A Clovis & Portales Survival Guide
“We’re here to cater to everyone. We don’t want people to have to drive 2 hours to buy good food anymore.” It was already a match made in heaven, myself and this new grocery store. I was being toured through the aisles by a man with passion for what he does, a man who makes a killer brisket, a man… in a Hawaiian shirt.
I kept hearing about this new place. A new health food place. “The one by the mall?” I would ask. Remembering the tiny shop I sought out when I got here 1 year ago. “No. Its a new place. It just opened.” I heard so many things about this ‘place’ but when it came down to it, no one had ever been there! What does it look like? How big is it? Is it just a supplement shop with a bit of neglected misshapen organics in a produce fridge in the corner or is it a overflowing bounty of farmers market sourced goods? I had to know and everyone telling me about this ghost shop that just opened but may not actually exist, was not helping my cause. So… I did what I usually do. I went to see for myself- without any bias.
Pre cooked food. That was my first Paradise Market experience. We sat on some chairs by a counter of hot foods and a gelato freezer. The girl at the counter was very friendly and she was very patient with all of my dietary needs. This store, right off the bat, was very ‘gluten conscious’. When I asked my usual 20 questions before deciding what I could eat- the girl asked if I had any gluten allergies. When paying my $8.99 (deli meals are 1 meat and 2 sides. You MUST try the brisket) I noticed a small stack of papers advertising a ‘gluten awareness’ class being held in shop the following Monday. I contemplated going but then I remembered that I am not allergic to gluten.
Then I was introduced to Scott. Unlike times in the past I decided to come right out with my intentions. “I’m going to write about your store on my blog.” It felt like I was threatening him. He asked if I was writing good things or bad things and I honestly admitted that… I didn’t know yet. That is when we start our tour. I follow him past organic produce as he very informatively shares going through hell and high water to get some of the products on these shelves. The orange tags mean they are gluten free, lots of products from local vendors. Freanna yogurt (my fav), cheeses from Tucamcari, pickles from Texas. Scott, when you get him going, has this contagious passion for the products he loves. He’s not hesitant to tell you that they have the best grapefruit gelato (tried it- they do), the spiciest beer pickles ever (got them- they are) and that he makes a killer brisket (you MUST try the brisket). He’ll break out samples of the candied jalapenos just to prove to you that even though they sound gross, they are, in fact, delicious. Grass fed beef, bison, what he claims to be the best bacon ever. He flips over a conventional pack of bacon-“Read the ingredients” then puts a box of his favorite bacon in my hands “Now read those ingredients”. Less salt, less chemicals, more meat. I get it. In order to please everyone they need to keep the lower priced conventional foods on the shelves, but this store, assuming the community will realize the need for a better food resource, will be the start of a new healthier Clovis- and its about time.
Paradise market is open to requests and very empathetic to people’s dietary needs. The store is a one stop shop, catering to as many people as humanly possible. Organic, dairy free, conventional and the overall trend- gluten free. You can find all the niceties of a Trader Joes here (minus the wine, add a real meat counter). Weekly menus, daily specials and all kinds of other information is put onto their facebook page.
In my eyes, support for this kind of place is integral to the future health of the community. Without thriving local businesses we’ll all be throwing our money at big box conglomerates forever. We’ll be feeding our families mass produced, chemical based shit food forever. If not to promote my vision of an educated surge of health conscious consumers in the Clovis area- at least go for the gelato <3