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Grocery Shopping in Baltimore

Hey all,

Foodie moving from Portland, Oregon to Canton-Baltimore in the upcoming months. Lookins for suggestions on grocery shopping. I saw there is a Safeway but where do Balmer folk shop for quality chicken, fish and meat (besides Whole in the pocket)?

Also, out here we have a store called Winco - which is a discount grocery and great for canned goods and standard cupboard groceries. Is Giant the equivalent? Any help is appreciated.

Thanks!

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  1. I'd say you want Shoppers Food Warehouse for discount groceries. Sorry to say, but Safeway and Giant are both pretty high-priced, and neither is all that high in quality, in my opinion. I never lived in the Canton area, so maybe others have hidden gems to share.

    1. 1. Hit up the Sunday farmers market at Gay and Saratoga Streets. It's on thru december until noon on Sundays.

      2. If you have a car, go to wegmans. And go on a weeknight if you can to avoid the families who use it as some sort of entertaining day out instead of a place people go to run errands. Wegmans is in Hunt Valley, roughly 20 minutes from Baltimore and worth the drive, IMO.

      Giant and Safeway are terrible...and it's likely that shopping at Whole Foods will be less expensive (i know it is for me).

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jeserf

        I despise Safeway and any store similar - Albertsons and so forth. Thanks for the tips!

      2. Try H-Mart (Asian supermarket)
        800 North Rolling Rd.
        Catonsville, MD 21228
        Fresh, inexpensive produce, meat, and seafood.

        The Sunday farmer's market mentioned in previous post is also a good option. However, I think they only operate certain months of the year (not in winter). There is also a farmer's market in Charles Village on Saturday mornings (on 33rd St.).

        Giant and Safeway are two competing supermarkets in the area. The Safeway in Canton is fairly new. Their produce and meats are slightly overpriced and quality sometimes can be unpredictable.

        Shoppers is another supermarket chain in the area. It's cheaper than Giant and Safeway.

        2 Replies
        1. re: poisontea

          You beat me to the punch on H-Mart! (aka. Han Ah Reum). I live in Canton as well, and I try to make a trip every Monday, today included. The easiest way is to head north on Broadway, away from Fells Point, then make a left on Orleans St; this will turn into Rt. 40, just follow it for about 20 min. until you see a strip mall on the left with H-Mart, Wachovia and Baskin Robins. It will be right after the Walmart.

          They just renovated their seafood counter, so it's very clean and welcoming. The fish are even marked Wild or Farm Raised, and they always have specials on everything from seafood to chicken broth. The fruit and produce are fresh and diverse, and the meat is good too, since they have such rapid turnover; there are ALWAYS people here, unlike more mainstream grocery stores. Don't be alarmed by the lack of Perdue, most times I prefer their chicken and salmon to even Whole Foods (blasphemous, I know).

          When you're all checked out, you can drive across the street to Giant for your more Western staples, like juice and bread. Just to give you an idea of how much $$ I save, I'll typically spend an equal amount at both places - only H-Mart feeds me for 7 days, and my Giant basket only has juice, pasta, and bagels.

          Avoid Safeway, they always run out of bananas and salad mix. Especially when you're trying to have breakfast, or dinner. (Oh and welcome to the neighborhood!!)

          1. re: pattiat600block

            Went to H-Mart on Friday, and I am hooked!!! What a clean environment...I think I saw 4 types of eggplant! Also, baby bok choy for 79-cents a pound...unheard of! I also bought some sliced skirt steak that was totally delicious in a stir fry, and some frozen clam meat that I will use in a white clam sauce. Wish they would build one in the Parkville area!!!! Can't wait to go back!

