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    By Hannah Rego

    Outside the St. Matthews Rainbow Blossom on Lexington Road, families chat with farmers and vendors beneath a row of tents. A farmer snaps a sunflower sprout off a tray and asks, “Have you ever had one before?” “Kind of a nutty flavor,” another farmer says. In the cloudless spring day, local suppliers gather to celebrate Rainbow Blossom’s 40th anniversary as Louisville’s original health store offering only the best additive-free foods. The sunflower sprout pops between my teeth, and I pivot to sample a Jun Bug vanilla rose probiotic honey soda. I’m offered qigong lessons, a vegan Chinese pancake filled with greens and samples of beeswax soaps in neat yellow squares that melt a little in my hands. Signs blow down in the wind, and customers prop them back up.

    A massage therapist from The Compassionate Touch has set up her Ashi-Thai massage table and bars, so I pay $20 for fifteen minutes of her foot kneading my back, arms and shoulders. While Ashley’s foot works through my tension, the Earthy Browns vendor next door talks of his Old Louisville upbringing, the orchards he keeps and the farms out in California killing the bees. Ashley gently moves my arms into new positions with her feet. I turn over so she can work chest muscles that are tense from slouching, and she says, “The foot is a broad surface,” which makes for a deeper massage. We make eye contact as we speak, as if this is a normal way to have a conversation. And here, today, it is. When my 15 minutes are up, the soap-maker tells a vegetarian farmer — who carries a knife in the belt loop of her long denim skirt — how Alpaca meat is best, and that he uses the whole animal.

    Inside the store, more vendor tables are crammed against the ends of narrow aisles stocked with buckwheat pasta and polenta and organic teas. I’m whisked into shopping, as if I’d just stopped by for groceries. I add apricot nectar and two tiny bananas to a basket I’m filling with the food of my dreams. I want the veal in the meat case beside Kentucky-raised yak steaks, but I pass, remembering my electric bill. I sample vegan jerky instead, and vegan gluten-free soy-free dairy-free everything-free chocolate that is the smoothest dark chocolate I’ve ever had — the emulsification is all high-tech, mechanical, requiring no soy lecithin or other processing ingredients. I add a Louisville-based Amore di Mona chocolate bar to my basket. As I check out, I swear off late-night drive-thrus. At least for this week.

    Cover Image: Rainbow Blossom - Facebook

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