New ‘Buy Local’ Food Store Opens in Edgewater
Sara Calhoun and her family feel strongly about the buy local movement. The Calhoun family runs Ivy Neck Farm on Cumberstone Road in Edgewater. There they raise organic summer and winter crops as well as hormone-free beef.
Sara just opened Restoration Foods, a natural foods store next to Kalas Funeral Home on Route 2 in Edgewater.
In the path from farm to table, there is usually someone in the middle. With corporate grocers, there may be several people in the middle, including people who handle transit, buying, distribution and stocking.
With Restoration Foods, Calhoun is the middle man. And the farmer. And the grocer. She will both sell her own crops and buy from others (locally) that have products to sell.
“The farthest we go is outside of Baltimore,” Calhoun said.
She stocks shelf-stable foods like local honey and maple syrup. In the refrigerated section are local cheeses, eggs, butter, milk, yogurt and produce.
In the freezer, Calhoun carries locally raised beef and fish.
“We keep it frozen so that it doesn’t spoil,” she said.
Calhoun said that when she says local, she really means local. Her produce is from Edgewater. She is selling honey from Davidsonville and shaving cream made in Bay Ridge. She is starting slow, building her inventory with good products.
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Sarah and her brother Allen have also run the Galesville Square Dances for the past few years. At the dances, they brought in local musicians who have a taste for learning and playing American folk music—the kind of music played by ear. Most of the songs have never had written notes, and were just passed down from one fiddle player to the next.
This intense interest in the heritage of local people fits well with the opening of Calhoun’s store. Although it is modern and air-conditioned inside, the idea of buying fresh foods locally was not a foreign concept a generation or two ago.
Calhoun said that she got the space for the market last November. But, she said it took time to research the business model and get items to stock on store shelves.
Anyone can shop at the store, although there are co-op memberships available, where people buy a six-month or year-long debit card and then get a percentage bonus added onto the card value. It is a way to get people to make an investment in the business without going public or giving out shares.
Here are some of the reasons that Calhoun started the store. She wanted to:
- Combine the convenience of a market with the freshness of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription.
- Increase percentage of revenue to farmers in a market setting.
- Reduce distance and other waste between farm and fork.
- Create a revenue stream for local school and community gardens.
- Promote the rapid increase in locally available foods.
Other items for sale in the store include “Fair Trade” wood and fiber products (games, art, clothing). Here is the list of items and events that Calhoun either has or hopes to bring to the store:
- Fruit & Vegetables
- Meat and Seafood; Prepared and Frozen Foods
- Bulk Foods and Spices
- Health and Beauty
- Household and Office Essentials
- Art and Functional Crafts
- Toys and Gifts
- Books and Magazines
- Eco Resale
- Gardening Supplies
- Beekeeping Supplies and support
- Seasonal Specials
- Cooking Classes
- Farm to Fork Meals
- Movie Nights and Lectures
- Openings and Tastings