This is something I already knew but often forget. And that is the conditions found in most towns & cities across this country.
I visited mecca, otherwise known as the "Great Mall of America" in Minneapolis, MN. Why I did this I'll never know. I avoid malls with a frequency of visits averaging less than once per year. The GMA is huge and there is a roller coaster and a log flume which is, of course, pretty sweet.
In other news, when at corporate HQ I asked where a "Whole Foods" might be. They were unfamiliar with the genre of retail. I instead visited a "Cub" grocery. While the mall was an exercise in excess, it was actually a civilized experience as far as malls go. If I could knock it down I probably wouldn't. (( Unless of course it would be turned into a giant urban greenspace.)) Meanwhile at the Cub, things were different. I did find the tiny organic section where they separate out the food and triple the price. The rest of the place was downright scary. Slabs of fading meat, lots of brightly colored "food", puffy breads and pastries. There wasn't a single loaf of anything that wouldn't digest at the speed of pure refined sugar outside of the cubicle sized organic section. Business was bustling. I added to the commerce with a handful of Luna bars and some amazingly unsweetened and untainted green tea. Miracles indeed.
Do I sound like a snob? Good, I intend to. I *am* offended by the crap that people are selling and am offended that people are buying it. One might argue that it's cheaper than Whole Foods and I completely agree. WF has highway robbery prices and I buy stuff there on occasion because I can. My point of contention is that organic and healthy foods are expensive here in middle America SOLELY because it's an oddity from their point of view. It's way more expensive to grow/process/modify/refine/market/package/& ship versus grow and deliver a short distance. And I know that pockets of enlightenment do exist so the coastal metaphor isn't exactly fair.
This brings me to Monterrey Market in Berkeley California. Armed with a $20, it is difficult *NOT* to fill two bags full of fresh, organic, and bountiful groceries. We're talking about amazing fresh and delicious stuff... man do I miss that place. There's nothing preventing such a store's existence right where I'm sitting (ouch) except that the people here don't seem to demand it.
Alas I will kiss the coastal ground upon my return to the sunny Pacific NW where it rains leafy goodness.