A la Carte has the tastes of summer at Ozark Natural Foods
Away from Ozark Natural Foods, A la Carte with be catering and at the Farmer’s Market
In 1971, a small group of 10-12 individuals in Northwest Arkansas formed a buying club to buy large quantities of things such as beans and organic brown rice. That small group of individuals created what is now Ozark Natural Foods, which now is a co-op that has 9,300 owners throughout Northwest Arkansas.
In the 45+ years as a company, Ozark Natural Foods has moved to many different locations throughout Fayetteville, but found a great home in the Evelyn Hills Shopping Center where they have called home since 2000.
“We own the building; we are a debt free organization, with 9,300 owners in the Northwest Arkansas community. And last year we did $11 million in sales. The store has grown to the level where we work with way more local producers than we have been able to in the past. 130 that are in our little radius or our co-op’s themselves,” Pauline Arnold, Ozark Natural Foods’ fresh foods manager said.
Being a co-op company, Ozark Natural Living is owned by each and every owner that is apart of the organization. Becoming an owner is extremely simple and comes with fantastic benefits.
To become an owner is really simple; it is $140 total investment. We ask a minimal payment of $20 a year so over seven years (one time investment). You can become a fully invested owner and that gives you a wealth of benefits, discounts that are only for owners in store, we have owner appreciation weekends where it is 10% off of all your purchases the entire weekend. Get to vote for our board of directors which does the visioning and guides our store, you can also run for the board yourself,” Arnold said.
Other benefits include being a part of the ‘neighbors serving neighbors’ program where you can get discounts at other independently run stores as well being able to get discounts at other business’ around towns if you show them you are an owner.
But, even if you do not want to become an owner, you can still shop at Ozark Natural Foods and get prepared foods from ‘A la Carte’ in the back right of the store.
“(A la Carte is) prepared food options from the awesome products that we do source. High quality food coming in with these standards that support the values of our ownership and we like to turn them into prepared foods that you can enjoy,” Arnold said.
A la Carte has a menu for each season throughout the year. Starting this week, A la Carte is transitioning from their spring menu to their summer menu.
“We decided to take a different approach with our fresh departments and wrap our menus around the local products that are being grown around us already for our produce department. The big shifts in the menu depend on what crops are in season. Summer is the time where we have everything. Eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, greens, okra. Anything that is coming in season will be on the (salad and hot) bar,” Arnold said.
Besides the big flips that take place in between the seasons, A la Carte also has seasonal specials that switch. These items include sandwiches, lattes, and deserts. The bakery switches their items more regularly than the entrees.
Each day of the week on the hot bar are themed days where all of the foods are connected by a style of food that they are. These are served from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
every day except on Sunday’s when they are served from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
“On hot bar, our Indian days are our most popular, so we have two of those that follow that theme on Monday’s and Wednesday’s, again they feature a lot of local ingredients. We brought back some favorites like ‘Stir-Fry Day’ (Friday’s), which is a puny one that we really enjoy. Mexican themed menu day (Tuesday’s) is really popular that we continue to have. We just change up the dishes depending on the season. We brought back Greek from last summer (Saturday’s), because it is a lighter menu, it allows us to use a lot of locally grown crops,” Arnold said.
Other days include Thursday’s which are Ozark day’s with BBQ chicken leg quarters and Sunday’s which are comfort days with BBQ meatloaf.
Every day there is also what they call, ‘same day options’. These are BBQ chicken, garlic dill carrots and baked beans. These items will be out every day for anyone who does not want the themed menus that are set for each day.
Besides lunch, A la Carte has a breakfast bar that changes every day. This is served from 7-10 a.m. every day except for Sunday’s. As well as muffins and scones each day. There are three to choose from, one Vegan Muffin, one Vegan scone and one non-vegan scone. As well as two types of pizzas each day, one meat and one veggie. But they can also make other style pizzas on request.
A la Carte is also extremely proud of the catering company which continues to become more and more popular. They cater anything, from menu items, to off the menu, or any specific dietary preferences that the customers may have.
“From events that the store puts on, events, benefits, festivals, we have children caterings coming up; we cater for a Minor League baseball team for every time they come in town, we cater weddings. Holiday catering as well, like Thanksgiving or Christmas, especially for people who have a family member from out of town that follows a different diet,” Arnold said.
“We also do a lot of pies and birthday cakes. Our bakery, kind of sets us apart because we are willing to work with you with any kind of allergen or ingredient requirement,” Bryan, assistant fresh foods manager said.
A la Carte is even expanding to become a part of the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market that takes place each Saturday. Their food cart is finished and Arnold is extremely excited to not only see their cart but also ready to hopefully introduce their foods to a new group of customers. Each Saturday, they will be serving prepared sandwiches, mixed salads as well as yogurt parfaits.
Another item that will be served is their juices which are made every day from their own produce department. There are two styles of juices to choose from. If you are feeling sick, or a sore throat or detox, A la Carte serves ‘shots’, which are just one ounce drinks to help overcome an illness. They also juice and bottle up seven different flavors of juice. These as well come from their produce department. Their juice menu will soon be expanding to nine drinks which include one juice of the day option.
It is no secret that Ozark Natural Foods and A la Carte take enormous pride in their natural ingredients.
“All of our food that we make here at Ozark Natural Foods is prepared from scratch, and we use a majority of organic ingredients which 72% of our ingredients are organic and 9% are local and everything else is all natural,” Arnold said.
Ozark Natural Foods is located in the Evelyn Hills Shopping Center at 1554 N College Ave in Fayetteville. For more information on Ozark Natural Foods or to become an owner, go to onf. coop.
A la Carte has two types of pizza each day, a meat pizza and one with only veggies. They also make pizza on request.
The breakfast bar is open from 7-10 a.m. and the lunch bar takes over from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. at A la Carte in the back right corner of Ozark Natural Foods