Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Five: Trader Joe's

Sophia at RevGalBlogPals has temptation coming her way! She reports:

"Gals and pals on the West and East coasts, and a few spots in between, may know of Trader Joe's--a quirky, well-stocked, well priced semi-gourmet store that attains near cult status among some. I discovered it through my Aunt Judy, who always brought a couple of their desserts to holiday parties....The best was a chocolate ganache torte that had my four year olds begging for it (and among the only four year olds on the planet to know what ganache is, presumably).

My family has happily Trader Joe'd in southernmost California, up to the Northwest, and back down to southern Cal. And now we're really excited because today a brand new Trader Joe is opening up across the street from our apartment. Wahoo! There are sure to be lots of tasty free samples on opening day and from now on we can just walk across the street to get a lot of our shopping done. I have a new spiritual directee coming tomorrow and she has already mentioned that she'll be stopping in on the way here, leaving me to be jealous cause I'll be spending that noon hour like, praying and preparing and study-vacuuming and everything, and won't be able to stop in till the afternoon.

So in honor of the new Trader Joe's, this week's Friday Five is all about food shopping.

1. Grocery shopping--love it or hate it?
I lean toward the "love" side, mostly. I don't like to do it in a rushed manner, I like to look at all the interesting things for sale, check labels and unit pricing, and generally just appreciate it. When I travel, I enjoy seeing the different things in supermarkets in different areas of the country.

2. Who is the primary food shopper in your household?
It's hard to say because I usually write the list, whether I'm actually going along or not. Onkel Hankie Pants doesn't fit the stereotype of the male grocery shopper -- he generally just buys what's on the list, so to avoid temptation I sometimes let him go alone.

3. Do you have a beloved store like TJ's which is unique to your location or family?
There is nothing like Trader Joe's here as far as I know, the closest one is somewhere near Boston. Our Hannaford's supermarket is quite good, but what I really appreciate are our meat market, Bisson's, a vertically-integrated business (that is, they actually raise the beef and pork, cut it, and sell it, and Grandmere makes the meat pies); the Sausage Kitchen in another nearby town with a great variety of sausage; and the farmer's markets where, in addition to vegetables and fruit, we can get local cheese, relishes and preserves. The natural foods store on the corner and even the supermarket also carry breads from local bakers. And an old friend of my father's has a seafood business on the wharf. By the way, Bisson's also has dairy, and their heavy cream is really, really heavy!

4. How about a farmer's market, or CSA share, as we move into summer? Or do you grow your own fruits/veggies/herbs?
I've never quite been brave enough to do the CSA thing, but the farmer's market is great. We have one twice a week on the Mall (most New England towns would call it the Green or the Common, but ours is the Mall), which I can walk to, another one on Saturdays at a local CSA farm/educational place, and other nearby towns have them too on other days. In blueberry season we know a place on Rte. 1 where there's a great farm stand, and soon it will be time to visit the pick-your-own strawberry place.

5. What's the favorite thing you buy at the grocery store?
I'd have to say --- coffee and tea. We could not grow these ourselves here, nor could anyone else. I would miss bananas and citrus fruit, but maybe I could go on without them, but coffee and tea are where our locavore principles really break down. We get Wicked Joe coffee, which is locally roasted just down the bike path.


Sally said...

I am with you on the coffee and tea thing, I love good coffee and good tea, and local they are not, but I do buy fair trade where possible.

angela said...

We, too, like to visit grocers when we are visiting or just traveling. Each place as some new variety or quick something for little one to try. She says "I try."

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

jeepers there's lots of nifty shops in your area!

Sophia said...

That meat market sounds awesome. I get cage free eggs, and chicken when I can, but wish I had a way to get other meat that is humanely raised.