Food Shopping – Best and Worst Places

Bill Buford, a writer for the New Yorker, was quoted in a New York Times article saying, “The virtue of being in a city like New York is that it’s a market city, and you can get the best of anything…the supermarkets here are constrained by space and the unspoken understanding that the only people who go there are losers.” 먹튀검증

While that may be a little extreme, it does give a good basis for what I want to say. It seems like for a lot of people, regular grocery stores are becoming more and more like a “last resort.” I often hear people say that they try to find most of their produce at farmers markets, specialty items at stores like Whole Foods, Fairway and Trader Joes, and anything they need last minute from the grocery store. I don’t blame them. Ever walk into a small, generic grocery store in the East Village?

The produce section is usually sad. A small selection of past-their-prime or way under-ripe fruits and veggies is typically what you’ll see. There is no meat counter, just a refrigerated display of gray meats that came from who-knows-where and have been sitting there for God knows how long.

Busier and more upscale parts of town will likely have a much better selection of groceries and produce, but in my experience, it also comes with a higher price. And if you’re looking to shop organic and local in a regular market, you can probably just forget about it. However, it is convenient, and there are a lot of things at normal stores that you wouldn’t be able to find at the other two options I am about to discuss.

Unlike Fairway, Whole Foods does have enough locations in New York that it probably wouldn’t be terribly out of your way to shop at one, and they have good quality products, produce and meats. But I don’t think I need to mention the downside of shopping at a Whole Foods, we all know what it is.

In come Farmers Markets. They’re scattered across the city, and make your shopping experience a little bit more fun than just wandering through a fluorescent-lit supermarket. You know what you’re buying is fresh, local, and sustainable, and even if you’re not passionate about those things, you may still feel a little better about what you’re buying. It’s a foodie’s dream-these farm stands normally sell beautiful and unique produce that you would never be able to find at a regular store, during any season. From unique variations of herbs like the more commonly known Thai basil to lemon basil, purple basil and cinnamon basil, to unique seasonal ingredients such as fiddlehead ferns, zucchini blossoms and garlic scapes, it isn’t hard to get in your daily vegetable dosage when you’re buying them from a place like this. Downsides are that if you’re the type that shops with a recipe in mind, this probably isn’t the place for you. While the meats are local, grass-fed, and probably fantastic, they are also expensive (which is why I had to write “probably,” I can’t really afford to buy meats there). The produce is usually cheaper than Whole Foods, but probably more expensive than your local grocery store. For some, all of this is worth it. To others, it’s just not possible, budget-wise, to purchase their weeks worth of produce at a market.

Another option are sites where you can order your groceries online, the most prominent one being FreshDirect. Here, you can grocery shop in your underwear, in the comfort of your own home. You can compare prices, easily view sales without having to thumb through a circular while pushing a cart, and have your groceries delivered right to your doorstep. It took me a while to try out FreshDirect, because admittedly, I didn’t trust it. I like being able to see what I buy before I buy it, especially with produce and meats.

But after my sister Christina sang its praises for so long, and after she made me dinner using all FreshDirect ingredients, I decided to give it a shot. I really like being able to see how much my bill is going to cost while I’m shopping-it makes my decision-making a lot easier and gets rid of unpleasant surprises at the register. Now, for my opinion on the most controversial part-not being able to view the quality before purchasing: the quality, for me, has been pretty consistent and pretty great. It is also nice that they have partnerships with a couple of local farms, so you can still shop local and organic and are able to choose from a small selection of things you may find at a farmers market. It also helps that they have a star system that tells you how fresh certain ingredients are, so that can give you an idea about the quality of what you’re buying.

And, surprisingly enough, it is cheaper than my local grocery store. The first time I considered using it, I took my last receipt from my local store, Morton Williams, and put everything from that trip into my shopping cart on FreshDirect. It was about $10 cheaper, and the produce was fresher. The problem is that the delivery cost could add up, but that can easily fixed just by doing a search for FreshDirect coupons. Sometimes you’ll able to find free delivery or other coupons that will lower the overall cost.