Erewhon: 55 Years of Delivering Healthy Foods to Conscious Eaters

From its humble beginnings as a small market stall in late 1960s Boston to its current chain of eight stores in Los Angeles County, Erewhon has become the go-to spot in the Los Angeles area for all things organic, healthy, and nutritious. On any given day, you might find a gathering of well-known influencers and famous movie stars sipping green smoothies on the patio and posing for Instagram selfies, but Erewhon is also popular with regular shoppers who want the healthiest, freshest food they can find in their neighborhoods. Panorama Organic is proud to be part of the Erewhon product mix.

Erewhon Studio City market
Photo courtesy of Erewhon

When Erewhon founders Michio and Aveline Kushi came to the U.S. from Japan in the early 1950s, the macrobiotic food movement was mostly unheard of outside of Japan. Based on principles of Zen Buddhism, the macrobiotic diet balances the yin and yang of foods, with an emphasis on organic grains, beans, local vegetables, fermented foods, fish, some fruit, and not much meat. Michio Kushi soon became known worldwide as an expert and evangelist for the macrobiotic diet, and the couple began importing products from Japan for the growing group of adherents to the diet in the U.S. 

They called their market Erewhon, an anagram for nowhere, that came from the late 1800s satirical novel of the same name. In the book, Erewhon is a utopian society where people focus on their own good health. In 1968, the Kushis left Boston and opened a Los Angeles store. Erewhon, one of the first natural groceries in the country, paved the way for stores like Whole Foods and Natural Grocers. Unlike their bigger competitors, though, Erewhon remained a single location on Beverly Boulevard in L.A.

In 2011, Tony and Josephine Antoci acquired that store, and in the intervening years, have grown Erewhon to eight markets in Los Angeles County. While they may have increased the number of locations, the Antocis have stayed focused on the founding principles of Erewhon as envisioned by Michio and Aveline Kushi: a place for pure products that promote the health of the individual, the community, and the planet.

To demonstrate that commitment in a concrete way, in 2021, Erewhon became a Certified B Corporation, a designation that shows a business meets “high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials.” In addition, last year, Erewhon earned USDA organic retailer certification, one of a handful of grocery companies in the country to do so.

Where does Panorama Organic fit into Erewhon’s principled approach to grocery shopping? According to Victor Manes, director of protein at Erewhon, “Panorama Organic checks all the boxes for us. It’s organic, grass-fed, and local, and the regenerative piece and Audubon is big, too. It makes conservation easy for us and our customers. We’re always trying to find the best products for our shoppers, who are health-conscious people who want to eat better to live longer. Panorama Organic helps us do that.”

Kay Cornelius, Panorama Organic’s general manager, agrees that the two companies are a good fit. “Panorama Organic is proud to partner with a retailer like Erewhon that’s committed to bringing healthy, high-quality products to Los Angeles consumers, shoppers who value what we stand for—nutritious organic, grass-fed beef raised regeneratively to preserve critical wildlife habitat, restore the soil and water, and promote biodiversity.”

She adds, “We’re excited to grow with Erewhon as they expand in Southern California.”

Erewhon has locations in Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Los Angeles, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Silver Lake, Studio City, and Venice, with new stores planned in Culver City and Pasadena.