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February 22, 2010

How many stores do you visit to do your grocery shopping?

We were having this discussion with some friends last week.  They recently stopped shopping at Trader Joe’s because they’ve decided it’s not that great (gasp!), and have replaced it with our neighborhood grocery store (a Food Source), in addition to farmer’s market and our local Co-op.  They also grow some of their own food.

On a weekly basis we currently stop in at Trader Joe’s, the Co-op, and farmer’s market.  Every few weeks we end up at Mercado Loco, the Mexican market down the street, for beer, chips, paletas or something equally healthy.  We will occasionally stop in at Food Source or Safeway if we need something really basic and it’s past business hours at one of the other stores.  If we had more money we could probably cut Trader Joe’s out of the loop, but right now it’s sort of a necessary evil for certain foods (organic pastas, bread, yogurt, etc).  We end up buying things like tea, bulk grains, and other dry goods at the Co-op when they are on sale because they end up cheaper than Trader Joe’s.  And most of our produce comes from the farmer’s market.  I have to say that this time of year that drops off because the variety of organic produce you can purchase at our farmers market goes way downhill over the winter.  Even though a huge amount of organic food is grown around Sacramento, farmers can make more off of it if they sell it in Davis and the bay area so not much lands here.

The inside of our fridge. Click the picture to see more details!

Of course, we’re also growing some food (chard, arugula, broccoli, leeks, and lemons right now).  And our chickens have decided to start laying eggs again.  They just started again last week after a two month break, and today we had five eggs again!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Dad permalink
    February 22, 2010 4:42 pm

    We planted a late-winter/early-spring crop yesterday: two kinds of heirloom beets, broccoli raab, french radishes, other radishes, turnips, blood carrots, some other kind of heirloom carrot, etc. We also have arugula, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and other stuff that’s almost ready. I have a third bed that I’m hoping to plant later this week with cool-weather stuff, but I need to add a few cubic feet of vermiculite first — not enough mineral content in our beds.

    As for TJ’s….for me, the petals are falling off of the flower. Ours is just too damned crowded — it’s like Wal-Mart for hipsters. With Holiday carrying so much organic stuff now, much of it locally grown, TJ’s is turning into a place to buy a box of everyday wine and some staples. I’m glad we have one now, but…

  2. February 23, 2010 12:37 am

    I do most of my shopping at the Davis Food Co-op and supplement it with trips to the farmer’s market and Nugget. Very rarely when I’m desperate I’ll go to Save Mart or Safeway.

    I find that most of the produce at the Co-op is local, organic and mostly affordable but I do try to get some straight from the farmers at the market. I also get eggs at the market, although the chickens at my school are starting to produce again so that might change soon. Every few months I find myself near a Trader Joe’s and I stock up on similar cheap essentials like you.

  3. Tom permalink
    February 23, 2010 9:21 am

    To your dad’s comments about TJ’s– “It’s like Wal-Mart for hipsters”–I’ll add it is the Wal-Mart of natural foods. I have a yelp review somewhere that blasts them for having lousy (over-packaged) produce, bread and dry-goods. Also, I know they use Wal-Mart-like strong-arming when they deal with suppliers. I have a friend who works at Knudsen and Son’s here in Chico where they make all the TJ’s brand “Sparkling” juices (blueberry, cranberry etc…you’ve seen em) He’s told me tales of manipulation, greed, and how they pay far below market value for certain ingredients promising a profit in volume…it’s a stretch. It also bothers me that those products traveled over 3000 miles to end up in a store 2 miles from where it was produced. They do have good prices on cheese though.

    In the end, it doesn’t make sense (to me) to go to 3 different stores just because one store has cheaper milk than the other…the time, travel and gas make it a wash.

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