How Many Food Stores?
How many food stores/grocery stores/markets do you all shop in regularly? To find the food you want to cook with, are you driving every which way? Do you drive to get good prices, too?
I just counted up nine stores that our household frequents. This is just to buy staples for our household.
Wouldn't you love to plan your own grocery store and choose ALL of the products that they sell?
Why stop there, let's plan our own bakery and cheese shop, too...
TJ's, whole foods, 2 local groceries - one a larger super, one a smaller grocery, also go to asian store about every 2 weeks for fresh thai coconuts, and have lately been frequenting a farm stand for pastured eggs, local produce and cheeses (because i just can't seem to get to our local, wonderful farmers market). so, that's 6 in total.
Most regularly, as in week-in, week-out, not many! The local farmers' market (which is year-round) at least once a week. We get a weekly CSA box year-round as well, so those together take care of/dictate much of our produce needs. Then a nearby independent market that's known for its produce department, bulk section, and daily fresh bread selection from many local bakeries for most of grocery needs, including fish, meat, etc., and Trader Joe's for some staples at good prices (olive oil, grade B maple syrup, yogurt, chocolate, etc.). Occasional stops at an Italian specialty store, cheese shop, Asian and Middle Eastern markets, and a very occasional visit to WF for something not carried elsewhere.
re: Caitlin McGrath
Oh, and as for driving every which way, I'm not driving at all. One weekly farmers' market is about five blocks away, and that's also our CSA pickup site (the farm sells at that market), the independent supermarket where I do most shopping is a 15-minute walk, there's a TJ's just over a mile away with the Italian specialty store a couple of blocks more and another TJ's in an area where I'm often running other errands. WF is a 20-minute walk. The other markets I mentioned are easy on public transit.
Have 2 name-brand, full service supermarkets within a few miles... ACME and Shoprite. Have a Bottom Dollar... relatively no-frills... nice produce (good prices)... great prices on eggs/butter and other dairy items. Have a little Asian market that always has nice veggies, though limited selection. Did a little "drive" (maybe 5+ miles) to get to Produce Junction... total no-frills place with VERY nice selection and VERY nice prices.
If I had the choice to go to a NEW mall or a NEW market... food wins out every time!
There are four markets I shop at regularly: the closest one to me has the only milk I will buy and I buy most of my meats and produce there, and on Tuesdays they give seniors a 5% discount; another a few miles away is the only place I can get IBC Root Beer and Tate's Chocolate Chip Cookies; a smaller market in a completely different direction is the only place I'll buy chicken, as it's organic & on ice - not a foam shrink-wrapped package in sight; and a slightly more upscale supermarket (in yet another direction) when I want to splurge on some of their marvelous prepared foods.
Far less regularly, I'll drive to Trader Joe's for their crusty demi baguettes and whatever else strikes my fancy, visit a local meat packer that sells to the public, or swing by an Asian Food market for sauces.
I generally only shop one market in a trip, but fortunately they are all in a ten mile radius of my home.
1. Nat'l grocery store - as seldom as possible for paper and cleaning products. 2. Local (not chain) natural foods store. 3. Farmers market weekly 4. Small gourmet store for cheeses and french butter 5. Small independent grocery store, family owned 6. Local farmer for his really good eggs 7. Asian store about once a month 8. Local small wine store 9. Chain farm supply for dog food.
I will drive far and wide for quality items, not for prices.
Rightly or wrongly, I am suspicious of 'deals' on food.