While I wouldn’t call myself a health food nerd, I am definitely interested in maintaining a balanced diet.
This can be difficult when roaming through your standard grocery (how am I supposed to say no to the newest variety of Twix?). Fortunately, Lawrence has an easy solution for these kinds of problems, and this solution is called The Merc.
Founded in 1974, The Merc was born from a group of locals devoted to community access to whole foods. As a cooperative market and deli, this specialty grocery focuses on local and organic products (Twix doesn’t even exist here! Phew.). Having heard of the choice products that can be found at The Merc, I was tickled to receive a $25 gift card as a random result of my participation in the The Merc 5K (which The Merc sponsors during the month of July). What a nice way to experience my first visit to this health food mecca, don’t you agree?
I stopped by this specialty market on a weekday to pickup a few unnecessary items. Since I didn’t have a plan in mind (no grocery list!) I was eager to see what I would end up with at the end of this visit.
If you’ve been to The Merc, you know that it’s beautifully organized with peculiar health products at almost every turn. This made shopping both fun and distracting! The varieties of soups, sauces, cheeses, etc. was fascinating, and almost all of the types were distinct in some way or another. Needless to say, I was impressed.
Overall, two areas in the store really caught my interest: the bulk department and the wellness department. If you need a particular spice, herb, supplement or vitamin, The Merc is ready for you! The selections here are obviously more diverse than those in other grocery stores in town.
In the end, I probably circled the store’s aisles about three times, if for no other reason than to admire the options and learn about healthy alternatives to everyday basics. While I can’t give up my Twix addiction yet, I plan to return for special occasions and particular items.
So what was made of my $25 gift card? Well, a bag of organically grown seedless green grapes, a package of salami, three specialty cheeses and a bunch of KIND bars fit the bill. My total expense was $31.25 (but only $6.25 after my gift card was applied). A successful visit indeed!
The Merc is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
— Jessica Pauly, aka Mrs. Mass., gives her thoughts on shopping, urban living and what’s new in Lawrence in CheckOut weekly and on her blog, mrsmass.com.