        2. Welcome to the neighbourhood!
          I live in the area, and have to admit that i shop @ a mulitude of places to get good quality and prices (pretty sure this is all negated by gas money, but then, I do try and bike to a lot of it).
          For produce, yes, go to the various farmers markets around, the one under 83 on Sundays is open thru Dec 31st or the last weekend of Dec. The one in Waverly (10-15min drive, at worst) is open year round. And there are plenty of farm stands close by in the county you can check the boards and ask. Depending on where you work there may be better grocery stores near there.
          However....
          The new Shoppers food on Eastern Ave and Kane street has a (surprisingly) good selection of produce esp for ethnic staples and is much cheaper than Safeway. I tend to stay away from there meat and fish as in the past it hasn't been too great. They do carry organic brands such as Amys, Horizon Dairy, Annie's etc...they cater to the large latino population in the area and so tend to have quite a lot of produce and latino brand favourites.
          There's a good Italian Deli in Highlandtown (D'Pasquales) on Gough Street that has good Italian meats, cheeses, wine and beer. And there are the usual smatterings of other ethnic food stores around - Greek, Asian etc...
          The Asian superstores on Route 40 (20mins drive) in Ellicott City are good places to go for produce too, but of course it's all imported, but it's cheap and diverse.
          I find the meat and seafood from Safeway suffices and i live within walking distance of there so that's where I tend to end up buying from, unless I can afford WFoods that week or am near the Cross Street markets (although, for meat i have to say, i've not found them THAT much cheaper).
          Hope this helps!

          1. IMHO, you can get whatever you want at the Wegman's in Hunt Valley (if you want to take the ride out past the state fairgrounds).

            1. For discount canned goods I go to Save-ALot or Aldi, Aldi is owned by the people who own Trader Joes.

              5 Replies
              1. re: hon

                Please provide links to how you know these two places are run/owned by trader Joe?

                1. re: RobertM

                  Aldi definitely owns Trader Joes, but that doesn't mean that Aldi = Trader Joe's. Aldi is a super discount German chain that bought Trader Joe's in 1979. Before that, Trader Joes was a much smaller chain based L.A. owned by a quirky individual. It's still owned by quirky individuals, just German ones. I've been a Trader Joes shopper at least since 1979 when it was just in L.A. Aldi is popular in Germany because currently Germans love not to spend money, especially on basics. There are no Trader Joe's in Germany as far as I know and I believe that the two chains are run independently.

                  1. re: ChewFun

                    I lived near an Aldi when I lived in Denmark.

                    The only good part about it was that they were open on Sundays if you needed something. other than that, I hope the Aldi's here are even a little better than the ones there. yuck.

                    1. re: ChewFun

                      For sure these two operatioons are run seperately, but they both work under somewhat the same business plan...limited selection, excellent knock off
                      private label brands and very little if any local vendors.
                      Aldis works on the low end and Trader Joes on the high end..
                      Very successfully

                  2. Oh, Lexington Market might also be something you might want to check out.

                    But, regular visits to Weggies should have you set.

                    it's worth the relatively short trip.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Jeserf

                      Yeah, I buy nearly everything at Wegman's. Of course, I live in Federal Hill but work in Hunt Valley, so that makes it easy for me. But even if it wasn't so easy I'd probably go to the trouble anyway.

                    2. If you are going to make the trip up to Wegman's in Hunt Valley, going a little further up to Springfield Farm in Sparks (I think it's ourspringfieldfarm.com) is not a big deal. They have great eggs, chickens, pork, beef, lamb. The best I've found in the area. They also sell dairy products from a local-ish (PA) dairy.

                      I still haven't found a great fish place. Whole Foods and Wegmans both have decent seafood though.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: pigtowner

                        I like the fish stand in Broadway Market (north building), although it requires me to get there before 11 or so on Saturday morning so that parking is still available.

                        Wegman's is cool, albeit scary, but it's too far for me for routine shopping. I don't have enough available time on Saturdays to spend almost an hour driving to and from the supermarket.

                        1. re: Hal Laurent

                          Wegmans would be great if, like I said, people would not make it a huge family outing. I was there on Sunday and was run into a good number of times by kids using the carts, and was stuck behind a few families disciplining children. I understand why they are there, but it does make shopping a big nightmarish IMO.

                          Weggies, to me, is worth it. They have the best roast chicken and their own brand of items are a very good price. But, it is a bit out of the way for most people.

                          1. re: Jeserf

                            I live in Pasadena and make the hour trip to and from Wegman's on a regular basis. I LOVE that place!

                            1. re: Jeserf

                              For meat, I recommend Ceriello's in Belvedere Sq. (York rd and Belvedere, across from the Senator theatre). It is dry-aged and IMHO better than Wegmann's. C's also has exc sausages and all sorts of good Italian food. Eddie's in Roland Park also has exc meat.

