HUDSON - Diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2006, Kimberly Goodwin's health has had its ups and downs, but she's learned that food can be an effective form of medicine.
For the past year or so, the Concord mother of five has been eating food in its purest forms and avoiding products containing genetically modified organisms as part of her treatment plan.
This month, Goodwin teamed up with her lifelong friend, Elisha Badeau, to open a new retail store that she's hoping will help make eating healthy, local products a bit easier in Southern New Hampshire.
The two 1993 Nashua High School graduates opened Route 102 New Hampshire's Finest Marketplace LLC on June 7. Located on Route 102 on the Hudson/Litchfield town line, the store features products from more than 80 Granite State vendors.
"Our emphasis here is on fresh, whole foods," Goodwin said. "These are items you might see at a local farmer's market."
Setting up shop in the building that once housed Badeau's finance and real estate offices, the Finest Marketplace carries everything from raw milk, cheese and yogurt from local farms, produce, plants, baked goods, organic meats, sauces and jellies to locally brewed wine and beer, custom-made gift baskets, personal care products, vitamins, jewelry, T-shirts, art, candles and pet products, among other things.
Ready-to-eat meals from Nashua catering company McNulty & Foley, Derry eateries Amphora and California Mexican Grille and Londonderry's Lucianno's Cafe round out the store's many offerings.
"You'll find all the staples here," Goodwin said. "We have ketchup and candy - ours is just a bit healthier. There are no ingredients there that you can't pronounce."
Shortly after her diagnosis, Goodwin spent a lot of her time reading, searching the Internet and learning.
"What I found out was that food can have a definite influence on one's health," she said. "So it's become kind of my passion to get more people to try and eat like their grandparents used to eat."
Goodwin and Badeau said the store will soon be listed in the business directory for New Hampshire Made, an Epping-based not-for-profit focusing on strengthening the state's economy by supporting NH businesses and services.
According to the organization's executive director Trish Belentyne, there are currently more than 800 Granite State businesses listed as New Hampshire Made members, with more added each year as more and more residents strive to shop (and eat) locally.
Katie McQuaid Cote of GoShopNH.com, an online business operated by the New Hampshire Union Leader that features Granite State goods, said the fact that there's a new retail store in the area attests to the growing demand for local items.
"In our experience, the local movement is really on the upswing in New Hampshire," Cote said. "People are excited about shopping locally."
Specialty food items seem to be especially popular with GoShopNH customers, she added.
"We get really excited to see brick and mortar ships spring up, because it means the demand is growing," Cote said.
Route 102 New Hampshire's Finest Marketplace, located at 225 Derry Road in Hudson, is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit the store's Facebook page.