By Tanya Henry
Though I don’t go back as far as 1969 when the first Good Earth Natural Foods store opened, I do recall shopping at their tiny original space at 123 Bolinas Road in Fairfax. The store has gone through several dramatic incarnations over the years, with its final landing spot on Center Boulevard in Fairfax (now in its fifth year). And this month, a sister location opened at Tam Junction in Mill Valley.
Sticking with its color scheme of muted earth tones, plenty of upcycled, reclaimed wood and drought-tolerant landscaping, the gleaming 22,000-square-foot-plus retailer is a sight to see.
Much like the original location, there are two entrances, designated eating areas and the same well-prepared, non-GMO, organic foods and salad bar that regular customers have come to expect from Good Earth. I served myself a half-pint of steaming hot minestrone soup and found a seat in one of the two eating areas titled The Heirloom Café. Separated from shelves by a barrier of bamboo reeds, the space offers a couple of communal tables and a handful of two-tops. Unfortunately the seating area sits directly in front of the doors, and on this chilly Sunday early evening, it was very drafty. The other option, near the second entrance, includes a long, wooden bar designed for solo diners, and a handful of tables.
Though not much larger than the Fairfax store, this one feels cavernous by comparison. A bigger cheese station has been created, and the prepared foods area is more spacious. Aisles are wider, and though it doesn’t have a generic supermarket sensibility, this Tam Valley locale exudes a more corporate, buttoned-down version of its hippie sibling to the west.
Families, couples and folks looking for food on their way home from work are already flocking to the Shoreline Shopping Center’s newest tenant. With the summer months approaching, Good Earth will no doubt be a destination for pre- and post-beachgoers, and an outdoor stone fireplace and eating area are likely to become coveted spots.
Quite a few people would trek to Fairfax specifically to shop at Good Earth. I was always amazed to meet people—Stinson Beach, Strawberry and Sausalito residents—in the Fairfax store who had traveled to get there. Lucky for them, they now have a Good Earth to call their own.
Good Earth Natural Foods, new Tam Junction location, 201 Flamingo Rd., Mill Valley; 415/383-0123; genatural.com.