The OKC community collectively passed a brick when Whole Foods announced they were building a store here; getting a Whole foods or an IKEA is apparently the 21st century version of having the railroad come through your town. Granola eaters all over the Metropolitan Statistical Area rejoiced. “Now my friends can visit from Austin!”
I’m not going to talk smack on Whole Foods. I like paying 7 bucks a pound for imported beef as much as the next guy. The multi-story Whole Foods in Denver is one of the most beautifully surreal, cognitive dissonance inducing things I’ve ever seen- a huge, ultra modern, consumerist temple to things that are warm, traditional, and rustic. I’m a foodie, and I’ll probably get stuff there when it opens. There are things you just can’t get at Buy 4 Less.
All that being true, my first loyalty is to the local community. If I had my druthers, we would be all a-twitter about Native Roots Market. Native Roots is on Main Street in Norman and has been there since 2006. Along with Forward Foods, Cresent Market, El Mariachi, and Super Cao Nguyen, it’s one of the standout specialty grocers in the metro.
What makes Native Roots special is it’s local focus. If you want to “shop local, eat local” this is a good place to start. Oklahoma is a farm state. Thanks to glaciers pushing huge amounts of topsoil down the center of North America in the last ice age, the great plains is the most fertile and productive farming region in the world. That’s why it’s kind of obscene that it’s so hard to find locally grown produce here. We feed the world, we should be able to feed ourselves. Native Roots has relationships with dozens of local farmers and has a ton of local, seasonal produce.
They also have locally raised meat; as a carnivore and a coinisseur, I can attest to the fact that you can taste the difference between factory cow and natural cow, and bison is one of my favorite meats of all time. It’s awesome. You don’t need to have culinary training to make food that tastes amazing; the ingredients do most of the work. Get quality stuff, and it’s hard to go wrong. I only hope that they follow in the footsteps of norman neighbor Forward Foods and open a branch in OKC proper. Pretty please?
Native Roots Market is in Downtown Norman, at 132 West Main St. on the SE Corner of Main & Santa Fe. Call them at 405.310.6300. Their hours from Monday to Friday are 9am to 9pm, Saturdays 9am to 7pm, and Sundays 11am to 7pm.
(c) Kristina Gaines and Colin Newman All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce photos without Kristina’s permission.