South Charlotte

The arrival of Earth Fare to Rock Hill is heavenly

Food lovers are celebrating in Rock Hill. Earth Fare is open on the corner of Cherry Road and Charlotte Avenue.

I'm celebrating having milk in glass bottles. Whether cream-top or homogenized (you have a choice), milk stored in glass just tastes fresher than in plastic or paper.

Glass is impervious to all those taints that spoil the lovely milk flavor. When you look at the price, realize that it includes a $2 deposit that you will receive back when you return the bottle.

Asheville-based Earth Fare is adamant about supporting the community. Local growers dedicated to organic methods now have an outlet for their products. You can buy pork from Grateful Growers Farm in Denver, N.C., in the deli as pulled pork barbecue, in the prepared meat case as bulk sausage, as well as in the meat department.

I bought some delicious local corn and S.C. peaches. Charlotte's Nova Bakery products are available in the bread aisle.

You can make your own fresh peanut and almond butters in Rock Hill. I'm excited to find bulk grains, nuts and flours available. For years, I've gone to Charlotte for these purchases.

I have to admit that the cheese department is my particular favorite. I love to find a cheese I've never tried, and I really enjoyed meeting some of the cheese producers at the grand opening. My son has a new favorite cheese: Heini's yogurt cultured cheese.

The flavor is similar to Monterey Jack, his previous favorite, but a little more subtle and interesting.

It also contains live yogurt cultures, the benefits of which we've been hearing so much recently. I have fallen in love with Cypress Grove's Midnight Moon aged goat cheese. It reminds me of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

I bought Maya Kaimal Indian Coconut Curry sauce in the cheese department cold case, a boneless chicken breast from the meat department, a Vidalia onion, a couple of potatoes and some basmati rice. When I got home, I cubed the onion and put it in a saucepan with a little olive oil. I peeled and cubed the potatoes and cubed the chicken.

When the onion was wilted, I added the potatoes, chicken and curry sauce. I cooked the basmati rice and simmered the curry for about 45 minutes, until the potatoes were very tender. The curry was delicious and so simple to make at the end of a long day. I will be going back to try other Indian sauces from Maya Kaimal.

Earth Fare is also for those who don't like cooking. There's a café area inside with a microwave, as well as a patio. Choose from the salad bar or hot food bar for $7.95 per pound or go to the deli and build a plate.

There's also pizza by the slice, sandwiches or sushi. Four hot soups are available daily, plus others can be purchased cold and reheated.

The coffee bar offers smoothies, tea and coffee drinks. And we haven't gotten to the bakery case. Eat at the store, or take it home, but you will enjoy the new variety of foods available.

Beginning later this month, a credit of 5 cents will be given at the checkout for every bag you reuse. Earth Fare will also donate 5 cents to local art groups for every bag reused.

If you need to use new bags, there will be a 5-cent charge for each. The money collected will be used to purchase “green credits” to offset the cost to the environment of producing the bag.