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Fairway Produce

  • g

I'm disenchanted w/Fairway's produce. I always go planning to buy lettuce, but the mixed greens at the front are often slimy—the bulk ones and the ones in bags. The tomatoes (except the pre-packaged plum/grape tomatoes) are always underwhelming and really expensive. Last time, the broccoli was soft and droopy and generally, there's just not that much interesting there. I wonder if they have some storage problem or if there's just not enough turnover. Unless I'm remembering it in an unrealistically rosy way, the produce at the Upper West Side store is much much better. Does anybody else feel this way?

I guess I'm falling out of love.... though the cheese and fish depts still make me happy.

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  1. I have never really liked Fairway's produce for the same reasons you posted. Never buy the lettuce unless I'm strapped, and usually pass on everything except the corn. Did just buy some Gala apples that were terrific though. I don't know why the produce seems crappy compared to the stuff on the UWS but it does.

    1. You can get terrific produce nearby at the Added Value farm stands on Saturdays. Great greens and tomatoes.


      1. I feel that way too. The cylantro is always terrible looking

        1. Oh where, oh where does it all go??? Is everything always fresh???

          The mountains of turning produce/cheese/meat/dairy...sadly the huge waste / food-aging factor is likely built into the price we pay.

          That said, add up the entire realm of food stores and you have a bewildering amount of product sitting on the shelves.

          Does it become a tax deduction? City Harvest?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Mike R.

            Well, some of it goes into prepared foods. That's why a lot of places even have prepared food sections.

            As for the degradation of Fairway's produce, I have a feeling (unconfirmed) that a lot of it has to do with storage issues. First, the stuff sitting outside will definitely go bad faster under the hot summer sun, but also when the stuff arrives by truck a lot of it when into storage across the street. I don't know if those warehouses (brick with the black doors) had cooling systems or not, but I don't think they did. It might have been an issue over this hot summer.

          2. Last weekend we purchased some nectarines at the Red Hook Fairway. We had to eat them the next day because they seem to have suddenly ripened practically overnight. We got them from the inside though. The blueberries we purchased were a mixed bunch. The package contained some ripe, overly ripe and not read to eat blueberries. The basil I wanted was so covered in dirt. I like fresh produce, but these leaves were covered in mud practically.

            1. I have been getting produce from the Korean Market on Atlantic, close to SAHADIS. Their produce is excellent quality, and their prices low.

              Some things at Fairway are excellent. We have been getting great tomatoes.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Fleur

                I second that Korean Market - it has been a very-reliable post-sahadi excursion, and they are pretty stalwart about picking through everything.

              2. Here, in Long Island, the Fairway fruit and vegetable prices are less than any large chain supermarket around ie. Waldbaums, King Kullen, etc. The produce is fresh, not wilted, not overly ripe and as good as it gets.It is difficult to imagine that it is so different in the city.

                1 Reply
                1. re: budcar

                  Agreed. The Plainview Fairway's produce dept. is so huge and varied you can always forage out lots of really fresh, resonably priced items-and bypass the chaff.

                2. I think it depends a lot on when they get the delivery. I just look at what is on offer and buy what looks fresh..both there and everywhere else. Whole Foods often has stuff in better condition and I also like Agata and Valentina for produce but both of those are more $$$.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: erica

                    I miss Agata and Valentina since we usesd to live just a few blocks from them. The only one of the warring Balduccis that carred about the food

                    1. re: erica

                      I second your take on things, erica; if I got there on the right day and some things look good, I buy those things. Come on, folks. I've been to Fairway regularly over the past 6 months and have rarely encountered the "slimy," "nasty," and "bruised" vegetables you mention. Occasionally, with select items....and then I move on. But it was the same way when I went to the farmer's market regularly; they just don't have everything all the time. Sometimes I'm disappointed at Fairway, but on the whole things look good and the prices are right; I WISH the perfect market was there for us every day, with great fish and cheese departments attached, and a decent bread department, and a decent meat department, and with all sorts of other things I can't get down the street at the bodega.....but there are a lot of things i wish for.

                    2. We're regulars at the Red Hook Fairway and have only once been disappointed. Last week we bought dill, Italian parsley, broccoli, and their loose mixed greens for salads and all were very fresh. The Jersey tomatoes were excellent, as were the plums and apples. We also bought plumcots that were killer.

                      The only time we were miffed was about a month ago when we bought a box of clementines - big mistake - I swear the box was from last year!

                      1. Gala apples are pretty good everywhere, these days. I got some at the Key Food on Atlantic that were good and at the Greenmarket as well.

                        1. Having been a semi regular shopper to Fairway now, I'll concur, their greens are terrible.

                          Firstly, their herbs all look like they've been 3 rounds with Balboa (from Rocky 3, not 6) - bruised, slimy and ready for the bin. I was looking for parsley the other night, and resigned myself to driving to C-town for it (whose herbs are always pretty good).

                          Next, the garlic - I rarely buy whole heads, as I'm lazy and I'll pick up the prepeeled packs from C-Town, but I wanted to make some whole roasted heads. When I cut into the three heads I bought from Fairway, two of them were already sprouting, and one was on the brink.

                          I'll stick with Fairway for my dry goods, root veggies, and coffee, but C-Town on 9th St's got my green goods business.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Rocknrope

                            As an update to my original post, I have to say that the produce has improved tremendously in the year and a half since I originally posted. The fruit, specifically, seems to be consistently good. Some times you get some stinkers with the greens or herbs, but overall, much better than before.

                          2. Agree on their produce. We just started going to Fairway Red Hook about a month ago and have been underwhelmed with most of the produce. Such a pity. Two visits ago I bought onions which were nasty within a couple of days. Their potatoes are often over ripe. The stuff out front is often very old looking (celery for instance). The organic stuff inside is often a little better (after going through two bins of red peppers from the first room and barely finding one worth buying I ended up putting them back for some lovely orange bell peppers in the organic area).

                            I love them for meat, fish, cheese....just yesterday I found the double gloucester with chives and green onion I've been craving and looking for....but will prob stick with local cobble hill markets for veg.

                            1. I drank the Fairway Kool-Aid long ago (I used to take a grocery filled cab home from the UWS branch). I was so excited to have Fairway Red Hook be my local market. And it is.

                              But not for produce.

                              I have been heartsick at how horrible the produce is. On several occasions, I have brought food home to find it goes bad in less than three days or, if it had plastic on it, was covered in unseen mold. Everything looks and smells plain old. The greens selection is horrible. And overpriced. I have even called to complain, and when I told the manager my mushrooms were covered in white fuzz when I got them home, he was put off. Didn't even apologize.

                              So tonight I skipped the whole section, and went straight to the beloved cheese and butcher (problems with the deli service are for another thread).

                              I bought produce at King Tomato Farm afterwards. I am falling for that place pretty hard...

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: julietg

                                I usually march right past the produce in Red Hook also. It's awful. But - I thought getting an onion or two might be safe because I was making bolognese sauce, and I kid you not, two of the damn onions sprouted the next day from the red-mesh bag. The next day. I have no clue how they make any money off that section of the store. It's dismal. Even super-common staples like cilantro or parsley are in wet clumps on top of each other.

                              2. Will agree the produce selection at Fairway Redhook is often very poor. Moldy Garlic, slimy greens etc etc. Sad part is they really do not seem to care.