Back before Whole Foods became the Wal-Mart/McDonald’s of overpriced food, there were local stores like Bread & Circus here in Boston and B. Gordon’s in Rockville, Md. There were also a lot of little co-ops like Glut!, which is apparently (and miraculously) still operating.

B. Gordon’s was kind of like an intermediate step between the catch-as-catch-can style of Glut! — where you might find on any given day that the orange bin contained nothing but a yellowish-green mold and some optimistic fruit flies — and the militaristic precision of Whole Foods. I went to B. Gordon’s one day looking for my favorite yogurt (I think it was Brown Cow) only to find the shelves bare, and a well-meaning staffer who said, “Ooh, that’s not good!” About six months later, Whole Foods swooped in, set up shop across Rockville Pike, and that was the end of that.

Here’s a B. Gordon’s shopping list from March 11, 1991:

5 or 6 tofu classics
3 lbs tofu — hard
Health Valley stuff
brown rice
bagels
blue corn chips
fruit & vegetables — broccoli
2 big tubs maple yogurt
dried fruit stuff
bread
bulk stuff

Do I shop at Whole Foods? Yeah.

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