Where Do All the Hippies Meet?

By Peter McManus

Note (6/29/03):  Fresh Fields is now called Whole Foods Market.

I just patronized, for the first time, a grocery store called Fresh Fields, which is a chain. It is unlike any grocery chain Iíve ever been in. They specialize in vegetarian, health and organic foods. If you want potato chips, they have healthy potato chips. If you want candy, they have healthy candy. The scent of incense wafts down the aisles.

Before going in I half expected the store to be empty, with a bored teenage check-out girl waiting for the next customer. Instead, I was surprised by how many people were sharing this experience with me (but for them it wasnít so unique). This is where all the ex-hippies have gone. Though some of the clientele appeared conventional, on the whole the shoppers gave out a subtle bohemian aura.

I have to admit that I didnít understand everything I saw there. The breakfast cereals looked way too healthy. How can anyone eat that stuff? But some of the prepared dishes in the deli, like the ziti chicken, looked delicious. I wanted to sample all of them, but instead I stuck to my objective, which was the purchase of Amyís Bean and Vegetable Burritos. Genuardiís doesnít usually have them, and when they do they charge a lot. I was happy to find that Fresh Fields had the burritos, and charged 25% less for them. This is unusual. You can expect to pay more per pound when you shop at Fresh Fields.

The check-out woman was enthusiastic and friendly. I learned that she is a true believer in the cause.

The store doesnít replace Genuardiís, but Iíll go back again. Next time Iím going to get more than just burritos.


Unpublished work © 2002 Peter McManus