For thousands of people in the central San Joaquin Valley, a tomato costs at least a dollar. So does a single roll of toilet paper. That's the price of being poor.
It's a well-known but unsolved paradox: Poor people often spend more than their middle-class neighbors for groceries.
That includes milk, bread and fresh fruits and vegetables that are grown right here in the Valley. The poor also pay more for staples like toothpaste, diapers and light bulbs.
They have little choice. Traditional supermarket chains, which offer weekly specials and bulk-rate prices, don't often build in low-income urban neighborhoods or farm towns. And many who live in those communities can't easily get to a larger city.
For the Valley's working poor, the "grocery store" often is on the corner or at the nearest gas station, where a six-pack of beer may be cheap, but a gallon of milk is not.
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