Humboldt State University

People on the Ground: Community Profiles

Jaime Graves

In Arcata, mealtime is an opportunity to connect with local growers and merchants who make their livelihoods from providing the best produce, meats and bakery items available. Our area is served by a host of natural foods' stores including local establishments like Wildberries Marketplace, the North Coast Co-Op and Murphy's Market, where Jaime Graves has worked for the last six and a half years.

Graves, who professes a weakness for the plant and garden section at the grocery store, prides herself on being connected to her community. When asked what the best part about working at Murphy's is, Graves quickly offered up "talking to the people" as her daily highlight. In addition to working at Murphy's, Graves is also a columnist for the weekly newspaper The Arcata Eye, where she covers the Sunnybrae area, just east of Arcata.

Murphy's, like other grocers in our area, is a bastion of sustainability in the workplace. Nearly a quarter of the staff use alternative transportation to get to work, many of the plants in the nursery section come from the floral department supervisor's house near Murphy's and local biodiesel manufacturer Footprint Recycling is often seen picking up spent cooking oil from Murphy's holding tanks for use in the man-made fuel. For local students, Murphy's is the best spot to pick up recycled boxes in the Sunnybrae area.

Graves adds that Murphy's customers really drive the effort toward sustainability. "I'm always impressed at how many customers bring their own bag. I've also heard customers tell their kids 'no' to products because of excessive packaging and the kids get it. Children so little are understanding the packaging issue, it's really cool."

Of course all the local food is the real reason why so many customers keep coming back to Murphy's for their weekly shopping. Beyond the local, organic produce you'd expect, the store's shelves are lined with local products on nearly every single aisle, including the store's own line of locally produced sauces. Graves' top picks include spicy baked treats. "My favorite is a little Diane's Sweet Heat (habanero jam) with Humboldt Creamery butter on a jalapeno bagel from Los Bagels."