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From the market to the table: Taste of Paradise offers organic food from ASU structure

Taste of Paradise uses an ASU building to promote healthy eating in the community


A veggie seller packages bags for a client on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 at ASU's Skysong in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Incorporating organic foods into the homes of Arizona families is the main goal for an Arizona-based company, Taste of Paradise, and they're using a University facility to do it.

Taste of Paradise, which offers fresh, local produce to buyers who want to improve their way of living, uses ASU’s SkySong building as one of their pickup locations every Thursday evening. 

Every week, the company brings an array of locally grown produce to its customers at several locations throughout the Valley, including SkySong.

"Everyone is out there trying to provide a healthy choice of living," Susie Jaques, the founder of Taste of Paradise, said.

Jaques decided to start the business about five years ago to bring a healthy lifestyle into Arizona homes. While working at local farmers markets, Jaques and her son decided that they wanted to do more for the community beyond just the weekly sales. 

“Our main goal of our business is to provide people a healthier way of eating and living," she said. "We’re out there as our main service to the community while providing local, fresh, pesticide free, organic produce."

As one of many hosts to this event, ASU’s SkySong has helped to bring the company’s message of a healthy lifestyle to the surrounding Scottsdale area.

"In Arizona, the obesity rate here is outrageous," Jaques said. “If [the community] would just eat healthier — they’re not realizing all the vitamins and nutrients that heal your body inside."

Around 24 percent of adult Arizonans are obese, according to a 2012 study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

A true believer in the company’s mission, Brandee Chan said she has become a regular customer for the weekly pick-up at SkySong.  By getting fresh produce every Thursday, Chan said she has come to realize the benefits of serving a natural meal to her family.

“It’s pulled me into a better habit," Chan said. "It’s really nice to come and pick up everything in bags, and it’s pushed me to build my whole menu planning around the fruits and the vegetables."

Wholesome fruits and vegetables in a bag provide a taste of paradise. Illustration published on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017.

Tony Walker, Jacques' son and the current owner of Taste of Paradise, said he has noticed a pattern of customers each week across all locations.

“I find that most of our customers are usually in two groups, with a large percent of our customers being female," Walker said. "The first group would involve those in their thirties, feeding their families, and then we also get that older generation about, 50 (years-old) plus that still really enjoys cooking at home.”

Walker said that while they do have a lot of customers, there is still a portion of the community that has yet to catch on to the organic trend. 

“For the past few years alone there’s been six similar companies that have gone out of business here in Arizona,” Walker said. “We’re all still trying to figure out why the community won’t support their local farms when it comes to community-supported agriculture delivery programs.”

With fresh produce available to students and family around the ASU community, Walker said he hopes Taste of Paradise will grow and become a reliable resource for healthy eating. 

“We’re not giving up," he said. "We’re holding out and hopefully we can eventually make it a success.”

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