by Eileen Weber
Looking for great places to get organic food? Try the Fairfield Green Food Guide. Founded by marketing whiz and food and wine enthusiast, Analiese Paik, the web site has taken the organic food market by the horns since its inception in January. She was even recently reviewed by Local Food Rocks.
“The green food scene,” she said, “that’s my niche.”
With an MBA and certificates from prestigious cooking and wine schools, Paik has the experience, the know-how and the drive to give consumers the organic information they’re looking for.
“There’s really no place for people to go to look for fresh food,” she said. “If consumers want to find the nearest farmers market, CSA, organic restaurant, or green event, this is a place they can go. I want to become the place consumers go to look for this information. So far, we’ve had unanimously positive feedback.”
Paik said she’s been involved in the local food movement with the Fairfield Wellness Committee and being a part of improving the nutritional profile of the school lunches. “Being a health nut myself, I wanted to know where I can buy the best food for my family.”
One Fairfield shop owner believes Paik’s web site provides a great service. “People want this food, but don’t know how to get it,” said Sue Cadwell, owner and founder of Health In A Hurry, a shop that takes an organic, vegetarian twist on “fast food”.
“They are looking to make sense of the bombardment of information out there. I think people just want real food and we need a way to let them know that it exists,” she said.
But with Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s, does anyone really need a site like this? “I’m a huge fan of Trader Joe’s. I started out blogging about the meals I made from their food. But my site gives you another choice. It’s not about an either/or. It’s an and.”
John Pasnick, manager of the Trader Joe’s on Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield, said Paik comes in the store all the time and preaches the benefits of eating well. “She’s an activist for children’s eating habits.”
Jo Ann Englund, the Trader Joe’s demo chef, has worked with Paik on such recent events as the Healthy Valentine’s Day Dinner at the Fairfield Woods Branch Library. The event was an all-adult Show and Tell about making organic meals from the things you can buy at Trader Joe’s.
“She’s really good at imparting information about the green message locally,” said Englund. “She’s really enthusiastic and creative.” Paik will be doing a similar event in the fall with Trader Joe’s.
Paik said other sites like the Eat Well Guide are terrific, but they’re national. Her site is all about being local. “I’m out there meeting the farmers,” she said. “I’m in the trenches and it’s easier for me to deliver that information to the consumers.”
Annelise McCay, who is responsible for organizing the organic garden at Fairfield’s Roger Sherman Elementary and is very active in trying to bring organic food into the school cafeterias, said Paik’s web site is a much-needed asset to the community.
“She’s really keeping her eyes out there,” said McCay. “Unless you dig deep, it’s really hard to find these things.”
McCay continued by saying that we need a more “green-minded” approach to our communities. “We really do need to change our food system,” she said. “And [with web sites like this], the more we can get the word out the better.”
The site is still in its infancy. Launched just two months ago, it’s a bit of a work-in-progress. The CSA database, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture, is up and running so far. Paik also has an up-to-date Buying Guide database. She also plans for future advertising on the site.
“It’s becoming a great information channel,” said Paik. “This is about connecting the consumer with information about local food that should stay local.”