By Chelsea Royer
Call me nuts, but healthy eating is something I get visibly enthusiastic over. Talk to me about healing illness with nutrition, gluten-free diets, and organic produce and I will probably wind up your best friend. It’s been a slow journey for me as I learn how what we eat impacts, not only our own bodies, but also our society, economy, and environment. Deciding to eat healthy has a variety of challenges that includes reshaping a mindset, changing the way we shop, and a good deal of research.
Being passionate about food, it is sometimes difficult for me to give up certain snacks or desserts. I also find myself easily discouraged, which is why speaking to Erick and Michelle Olson of The Market Place health food store is such an encouragement.
Erick Olson is the son of The Market Place founders, Randy and Jackie Olson, and grew up working in his parents’ store back when it was located below the Morck Hotel. After graduating, Erick worked twenty-five years in the construction field as an Ironworker. When his dad, Randy, passed away unexpectedly over two years ago, and his mom, Jackie, began expressing her intent to retire, Erick began to feel drawn to a career change. After a few months of consideration, the couple decided the timing couldn’t be more perfect for them to purchase The Market Place and continue Randy and Jackie’s vision.
Michelle and Erick are knowledgable about nutrition. They have fairly specific ideas for what they want to accomplish within the walls of The Market Place, whether that be expanding their gluten-free freezer section, updating their books and resources, or tracking down affordable, organic meats.
With all the buzz about new products, Michelle surprised me with yet another one of her passions. Walking into the market, I was tickled to see a wall full of Willow Tree figurines, lacy scarves, and boot stockings. My attention as magnetically drawn to the wall of girliness. Michelle laughed at my delight and explained that they are attempting to support local artists and fair-trade gifts with a purpose that will either give income to a local family or perhaps support women in their attempts to leave the shackles of sex slavery.
More than food, Michelle finds it important to recognize other areas of life in which to be intentional. Organic foods and handmade gifts are often more costly, but the quality and knowing your money goes to support local faces and sustainable living will almost always be worth the extra pennies.
Michelle is intrigued with educating people about how to live healthy lives. Busy updating their books and resource section of the store, Michelle hopes to begin nutrition and cooking classes and bring in experts to share tips for people struggling with food allergies. Some of her own family members, including Erick, are on selective diets and she knows how overwhelming the health food journey can be at times. “I would like to see The Market Place become a place of encouragement and education. I would love to see our community educated in ways that they can better their health,” says Michelle.
The Market Place is well known for its bulk-variety of spices, herbs, teas, flours, and other items like medjool dates that difficult to find in a mainstream grocery store. People often travel from Olympia or Seattle just to benefit from the bulk-section of the store. As they broaden their selection and target audience, Erick and Michelle’s heart is to see people from every walk of life in Grays Harbor invest in their health.
They firmly believe nutrition is capable of preventing – and often curing – a variety of health issues. Their advice to people who are just starting out in their health journey, is to take things in small bites. If you try to take on too much change at a time, you’ll get discouraged and won’t stick with it. Find a community that will encourage and inspire you in your health journey.
An affordable way to take your first step towards better health, says Michelle, is to abide by the list of the “clean fifteen and dirty dozen.” The dirty dozen are fruits and vegetables that have tested high in pesticides while the clean fifteen contain the least amount. An affordable starting point, it’s a great way to begin buying organic produce.
Whether or not you have food allergies or sensitivities, Michelle and Erick hope that The Market Place helps you figure out where to begin or continue your health journey. As a community hub for education, spices, gifts, nutritional supplements, and unique health food items, The Market Place is an excellent resource for anyone with an interest in building themselves a healthier life.
The Market Place
822 East Wishkah Street
Aberdeen, WA 98520
Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday – 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.