By Scott Barr, BA, BS, DTR
Family-run, locally-owned and operated, a familiar face behind the counter, a part-time job that feels like home away from home, and co-workers that feel like family; these coined terms are becoming hard to find in a world of online shopping and corporate conglomerates. From a customer’s perspective, it’s something special to support a business that was inspired by the American Dream.
A hidden gem that’s still family-run lies in the heart of Stark County. It was started by a husband and wife, in a converted house, just blocks away from its current location. Employed by the public school system, Don Caster and his wife, Paulette, worked tirelessly to turn their health-minded vision into a brick and mortar storefront. As the business took off, a nearby vacant building became available. The decision was made and Raisin Rack, a natural food grocer, has had a permanent home for 40 years.
Today, it has gone through numerous expansions, employed hundreds within the community and has felt like family for countless customers seeking a healthier lifestyle. Once a local pioneer of providing a healthier grocery store, its shelves still focus on organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo-friendly and vegan choices. The exclusively organic produce department is widely known for being in a class of its own. Invite a friend and enjoy a smoothie or juice directly from their produce section at the juice bar. Sit at the counter, admire the peaceful, trickling pond outside and be proud that you’re doing your body good.
Local purveyors, families and farmers are proud to sell their products at the store. Farmers of locally-raised and nurtured chickens sell their eggs in Raisin Rack’s dairy section. A made-from-scratch hot sauce by locals Dave and Toni Rorick, and a red pepper relish, by Rust Belt Pepper Co, are thrilled to see their product being sold at the store. From a vendor’s perspective, Dave Rorick believes that, “A family-run business feels personable, cultivates a great business relationship and hopes the tradition carries on.”
A creatively, crafted, nutrient-dense salad is an effective way to consume immune-boosting vitamins A, C, & E. Start your bountiful salad with dark-leafy greens and sliced carrots to provide vitamin C, while spinach leaves provide vitamin’s A & C. Oranges, and other citrus fruit, kiwi and red bell pepper continue adding vitamin C that experts say can shorten the duration of the common cold. Top off your salad with protein-packed sunflower seeds and almonds to include vitamin E into your diet. Almonds provide a great on-the-go snack between meals as a source of protein and fiber.
Collagen and the amino acid, Cystein, both found in chicken soup and its bone broth, are vital components in fighting a cold. Ingredients of garlic, ginger, and turmeric are backed by studies that show anti-inflammatory and possible cold-fighting properties.
Teresa Cutter, author of The Healthy Chef cookbook, offers this fantastic chicken-soup recipe.
- 2 pounds organic chicken thighs
- 6 pints filtered water
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 onions, peeled and quartered
- 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 tablespoon finely grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons fresh grated turmeric
- 6 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons wheat-free Tamari soy sauce
- Sea salt to taste if required
- Place the chicken thighs, carrots, onion and celery in a large pot and cover with cold water; you will need approximately 6 pints of water
- Bring water to a boil and reduce the heat
- Add the ginger, garlic and turmeric
- Cover the pot slightly and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours on a gentle heat until the meat is tender and broth is flavorful
- Add the spring onions and Tamari soy sauce and then adjust the seasoning if required by adding a little sea salt and pepper
- Strain the broth and remove the meat and shred into smaller pieces
- Discard the vegetables
- Serve the broth with pieces of organic chicken and any other vegetables you choose.
- Add the shredded chicken, then pour over the hot chicken broth
- Garnish with extra spring onions or a little parsley and enjoy
Would you love to start the year off with a new you? Did you know that exercise isn’t half the battle in living a healthier lifestyle? Studies show that what we put into our bodies is the bullseye we’re missing the most. Search for grub to chow on during the big game that won’t spoil your diet. Make time to prepare for the week ahead. Scour the pantry and discard food items that are delaying your progress. Simple snack recipes like the following Avocado-Salsa Dip will leave you feeling full, yet guilt-free.
- 2 whole avocados
- Chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup red onions
- 1/2 jar salsa
- Sprinkle of Redmond Real Salt (available at Raisin Rack)
- Black beans, corn, Jalapeno peppers
- Cut both avocados and dispose of the large seed inside of each fruit
- Mash with a spoon in a bowl
- Add cilantro, red onions and sea salt
- Combine with your choice of salsa
Healthy fat in the avocados and fiber in the black beans are a surefire way to curb any appetite.
Raisin Rack has an arsenal of answers to support weight loss goals. Its crème de la crème is Garden of Life’s Raw Fit Protein Powder. Dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan, this plant protein is packed with the herb Ashwaganda and green coffee bean extract to support healthy cortisol levels and blood sugar levels. Supplement staff at Raisin Rack have bragging rights regarding the education and experience in their repertoire. It’s a breath of fresh air to notice the same employees at each visit. It transcends a feeling of family, honesty and integrity. Their “product” is the service of selling to each specific customer what rightly suits their needs.
Raisin Rack Natural Foods