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Berries are too expensive

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  • Momo Jun 20, 2006 02:21 PM
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Anyone know where I can get berries (blueberries, raspberries, etc) for cheap--I hate those little clear plastic squares filled with berries that are sold at supermarkets around town, and they're often too expensive for the quality! Thank you.

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  1. Often Trader Joe's has those clear plastic squares for a fraction of the price found at other grocery stores.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rastan

      Agree... TJs is a good source in season. However, if you've ever picked berries, you might come to believe that they're worth the going price!

    2. Farmer's Market at 3rd & Fairfax almost always has cheap berries.

      3 Replies
      1. re: floorpie742

        2nd. will have the same small cube, but for a dollar or $1.50

        1. re: j

          yes, the permanent farmer's market at 3rd and fairfax usually in season has blackberries and rasberries at 1 dollar each for a container, which is a lot cheaper than the roving farmer's markets around town.

          1. re: j

            yes, the permanent farmer's market at 3rd and fairfax usually in season has blackberries and rasberries at 1 dollar each for a container, which is a lot cheaper than the roving farmer's markets around town.

        2. Go to your local farmer's market on whatever day may be appropriate. Better berries, yet maybe not a lot cheaper, yet they are often in baskets that are much larger than those awful plastic things, and thus better value by weight.

          1. Pavilions currently has blueberries for $2.50 (small box), California grown-- I try to always buy Calif. produce and fruit. In general, I find supermarket berries on sale are cheaper than farmers markets. But when it comes to strawberries, I only buy at farmers mkts bc of huge difference in taste, not to mention varieties.

            And what's wrong with those plastic boxes? Gotta put the berries in something.

            1. Costco's blueberries are almost always cheaper than anywhere else.

              For two weeks every summer, the Safeways in Northern California sell huge 2.5 pound boxes of blueberries for $5.

              Blackberries and raspberries never seem to get very cheap.

              Strawberries are cheapest at the farmers' markets. Also, the farmers' markets are the only places where you can hope to ask for a dollar or two off if you buy a whole bunch. Often the signs will even say "one for $3, two for $5" or something similar.

              1 Reply
              1. re: nooodles

                The purveyors at the Farmers Markets I frequent (most often on Saturday at Pico/Cloverfeld in Santa Monica, returned from the SM Airport) seem in recent years to have adopted a fixed, agreed-upon pricing plan, especially for strawberries. May vary a little bit season to season, but when it is $2/basket or $5/flat at one, the posted prices are the same at all.

                Ralph's has strawberries at $1/lb this week. A couple of weeks ago, one of two packages I bought were extraordinary, very flavorful with almost no white unripend core, red and succulent all the way through.

              2. s
                Silverlake Bodhisattva

                It's been a bad crop year for berries, apparently; T.J.'s is out, for the moment of their regular frozen blueberries (probably thorugh August?!), and may be permanently out of the frozen Marionberries; the local TJ's manager informs me that it's a function of farm supply and prices...

                r gould-saltman

                1. Chinatown... the ones where the groceries are outside

                  You can get strawberries for 2lbs for $1.10

                  Thats real cheap. They probably won't have raspberries and blueberries though...

                  You can also try hispanic supermarkets

                  1. Is it just us, or do others agree that storebought strawberries in LA have been terrible-tasting this year? We've bought several flats at bloatedly-overpriced but usually reliable places like Gelsons and Bristol Farms; the berries have looked pretty but tasted awful, so awful that PoPJr., who likes nothing more than strawberries, refused to eat them, even after I tossed them with sugar and vanilla powder. And I had to agree--they were useless. Another time I tried blending them into banana milk, they just ruined it. Ended up throwing away most of each batch, and swore off storebought for the year. The only decent strawberries we've found so far this year were at the Century City Farmers Market. As carter says, the prices are about the same but you might get more berries for your money and certainly they will taste better.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: PayOrPlay

                      I don't even bother with store-bought berries anymore. If I can't get them at the farmers' markets, I just skip them. I don't want to spend my money on an inferior product.

                      That said, even the farmers' market berries have been a bit underwhelming this year. The heavy rains we had in mid-late spring doomed a good portion of the crops. There were a couple of weeks when the folks from Harry's Berries (a very popular FM purveyor) didn't even bother showing up to the markets because they didn't have enough crop to make the trip worthwhile.

                      But when I have been able to get them, they've been quite good. Got some very flavorful Gaviota berries from Harry's last Saturday in Pasadena.

