We sat down with Kristine Drier, marketing manager of Mrs. Green’s, to learn more about eating healthy and what we can expect from them at this year’s festival!
Corey Baumer: First, can you tell me what sets Mrs. Green’s apart from other healthy food retailers?
Kristine Drier: We started in the Westchester area, which is why we wanted to do the Southern Westchester Food and Wine Festival and have a really big presence here. In terms of what sets us apart, first and foremost, is that all of our produce is organic. We do not carry any conventional produce at all, it’s 100% organic. Whereas the other players have a sort of mix, we’ve stood firm in believing we only want to carry produce that is free of pesticides and chemicals.
CB: Mrs. Green’s is the sponsor of our healthy eating pavilion this year and we want to know why exactly that is important to you guys.
KD: The concept first came up when we were talking about what we could do with our involvement. A couple of ideas had come up. We’d talked about doing something with the children’s area. One of our main focuses is keeping families healthy, especially children. When the idea came up to do a broader scale concept around healthy eating in general, it was a natural opportunity to showcase the products we carry in our stores, which are all focused on health and wellness. So we thought this was a good idea to get out in a foodie space where people are looking to eat and give them healthy options. It’s kind of difficult these days to find quick, healthy options. So we created a great opportunity, in the middle of the SOWE 2014 festival, to differentiate ourselves from the other options by only offering healthy food and drinks.
CB: What vendors are you bringing to SoWe this year?
KD: So we have a few different vendors. We’re still tightening up all of them, but the larger partners that we’re bringing in are Earthbound Farm and Albert’s Organics. Then we have a few of our local partners as well. One of the things that we focus on in the store is showcasing products that are either grown or produced locally in small batch. We have Coffee Lab Roasters; they’re out of Tarrytown. We have Organic Valley, which uses a lot of New York state farmers. They’ll be joining us for one of the days. We’ll also be sampling our own deli prepared foods.
KD: We’ll also be doing a variety of demos, all of which focus on healthy cooking. A number of our nutritionists will be doing talks on health and wellness and how to choose healthy foods. Earthbound Farm will be doing demonstrations on how to make healthy and fun salads in a mason jar and things like that. All of the demos will be focused on cooking healthy or nutrition education.
CB: Could you share a favorite recipe with us?
KD: If you go to our blog we have a lot of great recipes created by our in-store nutritionists. Under seasonal recipes, the berry bursting pops are delicious. You can make your own pops that are great for summer.
CB: What other types of community events does Mrs. Green’s do?
KD: Our primary community outreach work is around children’s nutrition. We run a field trip program where we bring in local school groups, church groups, community groups, to meet with our in-store nutritionists and wellness advisors. They do a scavenger hunt around the store and it’s all focused on speaking to children in a way that resonates with them. It’s a fun approach to learn about healthy eating and sustainable practices. We talk about sustainable farming and ways that they can contribute. We teach them how to read labels and really understand what’s in the food they’re eating. That’s the main community program that we work on. Outside of that we do a lot in the stores to teach the communities about nutrition. We partner with yoga studios and fitness places. We’ve brought in a yoga instructor to actually give a yoga class and then talk about nutrition.
CB: Lastly, what was your experience at SoWe like last year and what can we expect to see differently this year?
KD: Our presence at SoWe last year was definitely a lot smaller. We focused on a healthy harvest theme. We sampled our organic apples and local caramel sauces. The biggest difference this year is that we’re focused on showcasing what Mrs. Green’s means as a brand and what our values are, especially within the Westchester community. I’m confident it’s going to be a much more comprehensive experience with our brand as a whole.