Alfalfa’s Market, a natural grocer with Boulder, Colo., roots more than four decades deep, is poised to open its third location and first store in Longmont, Colo., on Oct. 30. The 23,000-square-foot market at 700 Ken Pratt Blvd. will showcase the grocer’s new concept and modern, minimalist design aesthetic, which the company says will allow “the store’s star—its food—to take center stage.” Vega Architecture of Golden, Colo. was hired to consult and design the space.
The grocer has been on the natural and organic food scene since 1979, when it was founded as Pearl Street Market in Boulder. Growing to 11 stores, it merged with Wild Oats Markets in the 1990s, and was then divested in 2007, when the Austin-based Whole Foods Market purchased the chain. In 2017, new investors with a fresh vision brought the iconic Boulder banner back to life.
“I am extremely proud of the efforts by our Alfalfa’s leadership team and local contractors to design, construct and deliver our newest store in Longmont,” said Mark Homlish, president of Alfalfa’s Market, in a release. “We are excited to showcase our neighborhood store to the vibrant Longmont community.”
Known for an emphasis on high-quality produce, Alfalfa’s Market Longmont will feature a first of its kind “Produce Lab,” which the company describes as an open-air station inside the produce department that is designed to bring live culinary theater to the new store. Similar to a restaurant’s open-kitchen layout, shoppers can watch firsthand how team members slice and dice produce. Shoppers also will have the opportunity to ask questions regarding cutting methods for everyday and exotic produce.
Depending on the status of COVID-19, shoppers will be invited to try fresh cut samples of exotic fruits and vegetables, while learning more about cutting and cooking methods.
The store will also feature an extensive meat department brimming with beef, pork and chicken along with Alfalfa’s house-cured bacon and house-made sausage.
A well-stocked specialty department, as well as an extensive prepared foods department—helmed by recently hired former Food + Wine Best New Chef Award Winner Chef James Mazzio—are also on deck.
Several months ago, Alfalfa’s seized the pandemic-driven slowdown in its prepared foods area to accelerate the reinvention of the entire department. “Bringing in Chef James allowed us to beef up our infrastructure and up the level and quality of our food, while maintaining our ingredients standards,” John Gengel, Alfalfa’s director of store performance told WGB in an interview. “The result is food that tastes great—like a four-star restaurant.”
Mazzio oversees the preparation of a variety of restaurant-quality dishes for dine-in or take-out including salads, sandwiches and spreads. The new location will also include house-made pizza, fired in the store’s pizza oven, along with popular Alfalfa’s items like scratch made pico de gallo and guacamole, both of which are made fresh daily in house.
In addition to a full-service prepared foods and grocery department, Alfalfa’s Market Longmont will feature a full-service coffee bar, with specialty drinks from local brands such as OZO Coffee and Bhakti Chai, along with fresh pressed juices. The cafe also offers indoor and outdoor seating, bike parking and free Wi-Fi.
“I’m beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to open a new store in Longmont, a city rich with distinct agricultural history and modern flavors,” said Ericka Kiser, store director of Alfalfa’s Market Longmont, in a statement. “From connecting with local producers to working with local nonprofits on upcoming partnerships, we look forward to working with and serving the community of Longmont in the best ways possible.”
With the opening of Alfalfa’s Market Longmont, a former Lucky’s Market, Alfalfa’s will have three Colorado stores in its stable. Its other two locations are in Boulder and Louisville.
The original Boulder store in the mid-80’s.