A few questions about The Fresh Market - long
- free sample addict aka Tracy L Sep 25, 2013 04:34 PM
I could have sworn I posted this before, but I cannot find the post. Allergies have clouded my thought processes. Anyway, TFM just opened up today in my neighborhood. I paid them a visit and so far I am overwhelmed, but from what I sampled and what I saw I will definitely return. I have a few questions.
How are the fish/meat dishes that are semi prepared like the beef wellington, rolled chicken items and fish en croute?
Did the TFM in your area start out carrying a lot (as in an overwhelming array) of different foods and then scale back? Were the prices/sales good at first and then were prices raised after awhile?
How are the okra chips (they look very good)? I love fried okra, but $10 for a container is steep.
How are the cannolis?
So far I sampled and liked the honey roasted peanut butter, fresh squeezed OJ, zucchini bread, edamame cranberry salad and appetizer toast rounds.
The sushi, chicken salad, coffee, chocolate chip cookies were pretty average.
I wanted to sample the pie, but I was fearful I'd eat a whole one for dinner if I liked it. If the pies are good which varieties do you recommend (except for apple)?
Do their floral products have good longevity?
Lastly, what products do you recommend?
I have only been once and from what I remember they have really good store-made guacamole. I apologize that' snot the most helpful suggestion but I usually don't bother to make it but know that if I need some Whole Foods or Fresh Market will work. I also bought a few grass fed strip steaks which were fairly good. It seemed like the meat counter had some good buys, but the fish seemed a bit lacking
Get on their mailing list! Bogos on Tuesdays for the whole month! This month in my area was pork tenderloins, strip steak.
They do other sales too; like every Thursday if I remember right.
Everyone's likes are different. Try what you think you might like and get some regular items. We hit them every week or two.
I recently tried the okra chips I think. My SIL had a crunchy, very addictive okra thing she said was purchased at FM. It was really good! The texture reminds me of the pea pod snacks WF's, etc carry.
I have had very nice pies and sweet roll items from them. I have been disappointed in gorgeous tarts and individual pastries though.
Their prepared soups are good, especially the clam chowder and lobster bisque. Jalapeno pimento cheese is really good too!
I find their prices on the high side. My budget doesn't allow frequent trips to TFM. But they often have hard to find items. Their produce is very nice as are their meats. When I lived in the mountains TFM had the best fish for my area. Now I live closer to the coast and have many other options for fresh seafood.
The one thing we would go out of our way to buy there is the Homemade brand of ice cream. It truly tastes homemade, and with no stabilizers, it softens very quickly when it comes out of the freezer. Both the vanilla and the caramel cone flavors are fabulous.
TFM here has remained pretty consistent. I can't tell that they've scaled back. I haven't tried a lot of their prepared foods, but wasn't impressed with what I have tried. I did not care for their frozen pizza. Ditto the tiramisu and their chicken sausages. As a rule, their breads are not corner bakery quality but not bad. I've sampled several of their sweet breads and they are generally good. Kalamatas from the olive bar are very good. The okra chips are very good, but like you, I have a hard time paying that price. The malt balls are great; the peanut butter ones are addictive.
Their produce is expensive but usually much better than the other grocery stores here and they carry things I can't find elsewhere. Their prices on creminis and the 3-pack of Romaine hearts are usually better than Kroger.
The one product that I keep going back for regularly is their feta that they cut in-store and sell in brine. I refuse to buy prepackaged feta.
They carry a brand of ricotta that is superior to any other I've found. Sorry I can never remember the name. I like the Amish butter.
Things I watch for sales on: O champagne vinegar, Frantoia EVOO, the Amish butter.
We love Fresh Market. It's usually more expensive than Publix, but not quite as high (or as obnoxious) as Whole Foods. My wife loves the pillow cookies (almond or chocolate fillings), the garlic toast rounds, and this surf and turf pot pie-like thing in the fresh seafood section. I'm a big fan of their chopped liver, fried chicken, and dried fruit.
TFM opened in our area in VA several months ago and there are a few items they have that have become must stock for us. We're big fans of their baked in house breads (especially the sourdough). Their seafood and meat sales are also often very good. Frozen lobster tails, their "ultimate" crab cakes and salmon sales in particular are excellent. As someone else noted, they do BOGO on Tuesdays each months and around here they do serious sales each Saturday as well.
