After losing 60 pounds on a plant-based, mostly organic diet, Adam Monteverde and his partner Lauren Mias wished to bring that healthy lifestyle to the local community with Root Cellar, a small organic grocery store located at 15 North Front Street, next to their very own Mexican Kitchen.
Located in what was the first New Paltz School, the historic site has been renovated by Monteverde to emphasis a rustic feel that only a small town like New Paltz can capture. Blackboards decorate the walls and wooden shelves, and bins hold organic and environmentally conscious products. Several antique goods complete the look of an old school country store; a 250 year old broomstick holder and a rusty vintage scale juxtaposes its modern counterpart.
Local organic produce can be hard to attain in the autumn to winter months, but Monteverde is determined to keep the mission of having locally sourced fruits and vegetables whenever possible. Nightshade Farm in Albany County and Red Barn County in Highland fulfill that mission and so far, there are 250 organic items within the store.
Besides fruits and vegetables, shelves also display organic and good-for-you grains, oils, vinegars, spices and condiments, as well as essential household items such as environmentally friendly cleaning supplies and pet food. Monteverde mentioned that for home essentials, he tries to keep the packaging at a minimum, with several products being compostable or biodegradable.
Also available are basic personal care items from brands like Tom’s, which only use natural ingredients, and lozenges and medicine for everyone’s sickly needs without the harmful ingredients.
Succinctly, convenience is the end game for Monteverde. As a Hudson Valley native and having been in the New Paltz area for a number of years now, he feels the need to bring this general store to town because of the lack of accessibility to fresh produce and other groceries with nutritional value.
“There were definitely challenges in trying to be as locally sourced as possible. It’s hard sometimes when things aren’t in season, but we are trying our best and learning as we go because we really need a local market,” Monteverde said. “What we did is create a simple, good-for-you market located here for the convenience of the town.”
Unlike a supermarket where one would have to actively search for organic, non-GMO products, the focus is to have a straight foward health conscious market that not only has healthy-living fundamentals for your kitchen, but is also environmentally friendly.
There is no meat or dairy available at the Cellar, because Monteverde and Mias live off a plant-based diet. It was a decision that they will stand by as it reflects their values, and after seeing the benefits of it, they wish to inspire others to try the same.
“A lot of people in New Paltz are already health conscious and want to eat better,” Mias said. “We just want to make it easier for them.”
A part of this convenience aspect is the incorporation of a market menu, where customers are able to purchase fresh, but already made, meals or drinks. A variety of smoothies, juices and soups will be available to choose from.
“Even if this market just inspires someone to think about what they’re putting in their bodies, about healthy living, then that’s great and means we’ve accomplished something,” Monteverde said.
After a year in the making, Root Cellar is now open for business. For more information, contact them at 845-256-5199.