                      As for other berries, again I rely on the FM where I can sample the week's goods and make an informed buying decision.

                      1. re: Jack Flash

                        Nicely stated. I have not bought store bought strawberries in several years for that very reason. The Studio City farmer's market on Sunday gives me a selection of purveyors and berries of all stripes that I can taste test, and then determine where taste and value coincide.

                        1. re: carter

                          they're the best, period.

                          1. re: adrian

                            as for harry's berries, they always seem to be quite overpriced at 4 bucks for each little plastic pint box, or 3 for 11, and they are good at times, but some of the other market stands have the goods for 2 a box, and there just as good. and i think it's mostly because of the name that harry's demands those prices, but i don't think they are really better.

                            1. re: kevin

                              Most of the other purveyors sell the Camarosa variety, which just isn't as good as either the Seascape or Gaviota varieties sold by Harry's. If there are others selling "alternative" varieties, they need to do a better job of advertising it.

                              1. re: Jack Flash

                                I agree with Jack Flash.....the Camrosa was developed to be a more sturdy berry, so it ships well (but gives up taste). Harry's still grows and sells the old Seascape and Gaviota varieties, which don't ship so well (but that does not matter when you don't ship them far). Unfortunately, the late spring rains this year did not help out the berry crop.

                              2. re: kevin

                                I disagree. There may be some weeks when some vendor has a better berry than Harry, but Harry's berries are consistently the tastiest in the market. Harry's has no equal IMO.

                      2. Actually, I have found the strawberries and rasp/black berries at the Encino gelson's to be OK..not stellar. The encino farmer's market is better, though.

                        The cheapest and best is to find a pick-your-own. More fun, too.

                        1. Strawberries are in-season right now, I believe -- so you'd probably get some really good ones for reasonable prices at your local farmers' markets.

                          As for blueberry/raspberry, I tend to buy mine frozen since I only eat them few and far between and the fresh ones tend to go bad before I can finish them. And the frozen stuff is usually at a reasonable price and, if properly defrosted, don't taste half-bad at all. (Trader Joe's versions are my fave.)

                          1. On the whole I find T.J.'s fruit to be of lower quality. I don't want their multi pack where at least 1 out of 4 is spoiled! I'd prefer to buy at Gelson's if I can't get to the farmer's market and sample myself. At least at Gelson's the produce men won't steer you wrong!

                            1. w
                              wow i'm a dog

                              support your local farmers and go to your farmers' markets! you'll find the quality much better and you'll be helping the local economy, too. in fact, last weekend at the farmers' market, i paid $5 for a pack of blueberries grown in santa barbara. when i was shopping at whole foods, i noticed their berries were $4.99 and were from farther away. you can really make a difference by supporting your local farmers.

                              Link: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...

                              1. Check out Costco.
                                This month's issue of Costco Connection monthly article "Buying Smart" feature is their fresh blueberries *(see link to article). Tells you how the blueberries are harvested and what the Costco requirements are from their growers.
                                Costco's guarantee is if you don't like something return it for a full refund...even your membership.

                                Link: http://www.costcoconnection.com/conne...

                                1. Forget Gelsons! Especially if you are anywhere near the Westside...

                                  Marina Farms is a family run produce store with a wide array of varieties and great quality and prices.

                                  Marina Farms
                                  Address: 5454 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066
                                  Phone: (310) 827-3049

                                  1. Often, I shop toward the end of the local farmer's market. Many smaller vendors will lower prices then, especially if you're buying several items. Although, selection is not as good then - so it doesn't work if I'm chasing some exotic yummy thang.

                                    However, at our farmer's markets - you'll buy what is seasonally available. If you *must* have something that has had a bad growing season or is out of season, then I recommend Marina Farms, or frozen.

                                    As you may know, prices at farmer's markets closely reflect the true cost of growing/selling our food.

                                    Also, I think that the quality is far above the supermarket or Costco (This is particularly relevant to me since I have no interest in standing in the Costco/Trader Joe's/Ralphs return line with inferior produce.)

                                    1. The quality of Harry's Berries has really deteriorated over the last 2 seasons. I bought a flat today at the Pasadena fm and we had to throw out a significant portion of them -- brown, dully, mushy ones -- and they appeared to have been hidden under the top layer. I don't know if hb's press has gone to their heads or if they've spread themselves too thin -- I used to swear by them, but now we'll shop elsewhere.