We have been doing the Real Food Challenge: 14 Week Challenge. The challenge for week 11 is to eat local. I am a big support of supporting local businesses. The Eat Local challenge inspired me to compile a list of favorite local business in Gainesville. Not all of the business are local but I recommend and support all of them. The selection guideline for this list is simple businesses I recommend to newcomers or wished someone had recommended to us.
#10: Adam’s Rib Co. — We have been going to Adam’s Rib since shortly after they opened in 2005. They are one of our favorite breakfast spots.
#9: Blue Highway Pizza — Blue Highway is my favorite local pizza place. They have three locations: the original in Micanopy, Town of Tioga Center and a new one in Ocala. They a selection of unique pizzas as well as custom pizzas. I like how everything is fresh.
#8: Dolce Vita Bakery — Locally owned bakery that serves breakfast and lunch. My personal favorites are the croissants and the pistachio muffins. On Saturdays they also have cinnamon sugar cronuts. A cronut is a doughnut made from croissant dough, fried and rolled in cinnamon sugar.
#7: Hair Hunters — It can be hard to find someone who knows how to handle naturally curly hair. Last year in desperation to find someone who could give me a decent hair cut posted on my Facebook status asking for suggestions. Several friends recommended trying Hair Hunters and especially Kris (ask for the chic, there is or was a guy Chris). The first thing I noticed about Kris (spelling might be wrong) was that she has naturally curly hair too. She didn’t try to force any weird haircuts on me. They do take walk-ins but I recommend getting an appointment.
#6: Yo3Metro Frozen Yogurt — Yo3Metro is a self-serve yogurt place. They are allergy friendly, they are just friendly. If you don’t see a flavor or topping you want ask, it may just be there next time. Be sure to like them on Facebook to find out about the weekly flavors and other events.
#5: Citizens Co-Op — Located on South Main Citizens Co-op is open to everyone but members get a discount. They have a good selection of bulk items: spices, flours, teas, etc.
#4: Alachua County Farmers’ Market — We have been shopping at the Alachua County Farmers’ Market (Corner of 34th & 441) since shortly after moving to Gainesville. We like to eat locally as much as possible. It can be a great budget helper. Gainesville has a long growing season so the Farmers’ Market runs year round.
#3: Graham Farms — We have been members of the Graham Farms CSA since 2011. We met Marvin and Kathy through their booth at the County Farmers’ Market in 2003. What makes their CSA distinctive is flexibility and cost. How it works: You have a pre-paid account ($100 buy-in) that can be spent on anything they have produce, plants, jams, meat, etc and the balance is good for a year. They make an awesome Blueberry Jam.
#2: Ward’s Supermarket — Ward’s is Gainesville’s only locally owned and operated market. Ward’s is a family business and has been since 1951. They feature locally grown produce, meat, baked goods and other items. They have good selection of organic items. Their prices are very reasonable and customer service is outstanding. We discovered Ward’s shortly after moving to Gainesville in 2003. The Big Guy likes their meat selection. I really like the bulk food section, produce and plants.
#1: Newberry Road Imports — A good mechanic is hard to find. We were fortunate to discover Phat Phu and his guys. Unfortunately, it was after having problems with one of those tire and lube type places. While Phat specializes in Japanese cars his crew can work on anything. Phat takes time to listen to his customers and give feedback.