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Eating Organic in Oklahoma City

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Recently a number of Farmer’s Markets have begun to open in the Oklahoma City area.  There have always been the local farmer’s cooperatives and markets in the area like at OSU in OKC and the downtown area.  However, the new ones like Sunflower Market and Whole Foods are larger chains, and this was a new development into the usual meat and potatoes world of Oklahoma.

Sunflower Market opened first, and I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went there, but I was surprised to find that they had a variety of the foods that I enjoyed at a reasonable price.  The wide range of handmade foods like hummus and tabouli looked fresh and wonderful, and they were all very reasonably priced.  Not to mention the fact that the seafood they had on hand also looked very fresh and was also nicely priced for a landlocked state.

I had never been to a grocery store that had an olive bar or a honey bar, and the whole idea appealed to me.  One of my favorite things was the self service center with the wide range of granola, and I picked out quite a few different cereals to try only to find them extremely addictive.  Another plus—they’re right next to the Half-Price Book Store!

A couple of months later when Whole Foods opened I went there as well and was also delighted to find a large array of foods that were different and completely unprocessed.  The selection of local Oklahoma foods was a lot wider, and they also had a large amount of already cooked and prepared foods that smelled wonderful.  There was even a small area in the front of the store where you could sit and eat a hot bowl of soup and a sandwich if you wanted.  It was a nice, friendly atmosphere that I could really grow to enjoy.

However, one of my favorite local grocery stores, The Crescent Market, has already closed as a side effect of these two chains moving in. I know that they were a little more expensive, but they were locally owned and supported local merchants a great deal.  You could easily find local products in their store, and they also got most of their meat and produce from local supplies when necessary.  I worry that the local growers and cooperatives will soon suffer as well, and that gives me pause when I think about where my next load of groceries is going to come from.

What do you think?  Are organic chains a good thing, or are they putting locals out of business?  These blogs have a few other writers’ opinions on the subject:

An Organic Wife has some great pictures of Sunflower Market and another blog on Whole Foods.

Deborah Oakes talks about four other natural food stores in the OKC area.

The Supermarket News blog talks about why Whole Foods made the decision to open a branch in OKC.

Finally, Purple Poke talks about the Whole Foods.

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