                        2. Unlike a lot of people, I don't recommend Wegman's - and I live five minutes from Wegman's.

                          Overall, I found it disappointing. The meats are standard grocery chain fare: i.e. commercial packing and they didn't have some of the specialized cuts (which I was expecting they would have since they're so huge). I think the prepared foods, especially the "asian" foods, are just atrocious. They're just run-of-the-mill and lack flavor. Not to mention the fact that it's just horrendous to visit. It's ridiculously crowded just about any time which means it's easier to shop at Giant or Springfield instead.

                          However, Wegman's does have a very large selection of most things. Looking for seven types of mozzarella or chicken stock in a box? Well, they've got them - in spades. Of course, 90% of Baltimore is also shopping so it's just a tad bit crowded.

                          If you're looking for quality foods, the previous recommendations for the local farmer's markets are spot-on. And if you're willing to trek up to Hunt Valley, bypass Wegman's and go to Springfield Farm for top-quality, locally grown meats, poultry and dairy. They're open Thurs-Sun from 11am to 4pm. Just grilled some ribeyes from Springfield last night and they're more than worth the trek.

                          The other recommendation for Belvedere Square is also on the money. Ceriello's has good meats and deli meats. There's also a great produce stand that only brings in quality, fresh stuff. Not to mention that Atwater's makes some great artisanal breads and the smokehouse there has some of the best GravLox I've ever tasted. Of course, there's also the wine selection at Grand Cru...

                          1. The meat at the butcher counter in The Fresh Market in Pikesville looks delicious. Expensive but good.

                            1. I just moved to Baltimore (Federal Hill) and wanted to thank everyone for all these great tips; I def want to check out the farmer's market at Gay and Saratoga

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: MarcDC

                                We keep trying to get there early enough, so do remember that it shuts down around noon. It was rainy this sunday, so when we got there it looked like a few vendors had already shut down.

                                However, at the end of the day a lot of the vendors gave price cuts. I'd still say get there on the earlier side. Iced coffee and mini donuts. mmmm.

                              2. We just moved to Locust Point earlier this year and I'm still trying to get my grocery shopping down to something resembles a routine.

                                For staples and things like lunch meat, we shop at the Shoppers on Fort Ave. It's not great, but the prices are ok.
                                For all of our produce and veggies, we joined the Calvert County Farm CSA and pick up our 8 items every week at the Baltimore Farmers Market under the Jones Falls Expressway (JFX). That has been consistently good. We also usually buy our cheese from the two dairy vendors there.
                                We also try regularly to get to specialty markets like H-mart and the wonderful Italian grocery Trinacria's (406 N. Paca St., near Lexington Market).
                                And usually at least once during the week I stop at the Whole Foods in Mt. Washington (where I have a weekly meeting for work) or a grocery chain called "My Organic Market" (or M.O.M.'s) at their location on the corner of Rt .175 and Rt. 1 in Jessup/Columbia East/The Burbs, which is near my office. I've found the MOM's to be very similar to Whole Foods, but often cheaper. The only thing they don't carry is Whole Foods' freshly ground honey-roasted peanut butter, which me, my husband and our dog are all addicted to!

                                The word on the street (and at the Locust Point neighborhood association meetings) is that there will be a "Full-service Gourmet Grocery Store" in the old Chesapeake Paper Board Co. development on the north side of Fort Ave. at Woodall. They won't say who it is just yet, but the names I've heard mentioned sound promising. We're keeping our fingers crossed.

                                24 Replies
                                1. re: locustpointgirl

                                  I think Wegman's is overrated. Sure, it has loads of stuff and you could find almost everything you would want, but the crowds are killer. It may change when some more places open in Anne Arundel and Price George's counties in 2008 and 2009, but for now, the crowds are the rule, not the exception. It makes shopping there a heinous experience.

                                  If you don't mind shopping in a hole in the wall kind of joint, I have a few recommendations for you --

                                  Laurel Meat Market on Main Street -- this is about a 20 min drive south of where you'll live in Laurel, MD. A very local store with excellent meats. Whatever you do not see, they can order with usually only a day or two notice. But the place is a dive and could really use some updating, but do not let that scare you off.

