Food isn’t just food in Fields Corner. It’s a personal endeavor. Grocery shopping in the North Dorchester neighborhood is characterized by cultural influence, low costs, and community values. While there are a few chain supermarkets in the area, the large population of Dominican residents prefer to shop at their local tiendas where they can buy more specialized products at lower prices.
“I buy everything Spanish,” says Pedro Cruz, 33, a local mechanic, “it’s a lot cheaper than going to Stop and Shop and Star Market.” Cruz shops mostly at Rosa Supermarket–a small Spanish American store near his house–where a loaf of bread is $1.45 and apples are $.60 per pound. He says he enjoys “the sense of unity with his people,” when he goes in speaking Spanish.
Ivens Jeanpierre, 42, however, puts less emphasis on cultural factors and prefers to seek out lower prices even if it means traveling farther. “As much as I love the neighborhood, and I want to support the neighborhood…the groceries are expensive around here, so I go to Walmart,” says Jeanpierre. Which, from his house in Fields Corner, means an extra 2 hour drive every other week.
But for Gonzalo Diaz, 38, improving the neighborhood is worth paying slightly higher prices. As an employee of American Food Basket, one of the larger chains in Fields Corner, he says he has seen the positive influence of the store on the community. “Us here, we make a big change in the community,” he says “as soon as we take over, customers are happy, the community is happy, and we make a difference.”