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Inexpensive Produce in PDX

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Hello,

Looking for reasonably priced, decent produce stores in Portland, particularly on the west side. I found one place (forget its name), over on the east side, at about 80th and Foster, with reasonable prices, but that's a little far to drive to from the west side. I'm tired of paying the outrageous prices that retail grocery chains stick to consumers. I imagine Costco, Winco and their ilk have better prices, but I figure one has to buy in bulk and that the selection is limited in variety.

Lived in SoCal for many years, where I was used to shopping at mom 'n pop grocery stores with produce prices half to one-third of that of chain stores, yet with comparable quality product.

I know there are some local farmers' "barn shops" with somewhat more reasonable prices out towards Scholls (SW of Beaverton), but they are limited in variety and season.

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  1. Try Food Front, a co-op grocery on NW 23rd and Thurman.

    I tend to prefer getting produce at Fubonn on 82nd. While it's certainly on the other side of town (I'm west of the 405), I usually use it as an excuse to also stop by various restaurants out that way like Bun Bo Hue or Pho Oregon.

    1. The produce at Winco is generally pretty good, a lot of it is local, and the prices are good too. You don't necessarily have to buy things in bulk there. (And their prices on supermarket staples - packaged bread, Tillamook cheese, cereal, etc. are some of the best in town). It's not like Coscto where everything is in a multipack or ginormous package.

      2 Replies
      1. re: JillO

        That's useful to know about Winco; I was only extrapolating from my few visits to Costco . Thank you, thank you very much.

        I guess what I am really hankering for, though, is an ethnic grocery store with lots of not-so-common imports as well as decent produce for an honest price. I lived around the corner from one for many years, until recently. Now whenever I shop for produce at a chain outlet I feel used and soiled afterwards. The cold, sterile, impersonal ambiance of corporo-industrial stores doesn't help.

        1. re: Dr Chow

          winco is employee owned. Vast selection and because of the volume, constant turnover. Cheap too.

      2. Dr. Chow,

        Did you end up finding a favorite inexpensive produce store? I just moved from Chicago and I am in that same boat you were in April. I am used to shopping in mom and pop stores where produce is very affordable, dare I say cheap, compared to here. I could find olives for $3.00/lb and feta for $2.00/lb. You would think that it would be easy to find the same offerings here.

        2 Replies
        1. re: brunswickrules

          Brunswickrules,

          Have you had any luck tracking down an inexpensive option, especially for "higher end" products like olives and cheeses?

          1. re: brunswickrules

            Brunswickrules,

            Sorry to say I haven't come upon ideal places yet. For the record, I don't live in/near Portland, but visit frequently, so I haven't had the chance to check out the Fubon or Food Front recommendations yet.

            I know exactly what you mean about bargain prices for olives and feta. I lived around the corner from a Lebanese grocery with all kinds of imported goods and goodies at reasonable prices.

            Which part of town are you in? I have spotted a middle eastern grocery store/butcher in Beaverton (on TV hwy or Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy, I forget which), but have yet to stop and check it out.

            I hope to do some pavement pounding and following up on these tips this coming Labor Day weekend, and will post back to this thread.

          2. I think you are looking for Barbur World Foods (http://www.barburworldfoods.com/) which is over on Barbur Blvd near the Barbur Blvd. exit off of I-5.

            But don't forget Trader Joe's. They have a lot of great produce & imported deli & pantry items at very reasonable prices. I like their Hollywood location which also has a Panera Bread next door.

            If you are looking for Asian produce and deli and don't want to go all the way over to Fubonn, there's always Uwajimaya (http://www.uwajimaya.com/upb/) over on SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy but their prices are substantially higher than Fubonn.

            If you go to Uwajimaya, you also might want to visit the Albertson's on SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy at Shattuck Rd. They have the ONLY kosher deli/butcher in all of Oregon! Great kosher bakery, too.

            1. I'm reporting back. I went to seven (count 'em, 7!) grocery stores last week after I made this post. They seem Asian focused, thus Asian produce galore, but those were mainly the ones that came up in my search for inexpensive produce. All in all, I found some places I would hit up again, but no luck on inexpensive deli items, and all around produce.

              Dr Chow, I believe I saw that deli in Beaverton you mentioned, while visiting the TJMaxx and Marshalls for kitchen supplies, near/off of Beaverton Hillsdale Highway. I did not have a chance to walk in.

              We live in the Pearl District and chose this area to be in the city. We wanted to live walking distance to downtown with the purpose to get to know the city before branch out. Making a weekly grocery stop that is 15-20 minutes from where we live is not a problem. Traffic here is a relief compared to Chicago. I used to frequently visit a Greek family run grocery store called Market Place. They had a variety of olives and fetas, as well as a variety of other imports. Peaches and Nectarines would go for $1.29/lb and $0.69/lb on sale. Mini cucumbers or pickles would go for no more than $0.50/lb. I remember that their deli meats, including Boar's Head, was around $6.99/lb. Other deli meats were $4.79/lb and cheeses were $2.99/lb. Tomato on the vine was usually $0.99/lb. I miss those days just thinking about it. I frequent Trader Joes, but it is not a place I want to stock up on produce. I enjoy their specials and we're making due purchasing feta and olives there for now. Why is it so hard to come by here? I know that produce is locally grown, is that the only choice we have though?

