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Jan 3, 2007 05:38 AM

New Farm Fresh market in Altadena - I'm impressed!

I've always like much about the Farm Fresh on Orange Grove, besides simply that it's close by, but it's horribly cramped and usually smells bad enough to make me take another look at that "A" rating card in the window. But now I can drive just a bit farther and go to the new and really huge one up on Lincoln, just north of Woodbury in Altadena. As you could expect, the variety of offerings is a whole lot wider, including a four-island wine section next to the huge produce department, and a greatly expanded butcher counter. The seafood selection, curiously enough, is considerably smaller than that on Orange Grove, but the fresh meat selection is pretty good. Service is good, too: I asked about the ground pork, which I didn't see, and the woman behind the counter took me over to the package case and showed me that they didn't have any. When I mentioned that it was a sale item in their flyer, however, she immediately went to consult with one of the butchers, who asked me how much I wanted and then ground it for me! Last butcher I asked to do that spent twenty minutes telling me why he couldn't...

Besides a greatly expanded grocery selection, they have a fresh bakery and a deli section. They also have several prepared-food counters, some of which aren't yet in operation. The ones that are include one with Chinese foods and a sushi bar (!!!), with a barbecue place to come.

It still ain't Gigante, nor even quite up to Monrovia's King Ranch in the meats, seafood and Latino foods categories, but it's the best thing close to me. I just hope they'll make a go of it - the store is really a lot more upscale than its neighborhood. We'll see.

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  1. Sounds promising, and figures, we moved out of the neighbohood in 1989 and look what happens, gentrification. (Hmmm, maybe our departure was good for the neighbohood.)

    I do remember regularly seeing someone BBQ'ing in front of a church, on Lincoln, south of Woodbury and north of the freeway, you might want to cruise the area on the weekend and look for smoke.

    1. I neglected to mention that Mrs. O tells me they have grains etc. in bulk as well. She says their organic steel-cut oats (which we consume on more or less a daily basis) are 99¢ a pound, or about 20¢ cheaper than Whole Foods' organics. And on the same general subject, I was also reminded that the new store has an island devoted to organic produce.

      1. Fabulous tip! This is close to where I live in Altadena. I will be checking it our tomorrow!
        Thanks WO.

        1. I was loving it in January...the prepared food stuff was great and they had a huge selection of organic produce. I loved it that there was a sushi bar in my neighborhood (and really quite good), and I could go solo. Now I'm afraid that they're mission is more about tax break benefit rather than maintaining quality. I went there this afternoon and it was dead. The sushi guy was completely worthless!! He didn't have anything, and I could not communicate with him because he couldn't speak English (I think he was Korean). He just said No, no. He said there was no octopus even though I saw it in the case. I got so frustrated that I just walked out. Also, the organic produce selection has been hugely reduced. The prices on all other goods are not cheap either: comparable to pricey Ralph's in La Canada and not great quality. One good thing: I love the juice bar and the juice guy is super friendly. I still want to try the soul food, but it seems every time I go they don't have anything out. Let's hope this doesn't turn out to be a flop...

          1. Yeah. I stopped by during my lunch a couple of weeks ago. Some great stuff in there. However, RUN don't walk away from that "soul food" booth. I ordered the smothered chicken, greens and mashed potatoes with gravy. The only thing edible was the gravy! Chicken was burnt and was not smothered. Mashed potatoes were from a box - gravy probably was from a can, but with some added salt (which they did not have) it was passable. Greens were just plain gross. The Jiffy muffins were okay, but they did not have butter or honey to go with them. All that grossness for $6.99. Blech! But, the store itself has great offerings across the board.