                                  For Bread, go to Savage, MD, also about 20 min south of you. Bonaparte's Bakery makes excellent breads and pastries. I think they have an outpost in Fells Point if I am not mistaken which would be a lot closer to you.

                                  Here are my thoughts on the major chains local to Baltimore --

                                  Giant -- used to be great and dominated the marketplace, but since being bought by Royal Ahold, the place has taken a nosedive in quality and service. No longer recommended

                                  Safeway -- your typical run of the mill larger sized grocery store, excelling at nothing and living the life of averageness and mediocrity.

                                  Shoppers Food (Warehouse) -- a discount chain that is gaining ground. Nothing amazing about this place (except maybe their colossal donuts), but your normal run of the mill stuff with a slant towards ethnic foods. Usually very good prices, and no need to have a stupid shopping club card in order to get the sale price. They usually have good produce, a very decent ethnic aisle (extra wide, heavy on hispanic foods, some jewish foods, some asian foods, and even the rare english and german foods, not to mention decent italian foods), they commit two areas to organic foods as well (newer stores anyway). All in all, decent.

                                  Weis Markets -- Not too many of these around, but they are pressing in to the marketplace from Pennsylvania. So they are heavier on Pennsylvania Dutch favorites (chicken 'pot pie' aka 'bot boy' noodles, lebanon bologna, sugar cakes, etc). Usually a tad smaller in size than the big boys, but also decent. Produce seems to be slightly weak as are organic foods. Prices are decent.

                                  Super Fresh (formerly A&P) -- Not too many of these around, but also of the large store variety. Usually very good produce and ethnic choices. Otherwise average. Prices are OK.

                                  Food Lion/Bottom Dollar/Bloom -- Another chain of smaller store format versions. I really hate how they split up their stores to market them differently. What a waste of time and effort and the replacement stores are usually worse than the original. Save your money and shop elsewhere.

                                  Wegman's -- Great store. Very overcrowded by shoppers. Prices are not all that great. Only a few of these in the Balto-DC area, most of them in NoVa.

                                  Harris Teeter -- no comment, never been in one, but one is coming to Columbia soon.

                                  Whole Foods -- you already know what to expect here.

                                  My Organic Market -- Closest one to Balto is in Jessup, maybe 15-20 south thereof. Very organic shop with very good Whole Foods typoe selections but in a store just 1/7th the size (or less). But very good. And locally owned.

                                  1. re: Pool Boy

                                    That's a pretty good summary of the chain supermarkets around here.

                                    The Safeway in Canton used to have a reasonably good ethnic foods selection, but when they remodeled they got rid of it to make more room for prepared foods. This didn't sit well with me, as I rarely buy prepared foods.

                                    1. re: Pool Boy

                                      Nice job, Pool Boy. In March I moved to Federal Hill from Columbia with every good intention of keeping up my weekly trek to Laurel Meat Market, and haven't been once. I miss it though.

                                      Also, I tend to shop on the way to work and keep my purchases in the fridge until It's time to go home, so that may be part of the reason I'm so big on Wegman's. It's not crowded at all at 6 in the morning.

                                      1. re: JonParker

                                        Thanks. If I could shop at Wegman's at 6AM and it made sense and worked for me, I'd do it too. For now I just have to wait for the two looming arrivals of their stores down more my direction and will hope for the best.

                                        www.roguefood.com

                                      2. re: Pool Boy

                                        FYI, Harris Teeter is fantastic

                                        1. re: Pool Boy

                                          I have to disagree with Pool Boy on SuperFresh. I have gotten some SuperRotten groceries there (including a bag of shredded mozzarella that actually had blue clumps of mold in it), to the point that I refuse to buy anything there--I don't know if the locations vary in terms of quality, though.

                                          And I love My Organic Market.

                                          1. re: amyeamye

                                            I must say that my experience with Superfresh is somewhat limited. I'd say I hit there only on trips back from Whole Paycheck when I need to also get something that WF doesn't carry. So maybe 3-4 times a year? So usually I have already bought all of the produce and cheese I need before getting there. As always, your mileage may vary!

                                            We at least agree on one thing, My Organic Market is great!

