- Truly the master of mega food disaster and the man of the hour, Mr. Ed Southern, General Manager of the Carytown Kroger in Richmond, VA.
As I kept winding my cart through the store, I happened upon supplier after supplier of locally made, locally sourced foods being sold by the people that sprouted, cared for, packaged, canned and transported them. I could have sworn that all food was flown in by Anikan Skywalker on a Back to the Future hover board or that Tony the Tiger delivered everyone’s cereal on his way to the jungle. But here they were, the spoilers of my futuristic food fantasies, asking me if I’d like to sample their coffee, kale chips, freshly baked breads and homemade pickles. It turns out that real people make our food. Holy kale chips…who would have known?
- A short intro to my latest post about grocery store adventures.
At this point, I have to come clean with the facts before going into much more detail. It wasn’t on my first pass through the store that I realized how golden this opportunity really was. In fact, I actually completed my shopping, passing many of the aforementioned vendors in doing so, paid for my items, and drove to the edge of the store’s parking lot before realizing that I was an idiot. I had just witnessed something for the first time in my entire buggy-pushing life. Never before in the history of frozen pizza and talking juice boxes have I walked into a grocery store where I met a collection of people that made my food. Never. Was I seriously going to pass up the opportunity to talk to these alien lifeforms of food creation just to get back to my ho-hum Sunday afternoon? With that epiphany in mind, I turned my car around – which, mind you, is full of groceries since I just left the damn store – parked, and waltzed my happy ass back into Kroger. This time I had my camera in hand instead of a shopping cart. Think about it for a second - how many times in recent memory or, for that matter, your most distant memory, can you recall a similar occurrence? If you’re like me, then no recollection rises to the surface. Isn’t that odd? Food comes from oxygen-breathing, blood-pumping, occasionally strange-smelling people, right? Yet, in an average trip to a store, you’d be hard-pressed to find a single purveyor of those foods. Furthermore, doesn’t it strike you as odd/a little depressing that the grocery store, the place where nearly all of us shop for our sustenance, maintains this moat of mystery between the consumer and the people that are supposed to be sourcing that sustenance? The reality is that most grocery stores (aka, 99.95% of them) are pumping that moat larger and larger for one reason and one reason alone: dolla dolla bills, y’all. But take special note that it isn’t just the grocery stores alone that deserve blame; it is also very much the end result of a gigantic push from the mega food suppliers that stock their shelves.
- If you're in a pickle...or just want to taste a really delicious one, check out Chef Chaz Robinson from Sweet Sour Salty. He is 100% my pickle guy.
- Some pretty lady (forgive me, I missed her name) and the Billy from Billy Bread pose with a crowd of happy bread and cookie lovers.
0.8 times per week (I’m always hungry) * 52 weeks in a year * 26 years in my life = 1081.6 visits
NUMBER OF TIMES THIS HAS HAPPENED
PROBABILITY OF THIS HAPPENING AGAIN
1/1081.6 = .09245% repeating of course
- Doug Gammon and son from Sun Seasoned Raw Foods had the whole party screaming our favorite shopping day cheer: KALE YEA!
- I didn't really need the caffeine since I was stoked beyond belief during this particular trip to Kroger. However, were the need for midday (natural) speed to have struck, Stephen from Blanchard's Coffee had my back.
I looked into the eyes of each of these people as they passed their artisanal breads, spiced coffees, sage and garlic sausages, AWESOME cakes and barrage of pickled goods from their hands to mine. There exists an inexplicable level of connection and symbiosis with such a trade. Primitively stated, there is a little something called trust that is silent partner to such an exchange. I know it sounds nostalgic, but I think the fact that we brush this intimacy off as though it never existed is a sign of our numbness to the woes of our current food system. In days past, a store owner knew the names of those people that shopped in his store, shook their hands, kept their tabs on a burlap sack, watched the children of their customers grow into healthy, happy adults, and eventually become loyal customers themselves. In the modern system that way is no more. There is no accountability between the corporations that sell you the food that you purchase. I think that’s the biggest takeaway from my recent Kroger trip. Having a real-life encounter with someone who had labored to create, package and deliver the food that I was eating felt totally foreign, and that, in turn, felt totally wrong.
- I'm just glad it wasn't my wiener. But really, Brad from Sausage Craft is piecing together some ridiculous concoctions inside a pork casing. Strangely enough, they ALL taste awesome.
- This unknown guy and gal pair from Bold Rock Cider were dishing out some seriously yummy, extremely low calorie/low sugar cocktails. Talk about the perfect ending to the perfect shopping trip.