To Sondra Hay, Central Market’s produce department is an eye-candy experience. She should know; before she retired, Sondra spent 21 years working at the foodie wonderland. Now she enjoys cooking plant-slant meals and moving naturally, seeing big changes as a result.
To Sondra Hay, Central Market’s produce department is an eye-candy experience. “I’m looking for color, texture, variety,” she said. “The variety of things that you can find to put on your plate in the produce department – obviously plant-based -- is so entertaining, and you never get bored with it!”
Sondra is intimately familiar with Central Market’s bountiful display of fruits and vegetables. Before she retired a few years ago, she spent 21 years with the high-end foodie destination, serving as its local sales manager and event planner and making sure the customer experience was fun and exceptional across the store. Central Market was one of Blue Zones Project’s early adopters in Fort Worth and was the first Blue Zones Project Approved grocer in the city. The store’s owners, the Butt family, saw Blue Zones Project checkout lanes and highlighted Blue Zones-inspired foods as natural extensions of their efforts to influence a healthier, more educated consumer. Central Market’s Cooking School also included Blue Zones Project principles in several plant-based cooking classes.
What’s more, Central Market then became a Blue Zones Project Approved worksite, immersing employees (called “Partners”) in Blue Zones best practices. It’s in-store cafe also followed suit, becoming a Blue Zones Project Approved restaurant and thus making Central Market the only organization in Fort Worth to achieve all three designations.
As the chair of the local Blue Zones Project Grocery Store Implementation Committee, Sondra was instrumental in making it happen there and at other grocery stores across the city. She worked tirelessly with the Blue Zones Project team and committee to help implement Blue Zones principles in more than a dozen locations.
Now that she’s retired, Sondra enjoys cooking plant-slant meals and experimenting with different fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts. The result, she said, has been amazing. “Wow, talk about changes,” she said. “My mind changed, I slept better, and I lost 25 pounds.”
Blue Zones Project’s focus on plant-based foods isn’t the only aspect of the well-being initiative that Sondra follows. She’s a big believer in the Power 9 principle of Moving Naturally. “Blue Zones Project is not about going to the gym. It’s about gardening, just moving, taking walks with friends,” she said. “It makes it so doable.”
She also can relate to Family First, Right Tribe, and Purpose, and credits Blue Zones Project with helping her live longer and better. “I want to live longer, I want to see my grandkids, I want to be with my husband as long as God gives me on this earth.”