As a salesperson, Link Marlow wants to know everything about the product he sells.
Marlow works as Produce Manager at Health Hut in the Viewmont area of Hickory. The Health Hut is owned by John and Christy Andersen
Open for eight years, Health Hut carries only genuinely organic fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as the area’s largest complete line of 100 percent organic and natural groceries. In addition, The Health Hut carries a full line of gluten and wheat-free products, healthful snacks and safe organic pet products.
Marlow, 49, was born and raised in Hickory and has worked at the Health Hut for almost four years.
Marlow, who never meets a stranger, said he enjoys making jokes and likes people to laugh.
“I lost my job — that’s how I got here,” Marlow said. “I didn’t know a thing about the business, but I was hungry to learn. I read and searched the Internet.”
Marlow wants to be able to field any questions his customers ask — and he does, without missing a beat. He also claims he picks up trivia.
“For instance, did you know there are 29 varieties of Gala apples?” he said with his always present smile. “I like details — this allows me to be more selective and pick the ones that are good.”
Food grown naturally tastes better and has higher nutritional values. Organic farming not only produces better tasting, more nutritious and more satisfying foods, it helps protect future generations from the harmful effects of agricultural and industrial chemicals.
“My customers are the most educated produce buyers in town,” he said. “They want the best, and I tell them what to look for.
“I sell flavor here, and I want people to take home things they’ll be rewarded with. For instance, tomatoes that taste good and greens that aren’t rotten.”
Marlow buys vegetables and fruits from distributors and a local grower. And, contrary to what a lot of folks believe, organic is not always more expensive.
“I’m working very hard to have the best price,” Marlow said. “Avocados — we got the best in town, and they’re usually cheaper, too. Our spinach is the best available and costs less than most grocery stores and the big-box stores.”
And, the list goes on ... beets that don’t bleed, sweet radishes — not hot.
“Whenever I can offer someone a pear it’s especially rewarding when that person is 71 years old and has made up his mind he doesn’t like pears, and I can change his mind,” Marlow said. “There’s a world of flavors out there to enjoy and I won’t miss a one.”
Organic produce and fruits are naked, according to Marlow — there’s nothing to protect or preserve them, therefore it doesn’t last long. But, there’s no waste at Health Hut.
“I dehydrate everything,” Marlow said. “I’ll dry things you never think of drying. For instance, tomato sauce.”
Health Hut also takes special requests, as well.
“Some of our customers, such as hikers, want to carry one one-hundredth of an ounce,” he said.
In a serious moment, Marlow admits he defers to those who know more. But nonetheless, as far as organic and natural, he’s gone off the deep end, and it’s all or nothing, he said.
Marlow said to not forget about the health benefits of organic and natural. Although the nutrients are the same, there are not pesticides and herbicides.
“That stuff is formulated to stay on and not wash off,” Marlow said.
“We stay on top of it — no GMO’s here. That sort of commitment is rare.”
GMO, or genetically modified organisms, are crops that are genetically modified to withstand herbicide such as Roundup, and pesticides.
“Roundup is the same thing as Agent Orange,” Marlow said. “It’s ugly, hurts people and damages them for life.”
According to Marlow, farmers that grow organic have taken the high road — their profits aren’t as high, but there’s no harm done from a health standpoint.
“Organic food is food without consequences,” Marlow said.
Marlow enjoys sales and doting on customers, but the bottom line is he wants to do what’s best for the customer. As far as organic foods, Marlow succinctly reiterated.
“I have a better selection, and it’s all organic — always,” he said. “I buy as much as I can store and display.”
Link Marlow has his customer’s respect and trust.
Want to go?
What: The Health Hut - an organic and natural food market.
Where: In the North Pointe Shopping Center in the Viewmont section of Hickory.
Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Contact: Call 828-322-2523 or visit www.healthhutofhickory.com .