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Feb 18, 2010 12:42 PM

What to stock up on at Trader Joe's when you don't live close by

Hopefully I have found the right place to post this.

I live an hour away from the closest Trader Joe's. There is a decent co-op in town but there are lots of items they don't carry and I usually have to wait until item goes on sale. I will be visiting the town soon for an event and I would like to stock up on some items I know I can only get at Trader Joe's. So I would like to ask a question to those of you lucky enough to shop at Trader Joe's frequently.

What items do you do you love and what can you not live without?

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  1. Wine is the first thing that comes to my mind, but then again, it usually is! :-) TJ has some incredible (I think) bargains in the $4 to $6 range. Other things that come to my mind are pita chips, blue corn tortilla chips, cereal and breakfast bars, they have a great tea tree oil shampoo that is a real bargain, honey crisp apples when they're in stock, hummus and chick pea salad (if you take a cooler), baguettes and other bread, cheese (ditto for the cooler)...

    10 Replies
    1. re: carolinadawg

      Sadly, Honey Crisp apples are out of season... I will miss them. Until next year...

      I would stock up on cheeses(their triple cream brie & Swiss gruyere rock), marcona almonds and all the other nuts and trail mixes and dried fruits. I enjoy their frozen fish, mushroom turnovers, carmelized onion & goat cheese puff pastry apps, and their water crackers are significantly cheaper (and just as good) than Carr's brand.

      Much of their cheap imported wines are swill, but occasionally they stock some good buys. I had found a good Amarone Valpolicella for like $16 bucks and you can stock up on some vinho verde for like $5/bottle in preparation for warmer weather.

      1. re: lynnlato

        I'm surprised by your wine comment. I almost exclusively buy their italians, and really enjoy them, especially the nero d'avola, montepulciano d'abruzzo (sp?), aglianico and prosecco. I don't think I've tried anything from other countries, though.

        1. re: carolinadawg

          I do get the Riondo prosecco when they have it. But generally speaking I believe there is a reason that many of their wines are $5/bottle.

        2. re: lynnlato

          LL: It's not a Honey Crisp but I am munching right now on a delicious Empire apple that I got at Harris Teeter for $0.99/lb. They may be gone but were in the "locally grown" section of the produce aisle. Gotta jump on anything in the HT produce section for $0.99/lb!!!

          I'm not the biggest Trader Joe's fan but they do have good prices on cheeses, staples like artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers, and various oils/vinegars/mustards.

          1. re: HungryGrayCat

            I haven't tried an Empire apple - I'll look tomorrow. I do miss the Honey Crisp apples. The produce dude had me sample the pink crisp (or something like that) and it paled in comparison to the HC. :-(

            1. re: lynnlato

              lynn, go into the Empire apple with low expectations. it's a hybrid of Red Delicious and McIntosh - nothing like Honeycrisp.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                EEK! No bueno. :-( GHG, the only other apple that comes even close to the Honeycrisp for me is Fuji. Do you have any others you love that might offer that tart, hard apple taste I love?

                1. re: lynnlato

                  yep - Pippin or Winesap.

                  i actually stopped eating Fujis because they're just not as flavorful as they used to be, and they're too big...and even the organic Honeycrisps i bought back in the Fall were tasteless. apples just aren't what they used to be :(

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I have been buying the organic fujis - the others are ridiculously large at 8-10 oz. Yes, all this engineered food has not been for the better. :-(

                    I'll try to find the pippin & winesap. Thanks for the suggestions!

                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Normally I would agree but this particular Empire was super crisp and sweet with a touch of tartness.

                  (Of course, they won't even be there now so it's probably a moot point.)

        3. this web sight might help plan your purchases;

          1. nuts. lemon curd. green olive tapenade. olive oil. corn-and-chile-tomatoless-salsa. all of these are shelf stable, so won't take up cooler space, and will last for a while in your pantry. (although i frezze nuts...but that's just me!)

            1 Reply
              1. Q. What should you stock up on?

                A. Virtually every single product you like - or even so much as think you may like - there.

                Q. Why?

                A. Because you're talking about Trader Joe's, a chain notorious for routinely and abruptly ceasing sales of a countless number of much-beloved items. If you try something at Trader Joe's and like it, don't be surprised if on your next visit they no longer carry it.

                Beyond that, as goodhealthgourmet suggested above, this discussion is bound to be just another thread about everyone's favorite TJ products.