As the island gears up for the 2016 season, N Magazine checked in with the proprietress of Nantucket’s favorite whole foods market, Annye Camara of Annye’s Whole Foods, to get her advice on how to eat healthy on Nantucket and to hear what makes her store unique. We know you’ll love getting to know Annye just as much as we did.
N MAGAZINE: What first brought you to Nantucket?
ANNYE: Mother Nature brought me to Nantucket. I made my first adult trip to the island to bird watch and kayak, and immediately started to think of how to spend more time here.
N MAGAZINE: Describe Annye’s Whole Foods in 6 words.
ANNYE: Committed to our customers’ robust health!
N MAGAZINE: What do you think makes your store authentically “Nantucket”?
ANNYE: I am interested in meeting people and learning about what makes them tick. And I’m very interested in the idea of community and how individuals find common ground to make life better for that community. There is no community quite like Nantucket!
N MAGAZINE: How has Annye’s Whole Foods changed and evolved since you first opened in 1999?
ANNYE: When I began Annye’s Whole Foods, I was already committed to eating organically, but as time has gone by I have become more “evangelical” about the importance of a healthy, sustainable planet, on which we grow foods that are truly good for our bodies and minds. Our bodies haven’t changed and they don’t know how to handle processed foods, so we get sick in response. (There, sermon over!)
N MAGAZINE: For people who maybe haven’t been to Annye’s Whole Foods before, what would you say to encourage them to come and visit your market?
ANNYE: I would suggest that someone visit us to have one of our daily homemade soups, or to try our roast dinners. I’d invite them to peruse all the things we pack into our small store, and to browse the Little Free Library we maintain. I would offer to pair a terrific New England cheese with a terrific organic wine. And I’d introduce them to a staff member, each of whom has a special talent or expertise in the market and are interesting to speak with.
N MAGAZINE: What do you love most about your job?
ANNYE: I like to be of service. So my work-life is great because I get to help people. Sometimes that’s with a vitamin or supplement, or by suggesting a recipe, or creating a gift basket for a new mother, or wrapping a present (I love to gift wrap!) Having a retail store has allowed me to get to know so many people quickly, and to get involved in activities and initiatives right from the start.
N MAGAZINE: What do you think it is about your store and your staff that keep people coming back?
ANNYE: You can’t work at Annye’s if you aren’t friendly and hospitable. We listen. We remember. We enjoy connecting our guests with foods and items that will help them and bring them pleasure.
N MAGAZINE: What 3 supplements do you think people should absolutely be including in their daily/weekly diet and why?
ANNYE: I think everyone should take a multi-vitamin that is age and gender specific, just to fill in the gaps of what they are not eating. We see the great health benefits of a good daily probiotic. And for people over 50, I suggest that they take what I take – extra b6, folate, b12, and vitamins A & E.
N MAGAZINE: Favorite Nantucket beach?
ANNYE: By day, Madequecham. At sunset, Madaket.
N MAGAZINE: Favorite month on Nantucket?
ANNYE: Does ANYONE ever say any month other than September?!
N MAGAZINE: What is the first thing you do in the morning when you wake up?
ANNYE: When I wake up, it’s very early because, well, I own a market, and I take care how I begin my day. I read a poem. I stretch (not anything remotely like yoga, more like what my cats do when they wake up). I feed those cats, and then I make myself a big honking cup of coffee!
N MAGAZINE: If you were to make a time capsule with the 5 items that most represent Nantucket to you, what would they be?
ANNYE: Great question! I would include my library card, my well-thumbed copy of Peterson’s Guide to Birds (with pages marked with all my sightings on the island), programs from our Nantucket Book Festivals (5 so far), a piece of sea glass, and photos of the rescue animals I’ve adopted in my almost 20 years here on Nantucket. Oh, and our recipe for roast chicken!
Visit Annye’s Whole Foods online here or at 14 Amelia Drive.