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Whole Foods Shopping

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Old 08-16-2006, 10:34 AM   #1
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Default Whole Foods Shopping

Hi - I'm new and very motivated by your forum! So, made a decision and headed out to my local "Whole Foods Market". Boy, I forgot how expensive it is to shop there. So, I was wondering and wanting some feedback.

Do you by organic or conventional?

Where do you shop?

Do you have any tips/tricks for savings?

I'm just interested. I am sure that it will vary a great deal, but just wanted to see what the rest of the gang was doing.

Thanks
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Old 08-16-2006, 10:44 AM   #2
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I don't shop at Whole Foods market because it is expensive. Sometimes though they might have an item that I wouldn't find in a normal supermarket so I go there to look.

I do quite a bit of shopping at Trader Joes because they have good prices on a lot of stuff. A few things that I like to buy there are: unsweetened soy milk, nonfat plain yogurt, natural peanut butter, whole wheat pizza dough, whole wheat pasta, pasta sauce, dark chocolate, frozen fish, frozen veggies and frozen fruit.

I also shop an asian market near me for produce because their produce prices are really good. I found chinese eggplant for 39 cents per lb the other day and I was so excited. They also have a large variety of beans and legumes as well as things like tahini.

I shop a local store called Magruder's because they generally have good prices on a lot of stuff. They also carry the brand of bread I buy so that is another reason I go there.

I also sometimes shop at Costco but that is becoming less and less these days.

If you are interested in organic veggies and fruits, the other thing to do is to look for farmer's markets in your area. They often have organic fruits and vegetables at a pretty good price. Farmer's markets are generally good to check out anyway and I'm still looking for one that agrees with me.
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Old 08-16-2006, 10:57 AM   #3
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I shop between Trader Joe's and a traditional grocery store. I buy most of my veggies and fruit at TJs because they are cheaper and seem fresher.. at least they last a lot longer before looking old than grocery store veggies. I also get my fish at TJs. Steel cut oats are a great deal there..as long as you don't get the stuff in the fancy metal tin!! They have pretty good prices on Ahi tuna, tilapia and wild salmon. I also get their whole wheat pasta as well as their tofu shirataki noodles. They have very good prices on la Tortilla whole wheat tortillas, cheap whole wheat pita bread and lots and lots of yummy salsas. They have a fabulous roasted red pepper eggplant spread that I get often, as well as egg whites, low fat cottage cheese, fresh parmesan, soy cheeses and Canadian Bacon. The nuts at Trader Joe's are also very reasonable.. much better than those tiny packs at the grocery store

I pretty much buy conventional rather than organic, unless organic is around the same price.

My main trick is to always make a full recipe of things and freeze!! Takes no more time usually to make a full recipe than half so by making a whole one I always have healthy meals waiting for me, instead of coming home tired afterwork and doing the fridge prowl. I do the majority of my cooking on weekends as well. It seems a lot less a chore when you have the time.
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Old 08-16-2006, 10:58 AM   #4
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I wish we had a Trader Joe's in Texas, but there are not any around.
We are said to have a great farmers market in downtown Dallas, but I've never been (and I've lived here my whole life) sad huh??
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Old 08-16-2006, 11:09 AM   #5
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Farmer's markets are great - I buy almost all my produce from local markets and produce stands. I also buy my eggs straight from the farm, and try to get chickens right from the farm, too. As for organic, I try to buy most of my produce organic. This is the list of the ten produce items that are highest in pesticides, which I use when I can't afford all organic: Winter Squash, Strawberries, Green Beans, Celery, Apples, Peaches, Grapes, Spinach, Pears, Bananas. I also try to make sure all my meat is veggie-fed, non-medicated, and free-range. And I buy organic milk products - growth hormones are illegal in Canada for cows, but there's still tons of antibiotics and other gross stuff that ends up in our food.
If you stick to local markets it can be a lot cheaper, since you're not paying to have all the food shipped from around the world. Also, maybe try growing some of your own - right now is the perfect time to plant winter greens, like chard and kale, and maybe planting a little herb garden so that you're not having to buy that stuff.
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Old 08-16-2006, 11:14 AM   #6
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Vinogirl--TOTALLY check out Central Market (over in Fort Worth). May be a bit of a trek, but sooooooo worth it!
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Old 08-16-2006, 11:49 AM   #7
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Mousie,
I have a central market in Plano. But, I try to watch my budget and I always go way over when I go there. I love it, but I spend a bundle!
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Old 08-16-2006, 12:02 PM   #8
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Absolutely no fancy stores here in the middle of the corn fields. I shop at Aldi's (discount grocery) and Walmart. Walmart does have some organics now. I am fortunate to have a garden and tons of farm stands which does help.
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Old 08-16-2006, 12:37 PM   #9
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Vino, since I'm also in north Texas, I'll tell you where I shop!

My Kroger has a pretty good organic section and sometimes I'll get the Amy's frozen pizzas or entrees there. Whole Foods (their 365 brand or whatever it's called) is very good too for some frozen entrees and not that much more expensive, at least for the ones I buy. I rarely eat them though so it doesn't much matter.

I get my whole wheat flour at Tom Thumb, and they also have a larger selection of Newman's Own salad dressings. I like chips and salsa and so I eat the blue corn tortilla chips. For the Guiltless Gourmet chips I usually get them when I go over to Central Market (I stock up), but I can find Garden of Eatin at Kroger. The Whole Foods brand of blue chips is also very good. I can buy Terra (sweet potato) chips most anywhere (except Walmart) but Costco has a really big bag of them. 7-11 even carried them at one time, in the single serving bags.

Seems like I shop at a lot of places, but it doesn't feel like it since I don't go to all of them each week!

