop these co-ops, however, is the staff. They know their stuff. Ask the produce manager where the apple comes from and she can name the farmer and orchard. Ask the meat guy about free-range versus grain-fed, and he'll rattle off omega-3s like basketball scores. Ask at the information desk for help with a gluten-free recipe, and the clerk will lead you through the store, helping to read labels. It's the friendly neighborhood market, squared.