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Rainbow Grocery Sees Double Food Stamp Business

Start your outrage engines: Salon picks up on the "Hipsters on food stamps" trend, revealing that San Francisco's beloved Rainbow Grocery has seen twice as much business from underemployed young urbanites wielding EBT cards. The article has all your typical hipster archetypes -- out of work art school grads in Baltimore, Billyburg residents, part-time bloggers and "flexitarians" -- and they're buying ingredients to prepare things like "Thai yellow curry with coconut milk and lemongrass, Chinese gourd sautéed in hot chile sauce and sweet clementine juice."

Besides the Rainbow, you can also use benefits at area Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Costco, most major supermarkets and even the Ferry Plaza farmer's market, among others. Deride it as welfare if you must, and complain about entitlement, but also remember that people who receive benefits and purchase organic fruits and vegetables are essentially helping subsidize small producers who see little of the money from the massive Farm Bill (which mostly goes to industrial grain, dairy and livestock production).

And no, you can't buy booze, or eat out at restaurants on food stamps, and the mag-stripe cards make it much more difficult to sell them for cash on the black market to get around those restrictions. You can, however, buy Marcel et Henri pate -- which is just pork fat and chicken livers, really, so while it sounds fancy, is still living pretty low on the hog. If you're single and making less than $400 a week, you might just qualify for up to $200 a month. (Full disclosure: I do!)

Hipsters on food stamps [Salon, via Grub Street NYC]

Rainbow Grocery 1745 Folsom, San Francisco, CA