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Farm Fresh Grocery Store, but With a New Twist
By Nancy E. Sheppard

FarmF imageLosing the Farm Fresh grocery chain in 2018 was devastating to many locals who had shopped at the once locally- owned grocer for generations. Many of the store spaces were transformed into other grocery chains or still sit vacant. However, the brand name and a handful of the stores were purchased by a local business owner who knew there was more potential to be had with the beloved grocery brand.

Today, the former store located at 353 Chatham Drive in Newport News bears the name, "Farm Fresh International Market.” Prominently displayed on the front windows, they advertise that they still carry the fried chicken that their originating store was known for throughout Tidewater.

If you’re expecting the inside of the store to look exactly like the previous embodiment of the Farm Fresh brand, you’d only be partially right. The decorations, most of the signs, and even the employee uniforms remain. However, it is quite clear that this grocery store has quite a different message than your standard American grocery store.

While still carrying staples like cereals, seasonings, and non-perishable goods, most of the store caters to those seeking more international flavors and products, with a heavy emphasis on Asian cuisine. The produce department has fresh fruits, vegetables, and a more exotic selection than its predecessor and the seafood department had a wide variety of whole, fresh fish to choose from. There are aisles of foods and products that give a fascinating glimpse into other cultures and diets with everything from seaweed wrappers to a variety of international candy.

Missing from the reimagined Farm Fresh is the "polish” of a corporate grocery chain. It has a feel more akin to an "E-Mart” than your run-of-the-mill grocery store. The prices are about average for the industry and you can still find many of your grocery favorites in this store while perhaps trying something new into your diet.

While many ardent Farm Fresh fans may be disappointed, this store fills a gap in the local grocery market. It recognizes the blossoming Asian community on the Peninsula, the many military families who spent time living in Asian countries, those who love international food, while giving the community as a whole a glimpse into the beauty of the different cultures represented throughout the store.


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InBrief 11jul19

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