Herald JournalHerald Journal, Jan. 26, 2004

Couple opens organic food store near Cokato

By Jody Anderson

A natural escape from processed foods is what Dan and Becky Bravinder are offering at their new organic store just east of Cokato, Dan and Becky's Market.

Dan, who is formerly of Howard Lake, opened the store with his wife to fulfill a desire to improve their diet, he said.

The store provides area residents with an alternative source for multiple organic and all natural products.

Bravinder is the son of the late Robert and Muriel Bravinder of Howard Lake, and his wife, Becky, is the daughter of Ralph and Margaret Lundeen of Cokato.

The Bravinders are no strangers to the nuances of owning their own business; they have owned an independent trucking company for many years, but Dan wanted to stay closer to home.

Becky Bravinder, a former LPN, became interested in nutrition and organic products when she became a charter member of the Blooming Prairie Buying Club Coop in Buffalo.

The organic food business seems to be a win-win situation when it comes to health.

"The more refined foods are, the less nutrients they contain," explained Becky, "when you eat something, you want to get the most nutrition. Processing eliminates nutrients."

Many people already grind their own flour in the area, and are interested in obtaining pesticide-free products.

The Bravinders provide a multitude of commodities, including: cream top milk, gluten and wheat-free products, sugar-free Amish jams, sucanet, freshly ground spices, organic flour, nuts, cold pressed oils, almond butter, wheat and oat bran, muesli, dried fruits, bee pollen, dietary supplements, Mr. B. Chocolatier chocolates, and their own "Old Style" sugar and salt-free peanut butter, amongst others.

The organic products are certified by the Department of Agriculture, following the strictest standards in the country.

The Bravinders are not content to rest on their laurels, however; "We have an ongoing needs list," Dan commented. "We're open to requests and suggestions."

The couple is eager to promote organic farming in the area, thus increasing local participation.

"Organic products are priced higher," Becky said. "A farmer can charge more for his crop."

Family participation has been important too, as their four children have helped out in various ways.

The store was built with the help of family members, and involved many local businesses, since the Bravinders prefer to "keep it local" as much as possible.

"We're on a learning adventure," Becky added, "We'd like to invite others to join us."

Dan and Becky's Market is located at 5636 Oliver Ave. SW, one half a mile east of Cokato, just off Highway 12.

Store hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The telephone number is (320) 286-2284.


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