After more than two decades of working in visual design, Nora LaBrocca applies the same sensibility to food.
If they're easily identifiable — tomatoes, for example — and still vibrant enough to be nutrient-rich and delicious, foods shouldn't put people in a quandary.
"People get really overwhelmed with eating healthy, so they give up," says the co-owner of Downtown Market Co. "You can make yourself crazy."
Moving at her own hectic pace, LaBrocca has served fast, fresh lunches from a menu that changes weekly since summer of 2010. She and husband Brian Witter opened their 1,900-square-foot, specialty-foods store in downtown Medford two years ago after LaBrocca spent eight years working at the nearby Terra Firma Home store. In Downtown Market's Taste Kitchen, LaBrocca, 51, draws from her childhood spent on a game-bird farm in Southern California surrounded by strong Sicilian-American culinary traditions.
"Everything in our world was, like, about food," she says. "I consider the way that I was brought up ... as very healthy."
With no formal culinary training, LaBrocca passed many hours in the kitchen with some of Los Angeles' most celebrated chefs, who purchased fowl from her family. As an adult, she carried on her parents' tradition of lavish entertaining, even multi-course, weeknight dinners for extended family and friends. The value still is visible at Downtown Market, staffed by LaBrocca's younger brothers, Craig and Bill LaBrocca.