I have been in a lot of grocery stores. A LOT.
I’ve always loved them. I love seeing what a community has to offer in terms of their stores. I’m pretty bored by the homogenization of a lot of stores – Most Safeways look the same. But the littler ones… Oh man. So. Much. Fun.
Of course lately I’ve had a special interest in them because of The Butter Churn. And I’ve noticed something – Grocery stores don’t really sell food anymore. There’s a lot of stuff you can eat, but I like to argue that just because you can eat it, doesn’t mean it’s food.
And the little stores are trying to keep up with the big ones (even though they often say they are not) by offering a lot of the packaged stuff, and a lot of stuff you can’t eat. Party supplies, paper products, school things, hardware things. Ironically there is also a trend right now of bigger stores (Target, Wal-mart) of offering food at their stores which typically is where you got all that other stuff. Weird.
And then of course enter in the whole food movement. And the Farm to Table movement. And the fierce debate over labeling. And all I see is The Butter Churn. I didn’t really think my plan was super creative or revolutionary or anything – we’re going to sell local food to the residents of a small community. BAM. Like THAT. We don’t need to sell the packaged stuff – other stores are already doing that. We’re going to sell the staples. You know the stuff that you actually eat.
And this is blowing people’s minds. I keep hearing that it’s so creative. (what? Really?) And that it’s kinda crazy sounding, but it sounds fun and should work. (I think so)
Full Disclosure though…. I get it.
I do. When my oldest was a baby I remember slightly (HA! Understatement) starting to freak out over introducing solids. I thought I should probably run out and buy some organic baby food in a jar. I thought – bananas, applesauce, etc… (and shit! Is that still the right thing???) And then a friend gave me a recipe book that plainly stated “you can mash a banana yourself for a baby”. And my world exploded. That had seriously never occurred to me.
And since this is true confessions right now – let me confess that when I was pregnant I really wanted some oatmeal cookies. So I went to the store and bought a Sun Maid Raisin Box Cookie Mix. Because I had *no clue* how to make cookies. Flour? Sugar? What?
Well. 10 years later – I’m doing a little better. And I crazy care about the food that goes in my family’s mouth. And I crazy care about our world in general and some of the effects we’re seeing because most folks don’t know about food. And I crazy love food. I love good food that makes my mouth SO HAPPY.
And that’s the food I’m going to sell. Food that is real food. Some of it is money – small grocery stores really can’t keep up with offering the 100 different kinds of bread, soda, cereal, box prep foods that are offered. Frankly, there are just too many and the minimums are too much for a little store. I see that as a good thing though – I just plain don’t have to worry about it. Instead – we’ll have bread – bread made by the bakers in the town one over. And we’ll have pasta – bulk – you decide how you’d like to top it – you’ll have lots of choices considering we’ll have lots of local cheese choices. And you won’t be able to buy salad in a bag… But you’ll be able to know that the farmer got those greens within the last 2 days out of the earth for your plate.