A blog about Hudson, New York

Ode to ShopRite

Frankly, I’m not exactly a food co-op type of guy; in lieu of being able to assemble a meal from the local boulangerie, fromagere, and boucherie on the way home from the offices of Paris Vogue, I most prefer a place like New York City’s popular Fairway market (cheaper than Whole Foods but even more gourmet), if only during off hours, when the impulse to ram other shoppers into the ground is less overwhelming.

But I live in Hudson, and am ready to drink the Ko-Op Aid.  The plan to create one here, as discussed at the community meeting held in the First Presbyterian Church,  is the best I’ve heard yet to ameliorate the town’s seemingly intractable status as a Food Desert (so designated by no less an authority than the US Department of Agriculture itself); the people putting it together, led by New York Sustainable Agriculture Working Group’s Peter Pehrson,  are seasoned hands who will give it their best shot. So sign me up for at least  two hours every other week– to  stock shelves, man the register or do any taste testing that needs to be done.

Even if  it all bears fruit (mea culpa), however, I wonder if I will ever be able to give up my current favored local food source, ShopRite.  During the meeting about the project, I felt a slightly protective pang whenever someone  made a slight dig  or invidious comparison about the supermarket.  I know it doesn’t look like much,  but the selection, prices, and downright perky check- out clerks are things I’ve grown to depend upon over the years.  So I went home and wrote a little ode to it,  in (mostly) Haiku form, with  a nod, as always, to Frank O’Hara.

Your parking lot is

Treacherous to my new car

but once within/

I’m thrilled not only

not to be nibbled on by

the walking dead there/

but also by the prices,

far less than Price Chopper’s, even

counting the cheap gas/

How many fine meals

have I made from you, keeping

me from homelessness

if not penury,

which isn’t your fault at all.

Time to go shopping.

–Scott Baldinger

5 Responses to Ode to ShopRite

  1. You’re the best, Scott! Obviously, the Co-op will have some pretty big shoes to fill as long as you are keeping us in line! Thanks for attending the meeting, and thanks for the interest and attention.
    Peter Pehrson
    Acres Co-op Market

  2. Both Shop Rite and Price Chopper provide: decent paying jobs with BENEFITS to many, many families; important first time jobs for teenagers; scholarship funds for college-aged kids; generous charitable donations year round; and discounts to Seniors.

    All of these things contribute in significant ways in keeping the economic engine, such as it is, running in Columbia County.

    I agree that a food co-op is the sexy new thing around here and if it REALLY helps lower income people eat better and become healthy, then YEA RAH.

    But in the meantime, people need not be dismissive of the individuals and families who are able to live here, volunteer here, and pay ridiculously high taxes here, thanks to their less sexy, but stable careers at chain supermarkets.

  3. There is so much business for food in all its forms in Columbia County that I would open the Co-op right next door to either Shop Rite or Price Chopper if I could. There is so much business for food in all its forms that I would open a neighborhood retail grocery store on every corner in every village if I could. Don’t cry alligator tears for the big boys; they are plenty able and willing to take care of themselves. This is America, after all; flood the market with choices and no one suffers; everyone prospers.

  4. No tears for the big boys (Or, in the case of Mona Golub, the big girls – 2011.), rather a balanced view of what chain stores provide for the community – ALL of the community.

    And competition is terrific . . . as long as it doesn’t undercut the long time workers who supports his or her family on a career track that started in one’s mid teens or mid-twenties, has kept their nose clean, worked holidays, and wants to be able to retire with an earned 401 K.

    Interestingly enough, I am a regular at the Hudson Farmers Market and was for many years a regular at the Kinderhook Farmers Market, and I can say with 100% certainty that the majority of shoppers at both of those markets has been and currently is. . . middle to upper class shoppers.

    This is not a debate about choosing one or the other, but rather a conversation about not valuing one over the other and considering the employees at the chain stores, and recognizing that it is UNLIKELY a food co-op would be able to make the same economic contributions to the ENTIRE community.

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