Revolutionary Groceries

by Kathryn Baldwin

Last Friday, I visited the newest grocery store in my area: Pleasant Hill Safeway in the Sun Valley Mall parking lot. Not only did I survive swarms of coupon crazies on opening day, but the new arrangement of the store forced me to look at the entire institution of grocery stores anew.

After finally scoring a parking spot, I marched into the sea of shoppers with my handful of coupons locked and loaded. 45 stressful minutes later, I was stuck in lines so long they had lottery incentives and Vegas-style pinwheels. In a dysfunctional checker line, I would normally be mindlessly drooling over the insanely skinny girl on the women’s health magazine screaming “Hey Thunder Thighs!”  at me from the rack right next to an Oprah slogan reminding me to “relax”. That type of irony usually provides me with enough mind-reeling, anthropological research to get me to, “will that be debit or credit?” This time though, with a cart full of $50 worth of free stuff, I stood in a 30-minute line and stared at the produce section: the organization of the store itself was enough to make my mind reel.

Where cereal, frozen pizzas, and diapers would normally be found, stood a giant constellation of produce stands highlighted by twinkling lights. These still patterns of orange, green, yellow, and red stood at the heart of the building, where the steady hum of water misters was like the store’s equatorial region. The boxes of Cheezits, rolls of toilet paper, bottles of Smart Water, bags of chocolate chips all surrounded the most organic pieces of the earth, as if to bow down to their superiority. Why was nobody else staring?! This was pure madness, and yet, ingenious at the same time.

At one point in American history, some wise guy had the idea of putting cheap junk food in the center of the store and people flocked to what they thought should be the core of their “nutritious” lifestyle. We’ve been tricked before by the center aisles filled with Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup and canned green beans. Today, a smarter wise guy (or girl), for whatever capitalist reason, has returned fresh fruits and vegetables to the core. Follow their advice people: allow vegetables to penetrate the core of your lifestyle. Let the Prime Rib and the Lucky Charms in your life bow down to the apples and the oranges.

…and when you visit the center of this revolutionary Safeway, pick up some Kale for an equally revolutionary smoothie: 1 part chopped Kale, 1 part fresh or frozen mango, 1 part water. (A beginners recipe by Victoria Baoutenko, author of Green Smoothie Revolution). It’s earthy enough to ground you back to the core, yet sweet enough to keep you from running back to the aisles on the periphery.


2 Comments to “Revolutionary Groceries”

  1. I swear, I thought I had grocery shopping down by shopping at the peripheries (ala Michael Pollan). This makes much more sense. I’ll have to visit this particular Safeway and see for myself!

  2. What a heavenly grocery store! I went there a few days after opening, it was pretty crowded, but there were no horrid lines, thankfully! I, too, used my coupons to get $70 worth of food for $25!! Loved it! 🙂

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