by Donna Byrd
Move over all of you organic markets in Surf City! There’s a new kid on the block! Wait…there are no other organic markets in Surf City, Sneads Ferry, North Topsail Beach or down south on the island in Topsail Beach. Finally, we have our own “back to nature”, organic market. Yes, that’s right, folks. We no longer have to drive all the way to Wilmington or Jacksonville to buy our organic products. Sisters Organic Market, at 330 N. New River Drive is now open for business.
I happened to be driving down the beach road heading toward Surf City one day last spring when I first noticed the new business as I was coming into town. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I noticed it was an organic market. Our area has been in need of this type of market for years. How fortunate we are to a finally have a place that supports clean eating and a healthier lifestyle!
My husband Bill and I stopped by Sisters Organic Market a few days ago. We parked our car in front of the spiffy, yellow and green building and just sat there a few moments, taking in the cheerful, sunny patio. There was a picnic table with benches with a happy, yellow umbrella over it offering shade. A few potted plants and hanging baskets added to the charm. Yet the thing that grabbed our attention were four or five large, painted rain barrels sitting around the front and edges of the building. They were amazing and seemed to have been painted by a local artist. Of course, I wanted one!
We went inside and met Tina and Elly. They were behind the counter and were very friendly and knowledgeable about everything in the store. We asked if they were the “sisters” in the name of the store. “Oh, no.” said Tina. “We’re not the sisters but one of them is usually here at night. The sisters are Michelle Wheeler and Cindy Holcomb.”
Since I didn’t get to meet the sisters, I did a quick “Google” research on “Sisters Organic Market” and found out that when Michelle’s mother-in-law became ill, she began searching for healthy food alternatives that could help heal and nourish her. The other sister, Cindy was a health care provider for the elderly and she too, needed better natural food sources to help those for whom she cared. In their search, the sisters realized that eating locally grown, organic foods and meats without preservatives and additives that were unnatural and chemically altered, was good for them too! They began to search for markets that carried these organic products but found that they were miles away from their homes or in large supermarkets that offered limited supplies, oftentimes scattered throughout the stores.
Finally, deciding to use an empty building Michelle and her husband owned in Surf City, Michelle and Cindy decided to go for it opened Sisters Organic Market in January, satisfying their need for natural, whole foods and our community’s also!
Looking around the store, I noticed that it was rustic but had that “urban” atmosphere that one would want to experience when stepping into a health foods store. It was compact, yet offered a total grocery shopping experience, ranging from baby products, organic dog food, meats, fruits, produce, coffee and more. It was a true grocery boutique!
After offering me a cup of complimentary cup of coffee (available to all customers,) I asked Elly to show me around a bit and tell me about the store’s wonderful products.
We started with the large selection of coffee beans, roasted locally in Hampstead at Quality Coffee. The beans were fresh and smelled wonderful. There was a big, red coffee grinder nearby where you could grind up a pound or more to your liking. I wish I could have had the time to take my cup out and enjoy it out on the patio under the big umbrella but it’s nice to shop with a cup of coffee in your hands. It feels homey!
Next to the coffee was a great selection of baby products made by the “Honest Company.” My daughter uses these products and swears by them but she orders hers on line. It made me glad to know that there was a local place we could buy them. Now I can stock up on them when she and the baby visit us.
I was surprised to see organic pet products because so many of the residents on the island and nearby mainland have dogs and cats. Bill and I are getting a Maltese puppy next week and now I know where I’ll be buying his food! Only the best for our little buddy.
Local skin care products by Bella Lynn Naturals (www.bellalynnnaturals.com) was also displayed near the counter. These products contain no parabens, mineral or petroleum oils and are made in Holly Ridge. There were also many vitamins and supplements that I myself have driven miles out of town to buy. Elly said that they also will order any product they don’t have on their shelves and will find it for you if you request it. That’s a wonderful perk that oftentimes only a boutique grocery can offer!
The other half of the store contained shelves of healthy snacks, organic canned foods, honey, nut butters, jams and jellies, plus many alternative cleaning and hygiene products.
I was very impressed with the meat selections. Elly said that they visit the local farms before they purchase meats from them to ensure that the animals are happy, loved, grass fed, free range and are given no non-gmo products to eat. The farms they buy from are from La Grange, Burgaw and Porter’s Neck. They carry beef, chicken, rabbit and lamb.
Elly also showed me individual meals made from “Clean Eatz” in Wilmington, N.C. These meals are made by a chef to give you a perfectly healthy, correctly portioned, balanced meal. They are made for people who are busy and don’t have time to think about shopping and cooking but still want to eat well. Each week they have a selection of meals delivered to the store for the freezer or refrigerator. They are reasonably priced and delicious. Elly loves them!
I also noticed nice deli meats and cheeses in the coolers, along with organic fruit juices. There was a good selection of grains and flours. Against the far wall were beautiful, locally grown fruits and vegetables. This time of year the selection was especially full and colorful!
Sisters Organic Market is open year round. Do yourself a favor and stop by 330 New River Drive, Surf City. They are open everyday from 10:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. If you’d like more information, check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SistersOrganic. Their phone number is 910-541-2223.