PDX - best grocery stores for produce?
I'm new to Portland and live in the close-in SE area.
What grocery stores have high quality produce, variety, and reasonable prices (budget doesn't allow me to frequent Zupans, NewSeasons, WildOats, WholeFoods)?
Are there any other regular grocers (Kroger, Albertsons, Fred Meyer) besides SAFEWAY in the area?
And also, Asian groceries? Are there any really large Asian supermarkets? I've only seen smaller markets while driving around but haven't really checked any out.
Thanks for your help!
Welcome to PDX!
Here's a thread that discussed stores and stuff by neighborhood/area:
I don't think the Freddie's on 39th and Hawthorne is a great place to do grocery shopping, much less produce, but it's there.
The Jambo place next to Trader Joe's (near 39th and Holgate, several blocks south of that huge Safeway at 39th and Powell) is hit or miss. Sometimes they have great looking stuff, sometimes it sucks.
If cheap is more important that great, there's a stand on Foster in the high 70's (before you hit 82nd), but be careful and picky there because low prices there usually indicate produce goin' south.
There's also Uncle Paul's, a place on Hawthorne in the teens or 20's (near Grand Central Bakery), but I don't recommend them. Not great quality and not great prices, either.
The best produce is usually found at the Farmers' markets (and there is a year round one by People's Co-op on Wed. 2-7pm 3029 SE 21st Ave., 1 block north of Powell - but it is not a great one...especially this time of year), New Seasons, Whole Paycheck, and the stuff at Pastaworks on Hawthorne is like looking at a freakin' still life painting it is so gorgeous (and costs plenty).
There's a large Asian grocery, An Dong, on SE Powell around 55th St. or so, north side of the street.
If you have a car, the produce at Winco (aka Cub Foods in other parts of the country) is often very decent or better (not a lot of organics or local stuff, though) and there's one on 82nd as you head south toward Clackamas...but there's a nicer one up on 122nd at San Rafael.
I go to Winco every 6-8 weeks or so to stock up on bottled water, peanut butter, etc. - products I don't need to pay extra for at New Seasons (For example, a gallon of water is under 70 cents at Winco - the cheapest you can find at New Seasons is over $2/gal. - more expensive than gas! And I always buy 5+ gallons.) Then I take that savings and shop at New Seasons most of the rest of the time - especially for meat and produce. I also do a Trader Joe's run about every couple months or so for items I like there and can't get elsewhere. When the big Farmers' Market is on at the Park Blocks near PSU (across the river just south of downtown), I make a Saturday morning run there and get most of my produce there, filling in at New Seasons as I need to.
New Seasons (and especially the nice one we have on SE Division) is a good place for meats and produce in SE. Great quality and selection and lots of it is local and organic. I know it isn't cheap (and I do not make a lot of money, really), but I try to balance my priorities and meat and produce just rank high for me.
Where is *not* Winco. See link for locations. Or the PDX ones listed below.
11250 SE 82nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97266
1222 NE 102nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97220
3025 SW Cedar Hills Blvd.
Beaverton, OR 97005
1950 NE 122nd Ave.
Portland, OR 97230
7500 Dartmouth Rd.
Tigard, OR 97223
1500 SW Oak St.
Hillsboro, OR 97123
7330 NE Butler St.
Hillsboro, OR 97124
2585 NE Highway 99 W
McMinnville, OR 97128
2511 S.E. First Street
Gresham, OR 97030
The Fred Meyer's on Hawthorne is one of the more rundown. But still, imo, Fred Meyer's has consistently the best produce of the supermarket chains in Portland. (They're a Kroger company as is QFC.) Specialty cheeses are overpriced there and you're actually better off going to New Seasons, Pastaworks, etc, for parmegianno, and so on. They do often have whole wild salmon, though, and decent meats. Prices are comparable to other supermarkets.
Winco is clearly the cheapest and not that bad. They have a good selection of bulk foods. (Super Walmart, by comparison, has *much* worse quality meats and produce for similar prices.) Most, however, do not take anything but cash or check. They're usually open 24 hours, though.
I do most of my shopping at Winco and Fred Meyer's and supplement that with the gourmet stores and farmer's markets (and ethnic markets). In order of preference:
City Market NW (Viande, Pastaworks, Newman's)
Pastaworks on Hawthorne
PS: The biggest Asian grocer is Uwajimaya out in Beaverton. But there are several on the east side that are decent sized. Jill named one. There's also a good Vietnamese grocer on Belmont in the 30s, I think, called Phu Hoa. I also like Thanh Thao on Sandy in the 50s. There's a big Korean grocer on 82nd decently north of Division, but still south of Glisan, I'm pretty sure. Anzen, on MLK or Grand, can't remember which, is small but usually has good quality stuff with a Japanese emphasis.
I was in Uwajimaya a few months ago, and the guy in front of me had driven in from pretty far away. He said that he used to come into Portland to go to Anzen, but now he goes to Uwajimaya. The checker said "yeah, I guess we've pretty much put them out of business." I realized that I haven't been to Anzen since Uwajimaya came to town, either.
Uwa is not just good for asian food, but has good produce and excellent fish. It used to be that you could get game from Nicky there, but I haven't seen that for awhile.
