Sep 09 2015

And Now Here’s a Word
From Our Sponsor…

Ralph Celebre (left) chats with customers at Basil Bandwagon Natural Market.

Ralph Celebre (left) chats with customers at Basil Bandwagon Natural Market.

Basil Bandwagon Natural Market has been rolling for 22 years, offering an incredible selection of organic foods, vitamins, herbs, health and beauty products, and earth-friendly gifts at its Flemington and Clinton locations.

And with the dual missions of promoting local agriculture and empowering people to take responsibility for their own health, it’s no wonder that Basil Bandwagon is a long-time supporter of the Hunterdon Land Trust.

“The relationship between Basil Bandwagon and the Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers’ Market is an ideal partnership because we share many common goals like supporting our local agriculture and protecting our rural heritage and the beautiful places in the Hunterdon County area,” said Patricia Ruby, executive director of the Hunterdon Land Trust. “We’re honored that the Basil Bandwagon continues to support our Farmers’ Market.”

“We’ve been longtime supporters of keeping this beautiful area in some semblance of the shape it’s in,” said Ralph Celebre, Basil Bandwagon owner. “And, it comes down to agriculture, especially organic agriculture. I feel that every parcel of certified organic land is meaningful. And when you eat something that’s organic, you really taste the difference.

Ralph is a clinical herbalist with a deep-rooted passion for teaching others to make healthy choices.

“That’s what is the most fun for me here: Showing people something they can apply to their lifestyle that affects their health positively. And that’s a powerful thing: When somebody does that on their own, through their own shopping choices, it’s far better than giving yourself over to someone else to fix you.”

Basil Bandwagon opened, appropriately enough, on Earth Day (April 22) in 1993. Ralph had worked for a small distributor before opening a 1700-square-foot facility about a mile south of his present location at 276 U.S. Highway 202/31. As shoppers sought out healthy eating alternatives, business kept growing. Within three years, the store doubled in size; six years later it doubled again to about 6,000 square feet and moved to its current location. Three years ago Ralph partnered with Susan Haase and opened a second Basil Bandwagon in Clinton at 38 Old Route 22.

Basil-BandwagonBasil Bandwagon offers a wide assortment of healthy, organic foods and vitamins, but there are a number of items shoppers might be surprised to discover.  Wander the aisles and you’ll find local eggs and cheese, eyeglasses made from recycled materials, locally produced pottery, a large selection of gluten-free foods and high-quality ethnic foods including a line of Indian foods produced regionally by a family business.

“Our fresh salmon has been our biggest seller lately,” Ralph said. “While it’s not from local streams, it’s very high quality salmon. People really enjoy it.”

The Flemington store features a market café where Chef Christopher Georgett creates a tasty array of vegan and gluten-free cooking. Recently, his black bean veggie burgers were featured in Peter Genovese’s food column in the Star-Ledger and

“Our chef has 30-plus years of experience so he’s adept at not just doing the falafels and the ‘unchicken’ salads, but also creating delicious kale salads and grain salads, seafood and great turkey burgers. His zucchini fritters are just fantastic,” Ralph said. The café also features a baker who creates delicious cupcakes, vegan sweets and gluten-free items.

And those tasty meals are coming to Clinton soon: Basil Bandwagon is planning to open a kitchen there within a few months.

Other exciting plans at the market are also in the works. Basil Bandwagon regularly invites guest speakers to offer insights on health-related topics, and one goal is to increase those talks in the coming months.

“I would like personally to get back to teaching more herbal medicine in the field,” Ralph said.  He has a small farm and is preparing to grow perennial medicinal herbs there, not to sell but to use to teach others how to make medicines from what is growing in the soil.

You can learn more about Basil Bandwagon Natural Market by visiting its website. You’ll find special coupons, a store flyer and much more.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.