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Fresh Thyme Farmers Market grand opening today

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market produce.
Fresh Thyme Farmers Market produce.
courtesy of Daniel Nichols, Ivie and Associates

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market opens at 7 AM this morning in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Oakley. This will be the fifth store in the fledgling grocery store chain.

As the name suggests, Fresh Thyme is a place where there is an emphasis on fresh food. Touring the store during a pre-grand opening event on Monday evening, that approach was quite noticeable, beginning with the baked goods. The variety of freshly baked bread and rolls offered there was far greater than other stores of its size. For example, pretzel-style bread was offered as loaves, sandwich buns, dinner rolls, and snack-size bites. Sandwiches, wraps, and pizzas were all offered made-to-order, with the Boar's Head brand as a primary partner. Many varieties of cookies were sold individually. Gluten-free items are available in a good selection.

A full-service meat counter also awaited its first customers. A dozen or so different house-made sausages were fresh items there, both pork and chicken. These sausage were also noticeably inexpensive, clearly besting Whole Foods. A variety of meat was also in cases on the sales floor, including bison, lamb, goat, duck, and grass-fed beef, along with pork and chicken.

Tucked away in another corner of the store was the juice counter. Fruit juices are also freshly squeezed daily, and a full-service juice bar is a concept the company is considering. A salad bar with great selection, and a olive and antipasto bar that included mixed olives with feta, pickled Italian peppers, and beans in vinaigrette completed the offerings of fresh and prepared food.

"Fresh food is our primary approach," said Sage Horner, Senior Vice President for Sales, Merchandising, and Marketing. "Our produce is in the center of the store, and we use low-profile merchandising so it can be seen. " And it should be seen, stacked in pyramids like you might remember from your childhood. "We have at least 100 organic produce items at any given time, sometimes as many as 150. Tonight, we stand at about 120," Horner said. "Better for you at a value." Bulk items were prominently featured nearby, with 400 items available, including liquids like olive oil, agave syrup, and honey.

Sage also pointed out the 9000 vitamins and supplements, many of which are offered with private label at a value price. "In this area, we strive to have the best selection, and the most knowledgeable employees," he said.

In addition to this store, at 3321 Alamo Avenue in the Oakley section, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market will be arriving at 11349 Montgomery Road later in 2014.