Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Small Town Shopping

We have limited options at our in-town grocery and Wal*mart stores. You can find pretty much whatever you want, or at least what you need, but the selection isn't what it is at the larger (or smaller stores) in the town where we work.

It isn't so much the products that we can find (juice, soda, canned goods, frozen stuff, deli, produce, all of that), but rather the types of said products offered. Finding an organic brand of nearly anything at the local grocery is nearly impossible. But there are a few options for "natural" peanut butter. I think there is one barbeque sauce in the whole store that doesn't have high fructose corn syrup. And that says nothing of my poor uncle who has a recently diagnosed soy allergy: out of  wall of salad dressing, there were maybe 5 bottles he could eat. One was a spice packet where you add your own oil and vinegar. The others were locally produced brands.

Since I haven't exactly made the leap to baking soda/vinegar/washing soda and the like for all my cleaning products, this has presented a challenge for us.

What has been exciting as of late, is the emergence of more eco-friendly brands and variants on the shelves, and at prices that are at least comparable to the conventional ones. For example, dishwasher detergent. I picked up one of 2 bottles that declared itself eco-friendly with no phosphates and my husband rolled his eyes. "Are we really that rich that we can... oh, it isn't that expensive." True, a smaller bottle of the store brand was much cheaper, but every other option was within 50 cents of the bottle I picked. Some were even more expensive. Score!

Then, at Wal*Mart (groan if you must) Tom's of Maine is being stocked. I've read a few places (can't remember now, so apologies for no links) that some people are upset as a result of changes since they were bought by a larger company, but I'm still very happy to see 2 different toothpastes (one with and one without flouride), and at least 2 different Tom's deodorants (plus a Crystal liquid roll-on). As we needed toothpaste, we got some. Still using the deodorant I picked up at Trader Joe's in California while on a business trip. (Really, my checked bag on the way back from these trips is hilarious now - shampoo, deodorant, all sorts of organic and natural personal care products I can't find easily in my small town.)

Small victories, I know, but I get a small thrill buying these products at my local grocery and Wal*mart because I know that somewhere in the vastness of information and reporting, another ping is going towards the more eco-conscious shopper