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    Earth Fare Launches All Natural/Organic Meal Assembly Program

    ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Regional organic and natural foods chain Earth Fare here said yesterday is testing Gourmet 2 Go, a meal planning and preparation service that features chef-inspired entrees that use only all natural and organic ingredients. The company launched a pilot in mid-April in its South Asheville location, which it said makes it the first meal assembly program offered in a supermarket setting.

    ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Regional organic and natural foods chain Earth Fare here said yesterday is testing Gourmet 2 Go, a meal planning and preparation service that features chef-inspired entrees that use only all natural and organic ingredients. The company launched a pilot in mid-April in its South Asheville location, which it said makes it the first meal assembly program offered in a supermarket setting.

    "Our research reveals that we are the only company to offer this high standard of quality for meal assembly programs in a supermarket format," noted Mitch Orland, Earth Fare's executive chef and food service director. "Since we are a leader in the organic and natural foods industry, it was only natural to extend our philosophy to this new program."

    "It's not just chicken and peas," said Christopher Aquilino, the South Asheville store's chef and meal design expert. "These are entrees you would find in fine dining restaurants."

    Examples of the program's fare include Korean sesame flank steak, Mediterranean red snapper, ginger-baked salmon with Asian cucumber salsa, apricot-glazed pork tenderloin, and vegetarian spinach enchiladas; as well as decadent desserts.

    Gourmet 2 Go chefs do the meal planning, shopping, and chopping. Customers attend the many sessions, offered weekly, where a meal design expert walks them through the meal assembly process. The meals are prepared in take-home, freezer-safe containers.

    As the sessions take place in the store, customers can grab additional side items or wine to complement entrees, as well as find other items on their shopping list. Gourmet 2 Go chefs will assemble the entrees for an additional fee and have them ready for pick up, Earth Fare said.

    In addition to the gourmet aspect of the menu, all entrees are made with only natural and organic ingredients, said Earth Fare.

    Entrees average $6 per person. Gourmet 2 Go is also a cost-effective way for customers to prepare gourmet meals, Earth Fare said.

    Earth Fare operates 13 natural foods supermarkets located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.

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