Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Jul 27, 2009 04:28 PM

So this Billerica woman walks into a Somerville Market Basket . . .

I had an appointment off Somerville Ave, a couple blocks away from a Market Basket. My kid wanted some sweet plantains so I figured we'd swing in to MB and get some.

This Billerica woman was in for a mighty shock. First, there is no swinging into MB. Parking is a chaotic tangle of carts, cars going every which way, people strolling wherever, what a mess! I quickly acclimated to the drive style and shot to the other side of the lot and beat out another car for a spot. We walked in the store and headed for the produce aisle. What fun! Sugar cane, yuca root, pile sof plantains both green and yellow, lemongrass, and many oddly formed and colored produce I had never seen before. The melons were actually ripe, the greens fresh and with a snap to the leaves. The only rotting produce I saw was in the organic produce section.

Massive bags of rice blocking one aisle, A huge bag of still hot corn tortillas for $1.19. Nicely cleaned and fresh squid. We kept looking and discovering and exclaiming. There were five people working behind the deli counter. I actually got waited on immediately!

It was so crowded with no one seeming to pay attention to the people behind them as they held upl traffic to peruse the grapes or what-have-you. All the different ethnic groups and languages and dress -- much more interesting than shopping in Billerica.

Half of the aisles were taken up with stock. That drove me crazy. Loved so much of the rest of it, though. The produce aisles were a dream come true with great prices.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Cool.

    Somerville Market Basket: "We're not in Kansas any more."

    1. Ah, good memories! I used to live in Union Square and shopped there all the time. It's a lot easier if you can walk and not have to deal with their insane parking lot.

      To this day it's the only place I've ever seen fresh-picked (unbrined) olives for sale. I bought some of course, (how could I not?) with no idea what I was going to do with them. They ended up as cat toys.

      1 Reply
      1. re: BobB

        Go to Russo's and you will see fresh olives for sale (in season, of course). They also regularly carry all the other produce that the OP mentioned, except I can't remember seeing anything organic there, rotting or otherwise, with the recent exception of some bananas. They were the same price as regular bananas and in perfect condition.

      2. I love this. As others have pointed out, the day-time stocking helps to keep the prices so low as they don't have to pay 3rd shift to stock out of customers' way. It's a pain to move around them, but if you take a xanax before you hit the parking lot you'll do just fine.

        3 Replies
        1. re: yumyum

          I advise wearing flip-flops - makes you walk slower than, say, sneakers. Helps for the downshift that is really necessary to peacefully negotiate the Basket.

          1. re: Bob Dobalina

            Sneakers are almost a must to get any traction on the sawdust they spread all over the floor!

            1. re: TokyuFoodShow

              That's exactly my point! Need to really slow myself down from the typical power-walk through the supermarket.

        2. I found it 100x more pleasant when I did my grocery shopping wearing an iPod. And having recently had a margarita.

          It's not just stockers blocking the aisles. Plenty of Somerville MBers do the weekly shop with three generations of family, and it's at a stroll-on-the-Malecon pace.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dulce de leche

            I am always amazed at the new and varied ways people find to block an entire aisle with just one person and one cart.

          2. I had a friend who called that Market Basket "The League of Nations"