Feel Good Grocery
Homegrown Market supplies healthy and local options
For KENDRA BURGON, owner of recently opened Homegrown Market in The Cargo District in Wilmington, food was always a passion. Burgon has been involved in the food industry for over twenty years, a career field that meant a lot of night shifts. She became a personal chef to allow more time with her son, freedom in her schedule, and creative control of the menus she was cooking.
“As I learned more about the nutritive values of our food choices, I also discovered so much information about how food choice impacts our local economies, the environment, and our health,” she says.
Burgon began to seek ingredients for her clients that were locally grown. As her food business grew, she needed a space to receive ingredients and started looking for a commercial kitchen. In that process, she discovered that this area has been a food desert – a place where healthy ingredients and fresh produce are not readily available.
She recalls, “As my idea of a commercial kitchen seemed less of an option, The Cargo District seemed like an excellent place to excite people about local produce, natural wines, and groceries in a low waste manner while fulfilling the need for wholesome ingredients in the community.”
So in July, she opened Homegrown Market, a grassroots feel-good grocery focusing on local, whole ingredients, and sustainable products.
“We want our customers to feel good about their purchases, not just because they are delicious and interesting, but also for the consideration of the greater good that goes into each item,” Burgon says.
Burgon partners with local farmers and producers on a weekly basis. Her connections to other chefs as well as shopping at Biggers Market (formerly Port City Produce) and the nonprofit Feast Down East provide inspiration, and her connection to Wilmington production company Boot Scrap keeps her up to date on the sustainability movement. All of the herbs, spices, grains, and beans are organic and sold in bulk to reduce waste. The market also has tea and coffee from local businesses as well as vegan and gluten-free snacks.
“We do everything with a mindfully healthy focus. The all-around impact of our food choices make this a priority to our communities, our health, and the environment,” Burgon says. “A lot can be healed in each of those areas through mindful choices in our shopping habits.”
Homegrown Market goes beyond groceries, offering a selection of low-waste body products from Home Body Field Goods, Simply Shorty, and Bones’ Soap Co., all which showcase local talent. The store also features local art.
“Art is so important because it gives home and voice to our personalities and emotions. I wanted creative energy in our space to provide a source of expression and beauty, just as I hope it will for our customers when they take it home,” she says.
From the hand-painted mural by Art by Nugget on the outside of the building to the welcoming staff, Homegrown Market seeks to be comfortable and inspiring.
“I’ve been really fortunate to find like-minded folks to help,” Burgon says. ALLISON PASTORE manages baked goods and product development, SHELBY NEWTON is the market manager, KRISTIN WOOD heads up the wine bar and BLAIR HOUTZ and AMELIA LEWIS coordinate the market.
Despite being a new business, Burgon is already thinking about next steps. In a partnership with founder FRED GILES, Burgon will open Bottles, a bar featuring natural wines and craft beers. It will be Wilmington’s first natural wine bar with plenty of offerings from local and national craft breweries.
“Our concept is to offer wines that are referred to as natural in essence.” These wines are not filled with preservatives or chemicals, are organically or biodynamically grown, typically crafted in limited productions and have the very least human intervention possible.
“They are created by farmers and winemakers who believe in the land and most of all-natural practices. The wines are simply better for you,” she says.
The grand opening of Bottles is planned for September to allow time for Burgon to be sure that each and every wine is thoughtfully chosen and every detail within the bar is complete.
But there’s even more in the future. Burgon says she would like to implement a delivery service, especially to the underserved who may not have access to transportation. And she intends to develop community classes featuring farmers, artists, and chefs to teach about food and the environment.
“Feeding people good food has always been a source of joy for me. Food is love, yet it conveys much more,” she says. “Through my interest in food, I’ve also learned that food and love are medicine. When we show love to our neighbors, our environment and our bodies, the rewards are plentiful.”
Homegrown Market is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. The wine and beer bar will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 12 noon to 9 p.m. following the grand opening.
To view more of photographer Terah Wilson’s work, go to terahwilson.com.
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