April 30, 2019 – The centerpiece of the new Aptos Village development opens tomorrow in the remodeled and re-positioned old Hihn Apple Barn, built in 1891.
The Aptos New Leaf Community Market, first envisioned in 2001, may have historic walls and rafters, but inside it is brand new with sparkling shelves crammed with local produce and artisanal products, much of it organic.
The new store also offers plentiful casual dining options including a high-tech wok and ramen bar and outdoor seating overlooking the village green.
“The intent is for us to be a hub for the community,” says Forrest Gonsiewski, who as senior director of New Leaf helped design the store. “We want people to come out and meet their friends here and stay for awhile, I think that’s the best thing a supermarket can be.”
“Supporting our local producers is important to us,” he adds. “It is really rewarding when you can help a small producer.”
All around the 17,000 square foot market are shelf hangers indicating products that have been sourced locally, from within a 100 mile radius of the store. Many of the artisans who have been featured on the pages of Edible Monterey Bay magazine, also have a place in the market—such as Carmel Berry Company, Friend in Cheeses Jam Co., Tanuki Cider and Kitchen Witch Bone Broth, just to name a few.
Grand Opening events begin at 7:50am on Wednesday, May 1 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and performance by the Aptos High School band. Throughout the afternoon there will be live music, face painting, sample tables inside the store and a chance to meet New Leaf’s non-profit envirotoken partners. Envirotoken is a program that rewards shoppers who bring their own reusable bags and allows them to choose a non-profit organization that will receive the 10 cents per bag provided.
New Leaf founder Scott Roseman will be on hand to help with the ribbon cutting. He sold the natural food chain to New Seasons Markets in Portland in 2013, but it was his vision that planned for the Aptos store beginning 18 years ago.
“We started negotiating with the landlord in 2001 and have gone through maybe four letters of intent, but we’ve finally crossed the finish line,” Roseman said with a broad smile.
“In the end it was probably good that it took so long, because the talent that Portland brought in accomplished more than we would ever have been able to do alone,” he added.
One of the ideas swiped from Portland is the new high-tech wok and ramen bar, where customers enter their choice of noodles, rice, protein, sauce and toppings on an iPad, which sends the order directly to a chef who is standing by and prints out a ticket for the customer. By the time you go and pay, the meal is ready to be taken home or eaten on the premises.
The food area also includes made-to-order sandwiches, pizza, freshly rolled sushi, soup and hand-prepped salads—such as New Leaf’s popular coastal kale.
A full-service coffee, juice and smoothie bar, features Pachamama organic coffee and organic Straus soft serve ice cream.
Store manager Justin Reyes—who has worked at each of New Leaf’s other three stores in Santa Cruz and Capitola—says, “We look forward to serving Aptos for many years to come.”
New Leaf is the first of several businesses slated to open in the Aptos Village complex. Penny Ice Creamery, Cat & Cloud Coffee, The Sock Shop and Sante Arcangeli wine tasting are expected to open in the next few months. A new restaurant by star chef David Kinch called Mentone is set to open there later this summer.
Deborah Luhrman is publisher and editor of Edible Monterey Bay. A lifelong journalist, she has reported from around the globe, but now prefers covering our flourishing local food scene and growing her own vegetables in the Santa Cruz Mountains.