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Organic family affair

Bringing healthy options to the 209 has become a family affair for Katherine Bertolotti and family. As the owner of Hughson’s recently opened Don’t Panic It’s Organic, the founder’s passion has not only had her vision supported but embraced by her family.

Most notably is the support of older brother David Mingham and younger sister Sarah Mingham, who not only work behind the counter, but help their sister run the day in and day out operations of the organic based eatery.

“It was for her family and friends really,” David said of his sister opening the Hughson eatery in the fall of 2018. “She likes to help people. She’s always been like that. She’s just really sweet.”

Katherine first began incorporating organic, whole, clean eating into her family’s life when noticing the positive impact it had on her young son and his behavior, as well as health.

“We all started slowly changing to organic after that,” David said. “Once you change to all organic and healthier you’ll see the changes.”

David himself, a cancer survivor, shared as the family began seeing the positive physical effects the transition became easier to embrace, as well as becoming habit forming.

“If I don’t eat healthy for a few days, I start getting sore,” he said. “I start moving slower, it’s really weird. But it is funny how everything is connected.”

The café style eatery offers a variety of casual dining options, as well as cold pressed juices, smoothies, kombucha and foods for the 209er on the go.

“We do a lot cold pressed juices,” David shared, noting that their juices have become so popular, they recently ordered a commercial size juicer to keep up with the demand.

“Any pressed juice, the enzymes start to die off after 72 hours,” he said. “The juice will still be good after that, but we don’t sell them after that.”

Don’t Panic It’s Organic, David said sells between 30 to 50 cold pressed juices each day.

“We’re going to start doing a lot more of that, once we get our juicer,” he said.

The family also plans to distribute the juices to area gyms and workout studios once the new juicer is up and running.

“The one good thing about juicing is that a lot of the fiber is gone, so your body doesn’t have to break down anything. It can literally take it and just absorb it.” 

Other items which are popular are the acai bowls and pitaya bowls. Items which one might assume would be warm weather favorites, sell daily even in the off season.

“Even when it’s been freezing people are still coming in and they get those,” David noted of the bowls. “That’s been one of our most popular breakfast items.”

The convert shared that business for the shop has been consistent and suspects that as the weather changes business will increase. While being located in Hughson might seem a drawback to some, the sibling trio has learned that people will travel for quality food and service. Clients come regularly from the Modesto, Turlock and Oakdale areas.

“I think a lot of people don’t know about organic, so they kind of assume it’s a certain way,” he said. “We kind of just slowly add things and take things away.”

Not dissimilar to himself, often times customers will come with an organic food enthusiast embracing a certain stereotype only to learn they can order a meat dish, chili, even nachos.

“We’ve been staying very consistent and when the sun’s out we’re very busy,” David said. “I think our place is very weather based. We have a really good clientele and working with my family, my sisters and I are down here all the time and we’ve always gotten along. It’s actually fun to come to work and get to be with your family.”

Don’t Panic It’s Organic is at 6724 E. Whitmore Ave., Hughson. Store hours are Tuesday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday through Monday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.