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A Clean Plate in Menahga offers healthy, organic food choices

A Clean Plate, a local and organic grocery just south of the Menahga Post Office at 13 Birch Ave. SE. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)1 / 2
Wayne and Julie Isaacson2 / 2

Wayne and Julie Isaacson have embarked on a mission to provide healthy, clean food to area residents.

The couple has opened A Clean Plate, a local and organic grocery just south of the Menahga Post Office at 13 Birch Ave. SE.

The driving force or motivation for the store began about seven years ago.

"I weighed about 254 pounds and was not healthy," Wayne said. "I looked at myself and my family and realized I needed to make some changes in order to be there for them." The couple has 11 children and he wanted to make sure he was around to see them grow up.

Wayne started exercising - slowly at first - and started feeling better. He started to enjoy running but realized that if he would be having more intense workouts he would also need to eat better.

"We began looking at the chemicals in a lot of foods and tried eating cleaner, organic foods," he said.

Wayne eventually lost between 80 and 90 pounds and said he now feels better than he did 20 years ago.

As the former grocery manager at J&B Foods, he brings experience in the business. He worked with a consultant to figure out the business plan and secure financing for the store.

The store provides a variety of local and organic produce and dairy.

A Clean Plate carries Crystal Ball Farmers organic non-homogenized, low heat pasteurized milk in returnable glass bottles. He carries whole, reduced fat, fat free and whole milk chocolate.

"This is something you can't find anywhere else around here," Wayne said.

He will have a large bulk food area with a variety of grains, rice, nuts and spices.

Some of the meat at the grocery comes from Wadena and Sebeka. He also offers organic beef but is looking to find a source of grass beef closer to home.

Wayne is also looking to include local, free range eggs.

"There is such a difference between those eggs, the taste is so much better," he said.

A gluten free (wheat free) bakery is also part of the new venture. Julie is perfecting recipes using a variety of flours. The bakery goods will use very little starch and limit sugar.

"We're catering to people with gluten intolerance," she said.

Julie thinks as a whole, people eat too much wheat and eating other types of grains and flours is good for providing variety.

The bakery isn't completed but should be open in about three weeks, she said.

A Clean Plate has been open just a few weeks but already has some regular customers.

"One woman who started shopping here and eating better said she has had more energy and feels better," Wayne said.

A Clean Plate is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information call 564-1010.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561