Friday, January 30, 2015

My Grocery Stores


Do you ever think about the grocery stores you shop at and what they say about you? I wonder if you, like me, have multiple stores that you frequent at different times throughout the month. Or maybe you're a loyal customer to just one store. Let me tell you, I go to four stores throughout the month, and two stores about every other month. And each store has its own personality.

Once a week, I do have loyalties to the Mill Valley General Store. It's minutes away, and it carries local eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, vegetables, fruit, fair trade bananas, and has a fantastic bulk section. But I'll be honest, some items are pricey. The store is small with two employees who have watched Evelyn grow up, but I can't get everything there. They are my place for milk and yogurt and various other items, depending on my mood. When I go there, I feel like the do-gooder, the hippie, the granola girl who loves to support local businesses. I also feel like they know me, and they know other customers who I know. We chit chat about other moms and their kids who are friends with Evelyn. That kind of place.

In the beginning of the month, I hit up Trader Joe's. They have the best prices on dried fruit, nuts, and cheese. When I shop here, I feel like I'm posing for a suburbanite (since it's in the suburbs). I get the little cup of coffee and try the free sample. Evelyn pushes around a little shopping cart. We stock up on the things that are good prices, mostly resist the other things that we don't need, and spend a chunk of money. I always feel like I'm set when I come home and put the groceries away from TJ's. So many staples to last us the month.

Whole Foods used to happen more frequently until I got wise about our food budget. Whole Foods has supplements, fair trade flowers (and many other fair trade items), and a few brands of things that I prefer but can't get elsewhere. Shopping here elevates me. I have status. I am an urban mom who started doing yoga and makes her own broth, and let me show you how much I care about the food I put into my family's mouths. Whole Foods really has that vibe going on, and I soak it in. Then I get to the check out, see my total bill, and remember why I only come here once a month.

Lastly is the humble Giant. This is the Mid-Atlantic version of Market Basket (which I grew up with in Massachusetts). It's your general grocery store where you can get a huge variety, but I have to read all the labels to rule out ingredients that I'd rather not have. I tend to go here near the end of the month when my food budget is almost maxed out. The workers are nice, the store has started carrying a surprising amount of organic items, and they do have the best price on organic brown rice that I've found anywhere. When I go here, I love paying the bill. The discount card works its magic, and I really feel like I get a lot for what I spend. Just last weekend I received a $5 off coupon when I spend $40 or more, and it was perfect timing. I went the following morning and feel like I got free cheddar out of the deal when I used my coupon. I feel very responsible when I shop at Giant.

I go to two other stores sparingly. The first is Wegman's, where I buy a huge block of Cabot sharp cheddar. That's it! It's an amazing price. (And then I go to the children's consignment shop down the street.)

The second store is Trinacria. Ah, Trinacria. Would that each of you had your own version of Trinacria. It is a downtown Italian deli and market that has been in existence since 1908. From the outside, it looks like nothing. You wonder if it's still even in business. On the inside, the deep and narrow store is filled to the brim with imported pastas, condiments, sweets, house made tomato sauce, freezers of house made lasagnas and raviolis, Italian meats, olives, cheese, and, my main reason for going, $4 bottles of wine. Seriously. When I go here, I feel like a kid in a candy shop. I also feel like a city girl, which I love. As if Baltimore is my city, and I know the food secrets.

Those are my six stores. What about you? How many do you have? And which moods and personalities come out when you shop there?

I've been enjoying these recipes lately:

- Autumn Zuppa di Faglioli

- Ciabatta

- Sweet Potato Burgers

- Homemade Burger Buns

- Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

- Crockpot Vegetable Tofu Curry

Have a great weekend, everyone!




1 comment:

Jennifer Janesh said...

I love this post, Becky! I am going to take your advice on Trader Joes with the cheese, nuts and dried fruit, as I never make it there.

My favorite grocery store to shop at is MOM's Organic Market. They're a great local chain store that has a ton of integrity when it comes to sustainable, conscious business. I always find their fresh products to be superior to Whole Foods, or another organic/all natural food store that I've been to. They always have fresh coffee, tea and other beverages out for samples (or you can do like me and bring your own mug and fill up! No charge!) and their staff are super helpful and kind! Always, they'll carry your groceries out to your car for you, which is so helpful when you bring the little ones.

They also have all sorts of "green" initiatives like compostable paper product and produce bags; recycling for old xmas lights, batteries, jeans and more; they'll inflate your tires for you once a month; wind powered buildings; they don't sell bottled water but instead have the filtered water machines where you can fill up resuable jugs; and I am sure more than I am not aware of. I am not a super-green person, but I TRY! and shopping here makes me feel a little better about the money I spend!

On the consciousness side of things, they recently stopped selling products that market to kids, which I very much support (read about it here: http://scottscompostpile.com/2012/08/02/low-blow/).

I end up spending more here than I may at Giant, but I've found (in the little looking into it that I've done) that prices for the organic foods at Giant are more expensive than the organic foods at MOMs. Probably has to do with MOM's being an exclusively all natural store, so they can push more product than Giant, or something of that nature.

... MOM's should hire me to market for them, don't you think?!

Anyway, we usually go to the one in Timonium which is a little bit of a drive, but they are set to open a new store at the Rotunda in Hampden this fall!! so excited for that ;-)