                                            www.roguefood.com

                                          1. re: hon

                                            This is completely unsubstantiated neighborhood gossip (who does that better than Locust Point?) — but I've heard Harris Teeter. The developer of the Chesapeake Paper Board Co. project (Sapperstein? I'm new to the neighborhood) was at the last neighborhood association meeting and said he would be ready to announce the grocery soon. I think someone asked him about Wegmans and he said "no" on that one.

                                            I've never been to a Wegmans, but they sound nice. Also, I've been to both the Fells Point and the Savage branches of Bonaparte and the Fells Point branch definitely has a bigger selection of fresh breads and pastries (the almond croissant! so good!) and also a bigger meal menu. The older French (?) woman who runs the Fells Point joint can be testy and forget to give you things like the desert you ordered, but if you stay calmer than she is, you should be fine. I'll consider tempermental French bakers part of the price I'll pay for such awesome pastries and bread. The also sell the Bonaparte breads at the My Organic Market in Jessup, which is handy for me.

                                            On another note, I remembered the name of a great butcher we visited a couple weeks ago in the Catonsville/Ellicott City area: Treuths. http://www.jwtreuth.com/index2.html

                                            We had pretty awesome steaks and the prices were decent. A little trek, but not too far if combined with a trip to H-mart.

                                            1. re: locustpointgirl

                                              Holy crap, you made my morning. When I lived in VA I freakin' loved the Teeter. Having one a mere 4 minutes away ... oh the possibilities. I can't stand the Canton Safeway. Maybe it's because I usually end up there on "off" hours like early Sunday morning or weeknight evenings, but it always seems ... unstocked, disorganized and borderline unclean. Superfresh on Charles is pretty good; that's my usual grocery. But it will be QUICKLY forsaken for Teeter in Federal Hill if one arrives.

                                              1. re: charmedgirl

                                                Where do you park when you go to the Superfresh on Charles St.?

                                                The Canton Safeway is pretty badly run. They're not very good at all about keeping things in stock, which is pretty inexcusable in these days of computerized inventory management.

                                                For example, they've been out of all of the King Arthur flours for several days now (except for one torn bag which is still sitting out on the shelf), and I won't be at all surprised if it is several more days before they restock.

                                                1. re: Hal Laurent

                                                  Good (or bad, I suppose, since I'd rather hear I just have bad timing) to know that I'm not alone in my opinion of the Canton Safeway. I usually get pretty lucky with parking at the Superfresh. I often find a spot right out front. If there isn't one there, the lot across the street on Saratoga honors Superfresh validation, so I just pull in there. Its a little sketchy, but perfectly fine. Besides, I'm never there very long. I do most of my shopping at farmers markets and specialty stores mentioned elsewhere in this thread. Superfresh is for things like cereal and paper towels.

                                                  1. re: Hal Laurent

                                                    you said it. I can walk there and it is horrible. I literally drive out to Kane st. just to avoid giving them any money. The Shoppers employees actually are helpful and polite and smile! Safeway must have hired every single mean person they could have found. They are the worse. Thank goodness for Farmer's markets

                                                    1. re: Hal Laurent

                                                      The parking for SuperFresh is on Saratoga. If you are going northbound on Charles St, make a left on Saratoga and the parking garage is on your right.

                                                      If you are going southbound on Charles. Stop. You are going the wrong way.

                                                    2. re: charmedgirl

                                                      Remember, word of the Harris Teeter is unconfirmed. I too am afraid of getting my hopes up. And according to the Baltimore Grows blog, it sounds like it might be a "Fresh Market" instead. http://www.baltimoregrows.com/2007/08...

                                                      The development will be called McHenry Row or something like that and will have shops and restaurants and of course a Starbux to boot, but it's the new Grocery that I'm really looking forward to.

                                                    3. re: locustpointgirl

                                                      Harris Teeter may have rethought after that land became avaiable where
                                                      Sams was located!!!!

                                                      1. re: locustpointgirl

                                                        In the current issue of the Baltimore Business Journal there's an article that says Harris Teeter is, indeed, in negotiations to open in Locust Point and will open another location in Howard Co. You can read a snippet here:

                                                        http://baltimore.bizjournals.com/balt...

                                                        They go on to say how badly the area needs another grocery store -- and I totally agree. I feel dirty just walking into that Shoppers.

