EATS & DRINKS

Ozark Natural Foods

380 N. College Ave., Fayetteville | (479) 521-7558 | www.onf.coop

By Case Dighero | Photos by Sydney Henjum, Ozark Natural Foods

I am embarrassed to admit how long it took me to become a member of the Ozark Natural Foods Co-op in Fayetteville. I have been a customer for years, and I support and champion everything the community-owned grocery store stands for – especially its mantra of supporting “fresh, responsibly grown food along with local farmers, growers and makers… and bringing together our community through a love of food that’s good for us and our planet.”  

 

When I finally became a member, it was painless and simple. I registered on the website and checked in at the service desk the following day while I was there. The woman at the front thanked me for becoming a member. She smiled behind her mask as she handed me my very own membership card, saying, “See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?”

 

Ozark Natural Foods has been around since 1971. It started with an idea that evolved into a group who “bought-in” to the co-op concept for a $5 lifetime membership. The paradigm continued its evolution through healthy membership growth and several location changes. The existing store opened in 2020 on the corner of W. Lafayette Street and College Avenue in Fayetteville.

 

The new location is a community triumph, boasting a sleek design nestled against welcoming accessibility. Although the pandemic has been devastating, seeing the safe, well-spaced outdoor area — which is buzzing with patrons each time I stop by — has been an indicator of how conscientious and connected our community is.

 

On chilly days, I find the indoor seating area at ONF a safe, comfortable place to escape to when I need a break from working at home. The taproom has plexiglass barriers and respectful staff members who are masked and gloved – making it a perfect place to plug in for a couple hours. The co-op’s prepared food is a thing of beauty, conveniently merchandised as grab-and-go and offering silos of sandwiches, wraps, salads, sushi and healthy snacks. In addition, it offers hot items such as burritos, samosas and slices of pizza.

 

The delicious and healthy food at ONF rivals that of any high-quality chain store and exceeds expectations. Its commitment to using the best and most local ingredients elevates its food. Who doesn’t love the idea of eating something that comes from our own community? It is sustainability in its purest form.

 

If you are like me, and you’ve put off becoming a member of the co-op, then you should become a member today – or the next time you visit! You might just be surprised by how easy it is to support something both meaningful and delicious.

 

The following healthy living recipes are courtesy of Ozark Natural Foods’ culinary team. You can stop by the co-op for a sample or try whipping these up from the comfort of your home:

 

ASPARAGUS SALAD         

                                                                                               

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound asparagus, rinsed and trimmed

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 3 ounces prosciutto 

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 3 or 4 handfuls fresh organic greens

  • 3 radishes, thinly sliced

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Mustard Vinaigrette (see following recipe for instructions)

  • Shavings of Parmesan cheese

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced in half 

 

Instructions:

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss the asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay asparagus out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drape prosciutto over asparagus and roast for 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove from oven and remove prosciutto to another plate and let cool. Cut prosciutto into one-thirds once cool.

 

Next, in a large and shallow bowl, add the greens. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of dressing and lightly toss to coat the greens. Lay roasted asparagus on top of the greens. Add the sliced radishes. Drizzle more vinaigrette over the top. Lastly, add shavings of Parmesan cheese, prosciutto and crumbed egg yolks.

 

MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE  

                                                                                   

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoon red wine, champagne or white vinegar

  • 1/4 cup fresh minced parsley

  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced dill

  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced or grated 

  • 2 teaspoons honey

  • ½ tsp. kosher salt, or to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

 

Instructions:

 

In a bowl, add the mustard, vinegar, parsley, dill, garlic, brown sugar salt and pepper. Whisk together. While constantly whisking, slowly start streaming in the olive oil. Add to the salad and enjoy.

PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE    

                                               

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided

  • 1 1/2 cups diced pineapple

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced 

  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced

  • 3 green onions, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 

  • 1/2 cup cashews, diced

  • 2 cups cooked and chilled Ralston white rice 

  • 2 eggs, beaten with a dash of salt

  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce

  • 1 lime, halved 

  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish  

 

Instructions:

 

Heat a large wok or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to the pan and add the pineapple, red pepper and carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3 to 4 minutes. The pineapple should be slightly caramelized on the edges. Next, add in the green onions and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Next, add in the cashews. Add in the rest of the oil and then the rice. 

 

Stir to combine, and then spread rice out so that the majority of the rice is touching the hot pan. Press down and let cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Using a spatula, move rice around and repeat pressing it down and letting it cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat this two more times. 

 

Next, move everything to the sides so you have a well in the middle. Add in the eggs and let them cook for 30 seconds. Then, slowly start incorporating the rice into the eggs. Mix everything thoroughly. Add in the tamari and sriracha sauce; stir to combine. Remove from heat and serve with lime wedges and cilantro. 

Case Dighero is a culinary and cultural influencer, and contributing food editor for Citiscapes, working and residing in Northwest Arkansas for more than 20 years. Join Case for interactive cooking lessons as he guides participants through these recipes and more ! This virtual experience includes a Zoom link as well as recipes and locations to purchase ingredients. Visit www.edibleculture.net to learn more.

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