The team at Harvest Moon Health and Nutrition on Marshall Hill Road in West Milford, from left to right, Sally and John Malatras, proprietors, and Steve Keil, store/supply manager. Photo by Ginny Raue
By Ginny Raue WEST MILFORD — Penned in antiquity, the Hippocratic Oath has evolved over the centuries, although some say controversially, to accommodate modern science and medicine.There is one particular paragraph in the classic version of the oath that Harvest Moon Health and Nutrition shop owners, John and Sally Malatras, take very much to heart: “I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgement; I will keep them from harm and injustice.”John and Sally Malatras are long-time residents of the township; Sally, nee Terhune, can trace her family’s West Milford roots back to the 1800s. They have been in business together in town since 1997. John, 60, spoke for the couple.“We started the store from scratch. We were married in June and started it in July. That was quite a honeymoon,” he said.Malatras’ interest in good health goes back about 50 years. He started body building at 11 years of age and soon felt compelled to learn more about good nutrition. He has been in the nutrition field now for over 25 years and holds a degree in business and a diploma in Herbology from the British Institute of Homeopathy.“It was an extensive study series,” he said, but just part of his education. He took courses given by the University of Arizona and trained with multiple professionals. It is a constantly evolving field and requires continuing self-study, he said.Malatras spent years on the road representing other companies but was disappointed in what he learned along the way.“I found in my travels that only a handful do this for the right reason; to educate and explain to people the right aspects, why this herbal compound will be good for a cold, for example,” he said.Being store proprietors has allowed the couple to be very choosy when selecting the providers of the products they carry.“You have to look behind the labels. I’ve been involved a long time with wonderful companies," Malatras said. "I know the herbalists personally so I’m very comfortable with their product lines. We only carry one or two lines and that’s intentional on our part.”Most of their products are grown in North Carolina on a certified organic farm where there is a controlled chain of custody “from seed to bottle.” He feels they are the best in the business.Harvest Moon carries only natural products; New Chapter supplements, Gaia Herbs and Nordic Fish Oils, to name a few. They also carry wheat and gluten-free foods, skin and personal care products and earth-friendly cleaning supplies. Vitamin, herbal and nutritional consultations are free of charge.Malatras spoke of the importance of a healthy immune system, his concern with the development of super-bugs and the volume of antibiotics used in America today. He reports that three million pounds of antibiotics are prescribed to patients yearly and 25 million pounds are given to animals each year.When a customer walks into Harvest Moon he can, if he chooses to, avail himself of Malatras’ expertise.“We talk things out to see what a person is looking to do, what issues they have and how we can help,” he said.He spoke of the importance of probiotics and omega 3 fatty acids.“A deficiency of omega fats can be directly attributed to disease scenarios. Fats play a role from brain to bone,” he said and added that there are currently 22,000 studies on fish oil at the National Library of Medicine.Sally Malatras is at the shop each day and she’s the go-to person for personal care and cleaning products.“She’s really good and very careful that these products are environmentally friendly and that there’s no animal testing,” he said.The couple has found living and operating their business in West Milford to be rewarding.“It’s been marvelous. I can’t tell you how happy we are to be here," said Malatras. "We have wonderful clientele and we’ve made so many friends. It’s been a life-enhancing experience."Sally and John Malatras are in the process of handing over some of the day-to-day operations, such as product ordering and store management, to Sally’s nephew, Steve Keil. They are welcoming a little down-time for themselves.But that doesn’t mean they’re slowing down. After two score and 10 years, Malatras still works out four to five days a week.Pass the vitamins please.