                                                        1. re: Chowtimore

                                                          Now see, I have two very nice Shoppers places here in Laurel, MD -- both within very short drives for me. Aside from Weis, Shoppers is my go to for 'normal' grocery shopping these days with plenty of supplements from MOM, Whole Foods and sometimes injections from Trader Joes.

                                                          1. re: Pool Boy

                                                            Yeah, I don't know why everyone hates on Shoppers. I think it's a great grocery store. Tons of ethnic food options. I wish it had more local options, but I guess that's why I go to the farmer's market and get all my meat from a farm.

                                                            1. re: pigtowner

                                                              Me too. I totally agree with you. Loving Shoppers which supplements my FM trips. Last week at the Market my "Big find" was a pint of local figs for $3. They were awesome! Bloom's Broom pork roast was on sale at Waverly MKT- which smoked up great on the grill.

                                                          2. re: Chowtimore

                                                            I am speaking only of the Shoppers in the Southside Marketplace. I'm sure there are nicer ones around, but that particular one just feels dirty and I couldn't see myself ever eating anything that came out of there.

                                                      2. re: locustpointgirl

                                                        locustpointgirl,

                                                        Do you have more information on the Calvert County Farm CSA? I'm interested in joining, if I can pick up my veggies/fruits from the Baltimore Farmers Market...

                                                        1. re: daveinmd

                                                          This CSA also has a pick up location at the Mill Valley Garden Center (Sisson and 28th or 29th). You could call or visit Mill Valley for info about the CSA - http://www.mill-valley.net/

                                                          At this point in the season I think that they are selling partial season shares

                                                          1. re: daveinmd

                                                            Daveinmd,

                                                            Sorry for the super late reply but I got an email from my CSA last week that they are gearing up again. Their website is www.calvertfarm.com
                                                            We really enjoyed their food last year. I think this year they might add a few pick up locations. We always pick up at the JFX farmers market. You get to pick 8 items every week from their very large selection.

                                                        2. Another trip to the farmers market this weekend...and, my tip...have a game plan. There are a lot of vendors, but a lot have the same stuff. So it really would help someone serious about buying local stuff to have a decent list of what they plan on cooking for the week and what they'll need.

                                                          Boyfriend bought bacon from the sausage/bacon people. Looked good.

                                                          1. I live in Canton. Welcome! In addition what everyone has said thus far, there is also a Farmer's Market in Waiverly, near BMA (museum) on 32nd Street & Barlcay St. on Sat. 7-12 all year round. I shop both farmer's markets regularly and love them all. On Sat's market you can shop Bloom's Broom a local dairy farm which sells their homemade ice cream in great crazy flavors. They sell cave age cheeses which just won an award recently. They also have pork, eggs, beef and lamb products for sale including ox tail and bones for stock making. The Sunday market has a great Chicken/egg vendor The Hen's Nest I think...sign up early and you get a call each month letting you know your whole roaster fresh is ready, they also raise Turkeys each year. A must.
                                                            Both markets offer great onsite prepared foods from Ethiopean, to organic falafel sandwiches. The Curry shack has their infamous baked samosas. There are also several farms around MD that have pick your own herbs, fruits, veggies etc...if you are into that.

                                                            There is a new grocery just opened recently in Balt. County called Fresh Market a NC based chain...its a tiny upscale grocer.

                                                            Towson also has Farmer's Market on Thursdays. So, there are lots of great fresh local food sources around.

                                                            For specialty items you can shop in Canton at Chespeake Wine for gourmet chocolates, meats, cheeses..they also sell BonAparte's baguettes.

                                                            For Italian and cheap priced wines go to Trinacria on Paca St. near Lexington market...reasonable wines from 3.00 a bottle and up...

                                                            There is an Indian grocer in Timonium off Cranbrook Rd.Next to India Palace BYOB rest.

                                                            Best of luck.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: hammocc

                                                              Ok, I just noticed the 32nd St Market.
                                                              What is the difference between that market and Sundays market under I-83?

                                                              1. re: Jeserf

                                                                Oh my lots, the saturday market of course is in a different location but only about a handful of vendors overlap. Sat's market is all year long. They have a vegan/vegitarian/ prepared foods vendor, Ethiopan vendor, Atwater's bread stand, Bloom's Broom Dairy and Meats, and another milk selling Dairy who have yogourts and cheeses, + several other produce folks who are different. Both markets have something special to offer. In the winter months, the sat market have craft vendors too. They are both great.

