Makers: Each Peach Market and making space for food conversations

The best way to describe Each Peach Market is to say that it's like a tiny farmer's market. Indoors. That's open all of the time. Where you can call ahead and ask them to set aside the last package of chicken breasts for you.

I heard about Each Peach's Kickstarter campaign back in June, and I was so excited by the concept that Jeanlouise and Emily laid out: a community-oriented market with a mixed stock of reasonably priced staples and high-end fancy foods.

 A lot of the time a food store is either-or: you can get carrots and lettuce and flour and peaches, or you can get a eight-dollar jar of Rick's Picks beets. Why not place both on the same shelf?

I had a great conversation with Jeanlouise about her desire to build store inventory around the principle that some foods are for everyday, and others are special treats. Peaches and bread? Everyday. Fancy beet pickles? Probably a sometimes food.

It's impossible to talk about food stores without talking about the price  and availability of food, and the fact that, when it come to food opportunities, most people don't get what they deserve.

Add to that the fact that Each Peach is located in the incredible diverse and rapidly gentrifying Mount Pleasant neighborhood of DC, and you've got the making of a pretty lively conversation: What kinds of food can people buy within walking distance of their homes? Is it affordable in proportion to their salaries? What percentage of their budget should people be expected to spend on food? Should their be community standards for what "good" and "healthy" food looks like? Who should be in charge of setting them? How can people be made to feel welcome?

What impresses me most about Each Peach is that Jeanlouise and Emily aren't shying away from that conversation. They seem excited to be a part of it.

They are also excited about things that taste awesome, like District Kombucha, Number One Sons Pickles, responsibly raised meat,  and produce from local growers (it's worth noting, but the way, that the produce they sell costs the same or less than the produce at Whole Foods). If I'm going to commit to buying local or organic produce whenever I can, I'm so excited to be able to give my money to REAL PEOPLE.

Mark Gilbert once wrote, "We must risk delight". With all the pleasure that food can bring, I don't think that our dialogue about it, even in its hardest moments, needs to be austere. It can happen in beautiful places. Everyone can be invited. Every conversation, even the ones about fancy pickles, can be predicated on the notion that all of us deserve to eat well, near our homes, for a reasonable price.

I'm thrilled to see so many Makers in DC who are interested in talking about how food can bring us both pleasure and sustenance. The space at Each Peach Market invites contemplation of that nature- it is both beautiful and utilitarian, full of foods for body-fuel, for quotidian pleasure and for special occasions.

As food produces and curators like Each Peach get their legs, I think contemplation and conversation about food in our lives and our communities will keep expanding. The challenge will be to make it inclusive, and to make sure that it bears real fruit.

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