What Are You Selling Us: Mother’s Markets Part 1

Mothers Markets – where to begin… In my first article, I outlined how we had traversed the “natural” food market trail

Organic, certified organic. No ambiguity, nothing vague. Hey, Trader Joe's, take a hint.

Organic, certified organic. No ambiguity, nothing vague. Hey, Trader Joe’s, take a hint.

from Whole Foods to Trader Joe’s. I talked about how Whole Foods betrayed us when they caved to a Monsanto assault (lawsuit), and settled. Then I went on to report what I learned of Trader Joe’s while researching them, and how I would never shop there again. Now left without a health-conscious, natural grocer that actually cares about its customers and that I can trust, I have turned to Mother’s Markets to see how they fare. Even if we are not completely happy with what we have found, I figure that we’re still miles ahead of shopping at the two aforementioned grocers. Mother’s Markets is a California-based chain, and after visiting I really wanted to do a review on their stores.

And now for a bit of history…

Mother’s Markets, as it appears, was started by a group of family and friends who practiced yoga together. Here is an excerpt from their site that outlines the history of how Mother’s started:

History of Mother’s Market

In 1978 friends and family who practiced yoga together joined their resources and talent to start Mother’s Market & Kitchen, a natural foods market and restaurant. They wanted to provide the community with vegetarian foods and related lifestyle products that were not readily available at other stores. What began in 2,500 square feet in Costa Mesa has grown into 7 Southern California locations, serving over 50,000 people a week. The Huntington Beach store followed in 1984 and surf city has embraced what we do. Irvine, a developing community, was in need of a natural foods market and Mother’s answered the call in 1996. Four years later, the Laguna Woods Mother’s opened.

According to Manta.com, Mother’s Markets is a growing concern: “Categorized under Independent Grocery Stores. Our records show it was established in 1978 and incorporated in California. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $20 to 50 million and employs a staff of approximately 250 to 499” Although not on its way to becoming the mega-grocers that other chains have become, the slow growth is probably due to the fact that most people do not pay enough attention to their diets. Junk and processed foods that line the isles of most other stores are absent at Mother’s. It is stores like this that make a mockery of Albertson’s, with its 10 or so feet of “organic” foods on one side of one isle. More on that when I write the article for them. Our first experience with Mother’s Market was several years ago. Although we were impressed with the store and the vast selection of GMO-free, organic foods, one of the next things that jumped out at us were the prices – they are higher than Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and most other grocery stores. That said, the food selection is beyond compare. Although not a big store, because almost all the goods at Mother’s is organic and GMO-free, the experience in shopping there makes one feel as if the selections are much more complete. After shopping at many of the other stores, both healthy and otherwise, I can’t tell you what a relief it is to not have to worry about constantly reading the ingredients before I decide to buy something. We still read every label, but all of the food sold at Mother’s passes our litmus test: If you can’t pronounce it or grow it in your garden, they you can’t IMG_20140629_141954put it in your mouth.

Ahh, the juice bar…

Then you have the juice bar. The juice bar isn’t new. We’ve seen it in Whole Foods, too. The juice bar in Mother’s does have a really great selection of mixed juices and at reasonable prices. We always get the “Detox Shock”, which is comprised of apple, lemon, ginger, and a shot of wheatgrass.  Wow, talk about a boost in energy! We really love them and we have taken to making them at home, too. We grow our own wheatgrass, so it’s not too difficult. We do intend on trying the other blends when we go.

Juice bar

Juice bar

Veggies?

On our usual rounds we will stop by the juice bar, then head over to the vegetable isle. I can’t say enough about the labeling. They label everything, and everything says “organic” and “GMO-free”. There is nothing as good as shopping in a grocery store where you know that the owners are as tuned in to the poisons that are sold elsewhere, as you are. No Monsanto allowed here, and no Trader Joe’s-like ambiguity about the ingredients. We didn’t see anything with “Natural Flavors”, or any of the other garbage that is sold elsewhere. Funny how most of the other so-called healthy grocery stores capitalize when they have the term “Natural Flavors”. That’s because it is the name of an actual mixture of synthetic ingredients that have nothing to do with nature. Anyway, back to the veggies. Everything is really fresh. No strange smells or colors. The greens are really green and the other veggies look just like you would expect, only better. Then you have the little signs above everything proclaiming the goodness that lies below.

Breads…

After the veggie isle, we make our way to the breads. Lots of natural goodness there, too. We opted for the IMG_20140628_174747sprouted wheat bread which we had never tried before. Of course it was certified GMO-free and organic just like everything else. One pound nine ounces if bread goodness. Later when we tried it, it was great! The wife bought a small box of chocolate cookies off the end cap. Talk about proud of their product, she only got six cookies and the box cost $10! Oh well, the price of a healthy body.

Will we shop there again?

All and all we will shop at Mother’s again, and again and again. The comfort of knowing that the food there is good and the feeling that the company you are buying from respects you enough to tell you what they are putting into their products, is worth paying for. The stores are laid out well and the workers are really friendly, and then you have the juice bar. My thoughts are that you can pay for good food now, or you can pay for doctors and medicine later. Not sure about the next guy, but I’m not of a frame of mind that includes supporting Monsanto, big pharma, and grocery stores that refuse to sell good food and refuse to honestly even tell you what is in what they sell. For our money, Mother’s Markets is a best buy for our health-conscious dollar.

 

T.G. Peranteau

Writer, journalist. engineer. Now owns an ISP that caters to a limited clientele and centers around privacy and shielding clients from the prying eyes of both governments and hackers.