BIZNOTE FOLLOWUP: Cascadia Fresh Market opens this weekend, aimed at affordable healthy food for all: ‘Why not, when it’s only $2?’

As reported here last month, Delridge Grocery Coop has ended retail operations – and its former space is becoming home to a new store aimed at making affordable fresh food available to everyone. That new store, Cascadia Fresh Market, opens this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, May 11-12, in the space at 5444 Delridge Way SW. As noted in our previous story, the people behind it are the West Seattle entrepreneurs and community advocates behind Cascadia Produce, Jill Moore and Jeremy Vrablik. They’ve lived in North Delridge for a decade and have had the free-food stand Carrot Man’s Carrot Stand outside their house since mid-2020.

They established Cascadia Produce in 2017, and pivoted to food security in 2020 “with a food box contract from the USDA serving all of Washington State in a time of critical need.” Jill continues: “Since then, Cascadia has gone on to make custom food boxes featuring produce for many customers, most of them non-profits, food banks, or government institutions. Cascadia specializes in culturally relevant food boxes and medically tailored food boxes for people with specific health conditions – health organizations are increasingly investing in food as medicine. Our boxes always feature fresh produce, but include other items that allow meals and snacks to be made from the contents.”

Here’s how they make this go: “During the course of our food box work, as well as the fresh food sourcing we do for over 50 Washington food banks, Cascadia developed unique access to wholesale recovered food, as well as farm fresh food without a sales channel. Cascadia is able to receive these two categories of food and create a secondary market for food security partners in which the originating farms are paid, fresh food is affordable, and no food goes to waste for lack of a market. Fresh Food should be available to everyone at a reasonable cost, within a reasonable distance of where they live.”

That’s the philosophy that led them to propose the Cascadia Fresh Market pop-up as a successor to DGC – as a four-month pop-up for starters. “If successful in the community, Cascadia Fresh Market will negotiate with the landlord (DESC) to stay long-term,” Jill explains. Here’s how the store will work: “Cascadia Fresh Market is produce-focused, but will have other cooking staple items and some simple, sweet treats. Produce will be priced like a dollar store, for $1, $2 or $3 per item. All produce prices will be well below retail. Produce we can’t sell rapidly will go to an onsite ‘Foodbank Outpost’ sponsored by the West Seattle Food Bank. Anyone may take food from the free fridge during business hours. The market aims to be zero waste, making sure all edible food has a chance to be consumed by a human while still in good condition.” As for the space, even if you shopped there in the DGC years, Jill says, “We have been working hard in the space to reconfigure and add additional cold storage to showcase the fruits and vegetables. It looks very different!”

They’re soft-opening for a “neighbor preview night” this Friday. Then it’s opening weekend Saturday-Sunday; Jill says, “The market will be fully stocked and will carry some flower bouquets for Mother’s Day.” The store will be open daily – 10 am-7 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon-6 pm Sundays and Mondays. That may change, Jill adds, “as we understand the preferred shopping hours of our community.”

There’s a benefit aspect too: “Cascadia Fresh Market is partnering with a different elementary school each day of the week in a symbiotic effort to make families aware of a market where they can save money by buying more fresh produce and also benefit school programs. Every day, once the Fresh Market hits a low daily overhead number, Cascadia will profit-share 20% of sales back to the PTA of the school assigned to the day of the week. Shop, save money, eat more fresh foods, and benefit local schools all in one fell swoop.” So far they’re partnered with Fairmount Park (Sundays). Highland Park (Mondays), Louisa Boren STEM (Wednesdays), Sanislo (Fridays).

For families, “This market will be very kid friendly, with a couple of games for them to play while parents browse, as well as snacks on site so parents can have a quiet moment to squeeze melons etc while they shop. The market will also be friendly for the DESC building residents, providing hot coffee and eventually grab and go foods we hope will please residents and give them a nice place to visit.”

For everyone: “Shopping at the fresh market will be a bit of an adventure. While we will have all the produce staples like apples, potatoes, carrots, onions, peppers, etc, we will also have exotic foods – less commonly-seen produce items like broccoflower, escarole, purple cauliflower, dragonfruit and more (rotating stock, always fresh). We hope people will enjoy the produce they love but also try new and exciting foods, because why NOT when it’s only $2?”

14 Replies to "BIZNOTE FOLLOWUP: Cascadia Fresh Market opens this weekend, aimed at affordable healthy food for all: 'Why not, when it's only $2?'"

  • Lindsey May 6, 2024 (1:24 pm)

    I hope you can keep the tiny carts—those were my daughter’s favorite part about shopping at DGC.

    • Jill May 6, 2024 (4:22 pm)

      Tiny carts are for sure staying! Also adding in some other kid friendly attractions!

  • Elizabeth ndishu May 6, 2024 (5:11 pm)

    Ohh this is soo encouraging.. congratulations.. we hope to be part of this development..let us know 

  • CC May 6, 2024 (9:46 pm)

    Are there ways to donate to this great work?

    • Jill May 9, 2024 (3:50 pm)

      Sure! In what way would you/people want to donate?  I can think of a few things, like just offering a little restock support on a couple of mornings, or I could open a donation bin where people can buy for themselves but also buy to donate to one of our food security non-profit friends. I am sure there are other ways too – what do you think neighbors would like? Come and visit me at the market and talk about it! Open daily starting tomorrow (soft opening for neighbors). See you later!Jill

  • Jessica Pierce May 6, 2024 (10:09 pm)

    Great people doing great things! You inspire us Jill & Jeremy! Massive props! Jessica & Junction FC

  • Diane May 7, 2024 (5:59 am)

    oh this sounds fantastic; can hardly wait to check it out, especially the exotic vegetables; do you by any chance take SNAP? 

    • Jill May 9, 2024 (3:51 pm)

      I’m definitely going to! I’ve got the process and am about to initiate! So, maybe by week 2 I’ll have that in place.Jill

  • Wsresident May 7, 2024 (6:32 am)

    Thank you for all that you do for the community. I learned about you at the Food Bank auction and I’m so grateful to have you in the WS community! 

    • Jill May 9, 2024 (3:53 pm)

      Thank you!  The West Seattle Foodbank is one of our longest and most important partners in hunger relief. We love them. Please come and visit the market! We keep the prices low by moving volume, so we need EVERYONE to come and buy our vibrant produce so that everyone can afford it. Jill

  • LG May 7, 2024 (8:05 am)

    This all sounds amazing! Thank you for doing this!

  • Wondering May 7, 2024 (1:03 pm)

    So… is this something we should be leaving for low-income neighbors, like it would be selfish to shop there if you can afford to shop at QFC? Or is shopping there a good thing because it helps them stay in business? 

    • Jill May 9, 2024 (4:12 pm)

      Hi! Oh, gosh, no.  The way the prices are able to remain low is through volume. So the MORE people we have shopping here buying fresh food allows us to keep prices low for all because we can buy at volume and reduce waste by selling through inventory at the store. We used to put free food out at Carrot Man’s Carrot Stand from our warehouse, now if the free fridge in the market needs some supply we can just bring additional veg from our warehouse there. Shop here to support the free fridge access for neighbors in need! Or just neighbors in want of a free kiwi – we’d always rather see something find a home on a plate while it’s still in good shape for consumption. So anyone can also use the free fridge, there is no criteria for need. 

    • Also wondering May 12, 2024 (4:49 pm)

      I’ve had this exact question, glad to have an answer now! Thanks for asking. 

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