Purple Sage expands organic food co-op | VailDaily.com

Purple Sage expands organic food co-op

Alex Miller
Bret Hartman/Vail DailyPurple Sage, located in Minturn, offers organic foods for the Vail Valley.

MINTURN ” Anyone who’s ever experienced sticker shock over the cost of organic groceries can understand the joke about Whole Foods Market being re-named “Whole Paycheck Market.”

There may not be a local branch of the aforementioned natural grocery chain, but there is a folksy alternative recently opened on Meek Street in Minturn.

Purple Sage Organics was started by Edwards resident Gerlinde Debie out of her home a few years ago.

Now, she’s graduated the business from her garage to a small warehouse-retail shop in Minturn. There, she offers certified organic produce, groceries and other items at reduced prices. What customers pay can be further reduced by becoming a member, working or non-working.

Working members help out once a month or so for a couple of hours and receive 25 percent off the retail price. Non-working members pay a yearly fee of $25 and get 15 percent off. Working members can help with stocking, pricing, staffing the counter or delivery.

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“My objective is to offer affordable organic food to people in the valley,” Debie said. “I really believe it’s a better way of living.”

Debie, whose day job is as an emergency medical technician at Vail Valley Medical Center, offers a wide variety of products in the no-frills Minturn space.

In addition to produce ranging from bagged salad mixes, celery, tomatoes and fresh garlic, there’s also healthy snack foods, cereal, nuts, maple syrup, frozen meats and fish, milk, yogurt and cheese. Purple Sage also has a selection of personal care items, from toothpaste and shampoo to lotion and medicines ” all organic.

“Organic products do cost more,” Debie said. “That’s why I’m doing this ” I want people to be able to afford it. It makes me sad when I see what people send their kids to school with, Lunchables and things like that. At some point, I’d like to get in the schools with some of these products.”

In addition to the retail shop, Purple Sage offers a delivery service.

Debie said she’d like to appeal to local chefs, families and others who’d like the convenience of delivery with the advantage of organic products. Also offered are mixed boxes of seasonal fruit, vegetables and other items.

To find Purple Sage, take Main Street in Minturn to Meek and go right, then left on Boulder. Look for the yellow building on the corner.

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