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Valley Natural Foods

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Does anyone have experience with Valley Natural Foods in Burnsville? My wife and I stopped in after driving by yesterday, and were pretty impressed by the selection and prices. We don't tend to be co-op shoppers because parking is either rough, or they seem to be pretty expensive. We live in S. Mpls, and while Burnsville is out of the way, we're sometimes in that area, and I'd rather deal with that drive than with parking at the Wedge. Mississippi Market on W. 7th is convenient, but their prices seem high.

For those familiar with Valley Natural, how does it stack up against place like the Wedge, Seward, Linden Hills, and Mississippi Market?

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  1. I find their freshness, prices, customer service, and selection all to be lacking when compared to, for example, the Wedge.

    1. This opened this weekend:

      http://www.lakewinds.com/locations/ri...

      5 Replies
      1. re: american_idle

        Thanks! I have been looking forward to this. Have you been there?

        1. re: sandylc

          I was busy all weekend, but my fiancee (who is in the industry) went and said it was really nice, fairly large. They had rambutans, which you don't see in non-Asian grocers often. No interesting wild mushrooms (yet, hopefully). She brought home a carrot cake whoopee pie which was pretty tasty, and some fancy blueberry soda. She didn't shop as it was crushed with people, parking overflowed to adjacent lots / side streets.

          1. re: sandylc

            I dropped by briefly on Saturday. It's a big store, very nicely decorated. The produce section was a bit small, I thought, proportionally. Meat and seafood counters were nice. A substantial cheese area. There's also a salad bar and hot foods bar.

            I didn't shop very much, but prices that I saw were reasonable. One peeve -- and this is a personal one, I admit -- is that they have what seems like a lot of space devoted to "natural remedies", essential oils, fancy soaps, and the like. This occupied a big chunk of real estate in the center of the store, similar to the layout you find at Whole Foods. I'd rather see that space devoted to more food.

            1. re: Jordan

              Agree. Almost none of that stuff A) does anything or is B) regulated. But it's super profitable.

              1. re: american_idle

                I guess it's what they put there since they can't have wine.

        2. Valley is my co-op stop if I need groceries and I have other errands in the area. I have no issues with it. It's no Wedge, but no co-op in The Cities is Wedge (though, honestly, *any* of them are easier to shop at than Wedge).

          Valley seems to have a bigger selection of baking ingredients than most co-ops I visit. I'm not a baker, so it's not a draw for me, but that might appeal to others. There seems to have been a shift over the past few years to more deli/prepared foods, but I can't easily think of anything I wanted to buy at Valley that they didn't have.

          Another alternative for folks in south Minneapolis is Seward Coop on Franklin. Their new(ish) store is on the larger side for TC co-ops and parking is not usually a treasure hunt (IME).

          I can't speak to relative expense of Miss Market (my home co-op) or other co-ops, as my nearest alternatives are Whole Paycheck, Kowalski's, and Lund's and they all seem to have higher prices for similar products and don't follow the co-op model.

          1 Reply
          1. re: steve_in_stpaul

            I agree that the Wedge can be challenging! But we go at least twice a month, and just drive right into the lot and miraculously always find a spot for the car....!

            We like Mississippi Market, Linden Hills, etc., too, but they are more expensive.

            There are good prices to be found at the Wedge; not on everything, but if you know prices and shop carefully, you can do very well.