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Produce Junction: First and Last Time

What an unpleasant surprise. I'm trying to manage without my walker or cane, and discovered that this store was handicap unfriendly to a remarkable degree. No carts or baskets to put the veggies in. No bags to put the veggies in. I had to make two trips to my car after paying for a nice assortment of vegetables because I couldn't carry more.

Quality was fine; prices were excellent value, but for a person with difficulty carrying much very far or long, I just couldn't deal with it. I even explained my problem to a cashier, but no one cared to help me. I think the thing that made me angry was seeing an older woman in worse shape than me struggling. Sure made me appreciate the Reading Terminal vendors. Thanks for listening to me vent.

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  1. I know what you mean! My husband loves Produce Junction and goes there all the time. If I'm with him, I sit in the car and wait because it's so hard to manage even with a walker or cane -- although I have a walker with 4 wheels & a seat and you can put the stuff on the seat. I wish they had carts -- would make the whole thing so much easier. But they're really cheap.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Beulah

      The conundrum that is produce junction. A push-me pull-you experience. The one in Wynnefield has ridiculous parking issues. It is dirty. There are zero amenities. But if you have only 25 dollars to spend for a week's food, you can do it at the junction and eat well. Make my junk the P-Junc.

    2. I don't get it. I went once. Their prices are very low, as well they should be for the garbage they sell.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Kater

        I have to agree with Kate. In summer, when we have any number of farmer's markets and fruit stands, I really don't get it. In winter, Wegman's has credible fruit and veg. More expensive, but overall, better value.


      2. Produce junction is the Loehmans of food shopping. Low prices, no frills and very hit and miss. I went a few times but prefer to do my shopping at the local farmers markets and reading terminal. The produce was ok not great. I agree with Francis, I would much rather go to Wegmans or Whole Foods. Yep its expensive but the quality is wonderful.

        1. Which one? I have been to the one in Glenside (so-so to poor quality) and very frequently to the one in Broomall (nicer...even has a ramp). The quality there is fair to good. Also have very nice flowers and plants as well as seasonal decorations and the like for cheap.

          3 Replies
          1. re: GBak504

            ..they are also more than willing to carry purchases to your car..

            1. re: GBak504

              Glenside's is disgusting! I've tried it a several times, hoping for improvement but was disappointed each time. Although I sometimes pay more at local markets I can get comparable produce without the filth and without the extreme rudeness of the clerks. When I'm looking for produce I head for Walmart, Pathmark or Assi (Lansdale).

              1. re: kaysea

                I hit the Glenside location several times a year - if I'm in the area, as opposed to seeking it out. If you really consider that place to be disgusting, your standards are ridiculously high.

                As to the staff, while they can be brusque - especially so when there are longish lines - "extreme rudeness" is equally hyperbolic.

                You wouldn't last 15 seconds in the Italian Market

            2. I've been shopping at PJ since they opened in NJ. All I can say is that i have been to 5 of them, and strangely, all the parking lots are deathtraps! Scary, very poorly planned and difficult to get out of. Some of the produce is better than others. I bought rasberries there last week for $2, which were $5 for the exact same thing at Shop Rite. I find the produce to be decent typically, but during the summer I only buy items like tomatoes, corn, potatoes, etc, from local farmers and don't bother with PJ for those items.
              I have gotten some great flowers there, and orchid plants for around $10.
              I've also always been able to get someone to help carry my purchases out to the car when I need it. It's not a great place if you are handicapped in any way, however, I agree with that. I'm sorry your experience was not a good one.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mschow

                Actually, of all the veggies I bought, only the tomatoes were poor quality. I loved being able to buy fennel, raddichio, beets, okra, cauliflower, chinese cabbage and what feels like a 10 pound bag of onions for $2 in one swell foop.

                Come to think of it, the parking lof off of Route 73 in N. J. was a deathtrap also! So, in the winter, if we ever drive by again, I'll just ask my husband to come in and help carry.

                Not an appealing business model.

                Another word for quality. Costco must know something. Their veggies last and last, despite being forced to buy large quantities. And, their quality simply can't be beat in terms of value,taste and crispness.

              2. The (relatively) new PJ in Exton is huge and has much better parking than any other I've been to. In my opinion you can't beat it for plants and although some produce isn't great, overall it's fine. I love getting fresh herbs there in the winter - I'd never pay grocery store prices. Re. plants - I've bought hydrangeas there that were three times as much at Waterloo Gardens. I love PJ.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Beth Jerome

                  I am sorry to hear about the handicap issues that PJ has but I have to agree with Beth. You don't know how lucky you have it to have PJ's in this area. I lived in DC for years and would get robbed on produce at Safeway. Now some of you may want your organic brocolli and carrots, but you simply cannot beat the pricing, especailly for a family. I went to Acme and grabbed a green pepper because I was out. It cost me 2.99 where as I got a whole bag this morning with 10 peppers (green and red) for 2.00. Bags of baby spinach for a buck. The only bad thing is sometimes you may get produce that is expiring.

                2. I really like the one in Doylestown. Bags of either lemons, limes (beautiful ones), blood oranges, onions, or shallots for a dollar or two a bag. A bag of colored peppers for a couple bucks. They even have fava beans and cardoons and other nifty stuff in season sometimes. When I buy produce at the supermarket I feel guilty, because I could get it for less at P.J. In Summer they have CHEAP annuals. I could go on, but you get the point. And I often see local chefs buying there. You have to look at the stuff and pick out the good and leave the rest, and the parking lot's a challenge, but I'm really glad they're there.

