Rollin' Oats Market and Cafe is a smart source for organic and natural food, including prepared vegetarian dishes, coffee and baked goods to bring home for dinner or to enjoy in the Oats Cafe, its spacious dining area. Although Publix Greenwise Market towers nearby, those looking for more than colorful packaging and a gleaming parking garage will appreciate the selection and prices at this organic treasure trove.  It sits unobtrusively off Interstate-275 on MacDill Avenue, and the humble location translates to lower costs for the organic-minded consumer on a budget.

This organic grocery store will warm vegetarian and vegan hearts with its huge selection of non-animal proteins, such as dried beans and lentils, quinoa, soy, and tofu products. The dried foods section offers a vast array of bulk wheat-based products like barley, wheat germ, oats and granola, as well as dried herbs and spices and organic coffee.

Rollin’ Oats also offers a full bakery catering to those with gluten and peanut allergies, who will find a large variety of baked goods, including cookies, sliced bread and pastries. This grocery store also boasts a decent wine selection, chock full of notable names in organic wine, including a few from Florida wineries.

Its frozen foods and produce sections are surprisingly large, rivaling the supermarket chains in square-footage. Since Rollin’ Oats carries exclusively organic and natural products, you'll find lesser known brands and a wider variety of organic frozen dinners, desserts and non-perishables than smaller natural food stores. it also offers a comprehensive selection of natural and chemical-free non-edibles like body wash, shampoo, cosmetics, and household cleansers.

However, guests will find no meat, seafood or poultry counters, and the selection of frozen foods and non-perishables is distinctly vegetarian, offering few meat options for those of us who enjoy the full food pyramid.  An exception is a small freezer case of organic chicken breasts and chicken sausage, in addition to prepared organic rotisserie chicken ($9.99). You can also pre-order an organic Thanksgiving turkey, but it’ll cost you a hefty $3.69 per pound.

The prepared food counter at Rollin' Oats also has some non-vegetarian dishes such as crab cakes and apple walnut salad along with its bountiful array of veggie entrees and full salad bar (no ham or bacon). With vegan pot pie, spinach and mushroom lasagna, and stuffed butternut squash to choose from, even a veritable carnivore like me could forget the meat is missing in most dishes. Meat-eaters still climbing out of the recession pit - or who simply enjoy a healthy curiosity for new ways to nosh - might try going vegetarian one or two evenings per week, and Rollin' Oats is a good starting point.

Visit the Rollin’ Oats website to find out more. It is worth checking out even if you don’t plan to visit the actual store any time soon. The website is updated daily with recipes and entertaining ideas, seasonal events, and a natural foods blog, as well as notes on community events.