BEST NATURAL GROCER IN A NON-GRANOLA NEIGHBORHOOD - 2006
Lakewinds Natural Foods
For people living out in the 'burbs, it's not always easy to find grocery stores that cater to special dietary needs. Though most of the Cub Foods and Rainbows around town have natural or healthy-living sections quarantined off from the normal processed items and pesticide-sprayed produce, variety can be pretty grim, and unless you want to pay $8 for a tub of rBGH-free cottage cheese, you're out of luck. But really, why should you have to pay an arm and a leg for hormone-free dairy products? Or feel around a wilted organic produce section in search of a non-squishy avocado? Well, if you're lucky enough to live out in Minnetonka, Anoka, or Chanhassen you don't have to. Wander down the aisles, and you'll be treated to artisan cheeses (and cheese substitutes like almond, soy, and rice cheese), not one but several brands of organic fair-trade coffee, peanut-free peanut butter, grapes the size of meatballs, and a whole section dedicated to special varieties of pizzas made without things like dairy cheese or flour. In the deli you'll find things like store-made mango salsa, sun-dried tomato hummus, and tabouli salad. Or wander over to the seafood and meat section and on any given day (depending on availability and freshness), and you may find elk, venison, buffalo, or sea scallops along with free-range chicken and organic beef. And as many a natural-grocery shopper can attest, the quality and quantity of bulk items available is often a barometer of the quality of a natural-foods grocer as a whole. Rest assured, Lakewinds does not disappoint—flour, spreads, cleaning products, pet foods, and candy are just some of many bulk-item bins you'll find throughout the store. Some locations even offer online shopping (Chanhassen and Minnetonka), plus a variety of classes on food and health are available throughout the year.