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Norfolk -- Grocery shopping?

I need help! We're moving to Norfolk. BF is already there and I'll be visiting regularly and moving there permanently in September/October. We have a place in downtown Norfolk.

I'm having miserable time finding good produce. I've been in a Harris Teeter and a G.W. (Gene Walters) grocery store. Both were horrible! Not super clean and the produce was horrendous! I've searched and there's not a Whole Foods, Wild Oats or anything like that less than an hour away.

Any suggestions for small markets? Co-ops? Farmers' markets? Local farms? Anything? Please?

I tend to prefer locally grown, organic produce, whatever's in season.

So far, the best suggestion I've gotten is for Trader Joe's in Newport News.

I'm moving from Phoenix, so I'm used to lots of shopping options, farmers' markets, fresh produce, etc.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. hey there! yeah, unfortunately there is no Whole Foods here. the Heritage-way out in Virginia Beach at the end of Laskin Rd near the oceanfront-usually has pretty decent produce. there is a farmers' market in the five points area of norfolk which i can't speak for first hand. sometimes the Farm Fresh in wards corner (little creek rd just off granby)is good. there is a decent farmers' market way the heck out in the southeast corner of VA Bch at the end of Princess Anne Rd. There is also an Asian market in Virginia Beach with a pretty awesome array of produce. it's located at the intersection of Great Neck Rd and Virginia Beach Blvd. i think a Farm Fresh(local chain)is being built downtown-maybe it will be good. good luck!

    1. Yep, there's a new Farm Fresh being built on the corner of Boush and Tazewell, a block from our house. It's about a year from completion I've been told.

      I'll check out the Asian market for sure. I also hear there's a farmer's market at MacArthur Center downtown. That's worth a shot.


      1. If you find yourself in Va. Beach there is a Fresh Market at Hilltop. They have a good selection of produce usually. Sorry you didn't like Harris Teeter - most people think their produce is generally good. Maybe it depends on the one you visit. I don't think Trader Joe's is worth the trouble to get to.

        1. Yes, welcome to my daily nightmare. The grocery stores in Norfolk are truly awful. As for produce there is now a farmer's market downtown at the mall for the summer...the problem is that since they only sell VA produce the selection is limited...with NC right across the border i don't know why they won't see their stuff. There is also a great little market in Va Beach on First Colonial Rd near VB General Hospital called Stoney's. Yes it a hike but you might as well go to Fresh Market for meats while you are there.

          1. Oh, I so commisurate! Norfolk is awful for finding FRESH produce. And expensive?? Wow. We're from NY...thought moving to a port town would offer us many choices. Food is EXPENSIVE: poor quality, not fresh and few options.

            Our best bets: New Organic Food Depot opened up on Granby and 19th street. Asian Market and Walmart.

            We also found the North Carolina State Farmer's market near Raleigh to be unbeatable. Virginia Beach's Farmers market is ok...but the NC one is easily 5x's bigger, less expensive and offers absolutely the freshest stuff I've seen here. It's a drive! But if you're heading that way, must stop.

            1. Actually, the temporary MacArthur Center Mall Farmers' Market is merely the fledgling 5 Point Farmers' Market relocated. The few times I've tried to support it I've found only about 2 or 3 merchants there with a handful of vegetables I can grow in my own yard.

              There is also the Williamsburg Farmers Market in Merchant Square on Saturdays and Tuesdays. Richmond's 17th Street Farmers Market is open on Thursays.

              The fact that we list any farmers market within a 90 minute drive and the Trader Joe's 40 minutes away as our favorite LOCAL food sources where we can trust the food not to spoil within 36 hours of purchase is a fair reflection of the area's food.

              www.organicfooddepot.com is the new store (actually 3rd location) in the area

              1. Thanks for the tips pattybear. I'm here in Norfolk this weekend. I'm in Phoenix until October, so I'm back and forth alot while dbf is in school. I hate to spend too much time in the hunt for grocery stores when I'm only here 3-4 days at a time, but the Organic Food Depot in Ghent is just a hop, skip & a jump from us in downtown Norfolk. I'll check it out when I'm back in 2 weeks.

                I had to shop at Harris Teeter on Saturday. How dismal and SUPER expensive.

                1. Glad I could be of some help. Dismal sure descibes the situation here. We're Yankee transplants from New York and we wrongly thought we'd have great options for food in this area being we're located on a port. I've been told much of the produce is shipped from the NY area which explains the lack of freshness and the outrageous prices. The whole situation has us rethinking our choice living in this area.

                  1. The Fresh Market at Hilltop is the best I've seen in the area. It carries both organic and non, local and import. Haven't tried Trader Joe's but understand it is good, but may not be exceptional. If you like to buy in quantity, COSTCO has great produce and is close to Norfolk. They also have excellent meats. I live in downtown Norf. so hate to travel too far, for convenience sake as well as gas prices. Hilltop is too far for me to want to travel and the proces are high. I've been told by the city planners that the new Farm Fresh in downtown Norfolk will be high-end. We'll see! Unfortunately the food market shopping in this area does suck. Good luck.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: redrabbit

                      Thanks for the update Redrabbit. We're in downtown too...on Tazewell, a block from the new Farm Fresh. We like Costco, but we're in loft without much kitchen storage, so buying in bulk can be problematic. But, it may be the best option.

                      Thanks again.

                      1. re: geg5150

                        Hi again to geg5150. We should meet and pool our food purchases from COSTCO. There is just two in my family and even though I have 3 refrigerators and a freezer, I'm appalled at how stocked they are. I will never eat all the food stored in them! I have a vacuum-pack machine so am able to subdivide. lol One would think I was stocking up for a national emergency!
                        I went to GW today and was pleased to see that they have improved their produce area; and they have a pretty good cheese selection. I hate the Harris Teeter here; but I've been told the one in Chesapeake is great.

                    2. you really should check out the Organic Food Depot. they were just written up in the portfolio weekly and have much more to offer than just produce although, (depending upon the day) the produce is great. it's like a price club/co-op thing and you can preorder your stuff and it'll be waiting for you at the store. the web site is organicfooddepot.org.

                      1. I was confused by the website for the Organic Food Depot. Can I just go in and shop or is it all online purchases made in advance?

                        1. you can shop in the store without being an online member. there are three stores - granby st, shore dr and holland rd in va bch. the granby one is the newest between 20th and 19th.