Oh, and not that you asked, but my personal favorite shopping experience there: one Christmas my sister asked for a rice cooker. I looked at Sur La Table, Williams Sonoma, etc., but they all had just one or two models which were either too expensive or too cheap. Then I looked at Uwajimaya--they had a selection of about 40 different rice cookers from $20 to $250 in all different sizes.
Uwajimaya is good for some things (Japanese stuff, fresh kaffir lime leaves), but for most SE Asian (Thai/Vietnamese mostly) and Chinese stuff you're better off going somewhere smaller, unless "strange smells" or communicating through gestures freaks you out. You'll find a better selection usually, and much lower prices, just not a lot of "cute" stuff or already prepared foods.
The exception to the selection is in the produce, An Dong, my favorite, doesn't have as huge of a selection of produce but what they have is pretty good and very cheap. And going on Th - Sun is better, it's when they put the freshest stuff out. Something else not to be overlooked is their meats, they get most of their pork from Carlton (like every other Asian grocery store) and you can get nearly any piece with the skin on! Duck legs, beef shank, lots of good stuff even if you're not into the more unusual to westerners cuts like pig uterus or spleen.
The other places I go are Pacific Supermarket (huge IGA store and really dirty) for things like caul fat or if I can't find the produce I want at An Dong, and hmmm, that one near Powell and 82nd that I can't remember the name of. We buy housewares and stuff like that there. When I remember I'll post it. For Korean, Paldo is pretty much the only game in town I know of, and there is one out on Foster, but the one in the 'burbs has a much better selection. We really dig the already prepped saba (mackerel) that you can buy in the freezer section to grill or broil, along with all of the usual banchan and snacks.
New Seasons has really great sales on produce in season, I think when something is on sale it's frequently the same price as Fred's. Right now is not the greatest time for produce, but check out the sales (they put them online). There is also a farmer's market in Hillsdale 2x a month on Sunday where you can find pretty good prices on winter veggies, and one at People's on Wednesday, but I don't know how the prices are.
I have to agree on quality of produce at Uwajimaya. While they usually have the most interesting selection of Asian/tropical produce, things like fresh passion fruit, lots of greens, etc, the quality can really suffer on items without good turnover. Reminds me of Wild Oats, how they let certain items just sit and sit just to say they have these interesting pieces of produce, despite the fact that you could go to Winco and get way better looking chiles, eg.
Trillium, where's Paldo? (Sorry, couldn't help it. Really, though.) Haven't been there.
Have you been to the one that's on 82nd. It's a decent size, at least as big or bigger than places like Phu Hoa, I think, and they had a hot foods counter. It's north of Division, north of Pho Van, but south of Glisan. I plan on going in and taking pics and talking to the people some time. But I don't really know Korean that well, though I have been to a great Korean market in Chicago and got toured around by someone who knew what they were doing.
I guess I figured people could always look it up in the phonebook! The one in Beaverton has a much bigger selection, but the one on Foster is worth checking out, even if all you do is buy the frozen fish.
6112 SE Foster Rd
Portland, OR 97206 - 3739
3975 SW 114th Ave
Beaverton, OR 97005 - 2241
If you're really stuck for good produce and you really want good vegetables, consider a CSA where you pay for a share of the harvest for the year in advance, and pick up your vegetables once a week from one of their drop off points.
The CSA we belong to is Sauvie Island Organics. The drawback is that there's a large investment up front (they do offer "scholarships" to people who otherwise can't afford to join a CSA, however), and you don't have any choice about what vegetables you get. There are many benefits: your vegetables are always fresh (they haven't been sitting around), you always get what's in season, you're supporting local farmers, you're getting organic vegetables, and you just might be introduced to vegetables you might not otherwise try (garlic scapes!).
If you're on a budget, Fred Meyer is about all there is...and IMO it's so sub-par I'm disgusted every time I'm in there. Otherwise shop the Farmer's Markets during the growing season (especially the huge one we have in Vancouver). I usually just suck it up and pay the premium at New Seasons. Try to shop for things when they're in season at the "specialty" and "gourmet" markets and you can shave a fair amount off of your produce budget. Good luck.
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Big City Produce. True, it's in North Portland, and you live in Southeast, but it's no farther away than many of the places mentioned. I used to live near there, and was so impressed with what variety they packed into such a little place: organic and conventional, seasonal/local, mexican, soul food...really good place, considering the size.
Address: 722 N Sumner St
I know this is a bit late for a reply, but there are some Large Asian supermarkets. Fubonn (SE portland),Uwajimaya (beaverton), and H-mart (Tigard). Hmart is a korean owned market, fubonn is vietmanese, Uwajimaya is japanese. Quality at uwajimaya tend to be stable and better of the 3 but you are also paying quite a bit more for the same products. Both fubonn and Hmart's quality fluctuate and between the 2, Hmart is a little more expansive and maybe better.
If you know what you want from an Asian market and is not too out of the ordinary, I recommend a place called Chang Fa in SE portland by 82nd and division. It's Cantonese owned, the prices there we found generally is better than everywhere else. Because it's a lot smaller than the other asian grocery stores, they can also cater more to the quality of their produce. They say they get their whole ducks fresh everyday. I have no way of verifying that, but it does seem to be the freshest whole duck I've gotten from Portland.