Store Review: Urban Rustic

The John Deere tractor on the sign out front is your first clue that Urban Rustic isn't your average Brooklyn corner market. Stepping inside on a recent visit, we felt as if we'd suddenly been transported from the cold, rainy streets of Williamsburg to a warm and chic farmhouse far away. But ironically, the products surrounding us couldn't have been any closer to home.

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Created with the belief that knowing where your food comes from is the first step to eating well, this brand new store has a simple mission: keep it local, organic, and sustainable. More than 50% of their products are grown or produced within 100 miles, and many are made right here in Brooklyn. As locavores know, finding such a bounty of local organic products is no easy feat.

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At every turn is yet another small producer's labor of love. The applesauce was created by the same farmers who grew the apples; artisanal yogurt, handmade ricotta, and farm-fresh eggs fill the dairy case. The Brooklyn women who make the chutney give their profits to schools and educational products. Sure, this is "feel-good shopping," but it feels equally good to discover that sublime ricotta cheese and to support the people who make such an outstanding product.

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The other 50% of store offerings include organic baby food from California and organic olive oil from Spain. As you might expect, much of the organic/biodynamic produce also hails from further afield, but there is no shortage of winter fruits and veggies straight from the small farms of New York State.

Next to the coffee/juice bar, the deli offers big hearty sandwiches and "blue plate specials," such as roasted chicken served with two sides, along with vegetarian chicken for those who shun even ethically-raised meats.

In many ways, this place feels more like a curated boutique than a grocery store; of the several brands of locally made pickles available, Urban Rustic stocks only one. "McClure's pickles are the best I've ever had," says owner Dan Cipriani. "They're just sensational." His passion is so infectious that you just can't help leaving Urban Rustic with a bag full of new discoveries and a lighter wallet.

This is by Nina, who is up for one of our new writer positions. Welcome Nina!

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