First, let me say that shopping locally and supporting local businesses is very important to me. As somewhat of a "self-stater" myself, I understand the extreme time, dedication and work that goes into running a small business.
Dean's Natural Food Market captures all of my favorite aspects to a small business: local produce, amazing staff, and ever evolving and expanding options!
So, when it comes to food and buying healthy, non-organic/GMO produce, I have two trains of thought.
1. How much would I like to invest in my produce
2. Where am I going to spend my money
I first started shopping at Deans about a year ago, at the start to my "health journey". See, as I've really started to learn about chemicals and genetically modifying produce, I decided investing in non-GMO and organic produce was important to me (however, I am not big on spending extra on "organic oreos", I simply don't have the budget!). When I go to deans, I know exactly what to expect: a small grocery store with local produce, a smiling staff AND a juice bar (OKAY YAY). As I've continued to shop at Deans, they've continued to expand their offerings. Cue their grab and go's and their hot bar; delicious.
Produce: local, local, local. There's something to be said for that. I know each time I pick up a watermelon from Dean's, it's going to be juice and fresh. Also, check out Dean's website to find out exactly what farms and local businesses are supported by Deans!
Vitamins: with what seems like a million vitamin options out there, and no FDA regulation on most of them, having someone in-stores to help you pick out the right vitamins for you is a HUGE benefit found at Deans. I found out I was low on Iron last winter and the in-store nutritionist was able to help me pick out a "blood builder" by Garden of Life that combined both my needed Iron level as well as other key vitamins and minerals that work well together in order to get the full effect of the Iron.
Juice Bar & Hot Bar & VEGAN options: Okay, I'm lumping all three of these together because this truly is the yummiest and most fun part of shopping at Dean's. Smoothies, both on the menu or that you can craft however your heart desires, juices (same deal as smoothies), smoothie bowls and coffee- it's my paradise to pick something up while I shop. Aside from the liquids, their grab and go selection ranges from the BEST GUAC I've ever had to vegan quesadillas or pasta salads. Finally, back to being local, Deans is the ONLY PLACE I've found thus far that has a TON of baked goods- cookies, cakes, cupcakes, from Star Seed Bakery out of Rockaway NJ. For a dairy free chick, this is heaven because my sweet tooth is HUGE.
So there we have it folks, don't walk but RUN to a Dean's nearest you, and hopefully their is because they're found in: Basking Ridge, Ocean Township, Chester and Shrewsbury NJ. Either way, Dean's is a gem and I hope you make your way over one day soon!