Friday, August 14, 2020
Aug. 14, 2020

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Food & Drink: Rosauers in Ridgefield worth the drive

New grocery store’s Huckleberry’s market, meat, seafood case are outstanding

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Rosauers recently opened in Ridgefield.
Rosauers recently opened in Ridgefield. (Nathan Howard/The Columbian files) Photo Gallery

Rosauers Supermarkets just opened in Ridgefield. As I drove there for this article, I wondered if I would travel all the way from Vancouver to Ridgefield to go grocery shopping.

Huckleberry’s Natural Market, housed in Rosauers, is a store within a store and alone worth the trip. A bulk food section of nuts, dried fruits, and grains hugs the walls of the shop. You can fill containers from spigots of honey and Dr. Bronner’s soap. The bulk section features coffee from Portland Coffee Roasters and tea from local favorite Tea Hunters. You’ll also find an extensive aisle of plant-based meat and cheese and a good assortment of “healthy” snacks.

Ashley Gorman, corporate buyer and merchandiser for Huckleberry’s, carefully scrutinizes all potential vendors by closely examining the product and the person selling it. She looks for things that are on trend, like keto-diet friendly items, and items that she knows customers will want. She looks for clean food with clean labels. Certified organic is a plus, but non-GMO isn’t sufficient to get an item on the shelves. Transparency is important. She likes fair trade, sustainably produced products, as well as local and regional brands.

On my visit, Bob Moore, the spry 91-year-old former owner of Bob’s Red Mill, was in the Huckleberry’s section in his signature khaki beret, bolo tie and red vest. Moore has been a celebrity for natural foods shoppers since he began selling stone-ground flours decades ago. He’s now legendary for selling his business to his employees and traveling around to meet his customers. People waited patiently to meet him.

The meat and seafood department at Rosauers is impressive. There’s an on-site butcher, a rare luxury these days. The clerk I spoke to at the meat department said that for special meat orders, customers should call in the morning and give the butcher a day or two notice.

Labels identify the companies that raise and process the beef. Strauss Meats, St. Helens, Snake River Farms, Painted Hills Natural Meat were represented in the glass case. Each of these farms boast on their websites that their meat is raised on family farms with sustainable practices that take into consideration the health and welfare of the animals as well as the environment. Customers who are concerned about ethical meat sourcing could use this information to do some further digging. Meat pricing was similar to Costco; for example, bone-in rib eye was $8.99 per pound.

The seafood case had a mix of wild and farm-raised fish and seafood. Long bodies of orange pink salmon and speckled trout and walleye lay on a bed of ice. Dungeness crabs, mussels, oysters, clams, octopus, shrimp, bay scallops and sea scallops were nearby. They all looked and smelled freshly plucked from the sea.

The famous pineapple slicer was out of order on my visit. The produce section was fine. There were interesting items like dragonfruit and daikon radishes, but I expected some local produce since the market is located in the agricultural epicenter of Clark County.

The cheese selection was OK.

The bakery was pretty standard — more Safeway than Ken’s Artisan bakery. The ciabatta I got was fluffy, lacking the chewy textured sponge of an artisan bread.

Overall, Rosauers is worth checking out for items at Huckleberry’s, as well as meat and seafood.

If You Go

Rosauers Supermarkets

Hours: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Where: 4597 Pioneer St., Ridgefield.

Contact: 360-887-6119; www.rosauers.com

Shopping here is a pleasant experience. Everything is shiny and new. It’s spacious and doesn’t feel crowded — a welcome change from my neighborhood grocery store with its odd smells and endless announcement over the public-address system that someone needs assistance in the liquor aisle.

Anna Otoupal, who recently moved to Ridgefield, is thrilled to have Rosauers in her new town.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “It’s a gift in itself just having it so close.”

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