Erv’s Meat Market is a local landmark. Erv and his wife run the place which used to be open Tuesday through Saturday. Now Erv says he’s semi-retired and his doors are open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Going to Erv’s brings back childhood memories for me. Not of going to the meat market necessarily, but of a time when food shopping with my mother or one or the other of my grandparents was an experience, an adventure, and memorable (as evidenced by this blog post … 40 years later). Food shopping was a time for interacting with the proprietor, for asking What’s good today, and for enjoying the sights and smells of what was for sale. I vividly remember Wolf’s Fish Market and Pick-a-Chick as if I had been there yesterday. The world has changed since then. Not only have we distanced ourselves from the production of food, food itself has become transmogrified, and in some instances unrecognizable (e.g., Cheez-Whiz). I do not pretend that Erv’s is the only establishment of its kind, my point is that the vast majority of places where we procure our foods today are very much unlike Erv’s. Furthermore, his place and places like it are going extinct. In a world which is truly Darwinian,  small operations cannot compete with groceries owned by multinational corporate giants. Erv doesn’t have the purchasing power of any of the too-well-known mega-behemoth conglomerates. I will lament the loss, if it should come to that, of Erv’s. When the eventuality should come to pass I will assume that his place has played the role of the Canary in the Coal Mine and its loss will signal something larger – something I’m not sure I care to be part of.

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