Rising Tide Natural Market
42 Forest Ave. Glen Cove, NY 516-676-7895
Jerry Farrell had no thought of becoming a Long Island health-food trendsetter in 1976, when he and a college friend opened Rising Tide. "I was 24 years old, and into eating natural foods," he recalled. "Brown rice, whole grains, beans, nuts, dried fruit, soy sauce, miso, seaweed, macrobiotic stuff -- at that time, you could not buy these foods in bulk on Long Island, so we would drive into the city to buy them. We figured, why not open up a store?"
The young men rented a tiny deli in Locust Valley that soon became an epicenter for nutrition-conscious Gold Coasters. In 1983, Rising Tide moved to its present, freestanding location and continued to expand the depth and breadth of its merchandise. "We went from 800 to 3,000 square feet," Farrell said. "At first, we didn't know what to do with all the space." Thirty years later, the store is stuffed to the gills, with a full line of groceries, fresh organic produce, a deli counter producing fresh salads, soups and entrees, supplements, special-diet foods and a small selection of grass-fed and organic meats.
The transition has had its challenges. In the 1990s, as mainstream markets began to embrace what used to be called health food and Whole Foods began its conquest of the category, Farrell, now the sole owner, had to reinvent his store.
"We really focus on service," he said. "If a customer wants something we don't have, we order it. If a customer has just been told she needs to follow a gluten-free diet, someone will walk her around the store, explaining all the options.
"It can be intimidating, all this stuff. We're here to explain it."