At Costco, I buy yogurt, big boxes of Kashi TLC crackers, and juice. Everything else comes from my Neighborhood Market (dried beans, whole wheat pastas, canned fruit, hummus, raisins, craisins, fruit, salsa, tea). And THEN we have a store that's all produce but not really a farmer's market. If you ever get over to Arlington, it's Green's Produce on Arkansas Lane. There's another produce store on South Cooper, just south of Park Row. Both have lots and lots of local produce.

I have been to the Dallas Farmer's Market and let me tell you what, it's awesome! There are SOOOOO many stands, so many vendors. You're in these big drive-thru barns; look for a parking place inside if you can. The produce is stacked on slanted, tiered ummm ... maybe bins? Or tables? It's hard to describe. Anyway, the vendors are up higher on a raised area (think bleachers at a ballgame -- you're at the bottom, the produce is in the middle, and they're at the top). Anyhoo ... I LOVE going over there! And in addition to the barns that have produce (I think there are three or four and they are PACKED), there's furniture and seafood and plants and bottles salsas and hot sauces and BBQ sauce and stuff like that. You should really go!

I hope this helps a little!
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Old 08-16-2006, 12:46 PM   #10
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Oh okay, one more thing. If you can put the blinders on when you go into Central Market, go directly to the bulk section. The selection for brown rice, oats, spices, etc. is just phenomenal! I like being able to buy just the amount I need ... like if I need a chipotle chili powder, I can just get a little. I use that as an example because last time I went, I needed some (which is why I went!). Anyway, it was like 34 cents for what I bought!

I was going to second what LindaT said about organic. I usually just buy regular produce unless the price is the same, then I'll get organic. Around here, there's not that much to choose from anyway; plus we don't have farms to go and buy things from.

And occasionally I can buy eggs from my vet. He has a chickie farmer who brings them in.
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Old 08-16-2006, 12:47 PM   #11
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The nickname for Whole Foods up here is "Whole Paycheque"!!

I've pretty much ditched conventional grocery stores (with the exception of Costco for staples, and a chain store for certain things like spices, crackers, cereal, etc. - Costco every 6 weeks, chain store every 4 or so) as the quality really isn't all that great. I've found that I can save more money buying meat from the butcher or farm (this week, the chain store had organic ground beef "on sale" for 5.99/lb....the organic butcher's REGULAR price is 3.49!), produce from the greengrocer or farmer's market, etc. I buy only organic meat and poultry, some organic produce (like Sierra, I concentrate first on the items most affected by pesticides, then go from there), and organic milk and eggs (milk due to the icky stuff in conventional milk, and eggs because I abhore how battery chickens are treated) . Other items, like breads, I often make myself.

I have a pretty limited budget each week, but still manage OK, even with buying the organic items I do. I shop seasonally, which saves a lot of money, and stock up when I find great deals (ie, green beans were very cheap here this week, so I bought tons! Blanched them, and froze them in batches so I'll have lots to last through the fall. Did the same thing with strawberries, and am still adding to my blueberry stock). Preparing items from scratch will nearly always save money - baking bread costs pennies a loaf compared to dollars. I also use Costco for many of my staples - rice, flours, whole wheat pasta, etc. Buying these items in bulk costs more upfront, but saves money in the long-term.

We're also getting used to eating less meat in dishes. For casseroles, stews, etc., I bulk them out with lots more vegetables so that the meat is stretched and the dish is healthier - the added bonus is less meat = less money. I'm learning to like beans, which are so inexpensive and so good for you. We start every meal with a salad (usually spinach), which means we're eating less of the main dish - this lets me stretch a meal over 2 days, or else freeze the leftovers for a later time.

Oh, and I've found I save a TON of money purchasing spices from the bulk section of the regular grocery store. The turnover is quite high so the spices are fresh, and I can buy just a little if that's all I need. Full spice jars sell here for about $4.00, yet I can fill a jar using the bulk spice for about $0.30.

I've also simplified my cooking. That's not to say the meals are boring, just that I've started to steer away from recipes that require tons of ingredients, or a visit to the store for a few items I need ONLY for that recipe (unless it's for a special occasion or something). This saves a lot of money, too!
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Old 08-16-2006, 12:48 PM   #12
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LOL, Kathy - we both love that bulk section!!!
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Old 08-16-2006, 12:49 PM   #13
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I just saw that! It's true though -- MUCH better than buying a whole container of something you may never use!
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Old 08-16-2006, 01:09 PM   #14
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I shop a lot at Trader Joe's for non-produce items. I don't go out of my way to buy organic.

For produce, I mostly buy at farmers markets, produce stands, and pick-your-own places.

I have chickens so I don't have to buy eggs.

I planted an orchard because that way I could get the varieties of fruit that I like. I also planted an herb garden because I love to cook with fresh herbs and I'm just unwilling to pay what they charge for a tiny sprig of them in stores. Someday I will have a vegetable garden but I haven't gotten there yet.

And I agree with LindaT--It has definitely been more economical for me to make a full recipe of everything and then freeze the leftovers in individual portions, even though I am only cooking for one.
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Old 08-16-2006, 05:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joyofsix View Post
Absolutely no fancy stores here in the middle of the corn fields.
Ha ha, same here. We shop at Wal Mart, Aldi's, and Hy-Vee. Its a TREAT for me to go to Trader Joe's in St. Louis 3-4 times per year. I so wish there was one around here.

I also have a small flock of chickens (12) that will start laying anywhere from late September to October. I cant wait for them to start cause fresh eggs taste so much better and are so much healthier than anything you can buy in the store. You get to control what your birds eat, where they live, etc. Happy birds=good eggs.

We also have a garden with tomatoes and corn, and i believe some jalapeno/habanaro peppers.
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