My cousin Max Alexander wrote a response to this op-ed piece in the NY Times.
The original piece starts with an accurate, though obvious, observation — people who shop in growers’ markets tend to be pompous, rich, self-righteous, and vicariously entertaining. One trip to the West Chester Grower’s market will give you a month’s dose of (simultaneously) patchouli, spandex, and entitlement. Man, no wonder the Amish growers on the other side of the table look like they’re trying hard not to laugh the whole time.
As goofy as the honky devil crackers that frequent the grower’s market might be, and as nerdy as their elevation of handcrafted raspberries is, the author of the op-ed piece then tries to build a case that low-end supermarkets, with their “antiseptic but nonjudgmental” aisles, are somehow better, representative of (as Max says) “Middle class thrift.”
WTF? Look, as any hippie can tell you, the gas burned to deliver produce from the four corners of the earth is one of the things future generations will look back at in amazement, like we do about the days of uncontrolled ocean dumping, or snake-thumping day, or whatever. I’d like to know what percentage of the oil America needs is used to power Sysco trucks — the vast distribution network that provides the feeling that south american grapes are a kind of a ubiquitous, omnipresent resource. Ye gods, American distribution networks are right up there with the East India Company in terms of a national presence with global impact. I don’t mean to suggest that Sysco is evil, only that the American middle-class supermarket shelf is a kind of analogue to the magazine retoucher’s product.
Those “antiseptic” aisles are running with blood, man. Blood!
Okay, now I have to go get a Sysco graham cracker from the cupboard.