Quest for Variety

Nov 28, 2018

To the Editor:

The other day a young woman and I were discussing the constant search, in our area, for “clean,” affordable food: organic, gluten free and plant based. The week before I had made an 8 a.m. trek to both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, shopping for both myself and my daughter.

I  had returned home with a car laden with a variety of organic produce, some exotic cheeses and my regular staples of nuts and dry goods. After putting away the cold food, I took a well-needed break and left the rest for later. Of course, that evening I ate something quick because I was not in the mood to think about food any longer.

While talking with this young woman I realized there are many of us in this area on a constant search for one-stop shopping, which doesn’t happen often. As we talked further we became more animated and frustrated. We have a few stores marginally stocked with items deemed organic but often lacking variety or consistency. She agreed that the search is exhausting and baffling.

All the bigger stores we seek out either west or north of the LBI area refuse to honor our requests to move to this area. The other day I bought some baby bella mushrooms from one store and on the bottom was a rotten, smelly ’shroom. I had to stop at another small store to get organic spinach and went home baffled, knowing all the products that are available at the bigger stores and wishing for some variety.

Our local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) was a wonderful gift this summer and early fall, but that’s over for now in our seasonal area. I find that when I shop, my choices are based on what is present, organic and looks like it is relatively fresh. I shop at four stores because often it is impossible to get what I need with one stop.

When I head west and shop, I can often purchase what I need to allow variety in my food intake. I work hard at staying healthy since I have always believed that food is medicine. We have pharmacies and medical facilities in abundance, but our food options are slim or restricted by our “demographics” which is the belief reputed to exist based on entreaties made for many years to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Wegmans.

My request to those of you who are like minded is to contact these stores and keep pushing for us to change those negative thoughts that a store of that caliber would not be a financial gain to the merchant and a huge bonus to our health and happiness. As our year-round population grows in this “seasonal” area, we need to invite better healthy choices into our lives and the lives of future generations.

Sue Parker




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