I have taken to pimping out the natural foods store near my house. Literally.
It’s a Thursday evening. I stand outside the natural food store near my house. I hold in my hands a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables which I purchased at said store. They’re fresher than what you can get from the farmer’s market. They’re as delicious as anything you could grow in your own home. Can you grow them? No, you live in San Francisco. So you’re looking at me.
A man walks by on the sidewalk. I hold out a basket of strawberries. He glances at them, then looks at me, never breaking his stride. I wink menacingly. He breaks eye contact and hurries on. It was obvious he wanted them though. He’ll be back.
A young woman strides by in yoga pants and a baggy, gray knitted sweater. She has a gym bag. She’s wearing sunglasses even though the sun’s almost set and it’s cloudy and cold. I whip out two cobs of fresh, sweet, white corn. I thrust them toward her. She dodges, frowns. She’s obviously not in the mood tonight; I move on.
I’ve moved to the corner. I hold my wares in plain sight: two oranges, the corn, the strawberries, a bunch of kale, and four avocados. A car slows as it passes. “You lookin’ for a nice meal?”, I ask. The passenger and driver exchange a glance. “How much?”
I ask what they’re looking for. They say they have pasta and they’re looking for a nice green to go alongside. I tell them in a soft voice that the kale is perfect. Pick the leaves off the stem, drizzle a bit of olive oil and salt, and bake at 380 for eight minutes, toss, then bake for two more minutes. It will go perfectly as a finger food alongside any carb. I give my best smile as we make the exchange.
Shortly after, an older woman walks by on the other side of the street. She sees me and checks out my goods. She looks both ways — whether she’s looking for oncoming traffic or just looking to see if anyone is watching is anyone’s guess — and crosses the street to my side. “I’d, um, I’d like those oranges”, she stutters. “Of course you do, sweetheart”, I purr, handing them over. She paid twice what I normally charge — it was obvious she was really needing that Vitamin C, if you know what I mean.
Pretty soon all my goods are gone, and I’m back at the store shopping for more of what the people want. A girl’s gotta make a living, right?
This is a story. I made it up. I don’t scalp fruit or veggies in my spare time. Nor am I an actual prostitute, except probably in some metaphorical, corporate sense (Insert: “We all work for the man!” and other idealistic ranting here). I do, however, patronize the fabulous natural food store down the street from my house perhaps too frequently. Apparently, to my surprise, it even has a name. It’s called The Nature Stop. Isn’t that cute?
The Nature Stop isn’t cheap, but everything is so good. The fruit, the veggies — it’s always fresh and extremely good. I’ve bought things at the farmer’s market thinking they would be tastier; they were not. Lesson learned. The fruit is seasonal and so are many of the veggies (though not all — I realize tomatoes aren’t technically in season year-around, though I appreciate their continual stock).
They have a huge variety of cheese, a good selection of wine, the best salsa, fab yogurt, ice cream and other desserts, bread, canned foods (the best artichoke dip!), cereal, crackers, and obviously fruit and veggies. It’s a small store but it has everything I need. They don’t sell meat except deli meat, and they don’t always have absolutely everything in stock (veggie sausage — come back!), but it’s a great store.
My only complaint — they should have Acme bread. I mean it’s what Wile E. Coyote would eat, isn’t that a good enough reason to stock it? Anyway, that would totally complete the vibe and I would never need to go anywhere else, ever. Except for when I go to Trader Joe’s to save some dollar signs… local natural food shop ain’t cheap. But still, go. And don’t buy any produce from the lady standing outside. She hella shady.