As a Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) member for over three decades, Urbana resident Kurt Heintz was living what many golfers would consider a dream life – making a living as a head golf professional for various clubs throughout Ohio. For Heintz, however, his true passion didn’t involve the greens found on a golf course, but instead, the greens found on a farm.
On July 3, Heintz’ dream of offering the community a new and fresh idea about food became a reality when he opened Forage at 23 Monument Square in downtown Urbana.
“Opening this business is a realization of a dream of 20-some years, and I feel very fortunate and grateful that I’m able to do something I’ve truly dreamed about doing for a lot of years. That’s not something a lot of people get the opportunity to do,” Heintz said, adding he’s stepped away from his golf career to pursue his new endeavor full time. “In one way or another, I’ve been researching this idea for a long time.”
Exactly what is the idea behind Forage?
“The basis of our concept is we want people to be confident when they come through our door that they’re getting the best food and best ingredients that we can provide them,” Heintz said. “We get it fresh, make it fresh and then serve it to the customer fresh. That is what we are all about.
“To be able to have people know where their food is coming from and to be able to give people fresh and healthy food is really important in this day and age. People are really conscious about where their food is coming from, what’s in their food, and more importantly, what’s not in their food,” he added.
Heintz said he considers the food Forage offers as a healthier choice than what other establishments offer not because his products are low calorie or fat free, but from the standpoint that the ingredients Forage uses are what he feels are the healthiest he can provide.
“All of our protein products – beef, pork, chicken and our eggs – are all grass fed from start to finish or free range,” Heintz said. “There are no GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and no chemicals involved in the raising and feeding of the animals, and there are no preservatives because these products are being locally sourced so they are not being shipped across the country.
“All of our produce, whenever possible, is locally sourced by responsible growers, meaning they grow the products chemically free with no pesticides or preservatives,” he added.
As for the name Forage, Heintz said it came from a hobby of his.
“I’ve always thought of myself as a forager,” he said. “I’ve always liked to go out and search for things and gather things to create another purpose for them. Forage just seemed like a natural name for this endeavor.”
Forage doesn’t feature the traditional restaurant setting or even a a traditional menu. Instead, patrons are encouraged to pick up their food to enjoy at a later time, and the menu varies depending on several different factors.
“Forage is a new concept for Urbana, which sometimes throws people off.” Heintz said. “The majority of our items are designed to be taken home, not eaten here in-house. If you stay in to eat, things get a little limited because we are very proud of our ingredients and our recipes, and we are trying to give people an idea of the quality of the food we offer.
“We are not about microwaving and fast food. We’d like you to come in and know you can get things for dinner that are already cooked. We will box it up for you and include reheating instructions,” he added.
As for the menu, while some of the offerings like gourmet deli sandwiches and fresh market salads will be Forage staples, Heintz said, entrees, soups, sides and desserts will change quite often.
“We are always interested in making recipes with the freshest ingredients and best food the local market has to offer, so the menu will rotate,” he said.
People interested in taking a look at what is currently available at Forage can do so by visiting forageurbana.com, calling 937-652-8646 or liking the business’ Facebook page.
“We would love people to just stop in and see what is available each day in the case, because it does change,” Heintz said.
Forage is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday and closed Monday.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.