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Where do you grocery shop?

January 17, 2011

My cousin just moved to a new city that has lots of grocery options that are new to her, and she asked me about where we shop.  I thought it’d be a great topic for the blog, particularly since I’d love to know where you do your grocery shopping, and what you buy where.

We are lucky to have access to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, a local co-op, Metcalfe’s Market (a local store with a huge produce area and great bakery), Brennan’s Market (a  local chain specialty food store) and Costco all within a few miles of our apartment.

With those options, the lackluster produce and overpriced organic foods relegated to the “health food” aisles at the conventional supermarkets near our apartment have started looking less appealing, so we find ourselves visiting them less and less.

We try to shop around for the best prices, which means we usually grocery shop 1-3 times a week, depending on what we need.  Here are a few things we usually buy at each store:

Trader Joe’s

We get the majority of our groceries here, because they have great prices on our staple foods.

  • organic dairy
  • tofu
  • organic and conventional produce (sometimes they have a limited selection)
  • almond & peanut butter
  • olive oil
  • herbs/spices (they have a fairly limited selection, but great prices on what they do have)
  • steel cut oats
  • cereal (especially their granolas – delicious)
  • whole grain pasta
  • dried fruit (especially dried mangos)
  • wine

And some non-food items, too:

  • Nourish shampoo (despite trying about 10 billion more expensive shampoos, I always come back to this shampoo, which is under $3/bottle)
  • oatmeal and honey soap
  • shaving cream (smells amazing, works well)

Whole Foods and/or Co-op:

  • organic and conventional produce (particularly varieties of fruits/vegetables TJ’s doesn’t stock; lots of local produce at Willy St. Co-Op)
  • 365 brand organic canned beans (at WF only)
  • frozen meals (Amy’s brand meals, pizza – the Willy St. Coop has pizzas made by a local farm that are spectacular)
  • specialty baking products (spelt flour, Bob’s Red Mill mixes, etc.)
  • herbs and spices
  • whole grain breads
  • ridiculously good baked goods
  • specialty products I can’t find elsewhere (farro, chia seeds, etc.)
  • cheese (this is a recurring theme…)
  • wine (this too…)

And a few non-food products:

  • conditoner (My hair LOVES Nature’s Gate Jojoba conditioner, which seems to only be available at WF here)
  • face lotion (Alba Green Tea)


  • organic greens (baby spinach or baby spring greens) for half the price they sell for anywhere else
  • mushrooms (we buy giant containers of them because we eat a lot of them)
  • bananas
  • hummus in individual containers (great for packing in my lunch)
  • frozen shrimp
  • frozen salmon
  • almonds & pecans (excellent prices)
  • giant bags of rice
  • cereal
  • vitamins
  • generic Zyrtec (I take this year-round, and they have ridiculously low prices on it)

Metcalfe’s Market:

  • organic and conventional produce, often local (they have “food miles” signs that tell you how far the food traveled – these suck me in every time!)
  • local dairy products, especially cheese & yogurt
  • baked goods

Brennan’s Market:

  • amazing cheese
  • jam/preserves
  • specialty crackers and snacks

What about you… How often do you grocery shop? Where do you grocery shop?  Are you a one-stop shopper, or do you shop at different stores for different items?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 17, 2011 9:31 pm

    Generally we try to only grocery shop once a week. We go to Metcalfes because it is closest to where we live – and it has the most variety I think. (I LOVE the food miles signs too!) Occasionally I go to Whole Foods or Willy St too if I am looking for something in particular.

    • January 17, 2011 10:22 pm

      I really like Metcalfe’s too – it’s between my office and where we live, and I like how much parking they have, too.

  2. January 18, 2011 9:14 am

    i try REALLY hard to grocery shop as little as possible. i am a major impulse buyer, especially at trader joe’s/whole foods. they always have so much that i’ve never tried. i usually end up going at least once a week for things i run out of quickly: milk, coffee, bananas, spinach. i usually do most of my shopping at trader joe’s, but then i go to metcalf’s to fill in the things that i don’t get at trader joe’s!

    i’ve NEVER been to willy st. i know there’s a new one in middleton now, too. i really need to go see what it’s all about. 🙂

  3. January 30, 2011 11:45 pm

    I shop at a local ethnic market b/c their price is the cheapest compare others and their produce is always fresh. Not organic but I don’t care much for long I can save money and still eat healthy. I usually shop once a week and sometimes in middle of the week if I run out something.

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