Sunday, February 7, 2010

King's Red & White

Neighborhood email groups are great things. How else, for example, would we have learned that King's Red & White recently started carrying milk from Maple View Farms? Maple View Farms is an area dairy that treats its cows well and sells milk in returnable glass bottles.

King's Red & White is a local, family-run grocery store. It's closer to our house than Kroger's and Whole Foods, but because it's small, inconspicuous, and surrounded by similarly unattractive buildings and ridiculous amounts of concrete on an over-developed, ugly stretch of road, it's hard to think of it as a neighborhood grocery store when you're driving past it in rush-hour traffic. Today, because we had read about the milk, we took our business to King's Red & White for the very first time.

At King's Red & White, the very tall, cheerful manager sashays past in aisle three, greeting you with a friendly "how're y'all today?" His employees know long-time customers by name and enjoy ongoing jokes with them with an easy familiarity.

Jars of North Carolina pickled unidentifiables (you have to trust the labels) in assorted shapes and colors line the shelves alongside local honeys, jams, jellies, butters, and preserves. There's an entire section in the sugary-junk aisle dedicated to rock candy. If you want to buy something in a can, you've come to the right place, but there's also a side room dedicated to fresh fruits and vegetables. Just outside the room, bananas hang on a special rotatable banana rack, looking quaintly old-fashioned against a backdrop of green astroturf. In refreshing contrast to other stores, everything that's out of season actually looks out of season at King's Red & White--but you can also tell when things are fresh. Bags of Georgia pecans ("New Crop!") fill a basket; shelled pinto beans ("New Crop!") come in bulk.

Alas, surrounded by all this Southern splendour, I walked with vegetarian obliviousness right past the butt rub and slop mop in aisle two. S, fortunately, was more alert, and after we left the store, he told me excitedly about seeing these icons of North Carolina barbeque. Of course, now we have to go back. And to think we would have missed it all had they not started carrying locally produced, environmentally friendly, rBGH-free milk.


JLPP said...

Butt rub?

mom2homer said...

You know, seasonings to rub on your pork butt. Baste the butt with the slop mop.