Kansas City may be home to great fresh fare and local goods, but we do lack for trendy grocery stores. With our two Whole Foods buried deep in the suburbs, and zero Trader Joe's, one group of people have made a habit of driving 253 miles from Kansas City, all the way across the state to St. Louis, with a Trader Joe's shopping list for a growing number of people.
The Midwest is a peculiar place for those of you who live somewhere with a coast. Even though we're surrounded by farms, orchards, lakes and rivers — finding fresh organic goods requires a great deal of leg work and makes the theory of "slow food" feel overpowered by fast paced commercialism and suburban sprawl. Especially coming out of the winter months, eating local and organic goods means prior preparation. Canning, freezing and growing foods ahead to tide you over the winter months.
If this sounds like something out of Little House on the Prairie, well you'd be right. But if you're not into shopping at a generic grocery retailer, then these are the steps you need to take to find trusted foods at prices most can afford.
Kansas City Grocery Service has decided to change the access Kansas Citians have to better or more specialized foods. To some this might mean not having to drive all over the suburbs to secure them on their own, while to others it might mean being able to buy meat and pantry staples from a trusted retailer who strives to only carry the best products.
Twice a month a small handful of people in this group head out to make the 3 1/2 hour drive to St. Louis. Customers can place their order online ahead of time, requesting items. The charge for this service starts at $11 and goes up from there depending on the amount of groceries you wish to purchase. When they return, you simply drive up, they load your car and away you go.
Now being someone who tries their hardest to support local growers and food artisans, I personally have a real issue with this setup. Yes it might take more time, effort, commitment and legwork on our part to track down healthy eating options in a city where going out for a fancy dinner means Red Robin or Red Lobster (or anything else with a kids' menu and crayons), but when it comes right down to it, if you're cooking from home, with ingredients - not mixes or shortcuts, then all the food you need should already be at your doorstep.
The idea of paying someone to drive across the state to pick up food that was already driven across the country once to that location, seems, well...gluttonous. In a day and age where we're looking to keep our food as local as possible and create as little impact on the earth as we can — Is it worse to pay someone that's already going across the state to pick up your food for you, or to spend the gas in your own car driving around town to secure healthy eating options?
If you lived in Kansas City, away from the beloved Trader Joe's, what would you do? Are there goods you couldn't live without? Would you pay for something like this, or just wait until Trader Joe's gets the message that there's people here desiring their services? We've never lived anywhere with a Trader Joe's so we don't have any coveted product addictions and have always done just fine, so maybe we're off base. What do you think? Let us know below!
More Midwest Food:
• Best Beer in the Midwest: A Tour of Boulevard Brewery
• Where Does Milk Come From? A Tour of Shatto Dairy in Kansas City
(Image: Too Hectic)