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A Passion for Service at Dean’s Natural Food Market

By Taylor Smith 

With locations in Basking Ridge, Chester, Ocean Township, and Shrewsbury, Dean’s Natural Food Market is making an impact on the quality of food and produce available to New Jersey residents. 

At Dean’s, all produce is 100 percent organic. “With our non-GMO policy, we don’t bring in any items unless they’re non-GMO product verified or free of the top 10 GMO crops. People know that about us now, they’re coming here for that,” says founder Dean Nelson. 

Established in 1996, the company was named the 2017 Retailer of the Year by Whole Foods Magazine. The Market’s high product standards mean not only that Dean’s practices what it preaches, but that they have earned their customers’ trust, as well. 

“I started Dean’s for a love of clean, natural foods, serving the needs of local farmers, and preserving our planet,” says Nelson. “We look for organizations that have deep meaning and we try to support them because we want to be a business in our community that makes a difference.”

Nelson continues, “Some of the local organizations we support are education and mindfulness studies for inner city youth and respites for women undergoing cancer treatment. We also provide food and donations for local charitable organizations.” 

While Dean’s goes out of its way to support a number of organizations, the company has a particularly close relationship with Mary’s Place in Ocean Grove, which houses 10 women at a time, offering nutritional counseling, meditation, and family services for women living with cancer. Mary’s Place offers all of these services free of charge. 

“Dean’s provides Mary’s Place ( with food for their staff and occupants free of charge, 365 days per year,” Nelson says. “These women have cancer. We need to feed them the right food, and we’re in a position to do that.”

A second nonprofit that is close to Nelson’s heart and mission is KYDS (Konscious Youth Development and Service), which serves the communities of Asbury Park and Neptune Township. 

“I met the founders of KYDS and realized that they were doing deeply spiritual work in the inner cities,” says Nelson. 

KYDS ( aims to teach underprivileged youth mindfulness tools to lead them on a path to a more meaningful and productive life.

“You can give back to your community and still be successful,” says Nelson.

For information on events, sales, and specials at Dean’s Natural Food Market, visit

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