EDITORIAL: Another natural foods option

York Dispatch

There are people in York County who spend a lot of time shopping.

We're not talking clothes or electronics or even shoes. We're talking about food.

If someone in your household has a food allergy or a restricted diet, you know what we mean.

Say you're on a gluten-free diet, either because of an allergy or sensitivity or just because you've heard it's healthier. Now try to go grocery shopping in York County.

That's OK, we'll wait.

Sure, there are gluten-free sections at the major grocery stores. And there are some foods that are always gluten-free, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and meat.

But then add in another concern, such as trying to eat more locally grown foods, or limiting sugar intake.

How about eliminating artificial flavors and dyes?

What if someone else in the household develops a different allergy, such as one to peanuts? And then what do you do when your teenager decides to go vegan?

Right now, there are a bunch of places to go around York County for some foods for certain diets. Giant and Weis have natural foods sections. Then there's Sonnewald Natural Foods in North Codorus Township, which has a wider selection and also bulk foods.

Still haven't found quite the right item? There are smaller natural food stores scattered around the county.

For fresh veg, the local farmer's markets are great, with a wide selection of locally grown foods. But they're only open certain times and days.

Then there's the real foodie paradise, Wegmans. Of course, that's a hike, whether you're going to the one in Hunt Valley, Maryland, or in Camp Hill. Those have even bigger natural foods sections, as well as some prepared natural foods.

If you're dealing with a difficult diet, you could easily go to a different shopping space every day and still find your family running out of essentials.

That's where Leg Up Farms comes in.

The minds behind the East Manchester Township equine center noticed that a lot of their clients, many of them children with special needs, also have restricted diets, and that their families were spending a lot of time shopping.

That's why they're building a Leg Up Farmers Market, to give people a place to go get locally raised, healthful foods.

"I want people to look at food in a much deeper way," said Louis Castriota Jr., president and CEO of Leg Up Farm. "The market is more than just to satisfy hunger."

The new store, slated to open in early 2016, will feature local produce and meats as well as coffee roasted in the store, a juice, smoothie and coffee bar, artisan cheese, brick-oven pizza and more.

We'll be counting the days.