Our Communications and Resource Manager, Meghan, got to learn more about the Kingston-based small business Green Owl Provisions by talking to Founder Jon Sordoni. Check out their interview below to learn how they make high-quality nutrition from PA farmers and artisans accessible to NEPA!
Q: How was Green Owl Provisions started?
A: In 2010, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease, which was my catalyst into healthy eating. Tick borne illness left me with a host of new health challenges, many of which revolved around food. After years of antibiotic use with little focus on food or holistic healthcare, nutrition and clean food became my main focus day to day. That pivotal experience left me with a heightened awareness of the food-health relationship and a desire to better understand where our food was coming from. I also got excited about healthy agriculture after seeing the huge difference it makes in the food chain and on small communities. After sourcing my own farm-direct foods, and meeting many amazing people who were knowledgeable about the local food system, I founded Grew Owl Provisions in 2016 as a way to share and expand our community’s access to these local, high-quality sources of nutrition. Choosing what we eat has a lasting impact that extend far past the dinner plate and straight into the heart of our community!
Q: What is your professional background and how did you get into your current industry?
A: I studied music from a young age and graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2001 and began writing, recording and producing music. Lyme disease pretty quickly reoriented those plans and had me solely focused on food and wellbeing. Almost 10 years of restrictive dieting and medical protocols gave me a unique view and experience into nutrition, food security, and the food system, along with the challenge of changing one’s diet and coping with chronic illness. Green Owl is the goodness that has come from my experience through chronic illness and navigating the modern food industry.
Q: What types of products does Green Owl offer?
A: Green Owl is 100% PA-sourced, farm and artisan-direct food. We cover a variety of products, but focus on small-farmed pastured meats, and seasonal, chemical-free vegetables. We focus on farms that utilize sustainable farming methods to produce healthy foods without chemicals and without large-scale industrialized methods. Pastured, Grass-fed, and organic meats; organic, regenerative, and beyond-organic produce, grown without chemicals; raw & grass-fed dairy of all kinds; raw honeys; all-natural canned vegetables; fermented items; frozen meats; fish of all kinds; artisan breads; fresh-roasted coffee; and prepared food made in-house from scratch each week. Clean, healthy food from people we know and trust.
Q: What qualities make your products unique in your market?
A: Our direct relationships and attention to quality. We are stubborn about quality and transparent about where our food comes from! If we don’t know where it’s from, we don’t sell it, and If we don’t eat it at home, we won't sell it. We work directly with professional farmers and know their property, background and farming ethics. We know the process and the people from farm to slaughter to packaging and distribution and striver to keep that chain short and transparent for our customer’s benefit. These grass-fed proteins and unadulterated foods are the healthiest option for our nutrition , our land and environment. The adage “you are what you eat” implies you should know what you’re eating! With Green Owl, you will.
Q: What is your geographic market and service area?
A: We are located at 213 Pierce St in Kingston, which is a central, easy to find location for the surrounding Wyoming Valley community. Customers from all areas can shop our online store at greenowlprovisions.com and choose ‘in-store pickup’ of their orders during the week. We’ll have it bagged and ready for you. We also offer weekly Home Delivery within the Kingston and Back Mountain areas via our certified refrigerated delivery van. Our delivery area and FAQ is available online for more information.
Q: Why did you choose NEPA as a location for your business?
A: I’m a native of the Back Mountain! Although I have lived around the US including Boston, Austin, TX, and New York City, I have spent most of my life around the Wyoming Valley. My family’s roots are here and I continue to love our area for its natural beauty and the opportunity to contribute to our local quality of life. There’s nowhere else I would rather put my work and effort into making a positive impact.
Q: Where are the farms that you source from located?
A: Many are right here in our community and all are in Pennsylvania. We strive to keep it as close to home as possible and are always working to find and promote more local producers. We work with farms as close as a few miles away and many from the Lancaster area. We believe in sourcing 100% of our products in PA!
Q: How do you decide which farms to source from?
A: We know and love farming, and believe certain methods produce food that’s healthier for us than others. We work hard to meet and research every farm and producer before handling their products, so that we understand their goals, methods and ethics as best we can. This allows us to pass on that information to our customers in a transparent way. This applies to the pastures, soil, animal welfare and infrastructure as well as the cleanliness of processing facilities, kitchens and all related parts of the food web. We believe very strongly that food produced with minimal or no industrialized processes, without chemicals and utilizing biodynamic farming principals equates to cleaner, healthier nutrition. We’re lucky to work with people equally as passionate about quality and community! We know them – You know us.
Q: How does Green Owl Provisions work to further the community?
A: Farming is our 3rd largest industry in PA and our heritage is that of world-class food producers. Food is health, and healthy starts on the farm. Without our fabric of small family-owned farms, we are all left with limited choices, a loss of control over our environment, and the consolidation of our food system into the hands of a few multi-national companies. Supporting local agriculture supports local community at its foundation. For us, quality is in local vegetables delivered with no travel time, no waiting around in a warehouses, and grown without chemicals; Grass-fed meats produced on healthy pasture with no industrialized grains, and artisan products produced in small kitchens around our area. The difference in taste and nutrition is unparalleled. Eating local is more than just a slogan; it’s our lifestyle and our mission. A vibrant food fabric equates to a vibrant community in which to live!
Q: Is there anything that you’d like the community to know more about?
A: The reality of our current food system & working together: 90% of our food comes from industrialized mega-farms. Giant CAFO, or centralized feeding operations, monoculture vegetable being sprayed with tainted water, and toxic food additives are all elements that are avoided in local, small production foods. Food recalls and food desserts are all impacts of the industrialized system, not the failure of the local system. The huge nutritional differences between these foods and the part they play on our health and environment is largely misunderstood, and has a larger impact than most realize. It’s our goal to improve access to the best, healthiest food possible and work together to create a future that includes more local, healthy, fresh, amazing food!
Interested in learning more about Green Owl Provisions or placing a food order? Visit them online at https://www.greenowlprovisions.com/.