Grocery Shopping Week 7: Harmony Farms

>> Sunday, November 2, 2008

Harmony Farms scores: Since this is another locally owned grocery store, it gets an A from both Better World Shopper and Co-Op America's Responsible Shopper.

Distance from my apartment: 10.1 mi (20 minutes)

This grocery shopping trip was a little different because I could tell as soon as I walked into the store that it wasn't a good place to do your weekly shopping with three kids in tow. The store is very small and cramped, and it has those miniature shopping carts that topple over if one of your kids hangs on the side of the cart (true story, and luckily Third Son was not sitting in the cart at the time). Also, my boys were being particularly awful that day, so a quick trip around the store was all I had time for.

On the other hand, Harmony Farms is a great place to shop if you live in the area and can pop in frequently to pick up a few things, or if you can do your shopping alone, or if you have freakily well-behaved children. The food selection there was small and a bit pricey, but if you're not picky about brands, you'd be able to find pretty much everything you need. Also, they have a huge section of all-natural health and beauty supplies, essential oils, and supplements.

I emailed Harmony Farms and asked them a few other questions. Here are their answers:

  • Who owns Harmony Farms and why did he/she decide to open a natural foods store in Raleigh?
    • Nancy and Steve Long purchased Harmony Farms roughly three years ago. The store itself has been open for almost thirty years. Nancy is a Naturopathic Doctor, and Steve a Reiki Master. They decided to purchase the store because of their passion and commitment to educating others about a natural lifestyle.
  • What does your store specialize in? (ie, are you more of a health foods store or more like a small grocery store?)
    • Our store specializes in ALL organic produce (which is as often as possible local), wheat and gluten free products, supplements, cruelty/chemical free cosmetics, and natural grocery items.
  • Do you carry any local products?
    • As often as possible, the produce is local. Also, we are the only local retailers carrying local organic beef.
  • I am looking to decrease the amount of packaging I buy, and I noticed you have a very tiny bulk foods section. Could I bring in my own containers, or must I use the plastic bags?
    • Yes, you are more than welcome to bring in any container of your choice to fill with our bulk products. We will simply weigh your container and subtract that weight from your total purchase.
  • Have you considered expanding your bulk foods section?
    • We would be more than happy to accommodate any sort of special request you have for bulk products. We specialize in customer driven and special orders at no extra cost to you. If we can find it, we can order it. Please let us know of any product we are lacking that you simply must have. (Note that their website states that they offer a discount if you order a case.)
I was impressed that they responded to my email, and in such a friendly and descriptive manner. Who at a big chain grocery store is going to do that? It's that nice touch of customer service that will bring me back to their store, but next time I'll go without my kids.

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