Sunday, 08 April 2012
I'm reading "The American Way of Eating" by Tracie McMillan. Throughout the book she narrates her undercover experience working in the fields of the California Central Valley region, stocking produce and shelves at Walmart, and as an expediter in Applebee's. She experiences first hand the way produce is grown, collected, stocked at stores, and sold in food markets and restaurants. She followed the path of produce from the field to the kitchen.
While reading this I'm constantly thinking about where I shop for my groceries. My shopping is directed towards the stores with the freshest produce. After reading this book I'm still wondering where the best place to shop for produce is. Who offers the freshest fruits and vegetables? Is it Trader Joe's, Whole Foods,Wegman's, Giant, Safeway, or is the best choice the local farmer's markets?
Growing up as one of eleven children we had to be thrifty food shoppers. We learned to collect coupons, search for the best deals, and cheapest prices.
We mainly bought groceries from Shopper's Food Warehouse, Giant, or Safeway. Whatever store offered the best deals in their sales ads, we headed there on a weekly basis. Whole Foods and Trader Joe's weren't as wide spread or well known. The rise of farmer's markets didn't happen until I was much older. Our options for good and fresh produce were limited.
As I have grown older the grocery scene has changed and so has my family's shopping habits. We still scan the sales ads everywhere for the best deals and prices, but we do not always opt for the absolute lowest price. We search for the best and freshest produce. I want to know where my fruits and vegetables come from. I no longer ignore the ingredients label on the back of a box or a cheese package and simply pay attention to the price.
I have no certain pick for the best grocery store. Lately, I have gradually drifted away from the Giants and Shopper's. Why? I find consistently better tasting and fresher produce at Trader Joe's, Wegman's, and Whole Foods.
Fortunately, I'm young, unattached, have no children and enough money to spend more on food. The price gap for better and healthier produce isn't as affordable for all families. Instead they are forced to buy groceries at Walmart, Shopper's, and the other stores that don't provide the quality with their bottom dollar prices.
I wish the farmer's markets are available on a more frequent basis since they are the direct source of the produce. Farmer's markets have expanded in countless areas, but they are not accessible to all eaters and families. Although farmer's markets offer locally grown produce, the prices may be a little too steep and they don't guarantee the fruits and vegetables are grown organically.
Tracie McMillan touches on the issues on affordability, accessibility, and quality of fresh produce and food in her book. Why do people love the Walmarts and Applebee's? They offer the cheapest prices and deals on food. Can you afford to say no to the lower quality food at Walmart or the microwaved tasting appetizers at Applebee's?
Where do you shop for your groceries and produce?