Basket Case

The more you know…the less sure you become of anything.

As we learn more about our current food chain, the more nervous and suspicious we’ve become of any established, branded food source and subsequently the places we might buy them from.  Still, we live in the North East where we simply don’t grow some basic staples such as wheat, rice or corn in any usable, sustainable quantities, and the winters force us to buy food from elsewhere.  Add to that our addiction to comforts such as coffee, chocolate and french wine, and the result is that one day a week, I bundle the Bundles into the car for a convoluted shopping excursion for sustenance which can take the entire day.

It takes the entire day because we are picky about our food but we also do not have an unlimited amount of money.  Organic food cooperatives often are the only place to find good, local and/or organic produce and grass fed meats, but their dry goods and other brand name items are often over-priced and can be found in your friendly neighborhood agribusiness supermarket chain store for much much less.  Around these parts, the cheapest supermarket chain for such items is Market Basket.

A typical Saturday will therefore find us in Concord, NH, or Peterborough followed by Rindge, or Brattleboro, VT, or to Springfield, VT followed by a trip to Claremont.

Market Baskets are, in general, dingy, run down stores with little infrastructure, sad employees and broken carts.  There are no cup holders on the carts or car-carts for children or little cafes.  The public bathrooms are hidden in the back in the warehouse section.  The clientele are elderly, obese, or poor.  So the selections are basic and often change based on whether the chain can purchase them from their distributors for a reasonable price. 

Recently a concerted effort has been in the works to start a Co-op in Keene, NH.  This has excited us, since I work in Keene, and would save us a considerable amount of time.  We also recently learned of a Market Basket in Swanzey, one town over.  Although still trips to 2 different stores, it would be novel to have all of our needs in the same town. 

We checked it out; the Market Basket in Swanzey is gorgeous.  But here’s the quandary: this modern, gorgeous Market Basket, with its smooth riding carts and heated dairy aisles, so close to where I work which will make our lives easier, was built on the remains of a beautiful field and its old, dilapidated chicken barn.

They could have grown wheat or corn or grass fed cows there and kept the land fertile.  But they paved it over and ruined it forever instead.  And we’ll shop there.  Because we’re in the system.  We’ll always be in the system.

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