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Earthworks Market

By Kath Usitalo, contributing writer to Midwest Living

A center for environmental learning opens a wholesome food store.

A steady stream of shoppers traipses in and out of Earthworks Market in the nondescript building—a former car dealership—on busy East Jefferson Street in Plymouth. Some are regulars who stop for freshly baked goods and a cup of fair-trade coffee. Others, like the young couple I meet, are here for the first time and sample cheese while a man selects a prewrapped cut of locally raised meat from the cooler.

There’s lots of laughter and chitchat between customers, staffers and volunteers at Earthworks Market, an outlet for locally grown and produced foods and fair-trade goods. It’s an offshoot of an effort by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ to encourage sustainable and responsible lifestyles through educational programs about the environment.

While I check out the chemical-free soaps and lotions, brown rice and small selection of vegetables, a woman watches as I consider chunks of beef in a can labeled “Holy Cow, It’s Good.” She raves about the canned meat and offers, “I heat that up, serve it with Amish noodles and a vegetable, and I’ve got dinner.”

I peek into the commercial kitchen where Tom Keb, Earthworks’ bread baker, turns out 150 hearty loaves each week. His wife, Jeanine, is mainly responsible for the scones, pies and other sweets disappearing from the market shelf. Tom and Jeanine are also beekeepers who make the honey sold at the market.

Everyone admires the monstrous eggs from a local farm that raises, it appears, some very happy chickens. I really want to bring them home, but because I’m on the road, I settle for the canned beef and a bag of Amish noodles. Hey, when I need it, I’ve got dinner.