The flowers have been great for us. I haven't bought them really often but the three or four times I have they've lasted at least a week with no attention other than trimming and putting the in water with plant food when we get them home.
In so far as scaling back or prices going up, not that we've noticed at all. They have regular sales and the prices on their TFM branded stuff is very competitive.
Thank you all very much. I am having a great time trying out some of their products. The mixed vegetable chips and okra chips are located in the bulk section. They a both tasty, but I don't see buying them in the large quantities.
I am going shopping later today. Thanks again for your input.
re: free sample addict aka Tracy L
The fruit tarts are a must try,trust me they run out fast so if you know a day or so ahead of time you are going, call them and request them they will have them ready and hold them for you that goes for almost all departments,I live 80 miles away from mine so I call ask for the bakery dept put my order in they never fail to please.
I like their boneless chicken breasts. They're well-trimmed so I don't feel like I'm paying for chunks of fat I'll just have to cut away later, of good quality, and a steal when they're $2.99 a pound like they are Tuesdays this month.
More hits than misses in their bakery- I like their breads, tea biscuits, chocolate croissants, and scones.
Their store brand coconut water is tasty and a good value at $3.50-$3.99 a liter depending on whether it's on sale. (Name brands seem to be $5.49 a liter around here these days) I also like their store brand dried pasta, and don't blink at paying more for it than a national brand. Their house ice cream is good, but I was disappointed in their store brand gelato. IMO, Talenti is a lot better.
In my opinion (and I have tried quite a few items from there)...
Tuesday sales/Weekend sales/Monthly Sales - Inspirations flyer...go to their website and sign up to receive all of these for your local store.
Rotiserrie Chicken...love the Garlic and Herb Butter one especially.
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade in a quart
Fresh Squeezed Tangerine Juice (seasonal...November-February)
B/S chicken breasts...watch for Tuesday/monthly sales
Fresh Sweet Italian Pork Sausages
French Baguettes...if you arrive early in the morning they are warm and freshly made.....can't resist breaking into a loaf in the car and spread with Kerrygold butter. They are that good when warm.
Pound Cakes...especially their Cranberry Orange and Peach Raspberry (unfortunately VERY seasonal...but the Cranberry Orange ones should be available soon).
Cupcakes...a bit pricey but they are really good, my favorite being the yellow cake with chocolate icing.
Apple Pie is excellent and goes on sale often. Same goes for the Banana Nut Bread.
Sea Trout and Catfish...fresh but very seasonal
Applegate Farms Sunday Bacon - we stock up when they go on sale
Market Fresh Bacon...you can buy this buy the pound in the meat department - good quality.
Ground Lamb - hard to find where I live and the quality is good here. Same goes for the Lamb Stew Meat - they said it is cut from the Leg of Lamb.
Good selection of candy sold by the pound...it reminds me of a candy store in that section!
Fresh Market Blend as well as their Pumpkin and Hazelnut flavored coffees are all favorites here. Love the complimentary coffee samples they give out.
They stopped selling the Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs in the prepared foods section. So disappointed these were delicious!
Most of their prepared foods are meh and overpriced.
TFM Frozen Pizzas are not very good. Priced well when on sale but very meh.
I will chime in again to add that as a rule, the employees are very helpful and pleasant. The meat or fish clerks will cheerfully give you a small bag of ice if you ask for it. Something I wasn't aware of for a while is that you don't have to buy 3 of say a 3 for $10 deal. You get the sale price even if you only get 1.
Just a note about the friendly staff:
We went in one day during a horrendous downpour. When we finally jumped out of the car and ran in, there were several people hanging out in the entryway, hoping the rain would stop. There was an employee there with an umbrella who was offering to walk folks to their cars, which I thought was cool.
I honestly don't remember if she asked my boyfriend or my boyfriend asked her, but somehow he ended up going to get an elderly lady's car for her and bringing it up to the curb so she wouldn't get soaked. Apparently someone noticed, because halfway through our leisurely stroll through the store (during which the power went out and they ran off the generator) an employee came up and gave us a $10 gift card for helping her.
I haven't been able to make it back in there, but I definitely have a positive opinion of them from that trip.