Move over big box and chain grocery stores, there’s a new grocery store in town and it’s a hybrid with a unique offering.
“We don’t want to be another Ralph’s, Barron’s or Stater Brothers,” says entrepreneur/owner Craig Schleuniger. “We want to provide the best of natural organic and locally-sourced foods.”
The farmer-owned store prides itself on its local connections and socially-responsible food system. They source healthy foods locally, donate to the local food pantry, and recycle composted produce into their farm’s ecosystem.
The Farmstead Market resembles an old-style neighborhood market but with the many staples and value-added products of a modern marketplace. It was initially born out of a family need to provide the necessary foods for a child diagnosed with celiac disease and type 1 diabetes and is rapidly growing into a community resource.
The majority of the produce is grown locally with many organic selections; much of it comes directly from Craig’s farm off of Clinton Keith in Wildomar, where his family owned and farmed 360 acres in the 1950s. Fresh water also comes from their own artesian well. The food is harvested daily and brought fresh to market. They also have an extensive herb and vegetable garden onsite in their patio area between two old-growth (200+ years old) olive trees that they preserved. The herb gardens are available for local classes to adopt and tend.
There is a full-service scratch deli that will make custom sandwiches or customize pre-made sandwiches, featuring premium Columbus meats, gourmet cheeses and whole grain breads. There are whole grain pizza offerings and individual packaged salads made fresh daily.
The meat department carries “premium and prime beef that is antibiotic and hormone-free, nitrate-free pork and bacon from Heritage and purebred Heirloom hogs, and free-range chickens that are air-chilled and not ice-bathed,” said expert butcher Corey Roscoe. “This differentiates us from other grocery stores. We will also be carrying local grass-fed beef soon.”
The multiple types of sausage are made fresh in-house from whole cuts, with no fillers, nitrates, hormones or antibiotics.
“Our prepared and ready-to-cook selections are a great value-added way to prepare a quick, delicious and nutritious dinner,” said co-owner Roxanne Schleuniger.
The offerings include marinated beef, chicken cordon bleu, stuffed portabella mushrooms, beef and chicken kabobs, shrimp stuffed peppers, among others.
There is a seafood counter with wild caught salmon and other “ocean-friendly” choices. An olive bar – complete with roasted garlic and peppers – is one of their more popular offerings.
“Our artisan cheese department has doubled in size and offerings,” says local cheese expert and department head Adam Zitney (also head of the wine and beer departments). “My top shelf ‘fancy case’ has proven to be quite popular in this area.”
Among his many goat, cow, and sheep offerings are the high-end Boucheron and the Aged Leicestershire Red, the longest cave-aged cheese in the world, kept soft by its vegetable base (non-animal fat, therefore suitable for vegetarians). Zitney also carries real buffalo milk mozzarella.
The beer department also features offerings from local brewers AfterShock and Black Market.
Recent vendor additions include hormone-free Hollandia Dairy products (San Marcos), Popeye all-natural energy drinks (Murrieta), Great Harvest breads (Temecula) as well as locally sourced tortillas, salsas, and toffee. They are also expanding their gluten-free offerings.
The couple plans to host pairing events (wine anad cheese, beer and cheese, etc.) and have musical guests on their outdoor patio.
“The market has been open for only four months, and we are already planting more acreage to keep up with the demand,” said Craig.
“We are meeting an untapped need of a highly-educated demographic,” said Roxanne, “who understand the importance of healthy eating and lifestyle.”
The Farmstead Market will be holding its grand opening this weekend – Friday, March 15 (4 to 7 p.m.), Saturday, March 16 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), and Sunday, March 17 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) – and will feature entertainment, vendor sampling, and Children Fun booths.
Farmstead Market is located in Murrieta at the corner of Kalmia and Jefferson Streets (across from City Hall). For more information, visit www.TheFarmsteadMarket.com.