Chef Silvio Guzzo talks about the many cold and hot options available at Healthfair Natural and Organic Food Market, including the grab-and-go sandwiches below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By SUSAN ERICSON
If bean sprouts and granola are all that comes to mind when you think about health food, then perhaps you haven’t been to Healthfair Natural and Organic Food Market in Little Silver lately.
A bigger-than-expected market on Branch Avenue near the Little Silver train station, Healthfair also offers a daily hot food bar, a cold salad bar, a juice bar and an organic coffee station.
On a recent weekday, right before lunch hour, the considerable parking lot was packed. Inside, customers were grabbing groceries as well as house-made meals to go.
A customer ladles out a container of hot tomato soup, one of four daily options. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
“Monday through Friday, the lunch crowd comes in from the offices in Red Bank and neighboring towns,” manager Jessica Boyle tells PieHole.
Many shoppers availed themselves of the hot bar, which offers 18 items everyday, as many as 16 of them vegetarian. The others might be organic meat or chicken entrees.
The line-caught fish in the tuna salad has capers in it; the dilled tofu salad rivals any good egg salad; and the chicken salad is popular too, says Boyle.
Chef Silvio Guzzo says everything is made in-house – not in a distribution center, like some other, larger markets.
“Everything we make is organic,” he adds. “We do gluten-free and dairy-free.” Baked goods come straight out of Healthfair’s kitchen.
Both food bars cost $10.99 per pound, and there are helpful, user-friendly codes posted to indicate which dishes are vegan, vegetarian, and whether they contain wheat or dairy.
Of course, you’ll also find fresh produce, a plethora of specialty gourmet items, local honey, and a wall of dry-bin ingredients such as beans and nuts here. There is also a juice bar offering an extensive menu of healthy choices.
Healthfair’s hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, but the food bars close at about 5 p.m.