Center 1 Market adds a new twist to the old task of grocery shopping. It seems the art of shopping for home-cooked meals has finally arrived in Tulsa. When traveling through Western Europe, let's say Paris for example, I was impressed by how many people were walking or bicycling home with a baguette in their back pocket and a small grocery bag in hand. Many Parisians pop into specialty stores on their way home from work each day, such as bakeries (boulangeries), butcher shops (boucheries), cheese shops (fromageries), and others that offer hand-crafted foods prepared right on the premises in artisan fashion.
This is what Center 1 Market offers Tulsans. Pick up the freshest of foods for a few days' meals.
Grocery shopping is a serene experience at Center 1 Market in the heart of Brookside. No navigating large parking lots, no strategizing which checkout line moves the fastest, no self-check out. Center 1 Market is a full-service food market with an expert staff eager to assist with your shopping.
Since its opening last June, Center 1 Market has offered a fresh taste by providing all the essentials or for picking up home-cooked meals already prepared. "Quality local products in a quality atmosphere" is its philosophy, and the various local vendors do deliver on this statement of purpose.
James P. Copper, Manager, says this is just what the city of Tulsa needs. "We maintain a high level of quality and freshness in what we have. We offer specialty items in a convenient way. Where else can you get this in Tulsa."
The answer is you really cannot, at least under the same roof. "There was a definite need for this," Cooper said, and that need has been answered in a big way with Center 1 Market.
Walking into the market from the west-end parking lot, a world of fresh vegetables, breads, sweets, meats, fish, gourmet cheeses and many specialty items await the consumer. Red cabbage, fresh ginger, fruits, mushroom, herbs and more are available, many organic, grown locally and harvested and delivered daily from Nuyaka Natural Farm, an 80-acre farm in Bristow.
"We're not a farmer's market," Cooper said, "yet we do outsource regionally for vegetables. No one can compare to the freshness we offer here."
Just a glance at the display is impressionable. A section of fresh herbs, six types of apples, fresh greens and root vegetables were stately, obviously firm with freshness, but my eye caught the various fresh mushrooms looking as if they were picked on another planet. Take the Golden Oyster: this bright yellow fungus is a conversational piece with its suction-cup shaped caps. Cooper says the mushrooms are picked and brought in the same day.
Other mushroom types include Shiitake, Grey Oyster, Lion's Mane, Eryngii and Nameko. Cooper provides a pamphlet with mushroom descriptions and recipes for preparation.
Across from the produce section is Farrell Family Organic Breads, a small artisan bread bakery in the Old European tradition. Breads are made from the finest organic flour and ingredients. They are now able to use Oklahoma grown organic wheat flour, freshly stone-ground. The dough is minimally mixed and all loaves are hand-formed. Hand-shaping gives the Farrell loaves varying holes inside and a more complex flavor than other preparation methods. The loaves are distributed the same morning of cooking to ensure the freshest breads available. Some daily breads include Organic Whole Wheat Levain, Organic Wheatberry Nut Levain, 3-Seed Levain, Organic 12-Grain, Organic Sourdough Rye, Organic Tuscan Bread, Organic Raisin & Cinnamon, Deli Rye, King's Table Bread and more. In addition, Farrell bakes special breads each day of the week.
Between phone calls and customer calls, Cooper toured me through Center 1 Market, then out the front door onto the sidewalk. "Where else in Tulsa can you get this?" he said, pointing to everything yet nothing in particular, just the hustle and bustle in the heart of the Brookside District. "This store represents urban Tulsa," Cooper continued. "This Center 1 area is a wonderful development."
An open refrigerator sections offer many organic dairy products such as Organic Valley eggs, butter and milk, Lifeway Organic Lowfat Kefir Cultured Milk Smoothies, Fisher's Farm Fresh Eggs, Lakewood Organic Cranberry, Cranberry Pomegranate juices, Rising Moon Organic Gnocchi and ravioli, Council Creek Cheese, Organic Pureed Ginger and garlic, Wallaby Organic Yogurt, Greek Gods Greek Yogurt, Sonoma Sparkler Natural Blood Orange Sparkling Apple Juice and Pear Juice, daily prepared In the Raw sushi is also available for a quick healthy take-out meal.
Another "market" within Center 1 Market is a meat section where Cooper said he and Paul James, otherwise known as "The Gardener Guy" who, in Cooper's words, is a fine purveyor of meats, operate. Cooper explained they will outsource their meats from all across the world.
Fish is another major player in this market. Does the name Bodean ring a bell? This name is synonymous for some of the best fish in Tulsa. Bruce Pense, former chef at Bodean Seafood Restaurant, will be the purveyor of fish in Center 1 Market. He explained to me the various fish available that day, saying that fish is some of the easiest food to prepare, if done properly. He said they have Grade 1 Tuna, which is the most popular for sushi.
"This is very much like a European market where people can come to shop three times a week," said Cooper, following up with the rhetorical question: "Why would someone buy foods for two weeks worth of cooking when they can come here throughout the week and get the freshest food in Tulsa and with super quality?"
Center 1 Market
3524 S. Peoria
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