Farm Fare Market
It takes less than five minutes of conversation with Nicole Cormier to be convinced of her passion about local, organic foods. Perusing the shelves of Farm Fare Market, the store in Sandwich under her tutelage, you soon realize that she puts a major emphasis on sourcing environmentally friendly, artisanal products. After about 30 minutes, during which you’ve heard her converse with customers about the nutritional benefits of a plant-based diet, and observed the shelf full of healthy lifestyle cookbooks with titles like The Everything Guide to Nutrition and The $5 a Meal College Vegetarian Cookbook, you wonder how she has absorbed so much knowledge and created such output in her mere 30 years.
Nicole is a registered Dietitian, an author, blogger, host of a weekly food radio show called radio Brunch, budding documentarian, and a farmer-in-training (she and her fiance Jim Lough have a traditional—no pesticides, no chemicals, but not certified organic—farm called Backyard Gardens in Buzzards Bay). Her Farm Fare Market, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary, is chock full of organic bulk foods such as nuts, dried fruit and seeds; small-batch locally-produced items like jam, gluten free granola and honey; and cool items like nubby gloves for scrubbing dirt from garden vegetables. On Thursday and Friday afternoons she sells cold-pressed juices sold in mason jars ($6.50 for 12 ounces) that she makes with recipes from a new book she is working on called Drink This, Feel Better. Today’s juice is a blend of carrot, apple, pineapple, cucumber, beet and ginger and it is particularly popular with her regular customers.
Since launching Farm Fare Market last year, Nicole says she has transitioned her store to being a more ecologically friendly business, sourcing bulk foods that have less packaging, and seeking out hard to-find organic foods. She likes to meet and support other likeminded young local entrepreneurs. Thus, you find Wellfleet Sea Salt and Cape Cod Coffee roasters coffee on her shelves.
Nicole says she is passionate about teaching people how to play an active role in improving their whole health by developing new relationships with food. She offers nutrition counseling for eating disorders, gastrointestinal issues and food intolerances that includes trips to the grocery store and cooking lessons. She hosts Friday night workshops once a month. In September the subject is making your own natural cleaning products with Devon from The Optimist Co. of Cotuit, and in November it’s making your own herbal teas with Good4you Herbals of South Yarmouth.
Nicole is equally impassioned about the power of connecting people with their local farmers and helping them discover the benefits of eating locally and seasonally. In season, you’ll find her every Saturday afternoon at the Mashpee Commons Farmers’ Market that she helped organize and manages. At her store she sells produce from BackyardGardens and she and Jim offer a 10-week CSA each season. Every other Thursday, CSA members pick up a nutritionally complete bag stuffed with vegetables, herbs, eggs, honey or jam, and one homemade item such as sauce or stock.
In February 2012, nicole and Jim drove cross-country, stopping at one organic farm in every state along their route. Each visit was documented with candid interviews with the farmers and vivid photographs of the farms. They are creating a documentary of their travels and plan to have a nationwide viewing of the film called Organic Farms are Everywhere this fall.
Underlying everything nicole does is the concept of sustainability. It shows in how she works with clients to help them discover new foods and ways of cooking that put them on a path to health. It shows in how she’s structured her business so that all the different aspects support each other, and it’s also personal. nicole says she’s designed a holistic life where work doesn’t feel like work and everything sustains everything else. That’s as good as it gets.