A foodie's paradise in Soldotna

Gourmet Garden Market and Deli, located in the River City Books Building at the “Y” in Soldotna, offers patrons organic produce, unique cooking ingredients and a delightful selection of homemade food.

Owner, Susan Bradley, bought the small 15-by-15-foot shop in 2007 after working in the store part-time for several years.

“I fell in love with the place,” she said.

The mother of three kids said she had always loved to cook and look at cookbooks, yet owning Gourmet Garden Market and Deli has introduced her to many new things.

“I learn from my customers,” she said.

She said many of her regular customers bring in recipes or requests for new items.

“You get great ideas if you listen to people,” she said.

While the store is located in a small space, Bradley uses space directly outside the door to display baskets of fresh organic produce, as well as fresh baked breads delivered three times a week from Eroupa Bakery and Café in Anchorage.

Inside the door, items are neatly displayed in groups on metal shelves by theme; chocolates, candy, crackers, spices and flavored oils.

“We try to put things in here that aren’t in other stores,” she said.

Patrons will find items including Sitka Spruce Tip sea salt, blood orange olive oil, Ghee, fruit spreads, sushi seasoning and Tamarind concentrate. She also stocks many brands that are recommended on local and national cooking shows.

Bradley also offers 60 varieties of cheeses and several deli meats.

For those looking for an alternative to fast food for lunch, Bradley has several deli options and samples are always available.

“I want to get people hooked,” she said.

She has a daily cooked entrée, ranging from a risotto dish, lasagna or a penne pasta and cheese.

“We try to have one in the case at all times,” she said.

There are also a variety of salads daily, including black bean and corn or Thai quinoa. Bradley said she and her crew enjoy making the salads, which combine a whole grain, vegetable or fruit and usually a vinaigrette.

“They can get pretty far out sometimes, but they are fun to make,” she said.

There are also trays of marinated carrots, a variety of slaws and jars of anchovy olives and pickled beets.

Customers can complete the lunch with a homemade brownie, chocolate-dipped macaroon or pumpkin roll.

Bradley said she will make party trays on request with five days notice.

She said many come in and purchase gift certificates and food groupings for gift baskets.

Bradley said many customers come in for the first time and say “I didn’t know this place was here.”

With a plethora of interesting items, foodies looking to shop local will find inspiration at Gourmet Garden Market and Deli.

“My favorite part is having happy customers,” Bradley said.

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