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Jul 20, 2000 01:11 PM

Cheap Fresh Produce

  • s

Where do I find it in Chicago? I know that Whole Foods has terrific produce (at a horrific price), but the goods at the other major supermarkets have been enormously disappointing. I am hoping that someone knows about some store that is otherwise indistinguishable from your average bodega but has inside a cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables. The stores around my house do generally have fresh cilantro and hot mexican peppers, some mangos, but for apples or other general stuff-it has been very difficult. Maxwell Street is OK but doesn't really focus on fruits and vegetables.

So I beg you for your secret knowledge of farmer's markets, wholesale markets, dingy fruit stands with perfect peaches, anywhere in the city, though preferably within walking distance of Chicago and Damen.

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  1. I'm blanking on the name...
    Its at the corner of Elston and North Avenue. They're not going to have mizuna or fiddlehead ferns, but you'll be able to get a pretty wide variety of quality produce at a very respectable price.

    6 Replies
      1. re: Terri

        Many thanks to everyone who responded--I have biked past Stanleys a million times and never gone in, even though I have always been fascinated by the futurist sign with (i assume) Stanley flying in a watermelon airplane. I will check it out.


        1. re: seth

          Stanley's is cheap, but most of the produce is near the end of its shelf life, so it has to be used within a day of purchase. Also, the selection varies a lot visit to visit. I usually start at Stanley's, then swing by Whole Foods on the way home to pick up whatever Stanley's didn't have or didn't look good.

      2. re: Erik M.
        Clifford Abrams

        There's a great Italian produce place called (i think) Caputo's way the heck west on Harlem, north of Fullerton. They specialize in Italian, but they basically have everything. They may have moved to larger quarters up the street, but i believe that they are still in that nabe. Good luck.

        1. re: Clifford Abrams
          Bill Pisarra, Jr.

          I second this motion, great store. Good stuff, very good prices, and wide selection (anyplace that usually has cardoons, for example, or wee baby artichokes, is worth a look.) Mostly Italian, as noted, but not restricted to that.

          2558 N Harlem Avenue...not sure if this is the old address or new, but my understanding is the new is very close to the old.

          They are also further west in Addison, at 240 W Lake Street. Was a fav store of mine during my years in Oakbrook, and I get back as often as possible, though I am now two hours away.

          While even the Harlem address may be too much an expedition for daily shopping, this place is more than just produce, it's a big ethnic supermarket..great for stocking up on imported pastas and canned goods, tomatoes, oils, pickled things...and there's bakery stuff, fish (some hard to find here...though they sometimes look it,) a butcher, and the deli is no slouch. So maybe worth at least the occasional stockup trip, and even non-cooking hounds in the neighborhood might like checking out the store, and the customers, and picking up a nosh of something from the deli or bakery. Fun place, good advice from Clifford, take a Saturday afternoon and get out there.

          1. re: Clifford Abrams

            stanley's, as mentioned, is really invaluable, as long as you know how to pick your produce. always the cheapest price for red peppers (my favorite) and fresh herbs (.99!) i'm very familiar with prices and they can't be beat. also, anyone can go down to randolph st.and shop in some of the markets there. N&G produce is one i shop at (its around 1000west). you wont find prices lower than stanleys, but its fun, and sometimes the quality is better. for those who dont know this, isaacson's fish store on fulton and halsted is also open to the public. you walk around and scoop up your own fish.

        2. one thing.....i HATE the store, but we do sometimes make a special trip for the selection and quality produce at Treasure Island (Broadway couple blocks South of Addison)
          Ole' Stanley lets you down after a while and you begin to really see why his produce is so cheap. :-)