Plum Market

11 11 2009

I picked up lunch at the local Plum Market yesterday, and I think I like it even better than Whole Foods.

Yeah, you heard correctly: I’m admitting publicly that, despite all the crap I talk about it, I generally like Whole Foods.  I enjoyed shopping at the World’s Most Pretentious Grocery Store Chain even before their CEO came out against nationalizing the health care system and was summarily crucified by the liberal establishment (though judging by the packed parking lot, it seems even the most principled Ann Arbor residents value organic wheatgrass more than sticking it to The Man).  I think I like shopping there so much partially because roaring up behind all the Priuses in the parking lot with the “Think globally, act locally” bumper stickers in the gas-guzzling, emissions-spewing Wagoneer is really satisfying.

But the food’s also pretty good.  I enjoy Whole Food’s selection of meats, cheese, olives, and their staggering array of balsamic vinegars (usually their basic produce selection is rivaled by the local Meijer, which does a pretty good job of keeping fresh stock).

What I don’t enjoy is the Whole Foods stigma.  I frankly don’t want to feel like I’m doing the world a favor by purchasing a quarter pound of high-end prociutto; if I really wanted to feel like I was helping Mother Earth and all her disenfranchised children, I’d eat half a cup of rice and donate the savings to some charity fund instead.  They sell great food with a lot of useless, white-guilt assuaging baggage attached.  And that baggage smells like mothballs.

Plum Market, which has kind of a Portland Co-op-meets-Ikea feel (must be the industrial shelving, exposed plywood, and sans-serif fonts everwhere, I guess), seems to lack much of the pretention of Whole Foods.

3_plum-market-aaphotos-3_v2

Trendy, but not painfully so

Since there are only so many sources of Fair Trade organic hummus, most of the brands are the same as Whole Foods, but that’s to be expected.  Fruit prices seemed to be comparable to Meijer (I need to run there for some power steering fluid later, so I’ll check).  Their pre-made food/hot bar thing was, uh, eclectic (as much as I hate that word); I got an acorn squash filled with fruit for lunch.  The squash probably could have been cooked a little more thoroughly, or I could have actually heated it up in an oven instead of a microwave.  Either way, it was tasty, if a little overpriced.

I’m not sure what exactly about the atmosphere I liked better than Whole Foods.  They’re basically the same store; maybe the fact that Plum Market is in a nondescript strip mall helps keep it real.  Or maybe it’s the people that were inside.  I was fearing a hipster crowd wearing $500 designer glasses and $2 Salvation Army cardigans spending way too much money on Fair Trade organic hummus, but the patrons seemed to be just plain folks.  Thank God.

They also sell See’s Candies inside the store, which is a huge plus.

In any event, I suspect I’ll be going back.  Especially after I’m 21 and in the market for some wine.  Or wheatgrass.

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2 responses

12 11 2009
Min

Interesting, the Plum Market on Maple Rd. in Bloomfield Township has a different vibe (was an old Krogers). Also, each Wholefoods Market I’ve ever been to is totally different, not just in appearance but, in merchandise.

Lately, I’ve been shopping at Trader Joe’s the most. Better prices for organics.

14 11 2009
Nina

If you do a wheatgrass shot can I please be there? I will take one with you 🙂 Sadly, that will be my third one ever–2 more then necessary, probably. But wheatgrass is more fun with friends 🙂

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