Tonight was the soft opening, "friends and family event" for Fresh Thyme Farmers Market in Mount Prospect. I'd heard good things in the weeks leading up to them opening. Last weekend at the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo several big name brand products were already advertising that they were going to be selling their products, so I was really excited to check out what they had.
Really there were so many options, it was almost overwhelming. There were products that I've never seen in stores around Chicago, and had only seen via the internet. The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. Two different employees told me that they counted over 1,100 gluten free items, not including the obvious, naturally gluten free items like milk, or olive oil. Gluten Free items are intermixed with non-gluten free items, but the size of the store lends it to still be easy to shop and many of the products would be tasty to someone who isn't specifically looking for gluten free. Every aisle has gluten free products, and they are very proud of their selection.
They have a nice selection of gluten free Hops and Grapes - and frozen items. I was in heaven. For those quick meal days there were a lot of options and new items from Amy's, Evol, Saffron Road, Ian's and Artisan Bistro.
Van's Waffles, Sonoma Flatbreads, Coconut Bliss Ice cream, Immaculate Baking break and bake cookies. They have Annie Chuns and all of the San J products, even the to go packets of Tamari sauce!
Right when you walk in on the right hand side there is a huge freezer of fresh baked items from Sweet Ali's, Blossom bakery, Udi's, Rudi's and several more. I really had to stop myself from buying the place out.
There were several brands of gluten free hotdogs, sausage, Chorizo, and Kilbasa's.
I had to get some items to take home and try out. Compared to the other stores in the area, Fresh Thyme is taking the cake for the selection and products available. I was excited when Mariano's started to carry more gluten free items, but Fresh Thyme has got even them beat hands down. The store is a good mix of a Whole Foods and The Fresh Market. They have a huge section for natural remedies, vitamins and supplements and a well trained staff that can help get you the answer your looking for. The supplements and natural remedies section seemed larger than Whole Foods, there was definitely a better selection of brands to choose from.
If you can check out this store or one of the many they are opening this year you won't be disappointed.