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Nov 14, 2005 03:59 PM

Harvest Co-op Markets: Has anyone been?

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I came across a site called today and made an inquiry as to where in the Boston area I could find their products.

Has anyone shopped here? Sounds a bit like a WholeFoods/Trader Joes with a stronger organic focus?


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  1. I'm not all that impressed with the one in Central Square, especially compared to Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. The produce is often wilty or otherwise not fresh, and the prices in general are often much higher than Whole Foods. As much as I like the idea of supporting a local place, I just can't justify paying more for less.

    Others may disagree, though...

    5 Replies
    1. re: EliseM

      i think harvest in central square is decent but isn't a stand-alone store (by which i mean that i couldn't do ALL of my grocery shopping there- i'd have to supplement it with WF, trader joes, and possibly star market). harvest has decent produce (organic is better than the regular), a good selection of organic cereals/granolas/nuts, etc. a decent wine selection, and all the power bar type stuff one could possibly want. that said, one doesn't save that much money shopping at harvest instead of WF (and i'd argue that trader joes is probably cheaper).

      1. re: little lady

        I usually use it as a 'pop in' kind of store when I'm getting off the T on my way home (I live on Mass Ave). I almost never go to Whole Foods unless I'm looking for something special so for me the choice is generally between Shaws or Harvest. In general (and obviously) prices are higher and selection poorer at Harvest then Shaws but Harvest hits a pretty good mid-point between Shaws & WF and is the most convenient for me to get to.

        1. re: JG

          Unlike the poster above who has had problems with the bulk items in JP, I'm fairly happy with the bulk stuff in the Central Square store. I don't shop there a lot but go when I need a little bit of a bulk item (like nuts or an odd grain) that I don't want to have to buy a full sized package of. I think they have normal to decent prices on their fair trade coffees, but not being a coffee specialist, can't vouch for the taste.


      2. re: EliseM

        It wasn't always that way. I feel like the overall quality was much better before the big image/space overhaul a few years back. Too bad. I agree on the high pricing, too, which was never the case back in the day either.

        1. re: MB

          I agree. Absolutely! I've shopped at the Central Sq. location for the better part of 10 years, and in the past 5 years I've only stopped in a few times per year. Poorer quality and higher prices, which is really too bad.

      3. The one in JP is pretty good, but I don't buy a lot of packaged foods, and tend to stick with the fruits and vegs, dairy/eggs, poultry (Allen's natural chickens, yum), cheese and wine selection. The produce is hit or miss, but not more expensive than WF. The JP store does have local produce, and occasionally local organic, but you can't plan on going there looking for something in particular-- it's better to just buy what looks fresh. It's much smaller than WF or TJ's, and doesn't have the range of products, but it's a fair enough selection. They do seem to have a decent array of canned and boxed vegetarian and organic options.

        However, I've had bad luck with their bulk items (dried out, or buggy, or just not tasty), and buy in bulk only from WF as a result.

        2 Replies
        1. re: emdb

          "but you can't plan on going there looking for something in particular-- it's better to just buy what looks fresh."

          That's right up my alley, wherever I may be shopping. I'm a strong believer in not having a grocery list (granted I only cook about 4 dinners a week).

          Thanks for the feedback

          1. re: emdb

            I shop at the JP site quite frequently. Best local prices on yogurt, eggs, miso, and the Garelick Farm's single (not ultra-) pastuerized products. I buy all my dairy here, instead of at Roche Bros. I likewise stick with "what looks good" in the produce and meat sections, although I find their Allen's chicken selection is always good. Their "gourmet" cheese prices are good, and they occasionally have nice suprises-- like Petit Basque or La Tur. I don't buy a lot of bulk, but I have never had a problem with their bulk rice or whole wheat couscous or nuts.

            I do like the new & expanded wine selection, and they are the only ones who sell my favorite cheapo Malbec, called "Ique." They also have the full range of Torres wines from Spain.

          2. The best part of the Harvest Co-op at Central Sq is the Wall O' Spice. They have an amazing bulk spice section. The stuff is very fresh and the selection is the best I've ever seen in a non-online store.

            As for the rest of the store, I mostly go there because it's very convenient. I need to look into finding a WF or TJ on the T, so I can have more options.

            1. I went to the deli in Central Square once. I ordered a smorgasboard of stuff, ate it there. Everything was a disappointment. Ranged from bland to disgusting. It's also a not-so-pleasant environment. Whole Foods is a few blocks a way, and much preferable.

              1. Was there today actually. I feel like it's gone downhill over the years, though I do like it as a place to buy yeast (as I love to make bread) as well as bulk items (flours, spices, nuts, grains, etc). I typically go there every few months to buy this stuff as they have better selections/prices than other places do. I have to say though, the cases w/ the ready to serve food do not look appetizing and I would not order from them just due to the way it looks (maybe the stuff is good, but it doesn't look appealing to the eye when you go by it). For veggies/fruits I'd rather go to the Farmers' Markets in town and during off season to Whole Foods.