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Best produce in Calgary during the winter months?

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graemejw Nov 23, 2008 02:36 PM

Who do you go to for your fruit & veg? Which store/market has the best selection at the best price?

I was in a "high end" store yesterday & was shocked at how mouldy and poor a lot of the produce was......

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  1. sharonanne Nov 23, 2008 04:12 PM

    I haven't found one that has it all. I hit Safeway and Superstore for the regular stuff, CFM is a splurge since I once found something I was looking for at one third the price at Sunterra. I would have thought Sunterra was expensive till that experience. Their selection isn't all that great though but I do like to check them out occasionally.

    I really like Planet Organic (the staff are so happy) but they can be weak on selection and when I feel like wandering further afield I like T&T. They have a pretty good selection even beyond standard Asian ingredients.

    I've found organic cilantro lasts so much longer than the (what is the opposite of organic, surely not inorganic in this case?) that it is worth paying more for. Therefore sometimes I'll pay more up front to save in the long run. Your mileage may vary.

    Never buy prepared green beans at Safeway. They always go bad almost immediately whereas the Costco ones don't. Not sure if that is due to the way they manage the stuff or reflects a higher turnover. Costco can be cheaper but, again, has a very specific selection.

    1. sweeterpea Nov 23, 2008 07:22 PM

      I go to a variety of places too. This past week Amaranth and Blush Lane had beautiful organic baby bok choy . In fact Blush Lane (Aspen Woods location) had some lovely stuff. Sometimes you have to hit places on the right day. I found our local Costco ( Beacon HIll) had a very poor selection of produce this past week. If this helps, I have consistently found the best days for produce at Superstore are on Thursdays.

      1. sarah galvin Nov 23, 2008 07:46 PM

        I like the produce at Co-op and i also shop at Sunterra. That's it. I don't like Safeway. I will sometimes go to T & T

        1 Reply
        1. re: sarah galvin
          sharonanne Nov 23, 2008 10:33 PM

          I only do Safeway for air miles. The family has been to Japan (x2 for my son) , Chicago, SF, and other flights that escape me atm.

        2. a
          aktivistin Nov 24, 2008 11:07 AM

          I agree with sharonanne about organic cilantro (and flat-leaf parsley)—the extra $1 usually means an extra 3 weeks of life for the bunch of herbs. I pick up my organic cilantro and parsley from Blush Lane or Community Natural Foods.

          For Chinese green leafy vegetables like choi sum, gai lan, etc., Hang Fung Foods in Chinatown is my go-to place. The vegetables in the front section of the store are AWFUL (dry, tasteless, etc.) but the green leafy vegetables in the very back of the store and the melons/squashes and eggplant in the middle of the store are excellent, very fresh, and much more reasonably priced than even Superstore.

          I get pre-peeled garlic and Thai basil from T&T, carrots from Lund's in CFM, tomatoes from Gull Valley in CFM, and most of my other produce from Safeway and Superstore (onions, potatoes, avocados, apples, parsnips, and pears from Superstore; mushrooms, grapes, lettuces, green beans, and Brussels sprouts from Safeway).

          3 Replies
          1. re: aktivistin
            c
            cmanten Nov 24, 2008 02:50 PM

            How long does the pre-peeled garlic last you?? I'm always tempted to buy it and then don't.

            1. re: cmanten
              a
              aktivistin Nov 24, 2008 03:57 PM

              I think about 4 weeks or so. There is a lot of garlic in one package--the last few cloves usually shrivel away before we can get to them.

              1. re: aktivistin
                KcM Nov 28, 2008 07:52 AM

                Peeled garlic is great for throwing in the food pro and then dumping into a mason jar w/ some oil for easy access during the week (more for the sake of not getting garlic smell on the hands and knife than saving the time of chopping it as you need), though the jar'ed garlic will have a slightly different taste than fresh.

                However, most of the peeled garlic that I've seen is unfortunatly imported from China, and what's the point of buying organic if I contribute a bucket of C02 just getting it here. So, CFM to the rescue...last, last weekend we picked up some Alberta garlic at the Cherry Pit; plump, super tasty and lasted the week without sprouting (the bane of safeway and superstore garlic), we were pretty chuffed.

                Does anyone know how often or how long or where Alberta garlic is generally available?

          2. c
            cmanten Nov 24, 2008 02:50 PM

            I was amazed when we moved to Calgary a few years ago how quickly produce goes bad here!! That being said, I also find it sad that I tend to have to shop at 8 different stores in the city to get what I need.

            I'm across the street from T&T - I use it for mint, basil, asian pears, mushrooms, leeks, bok choy and cabbage. Superstore for potatoes, carrots, and the more mundane things. Green beans and grapes from costco and Safeway for whatever I can't find at Superstore that looks decent.

            4 Replies
            1. re: cmanten
              howlin Nov 24, 2008 06:34 PM

              t and t dosent have potatoes and grapes?what gives .is it the quality of the produce?the gas savings alone whould make t&t a one stop shop.i like superstore but standing in line for an hour at the till negates that option

              1. re: howlin
                c
                cmanten Nov 25, 2008 05:09 AM

                I'm the type of person who doesn't sleep in much - so Superstore at 7:30 on a Saturday morning = no lineups. Perfect for me :)

                1. re: cmanten
                  sharonanne Nov 25, 2008 06:26 AM

                  Oh wow! They didn't used to open till 9. That will teach me to check the hours more often than every 10 years.

                  I cannot understand 10 deep line-ups at the self checkouts. I keep hearing Galen Weston saying "long line-ups; worth switching supermarkets for" in my head.

                  1. re: sharonanne
                    maplesugar Nov 27, 2008 10:21 PM

                    Frequent Superstore shopper here - I use self checkout about 9x out of 10.

                    I find at the cashiers I have a higher probability of having a "price dispute" in front of me....the kind that requires the cashier to get someone on the phone, have them go find the item and price check, only to have the customer who was quibbling over $0.50-$1 decide they don't want whatever it is no matter what the price tag. Most people lining up in self checkout want to get in, and get out and don't seem concerned with sale prices they may have misread while shopping....

                    I will say, I do avoid self checkout when I see someone lined up with a cart that's full to the brim. Somehow in the last upgrade, our superstore did away with the 25 items or less sign on the self scan tills.., BIG mistake imho... because it never fails...the customer with the full cart is customer who doesn't understand how self scan works.

            2. a
              Albertagirl Nov 27, 2008 09:59 PM

              I try to get to CFM on Sundays, and buy the big bags of Pink Lady or Honey Crisp apples (the name of the place escapes me atm, it is on your left if you are walking in the middle main door. Sometimes you have to ask for the bags. I search around in the other produce stalls for who has the nicest looking potatoes and carrots, and whatever looks good. In March or so, when they re-open, Gull Lake has tomatoes that rival some of the best summer tomatoes you can get, short of growing your own. Community Natural Foods usually has great kale and chard through the winter. I cruise the produce section of Safeway for organics when there buying cream and household basics. A lot of times it's pretty boring, but they often have great Italian parsley (the only kind, imho) If you are looking for rapini, which I often seem to, Superstore seems to always have it. They often have bags of organic lemons, and watercress and nice big bunches of mint (not those small plastic packs) sharonann is right, there doesn't seem to be one place that has it all.

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