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Meet Jason Widener of Erewhon Organic Grocer and Cafe

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jason Widener.

Jason, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
2018 marks Erewhon’s 50th anniversary. Since its inception, Erewhon has been an independent, family-owned beacon of light and knowledge for health seekers in the community and beyond. We focus on working with many local farms and vendors. We take pride in upholding the highest standards and providing a highly curated and unique product mix for our shoppers.

Erewhon started as a specialty health food store, focusing on macrobiotics — which back then, no one was really talking about — they were absolute pioneers in the space. Today, Erewhon is a full-service grocery store and deli. We continue to forge the path when it comes to functional foods, adaptogens, herbs, and superfoods.

We love to say Erewhon is more than a market, it is a place of discovery. We urge customers to bring their curiosity vs. a shopping list to the store. We hope they will be inspired by talking with our staff and becoming part of the passionate community that works with us. We believe in constantly rediscovering the power of nature, remaining innovative while honoring time-tested artisanal methods to bring our customers the ultimate in health and wellness.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Without obstacles, there can be no growth. You need to be uncomfortable, to take the challenge, to not ignore it. We embrace that philosophy in every department and all that we do. We are always looking for a better way. Whether as a business or as individuals, we absolutely lean in to the discomfort and often times dive headfirst into the unknown. Because we are independent, we can be nimble. We can try things and learn from any mistakes or missteps. We are constantly evolving, because our customers are with us on the path to optimal health and wellness. They drive us to do better. Our shoppers have the highest expectations for the brand, we are constantly improving and changing in order to meet those expectations. That is why transparency is so important to us, we believe we are in a partnership with our customers. We want to be able to tell them the stories behind the products we sell — where they come from, who made them, and how it is in line with the philosophy and environmental responsibility that inspires everything we do.

As more and more companies consolidate, we are going to continue to do what we do. We believe people want to support independent, local and conscious businesses. When people ask us about trends, we have to say we don’t really operate that way. Take the recent prediction that medicinal mushrooms will be big in 2018 — we’ve been doing working with reishi and other mushrooms in our tonics for more than a decade!

Please tell us about Erewhon Organic Grocer and Cafe.
Erewhon is an organic grocer and cafe. We are proud to feature 100% organic produce and innovative products throughout our stores. At Erewhon, our organic cafes provide chef-inspired seasonal dishes and our staff brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to their positions. Our Tonic Bar is internationally known and we are very excited to announce a new in-house organic bone broth cleanse program that we are launching for 2018.

Curiosity about the world, educating ourselves and others about food, how ingredients interact and fuel our bodies, striving for wellness by investing in ourselves — all of this is what makes Erewhon completely unique in the marketplace. We are constantly sourcing wild ingredients, small artisanal products, those unique items made from rediscovered ingredients and re-offering them to the world. Nothing is really new. It’s just our awareness that changes everything.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Growing up, I was greatly influenced by my mom, two grandmothers and aunt. They were deeply rooted in their history and culture and expressed themselves through their cooking. They taught me the joy in preparing and sharing regional and traditional dishes. To this day, I believe in the power of food to unite us; as well as to explore different cultures, flavors and cooking methods. That’s one of the many reasons why I love my job. I can honestly say I learn something new every day and am able to share this knowledge with my family, my co-workers and our customers. In that way, I am continuing the legacy of the amazing women in my life all those years ago.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Erewhon Market

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Libby

    January 12, 2018 at 20:22

    I’m always inspired when I see Jason bustling around Erewhon on Beverly Blvd. He is always striving to add value to the customer exerience and support the staff. I was looking forward to knowing more about him here in this article but it really focused on Erewhon’s legacy as a business. Many blessings Jason and Erewhon!!

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