Gabe and I discussed the Eden Foods controversy. I believe the Edens' management is endeavoring to poke a one-way hole in the corporate veil at the expense of women in the name of religion. If the Hobby Lobby decision is any indication, Eden Foods will likely be successful. If the courts won't move to protect my daughter's rights, I will.
"I think it's wrong," said Gabe of the Eden Foods move. Hence, the two of us seemed to be on the same ideological page or at least in the same chapter. Yet Eden Foods products continue to line the shelves of his family's stores.
Per Gabe, the integrity of Eden Foods' products remains impeccable despite the politics of the home office. They are popular with his customers. Gabe was quick to say that he has indeed fielded complaints and opinions about his decision to continue stocking Eden Foods via email, phone calls, social media and in person.
"This is the first lunch," he said of our meeting.
Despite those interactions, Gabe said he does not think the majority of the people who purchase Eden Foods know about the controversy.
"The noise is not loud enough," he said of the collective protest.
|Inviting produce at Mustard Seed|
Which is pretty much where he is with Eden Foods. The product continues to meet his standards and remains popular with shoppers. Protests have not pushed him over the tipping point.
Gabe said he encourages people to "vote with their dollars." While not everyone agrees with that philosophy, Seattle customers voted Eden out of one co-op. Either way, I surely respect Gabe's response.
The most telling part of the meeting had to do with photos. Mustard Seed does not permit photos and Gabe's mom interrupted me as I took a couple of shots before the meeting. She did not know who I was or why I was there. When I explained I was meeting with Gabe, she said if he okays the pictures, it's fine to use them.
So I showed Gabe the photos. I only had a couple, one of which showed some of Eden Foods products on his shelves. His brow collapsed as it flashed on my tiny camera screen.
"You don't want me to use this?" I asked.
"I'd rather you didn't," he said, "but it's up to you."
So while the contents of the Eden Foods' packages remains pristine, the exterior of them has been sullied, ideologically speaking. In that, I sense a subtle victory.
Dear reader, I urge you to shop heartily and often at one of northeast Ohio's finest family run businesses, Mustard Seed Market, which continues to garner my enthusiastic endorsement. During our chat, I learned that Gabe's family owns a giant blueberry farm, which I intend to visit. The company is constantly engaged in community service, such as supporting the Cleveland Children's Hunger Alliance and offering an array of educational classes. The store's produce is usually picked from an Ohio farm within 24 hours of being displayed.
But please leave the Eden Foods products on the shelves. Better yet, call the store, contact Gabe on Twitter, or chime in on Mustard Seed's facebook page and tell the Nabors family what you think about Eden Foods. Maybe we can get those cartons and cans so dirty on the outside, Gabe and his staff will reach the tipping point and take them off the shelves just like Weaver Market did in North Carolina.
Confidential to Mr. Gabe Nabors: Thanks for lunch. The sushi roll was delicious and it was an honor to chat with you.
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