              Here's the seven markets I visited last week.
              - Hong Phat Market
              9819 NE Prescott St, Portland OR
              More Vietnamese focused if you didn't get it by the name. They have a desent-sized produce selection. Good quality.

              -Don Poncho
              2000 NE Alberta, Portland OR
              Very small Mexican market. Decent Meat counter but don't count on their produce selection. Aren't Mexican grocery stores supposed to be grand? Maybe that's a Chicago thing too.

              -Ril's European Market
              8220 SE Harrison, Portland OR
              DOES NOT EXIST! I did a couple U-turns to find this out.

              -Fubonn Super Market
              2850 SE 82nd Ave, Portland OR
              Large Asian market, inside a shopping mall. Desent selection in about everything. Their produce area is dark and probably kept that way. If you look close, the quality is low. There is a Chinese Bakery in the mall, but the prices are pretty high for a bun. Too bad.

              -Vieng Lao Oriental Food
              1032 N Killingsworth, Portland OR
              Perhaps this is a neighborhood Asian grocery store and not intended to be a destination spot. The selection was slim all around.

              -An Dong Market
              5441 SE Powell
              Chinese grocery store with affordable Asian produce, but not a winner in all around inexpensive produce selection. Desent size. Desent quality.

              -Boo Han Market (Korean signage)
              1313 SE 82nd Ave
              Hard to miss if you are looking for the Boo Han sign, you're going to find large Korean characters marking this store. By now you know this is a Korean market. You're going to find a small produce selection but a large frozen food and dried seaweed selection. They have a desent selection of panchan or banchan. You can pick up Korean sushi or kimbob (2 rolls) for less than $4.00, Korean glass noodles or Jap Chae for less than $5.00 and marinated Bulgogi and other meats.

              Kawachi, thank you for the recommendations. I will visit Barbur and Uwajimaya and report back.

              Please let me know if any other inexpensive produce places to stop by! Thanks!

              1 Reply
              1. re: brunswickrules

                I stand by the Winco rec.

                'waji has some gorgeous produce, but not necessarily the best prices on everything.

              2. Agree with Jill-o's Winco recommendation. Uwajimaya has moderate to high prices but a large selection of produce, meats, seafood, etc. High turnover so its usually pretty fresh. I thought it was a better selection than Fubonn but I haven't been over to Fubonn since right after it opened 'cause Uwaji is only a mile or two away.

                There are many mexican and asian markets around the Beaverton area and more out west towards Hillsboro. They usually have good prices on produce. They also have interesting ethnic canned good, etc. There's a market next to the Ace hardware on Cedar Hills Blvd in Beaverton, just north of Canyon Road. Used to be asian and is now Mexican. Good produce selection but not nearly as large as Uwajimaya or Winco.

                A Middle Eastern market (little or no produce) on Canyon Rd east of 217. Next to the cheerful tortise sportsbar with NASCAR racer out front. Good selection of stuff like pomegranate molassas, canned goods, etc.

                This time of year the farmers markets have wonderful produce but their prices are usually more than the grocery stores. You may try a trip to Sauvie Island - a little too far for regular shopping but there are farms out there where you can get wonderful buys on stuff that is in season. I remember buying cabbages last year at 35cents each (not lb).

                Trader Joes has good prices on fresh Basil - about half New Seasons' price. Baby artichokes too. Other produce not a bargain but if you're already there...

                If you want really nice looking produce look at Zupans, New Seasons, Wild Oats & Whole Foods. Expect to pay a tidy supplement over Winco but sometimes if you're looking for high quality produce its where to go.

                I believe that there is a Food Front going into the old Wild Oats location in Hillsdale really soon. May be a good choice when it opens.

                Bottom line is that for everyday shopping you'll probably end up shopping close to where you live/work except for specialty items.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Roy

                  Winco is great for produce.
                  I also agree with the Barbur Market rec, they have a good amount of produce. Its has many different ethinc food ingredients (great pita, spices, picked things etc) a deli with many Lebanese choices but no olive and cheese section though. Its in Tigard on the way to Winco and Costco (Costco has decent prices on cheese inlcuding 2 types of Feta -cow and sheep the last time I was there) - about about $2-3 per pound.

                  1. re: Michaelene

                    Winco is great, but i love Grande Foods its a full size hispanic grocery store with a great great produce section, lots of very local produce and fruit from south america. But there in Cornelius (between forest grove(me) and hillsboro). but there usually cheaper than winco on seasonal local stuff, I just got local golden delisous apples for $0.40/lbs. if your every out there check it out, they also have a full size bakery and hot fresh food- made fresh tamales and tortilla

                2. You should definitely try to make it over to Barbur World Foods. I'm curious why this wasn't one of your stops. They also have a smaller store on SE 80th and Stark (or Washington) at the Ya Hala restaurant (which is very good). There is a small European market on Hawthorne and 19th but I haven't shopped there, you may check it out if you're in the neighborhood (across from Castagna).