Once upon a time, some forty-six years ago, in the city of Santa Rosa, CA (about forty-five minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge and my home before Traverse City) a young couple started an organic grocery store called Food For Thought. They were hippies with a vision -- bring the natural, organic garden to the people! And they did so for many years. Then, one day, they got a buyout offer, and, as they were thinking of retiring, decided to accept it. (with all kinds of organic stipulations) The new company was born, bearing the name Whole Foods. Yes, the one.
Meanwhile, down the road about 20 miles, in Petaluma, CA, which remains populated by hippies-turned-huppies,(my word for grown-up Yuppies) turned retirees, another couple started a vegetarian frozen food business called Amy's, named for their young child.
|Amy's packaging. You've seen this.|
They took a chance on vegetarian frozen food, as nothing like that existed at the time, and they felt there was an untapped market in young parents who shared the same 'busy' juggling act between parenthood and careers and good food. In the organic spirit of Alice Waters (who started the iconic Chez Panisse Restaurant in nearby Berkley, and later became an advisor to The First Lady about the White House Garden) they went into production and, twenty something years later, I've discovered they're opening a fast food, organic, vegetarian, drive-thru restaurant! This is especially groundbreaking because they're doing it in an area jammed with fast food establishments. This area is called Rohnert Park, which is a commuter park-and-ride gateway to San Francisco, and home to Sonoma State University. We will see how this goes, but I predict it's going to go very well. Congrats, Amy's! You know how proud you are when your friends succeed? That's how I feel today. Here's the link to more.
I'm calling Michelle!