I grew up in Montpelier & Burlington Vermont. I am living my life in Alabama. I married an Alabama man. I love my husband’s family & I am grateful to every single one of them for welcoming a Vermont Yankee, a foodie, a farmer @ heart, Jewish, politically opposite woman into their large Catholic family. I met my mother-in-law, whom I call Mom, at Whole Foods. She had never been there. While we were looking at the produce, we came across fiddleheads…my mom Saab had never heard, nor seen, them before. I told her that they are ferns, that you toss them in a skillet with garlic, salt & pepper & olive oil. I told her they were delicious.
It was that moment, that I realized that I could explain WHO i was. I gestured to the entire store with my hands, after telling her to stop & listen. I said, “all this (Whole Foods) is what Vermont is. This place is how I ate, how I shopped, what I saw, how I lived growing up in Vermont. I may seem pretentious because I want to shop here, but it is familiar & it is as home as I’ll ever be living in Birmingham, Alabama.”
Good produce, beautiful flowers, amazing cheese & bread…everything reminds me of home. When Whole Foods came to Birmingham, I was shocked that it would build one here. The land of BBQ, fried Okra, greens & black-eyed peas. The store has been here about five years. When I go now, I see big white men in their Alabama football shirts & baseball caps, I see every type of human, I see men in cowboy hats wearing cowboy boots, rich & poor, young & old. On the weekends, the store requires a policeman to direct traffic in & out of their parking lot.
I’m pretty sure the farmers I’ve seen in there are the ones supplying the store with their veggies, meat, honey, beer, flowers… The great thing about the store is that the location they live in, strives to support the philosophy of buying local. Which is something that Vermont has always done.
I made the mistake of going to my reader & looking up Vermont blogs this morning. I want to go home. I need to refuel my soul. When we have enough frequent flyer miles to get me there…I will get off the plane in Burlington, take a long-held, grasping breath of sweet air & on bended knee, I will kiss my home turf.