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Heritage House introducing bulk food

The Montana Heritage House planned to make their new bulk offerings available on Mar 1.

The bulk offerings are part of an ongoing effort by the Vallers to bring organic foods to Lincoln at an affordable price. So far, the business has offered a variety of other foods from Montana farmers, including local Mannix beef and steaks, as well as produce, which changes seasonally.

"We've been bringing in foods from Montana farmers as much as we can, but we need to expand on some of that so we're bringing in a much bigger range of foods, and they are essentially bulk foods," said Valler.

These offerings include bulk honey, which uses a special warming device to keep the honey at a temperature where people can get their own.

"It's raw honey," said store owner Tiana Valler. "All honey that hasn't been processed at all is crystalized, so we have a special thing called a bee blanket we put on our five-gallon bucket. It stays at a really low temperature. Because this whole container was crystalized, it's taking almost two weeks to warm up enough to be released from its crystalline form because it's such a low temperature. That way, it will keep it where when you put it in your jar it will crystalize but it won't have lost any of its nutrients. We're actually next going to do the same thing with organic coconut oil."

One of the challenges with offering bulk items is adapting it to new models required by the pandemic.

"That was our vision initially, to bring in bulk foods, but with the pandemic, you can't do the big bulk food containers where people dip in themselves, so we are buying products in bulk and then packaging them ourselves to pass on the savings," Valler said.

She added that they plan to package foods in smaller amounts to begin with, but that they're happy to package foods in whatever size people want.

"We are tending toward the smaller sizes because so many people in Lincoln are just one or twosies, but we can definitely do the bigger sizes. We'll have them out, but we definitely, if somebody was like 'I want ten pounds instead of two' or 'one pound instead of ten,' we can do that, too," Valler said.

In addition to honey, the variety of new bulk goods will include apple cider vinegar, oils, oats, baking goods, spices, herbs and condiments. As part of this service, Valler said the Heritage House will also be offering teas, salves, and tinctures.

"It's all going to be all natural, non-GMO, organic foods so that people don't have to travel really far to find those things in Lincoln," Valler added. "My big thing is just to really bring the best, healthiest options to Lincoln and keep them at the best price. I just know how much feeling bad impacts your whole life. If you don't eat well, you don't feel well, you can't live well."

Another goal of the service, said Valler, is to limit plastic and packaging and to take steps toward zero waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the zero waste concept is defined differently by different communities, but many definitions include movement toward sustainable production, consumption and re-use of products and packaging. At the Heritage House, people will be able to bring their own containers for liquid goods or purchase reusable glass containers from the shop.

"We really, really want to go that way, with less and less packaging and helping more people in Lincoln with less and less packaging," said Valler.

They're also hoping to hear from local residents about what other goods they might like to see offered.

"I would love for people to tell us things that they would like to have in Lincoln. If they come in or send us a note on Facebook or whatever. I've been looking at the same sort of a concept for laundry detergent and things so that people could come and get theirs just to try to reduce waste, less plastic and to have really good, natural, high quality things come in and just make it to where all the way down the line we don't throw all that stuff away but also makes the price less because you're not paying for all that packaging," Valler said.


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