FRENCH BROAD FOOD CO-OP – Biltmore Ave, Downtown Asheville
I love the French Broad Food Co-op.
I’ll admit that it took me a while to get used to the limited selection there, especially after living so close to the sprawling and expansive Greenlife/Wholefoods/Trader Ho’s/Harris Teets food compound up there in North Asheville for so long.
As you may know, I find the grocery store sitch in my new hood of the SFB/RAD/SoSlo area to be lacking, but I have come to count on, appreciate, and even love the good ol’ FBFC.
I used to be kind of aggro when I went in there. Grumbling to myself that they didn’t have this-or-that other thing or whatever-the-fuck specific product I was fixated on.
“WHY NO CHEESE POPCORN?!?”
Now I look forward to stopping in, and I shop with a smile as get my FBFC staples: Fresh ground peanut butter, a piece of fruit, something bready. Bulk nuts. I frickin’ love it!
My change in attitude is just that: A change in my mental attitude towards the FBFC. I’ve stopped thinking of it as an inadequate alternative to the big, fancy grocery stores, and have instead started thinking of it as Asheville’s best, healthiest, friendliest, and most thoughtfully well-stocked convenient store.
Ever since I lived in Chicago, I’ve believed that healthy convenient stores could be a positive element in neighborhoods with no grocery stores. Instead, most convenient stores are the opposite: greedy purveyors of junk food, soda pop, alcohol, cigarettes, and lottery tickets. They are, in many ways, a huge detriment to any neighborhood they occupy. (#hotspot)
When I lived in NAVL, I realized one day that I hadn’t been inside of the closest convenient store for months and months on end. As I searched their shelves for the thing I needed that they didn’t have (AAA Batteries) it dawned on me that the reason I hadn’t been inside for so long was simple: I’d quit drinking.
I also don’t smoke cig, or blunts, or gamble, and since most of the junk food I eat is organic, I hadn’t had cause to visit my local death and vice merchant for ages. Yay! Fuck them.
FBFC is the antidote to all of that bullshit. They sell every genre of junk food that I love: chips, ice cream, candy, and pastries, all made from healthy, quality, usually organic ingreeds. Plus, they sell fresh, often locally grown, fruit & veggies, great health-care products, oils & incense & other hippie-stuff, great bulk goods, and they even have a hot bar, a salad bar, and a small amount of fresh, local meat available in a cooler.
I’ve tried various things from the hot bar, all good, no clunkers so far! The produce gets two thumbs up from me, and extra points for teaching me about Surround, a white powder made from Kaolin clay that protects apples from bugs and rot all-natch style. Look it up. It’s neato! The meat in the cooler is from Hickory Nut Gap and Apple Brandy Farms, both of which I love! I was also highly amused when one of the cashiers held my ground beef purchase between her thumb and forefinger, at the very tippity-tip of the corner of the plastic packaging, like one might hold a dirty diaper. I’m guessing she was vegan. Ha ha! I loved it. Sorry! I eat animals. I know I’m gross.
One of the things I really love about the Co-op is the extreme, unapologetic hippie vibe that it’s got going on. It’s as if olde-school Asheville still lives within it’s walls. It looks, smells, and feels like the kind of hippie health food store I started shopping at way back in the 1980’s. Mmmmm… I frickin’ LOVE that smell.
Gosh, I’ve used the word “love” in this review a lot so far… the truth is, I think I’m falling in love with the French Broad Food Co-op. And you know what? I think it loves me too. Squeeee!
I genuinely feel like The Food Co-op gives an actual shit about my health and well-being. Shopping there has even helped me to clean-up my diet a little bit. Offering fewer, healthier choices has forced me to eat crazy things like apples, pears, and even a pomegranate. Whoa. Come to find out, I love these teeny-tiny miniature pears they had there for a while. They were locally grown, but seemed exotic at the same time! And I nearly forgot how much I love fresh cilantro. Ooh! And you can buy asparagus by the spear! I love that!
Love love love! I love love!
Thanks FBFC for restoring my faith in humanity and filling my heart with the purest, glowing, white, hippie love light every time I stop in to buy a giant-sized thing of organic 1/2 and 1/2 and some fresh ground fair trade coffee.
You = the best.