Wisconsin’s first Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, a specialty retailer focused on healthy and organic products and groceries, opens Wednesday, June 8 at 470 E. Pleasant St. at Milwaukee’s North End.
"We’re excited to open our very first store in Milwaukee," says Fresh Thyme CEO Chris Sherrell. "And we’re pretty damned proud of what we’re doing. So many stores that do some of the things we do are big, intimidating, expensive and just not convenient."
Sherrell, who is originally from Pewaukee, says the rapidly growing company has been wanting to open more of the markets in Wisconsin, but needed to find the right locations to make it work.
The North End store is the first of six in the state expected to open within 18 months, including a location in Brookfield and another in the 84South development between South 84th and 92nd Streets at West Layton Avenue in Greenfield, which is slated to open in early 2017.
Because we know you’re curious about the new store, we noted 16 things you can find when you visit.
1. A coffee bar
The North End market is the first of the Fresh Thyme Markets to offer a coffee bar. The walk-up cafe serves up St. Louis-based Kaldi's Coffee, along with tea, smoothies, cold-pressed juices and bakery items. There’s also a small cafe near the coffee bar where patrons can enjoy their beverages while taking advantage of the store’s free Wi-Fi.
2. A growler bar
Another brand new concept for Fresh Thyme is the growler bar. The North End store features 10 taps including offerings from Lakefront, 3 Sheeps, New Glarus, Sprecher and Karben4, available in both pints and growlers to go. The bar also offers a small selection of wines by the glass.
According to Sherrel, produce accounts for 25 percent of Fresh Thyme’s sales. Consequently, customers will find a large fresh produce department featuring a wide range of fruits and vegetables and a somewhat surprisingly small section of organic produce.
4. Grab-and-go items
For those looking for a quick lunch, there are a variety of grab-and-go options including prepared pizza, sandwiches, sushi and a soup and salad bar.
5. Meals to go
There are also grab-and-go dinner items available in both individual and family-sized portions, including tamales, egg rolls, pizzas, pasta dishes and pot pies.
The Fresh Thyme meat case features all the usual suspects, including steaks and chops, plus specialty bacon and house-made sausages.
7. Fish & seafood
A small seafood counter offers options like whitefish, salmon, shrimp and mussels.
8. Olives & antipasti
An olive and antipasti bar features a variety of olives and marinated vegetables.
9. Bulk items
According to Sherrell, Fresh Thyme offers more than 400 items available in bulk, including rice, grains, dried fruits and more.
10. Bulk liquids
Liquid items available in bulk include honey, maple syrup and agave nectar, as well as a selection of oils and vinegars.
11. Nut butter grinder
On-site grinders allow customers to grind their own nut butters. Options include peanut, honey roasted peanut, almond and cashew.
12. Wisconsin cheese
Fresh Thyme’s cheese selection is relatively small, but runs the gamut from cheddars and goat cheese to harder to find items like halloumi. Specialty cheeses include selections from Wisconsin cheesemakers like Sartori.
13. International cheese
You can also find cheeses from Australia and Wales.
Fresh Thyme carries a variety of freshly made breads and rolls, including baguettes, ciabatta, whole-grain loaves, pretzel rolls and bagels. And there's a bread cutter just in case you'd like your loaves sliced to take home.
15. Vitamins & body care
Supplements, including refrigerated items like probiotics and Omega-3, are available in a section at the front of the store, which also stocks shampoos, soaps, cosmetics and other health care items.
16. Fresh flowers
And yes, you can get your fresh flowers at Fresh Thyme, too.
Fresh Thyme is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.