Grocery Shopping in Central Square

Written by Rachel Kashdan

Rachel Kashdan
BU News Service

Central Square’s ethnic diversity permeates the area’s markets as well. There’s Al-Hoda Market, for example, a small Middle Eastern market with Halal meat (meat prepared according to Muslim Law), and Tite’s Tropical Market, another small market with Indian, Spanish and American groceries. Another popular shop is the Asian market H-Mart.

Colleen Lettieri, 31, of West Roxbury, Massachusetts said that she and her boyfriend, who live in Central Square, sometimes go to H-Mart when looking to supplement their typical grocery list with non-American cuisine.

“It’s got things like quail eggs and octopus, but you can also find bread and apples and more traditional food that someone who eats a western diet would comfortable with,” she said.

Lettieri also mentioned that she shops at Whole Foods on Main St. and Harvest Co-Op, a community-owned market with three locations in the Boston area. One is on Main Street in Central Square.

Harvest feels very much like a smaller version of Whole Foods, because of its clean look and wood flooring. Like Whole Foods, many of its products are organic or locally sourced. The shop also has a large self-serve nut station and a large produce section. The produce section has a variety of fresh looking fruits and vegetables, with plenty of organic options. Yet it isn’t cheap to shop there. Here’s a snapshot of pricing at Harvest:

Bread: $3.49-5.79 (Barosky’s local Maine bread was the most expensive)

Eggs: $2.69-5.09 for a dozen (most expensive are large white organic free range)

Milk: $4.99 per gallon

Most people shopping there on a Saturday afternoon seem to be in their 30s, well-dressed and predominately white.

“It kind of varies from parents picking up something, to young professionals, to sometimes you’ll see college kids pop in… I’d say at the Co-op, the times I’ve been there, the folks I’ve seen tend to be more my age–late 20s to mid 30s,” Lettieri explained.

The only other shop with standard grocery items in the area is 7-Eleven. There, the crowd seems more diverse racially and in age, as well as less well-dressed. Still though, this is a convenience store, not a grocery store. The neighborhood doesn’t have fully stocked grocery stores that target lower to middle class consumers.

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