A Look At Stone’s Throw Market In Troy
By Elizabeth Fields Hogue Kennerly
Back in the day, when I was a kid, which wasn’t too far back, there were still several independent purveyors of foods in my neighborhood. In fact, my Uncle Ernest had his own small market that also sold handmade fresh donuts and the best hamburger sandwiches that I can still smell in my memory today.
In my neighborhood, there were at least six or so of these small independent merchants, each with a niche that filled the community’s needs. My community was diverse with African- American, German Jewish and Irish Catholics all melding with each other within blocks of each other. The strife of the 1960s was a pretty distant occurrence reserved for larger cities.
Food had a moral uprightness about it back then too. Springfield and areas in between all the way to Cincinnati (a.k.a. Porkopolis, so you know the wieners were good) was where you got your meat at these local shops because you could hear the animals on the hoof not too many blocks from your house. Dairy farmers abounded, and my mom took particular pride in having her dairy products delivered from Riverdale Dairy, where the Grahams were legendary for their chocolate milk –more like chocolate half and half – as well as their ice creams, all processed within miles of our front door… similar to the still-operating local dairy mecca, Young’s Jersey Dairy.
Back then, everyone had a garden, people had fruit trees in their yard, and foraging for greens and mushrooms was a common skill passed down from generation to generation.
This was less than 40 years ago, and it has all mostly gone by the way side, in the wake of Walmart, Biggs, Kroger’s, Giant Eagle and any manner of grocery store giants that have managed to usurp our authority over what we eat by driving out local merchants who sell foods that are locally grown and handled within a stone’s throw of our doorsteps.
Luckily, there is a growing movement afoot to bring back local food producers – the idea of “close food” ranging in philosophy from seasonal eating, to “localvores,” to supporting one’s local dairymen and apple orchard. Nationally, food cooperatives are taking off, though hard to start and even harder to maintain. Good, healthy food isn’t cheap. Mega stores aren’t moving over. Nevertheless, all of the energy contained in a freshly picked apple – light, soil, water, time and physics – thrives at places like Springfield’s Bluebird Hills Community Supported Agriculture Farm, and at a new voice of reason on the scene, Troy’s Stone’s Throw Market.
Ohio’s agricultural abundance gives new meaning to the phrase “fruited plain.” You could literally make all your meals from foods found within our 88 counties, aside from missing tropical and subtropical specialties. That’s not a bad idea, and in that vein, 15 neighbors in Troy have started their own movement, not wanting to drive to each of Ohio’s 88 counties for their dinner, to bring our state’s tremendous bounty to their pantries and refrigerators. Born out of the Miami River Foods Project, Stone’s Throw Market is a fledgling undertaking that began in February of this year. Partnering with the 147 year old Troy Meat Shop – the last independent food store in Miami County – the new brand hopes to bring back those bygone days of the local full service grocery store, but with a twist. Focusing on local growers, Stone’s Throw is a member-driven Co-op with an ever-growing variety of food items that have one thing in common: you can find out where, when and how it was produced and judge for yourself if it’s conducive to your palette and your health. The Troy Meat Shop is a long-standing example of what locally grown foods are available, featuring Bowman and Landes meats, Kings Poultry, Big Shaggy Buffalo and Amish meats. Expanding that concept to a full service grocery is what Stone’s Throw hopes to achieve.
Member of the Stone’s Throw Co-op aren’t necessarily saving money – yet – but there is value in the security of being able to have conversation with your green grocer as well as your meat man and their suppliers. Luckily we live in Ohio where that conversation can be had with thousands of organic and non organic producers including the Amish and Mennonite communities, local CSAs, organic and bio dynamic farmers as well as historic family farms generating quality food that won’t make you sick and that hasn’t travel thousands of miles to reach the store warehouse where it sits and sits and sits, losing vital nutrients.
Eggs laid the same day, milk that is fresh daily, cheeses, poultry, lamb, beef, and pork as well as vegetables and staples are well within the culinary reach of Ohioans looking for “close foods.” Stone’s Throw is committed to that concept while understanding that, yes, we still want bananas in our Christmas baskets and red peppers in our chili. Finding what people like that is organic and healthfully produced while stressing local fare is what Stone’s Throw is all about. If your neighbor purveyor can supply the needs and desires of customers, then that’s what Stone’s Throw will provide the community – neighbor and community being somewhat liquid terms. If they can find it within 10 miles, great, but if they have to go further, then your “neighbor” is the person who is committed to healthful, healthy eating regardless of geography. Shared values inform what’s on the bill of fare at Stone’s Throw. Look at the online store (www.StonesThrow.CoOp) to find a wide variety of 20 purveyors now offered by this upstart start-up. However, from my research, the sky is the limit for Stone’s Throw Market in both selection and a promising future. Better than a health food store, the possibility of a wider selection is tantalizing. Full time staff and a generous, supportive community base ready to market this concept regionally is helping form the basis for a stand alone store.
All orders can be made at www.StonesThrow.CoOp
and be picked up at the Troy Meat Shop, 502 Garfield Ave.,Troy.
Reach DCP dining critic Elizabeth Fields Hogue Kenerly at firstname.lastname@example.org