                  1. Agreed, the savings is passed along largely due to the no frills atmosphere. FWIW I never liked produce junction because of the hassles invoved. I'd rather pay up for Wegmans... now there is a fun shopping experience.

                    1. It's been my experience that you'd better use the PJ fruits/veggies soon after you buy them since they seem to be at the end of their shelf life most of the time. I agree that the Glendide location is the pits, but Hatboro is much better. If you are a die-hard PJ fan with problems carting your purchases, maybe one of those wheeled things that you can purchase inexpensively would be a good idea. I have one that collapses flat & can be carried in my big purse easily. I take it with me when I know I will have a lot to move, and just can't see carrying it. I got mine at DSW for under $20.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: scm722

                        I went to the Glenside PJs yesterday (usually my husband goes because we don't live near there any more) and bought green cauliflower, red peppers, lemons, apples and grapes plus a few other things. I do not buy their lettuce or green beans (tend to be old) or their celery or carrots (too much to buy for 1 couple). Certain things, like what I bought above, are almost always good. I can't carry too much so don't buy too much at a time. You have to be selective. I think the Glenside store is as good or better than Hatboro (used to live close to Hatboro). Now I'm in Center City and have a choice of Superfresh and Whole Foods.

                      2. Buying no more than an arm-load of produce is a hassle, but my biggest gripes with Produce Junction have always been with their hand-scrawled price board and the lack of a detailed purchase receipt. It is impossible to absorb the entire daily list of offerings from 15-20 feet away while trying to memorize your purchase order and adding up prices in your head. The cashiers seem to know everything, and it takes them about 2 seconds ask for your money. If I get more than 3 or 4 items I pretty much have to accept their number because they can't provide an itemized receipt. You will always have to count out the cash and watch your change because Produce Junction won't take debit or credit cards. Sure, that's an added hassle for a merchant, but how much effort and expense would it be to photocopy the price list on a half-sheet and make it available to customers? Their prices and produce are not good enough to make up for the bad shopping experience.

                        1. The PJ that we have visited have destruction derby parking lots for sure. I try to do the math for checkout and have yet to find the clerk wrong, usually it is me that is incorrect. Our most frequent purchase is cut flowers for our home. With rooms getting fresh flowers when available the saving are HUGE over even the most reasonable local florist. The produce we have purchased, carefully selected, has been quite all right and cheap. We do like Wegman's for reasonably good quality but some prices are over the top. Acme and their $3 peppers will be goners in the next ice age. Cheap does come at a price, sorry to hear cheap here disadvantages those all ready disadvantaged. Something should be done regarding that issue. Helping the occasional person needing a hand could be easily accomplished by an aware, caring store manager.

                          1. I love Produce Junction!! I'm originally a Jersey girl and got used to shopping at the PJ there. When we moved to the Philly area, I hated paying supermarket prices. When the Broomall PJ opened, I was thrilled. Seriously, I was like a kid waiting for the Circus to come to town, It has handicapped parking and a ramp. There is always someone willing to carry a box of fruit / veggies to your car. No, it's not fancy, and yes, sometimes you get hustled along when they are particularly busy.

                            The garden section is great. Why would I go anywhere else for plants, trees, herbs, flowers, vegetables, etc.? They have a great selection. They are always way less expensive than the garden stores. In fact, last year for whatever reason, I bought my tomato plants at a local garden center, paid way too much, and was disappointed with the result. Lesson learned. I just wish they sold potting soil, then it would be a one stop deal.

                            You can't beat them for holiday plants and even Christmas trees.

                            I'm willing to pay cash and put up with the madhouse atmosphere of PJ. Overall, the quality is good, prices are low, and they've even started selling the most delicious crusty bread.

                            1. There is a PJ quite near where I live, dunno if it is in line lexington or hilltown. My friend and I finally got around to trying it last week and if I go again it will be without him, he won't be back. He says the employees seem real unhappy and the whole vibe makes him feel very uncomfortable. PJ says this is just the basics now pay and get out. The parking lot is scary. Lots of aggressive suvs. It didn't help that someone's fender had fallen off right near the entrance the time we went.
                              At my location someone did take the time to plant some annuals around, a nice touch. My friend John's mom goes there all the time but right after they open in the am. With the one line for veggies and one line for fruit set up John and I had a fun conversation about taking a tomato and a zucchini to the fruit line and arguing about how these items are actually fruits. I did see some ridiculously cheap impatiens, like three flats for seven dollars. I could see me going back to save money and gas if my budget is especially pinched though. Maybe I'll take John to help with the fruit veggie debate. :)

                              1. I tried a different PJ yesterday and it wasn't too bad. I walked all over the store, but instead of picking up products and carrying them around I just wrote down the item and the price. When I was finished, I went back and picked up the stuff from the list and ordered the rest at the counters. Next time I will remember to write my list in 2 columns: one for the veggie line and one for the fruit line.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Steve0701

                                  I don't even think the produce is that good. I've tried the one in Glenside and the one in Mont Clare (Phoenixville) and the only thing I will buy there are the flowers or the plants outside. Fruit is never ripe; hard as a rock most times. I'd rather find a farm stand. In Glenside, I used to go to the Oriental Food Market on Mount Carmel, near the intersection of Limekiln and Mount Carmel in a little strip mall. Their produce was much, much better and the service always comes with a smile even if the English is sometimes hard to understand. At least they try...can't say that for PJ. Everyone is surly at those stores...must be a job requirement.