Friday, October 26, 2007


Today, I just could not face grocery shopping in the rain. I decided to skip the supermarket (I usually go to Harris-Teeter @ Barracks Rd or the Pantops Giant) and make do with whatever I could find at Integral Yoga.

This got me thinking: how long could I go without buying any food at a major supermarket chain? Not that I never shop at local stores. I often shop at Cville Market and make periodic IY runs for some bulk items that I can't get anywhere else. I walk past Feast on my way home from work, and sometimes pop in for a few items--but not too many, since I have to carry them all the way home to Belmont.

A project is forming in my mind. Can my household of six people shop only at locally owned food stores? And for how long? A week? A month?

The closest food store to me is Stoney's, on Avon St.--about a two minute walk from my house. Stoney's is like the Room of Requirement (from the Harry Potter books.) No matter what you need, you will find it at Stoney's. I once ran out of molasses in the middle of making something that required molasses. Stoney's had it. Work gloves, respirator masks, almond extract, apples, hairnets (for ballet) Stoney's is the place.

These are my store choices (in order of their distance from my house)
  1. Stoneys plus other Belmont delis.
  2. Feast (and other shops in the West Main Market)
  3. Cville Market
  4. Reid's
  5. Integral Yoga
  6. Foods of All Nations--all the way across town, but has the biggest selection, and isn't as expensive as everyone says. They have the cheapest tahini in town, anyway. And the best tea.
It's probably not such a wise idea to embark on a sociological project when I am so busy with school, but I am so sick of wandering around huge supermarkets, negotiating their parking lots, and being forced to use their VIC cards or MVP cards or whatever in order to "qualify" for sale prices.

Today at Integral Yoga, I bought enough foods to make dinner for several nights (although it irritates me no end that they don't sell eggs there. I know, it's their store, they have the right to sell what they want and I hope I don't get hate comments from people who don't eat eggs, but the lack of eggs is the main reason I eschew IY in favor of Cville Market most of the time.

After IY, I stopped across the street at Reid's. A long time ago, I made disparaging remarks about the atmosphere at Reid's and got blasted in a comment. I don't mean to put down Reid's. It is ugly inside, but they have the cheapest Nutella in town, carry Fair Trade coffee, and don't make you sign up for a stupid bonus card. I do have two words for Reids, though: automatic doors. Please.

Until further notice, I'll only be shopping at the stores listed above. Let the games begin.


  1. What an amazing idea. I hope this works out for you, because I'd love to hear updates about how it's going. We've been trying to buy local, but it's so easy to get lazy when Whole Foods is so convenient for us.

  2. You can do it! It's been several years since I gave money to an out-of-town chain. It's been nothing but good for me. The food is fresher and better when it's local. It's easier to eat in rhythm with the seasons. It's actually cheaper, if you don't ask for strawberries in January.

    And don't forget all the wonderful local bakeries! I'm a patron of Albemarle Baking Co. because they're two blocks away-- and fantastic.

    Good luck!

  3. Any chance there's a Farmer's Market nearby?

  4. You could see if there's a neighbor who raises hens and has eggs for sale, btw.