Now Reading
Building on an Organic Base



— July 24, 2019

Building on an Organic Base

  • Jason Cantin, the owner of Green Street Natural Foods in Melrose, Massachusetts, isn’t worried about the Whole Foods supermarket located a block away.

Jason Cantin, the owner of Green Street Natural Foods in Melrose, Massachusetts, isn’t worried about the Whole Foods supermarket located a block away.

“They moved in five years ago, and we’re still here. When anyone comes through our door, we go out of our way to help them, whether it’s by answering questions or tracking down an unusual product,” he says.

That personal touch has been a tradition since Cantin’s parents started a co-op in the 1970s when it was hard to find food to fit their vegetarian lifestyle. By 1975, the business had morphed into a store, carrying a variety of healthy foods and supplements.  

Today, the shop, located 20 minutes outside of Boston, features a unique product selection, including items they have carried for 40 years and others that some customers say they’ve never seen anywhere else. For instance, when a man came in with a poison ivy remedy he makes himself, customers liked it, and the shop still stocks it.

All of Green Street’s produce is organic. “When you go to a regular grocery store,” Cantin notes, “you may have to go to two or three stores to get all your organics. Here you walk out five minutes later, so we’re a time-saver.”

There’s a reason Greet Street emphasizes organic food: Cantin feels people should get their nutrition from food first, if at all possible. “Supplements are ‘in addition to,’ as the name says. They’re for when you can’t get enough in your food, or you need extra because you’re fighting something,” he advises. “Eat good food first, and add in anything else when you find gaps.”

When it comes to supplements, shelf space is limited because the store occupies less than 1000 square feet. “I don’t have room for junk,” says Cantin. “When a customer comes in and says, ‘This is what I’m feeling. What should I take?’, I’m only carrying the top two or three products, so I don’t have to choose between 10 different brands.”

One of the store’s big sellers is NaturesPlus KalmAssure, a powdered magnesium product, often recommended for muscle cramping at night. “It’s also used for stress and anxiety,” explains Cantin, “or post-workout to flush muscles, so they don’t cramp up as much.” Another NaturesPlus product Green Street sells is First Day, an anti-inflammatory combination of herbs and trace minerals. Customers swear by it for back pain and other kinds of inflammation. 

A big new trend among supplements is CBD oil, such as NaturesPlus HempCeutix, which contains phytocannabinoids, non-intoxicating substances derived from the hemp plant. “Usually with a new product, you get one or two responses,” Cantin reports. “But it’s helping kids who are anxious at school, middle-aged people who have dealt with anxiety their whole lives and seniors with pain.” 

For his own health, Cantin says that “good food is the start. I go to an acupuncturist and a chiropractor, and I’m always paying attention to my body. If I’m stressed or anxious, I make sure I take my B vitamins.”

With three kids under the age of 12, plus two dogs, Cantin’s day revolves around work and family. “It’s go, go, go. Some people feel they have to train hours a week on a bike. My passion is to run the business with my parents, then coach soccer or spend time doing other things with my kids. Because it’s all family, it balances itself—and you go with the flow.”

Green Street Natural, Melrose, Massachusetts

164 Green St

Melrose, MA 02176


© Copyright 2020 Discover Life Magazine. All rights reserved.