Keeping it Heathly with Country Organics
● By Melissa Gulden
Story by Melissa Gulden
Photos by Melinda Hunter
ORGANIC FOOD has become popular, but navigating the maze of labels and claims can be overwhelming and confusing. Is it really better for you? Do GMOs and pesticides cause cancer or diseases? What do all the labels mean?
First of all, the term “organic” refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. While the regulations may vary from country to country, in the United States, organic crops must be grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs) or petroleum-based fertilizers. Organic livestock raised for meat, eggs and dairy products must have access to the outdoors and be given organic feed. They may not be given antibiotics, growth hormones or any animal by-products.
So what does that mean for you? Well, how your food is raised or grown can have profound impact on your overall well-being. Organic foods have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally grown counterparts. And people with allergies to foods, chemicals or preservatives often find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic foods.
Organic food is more expensive because it’s more labor intensive, since the farmers do not use pesticides, chemical fertilizers or drugs. Organic certification is also expensive, and the feed for animals can cost twice as much. However, with all of these benefits, following an organic diet is a healthy way of life. And right here in the North State, a local grocer specializes in organic food.
Country Organics has been around for years, but it started as a Community Supported Agriculture food delivery service. Married couple Samuel and Leah Furey worked for the company, ultimately buying it in 2016. Demand for prepared food was increasing, so when they moved the store to its current location in Mission Square in Redding, the customers followed and the Fureys stopped the delivery service altogether.
The store is quaint: Picture a tiny version of Whole Foods, complete with local health and beauty products, a refrigerator case, bulk foods and bins of organic fruits and veggies. The Fureys support small vendors and local farmers as much as possible.
“We work with 40 different vendors and farmers from around the area and try to work with as many smaller companies as possible,” says Samuel.
They also focus on prepared foods. The deli is called The Cashew and serves food that is all organic, gluten-free and made from scratch. They also have a juice bar and serve Strawhouse Coffee, as well as Northbound Coffee (formerly brewed and served at Tops Market).
For Leah, it’s more than simply selling organic food – it’s providing for people. “Our goal is to help people meet their basic physical needs so that they are able to address other areas of their lives and well-being,” she says.
Their fondness for the community shows in all they do. Originally from the Midwest, their disdain for cold winters and love of Northern California brought them to this area and they’ve never looked back. “We both love the outdoors. Go an hour in any direction and it’s a completely different place,” Leah says. “This is the true Northern California.” Adds Samuel, “We are the pioneers in our families. I’m trying to get everyone else to move out here.”
They don’t seem to have to convince people to shop at Country Organics to buy fresh food, however. Leah knows there are a lot of misconceptions about organic food, but what she will say is this: “Organic food is fresher, so know that the fresher something is, the healthier it is for you,” she says. “Organic food won’t last as long, nor should it. But it has so many benefits.” •
Country Organics • 2745 Bechelli Lane, Redding