by: RITA A. LEONARD - Rebecca Andersson, founder of Brooklyn's new organic grocery store, indicates some of the many products on hand.The Warehouse Cafe & Market, at 3434 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue in the Brooklyn neighborhood, opened a community-owned organic grocery store on November 18.

“Know Thy Food”, which started out as a bulk food buying club, has transformed into a grocery store which focuses on farm-direct organic produce, juices, meats, dairy, bulk and baking supplies, cooking oils, snacks, condiments, and beer and wine.

Owner-Coordinator Rebecca Andersson commented to THE BEE that the business is currently a “work in progress” to determine what products are locally available, and what items shoppers want. A comment box is located at the end of the checkout counter to elicit suggestions and desired products.

“We’re always looking for new connections with farmers who organically grow fruits and vegetables, as well as purveyors of other sustainable products,” she said. “Many of our fruits and vegetables come from Sauvie Island, and our chestnuts come from Hood River. We’re working on becoming a community-owned grocery, and we still have our on-line catalog.

“Our Grand Opening was so well-attended, it really blew my mind,” she continued. “Some items – like eggs, dairy (goat and cow’s milk), and our 30 different wines – are going fast. We’re still buying display cases, and recently contacted a local baker to add to our product lines.

“We just got beer and cider on tap, and we are planning to carry organic liquid soap for refillable containers. Locally-made sauerkraut, pickles, honey, and soap are sold here, and Lion Heart Kombucha is brewed right on the premises.”

Know Thy Food continues to expand into The Warehouse and coffee shop area. “Free Geek granted us computer hardware for our checkout system, as a ‘social change’ organization,” revealed Andersson. “We accept food stamps, and offer memberships at 50% off to low-income families. Our checkout counter is made from wood reclaimed from a bowling alley, and we invest in other sustainable products, such as reusable kids' metal lunch boxes, and ‘Cuppow’ lids that convert Mason jars into a sip cup.

“Not all of our products are certified ‘organic’, but we do favor those that are produced by organic methods. There are ‘transitional’ products. For instance, in order to cater to gluten-free cooking, we sell coconut flour, which is processed locally, although not grown locally. We also carry natural almond flour, and other flours for cooking. Our bulk pasta, beans, and brown flax are locally grown, and in our ‘breakfast’ section, the eggs and honey are all organic, while roasted coffee, camelina oil, and organic granola are all local products. We also carry bulk nuts, seeds and dried fruits.”

Know Thy Food is open every day from 8 am till 8 pm. Meats in the meat case include chicken, beef, salmon, lamb, steak, sausages, bones, as well as seasonal food, such as turkey. A wheeled pushcart out in front displays seasonal produce, and a bright yellow “Organic Produce” flag welcomes shoppers.

“We have considerably more products available online at:” says Andersson. “Call me at 503/544-5196 with questions, or call the Cafe at 503/206-5766. It’s a great place to come for your morning coffee, and an interesting place to browse.”

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