Phoenix Ranch Market vs. El Super?
October, 2012 -- I have been shopping at the El Super at E Thomas Rd & 32nd St for about a year. The produce section is AWESOME! Quality is generally excellent, prices are even cheaper than almost all of Sprouts produce (big exception - bell peppers, not matter what color). It is great for onions, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, carrots, tomatoes, bananas, cilantro, occasionally red chard, cabbage, occasionally green beans.
I shop the beef specials at the El Super fresh meat counter. Sometimes the same items are available for less in the packaged meat section but you will find a lot of hidded fat and bone in those meat trays. I get to practice my Spanish with the clerks at the counter and to pick out exactly the piece of meat I want and choose the quantity.
I used to purchase excellent pork at El Super. No more. They changed suppliers to a branded company that pre-brines the pork. There is no warning sign on the pork products -- I just noticed a tiny logo in the pork listing in the ads. So twice I purchased unknowingly -- first time I salted lightly and it was almost inedible. Second time I didn't salt but it was still too salty and had that over-processed texture from brining. I have high blood pressure so I have to control my salt intake.
With so many Hispanics having high blood pressure problems, I think it is irresponsible of El Super to sell processed "fresh" pork, especially without warning signs at the counter.
Because of the smell, I do not purchase fish at the El Super fish counter.
Except for a small can of chipotle sauce, I do not purchase packaged foods at El Super because the prices are horrible. I also do not purchase bread or sweets from the bakery because the former are made with white flour and the latter we don't eat anyway.
The corn tortillas are fresh made and incredibly inexpensive. I buy them because they do not contain preservatives like the ones in the grocery store. If you need a small package, keep looking -- you will find it.
re: Sarah C
There was an article about Hispanic grocery stores in the Valley, and they mentioned that El Super opened four or five weeks ago (51st Avenue and Indian School). They also said another Ranch Market will open at 33rd Avenue and Indian School. Also, Food City is building their first ground-up store at 7th Avenue and Southern. You might be able to do a find on the net for the article in the Arizona Republic ("Extras Strongest Tools in Latino Grocer Wars").
If you do check it out, write a new post, since this may be down on the list by the time you get there. I thought I'd check it out this weekend, but I didn't have time and I'm now heading out of town for the week. Thanks ahead of time if you do write up something.