                                                            2. Somewhat surprised to see no Costco mentions. Perhaps people think it's a Sam's, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it's a Sam's for upscale customers. The meat in particular is the best I've seen in the area--huge, beautiful cuts that are usually at least 25% cheaper than the grocery, and sometimes 50%. EVOO in the vat size. For the price, some of the best coffee I've ever had. Twelve-packs of that fancy organic chicken stock, the kind in the quart box, for 40% of the grocery. Throw in cheap kitchen stock, $15 oxford shirts, and two-pound bags of pignoli, and you're good to go. All this, and there's the fun of exploring the joint every visit for one-off specials and weird, cool products. They're not a complete grocery solution; the produce can be dodgy, and they have some odd gaps in their selection. But if you're into a freezer full of meat, there's no alternative. Try the one in White Marsh if you're on the north side; I think there are south side-y ones too. If you ever get to VA or DC, be aware that the asinine MD laws no longer apply and you can buy wine at Costco, including such goodies as bulk-discount cases of Dom Perignon and 98-point Super Tuscans. I'm an evangelist for this place. It is simply amazing. $50 a year to belong, which you'll save after one trip. Finally, they are incredibly enlightened employers; every employee gets health insurance, and the average wage there is more than $15, about 30-40% higher than industry average. Worth your time and attention.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: TDW

                                                                COSTCO is the best.

                                                                For everyday groceries, you cannot beat Wegman's. I disagree that some of their meats are subpar. Everything has always tasted fantastic from there, and they have amazing vanilla muffins for a treat. Plus, their prices on everyday groceries rival that of Mars.

                                                                I live in Columbia, so our choices here are kind of slim. BUT, we are getting a Harris Teeter down here soon, and a Trader Joe's just opened.

                                                                You are lucky to be in Baltimore with all the wonderful farmer's markets!

                                                              2. I'm a total Wegman's groupie, I have to admit, due in large part to the cheese bread. The crowds are insane though. But, I've found that at least in comparison to the Super Fresh and Eddie's near me, the prices are pretty good. Especially for things like Brocolli Rabe, and De Cecco brand pasta. I also like Klein's, which is a small chain of grocery stores, but it's really out of the way for you if you live in Canton.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: kcnkate

                                                                  Is there still a Klein's in Hereford? If so, that's not much farther once you've driven the 30 minutes from Canton to Wegman's. I live close to Canton (Butchers Hill), and hardly ever go to Wegman's 'cause it's too far and too crowded. And too many of those scary stroller people. :-)

                                                                  1. re: Hal Laurent

                                                                    There's a Graul's in Hereford right of the Mt. Carmel Road Exit from 83 (also, theres a Graul's in Ruxton, and one off Padonia Road near Mays Chapel), which is a very good grocery store too, actually. But the Klein's I am thinking of is in Jacksonville off of Jarrettsville Pike.

                                                                    1. re: kcnkate

                                                                      That Graul's location in Hereford is the one I was thinking of. Back in the 1970s when I lived in Hereford it was Klein's Arrowsmith Farms, or something like that. I just barely recognize that area nowadays. :-)

                                                                2. I'm really surprised that Trader Joe's hasn't been mentioned more frequently. I do 90% of my grocery shopping there. Granted, there aren't as many as say Giant or Safeway, but there is one in Towson, Pikesville, Columbia, and Annapolis. Surely less driving than say.... Wegmans.

                                                                  For those things I can't find at Trader Joe's (Aluminum Foil, feminine hygiene products etc.) I just go to my local Giant. It is cheaper than Safeway, but I don't get stuck bagging my own groceries either. (What is with my local Shoppers and Weis anyway???)

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: gm_smith

                                                                    I went to a Trader Joe's in Newport News, VA once (while visiting family) and was not impressed at all. Lots of prepared foods, but the selection of stuff for someone who actually cooks wasn't good at all. Even the produce was lousy. After that I've never tried any of the Baltimore area ones. From Fells Point/Canton/Butchers Hill, none of them are significantly closer than Wegman's anyway.