Thursday, August 23, 2012

Grocery Shopping in South Florida...

Walmart Neighborhood Market (Hialeah 103rd St) : There are a lot of things that I love about shopping here. The produce prices are SUPER LOW! They give other major chains a run for their money with tomatoes being 20 cents a pound cheaper, avocados at 88 cents each instead of $1 each and so on. The biggest con with the produce is that you'll be hard pressed to find any certified organic produce (or anything organic for that matter) for the exception of some prepackaged baby greens and broccoli.
The meat is well priced and they have plenty of choice cuts. I got two T-bones for $9, a package of 3 NY Strips for $9, I haven't cooked them yet so we'll see about quality soon enough. They do have product that most places don't have because they don't have the departments like most mass grocers do. In leau of a deli department they have pre-sliced packages of deli meat similar to what you would find at the deli counter, but guess what... no taking numbers, no waiting, no debating on sliced thickness... it's all just right there. Instead of a bakery department they have prepackaged cupcakes and sliced cake in a cooler and pastries in a heated walk around with wax paper and paper bags so you can help yourself.
 They also have Coca-cola and Pepsi products in 18 can and 24 can packages at about 25% discount per can from most other grocers. Their dry good department is one to be reckoned with, with an extensive selection of baby care goods and personal care products, but lacking variety in pet food. But with the prices as low as they were I didn't mind not having a coupon for any of the brands they carried.
The Dairy selection was greatly limited as well. They have 2 brands of milk, a store brand and I think MacArthur for almost twice the price, and no organic selections. They only have one brand of Almond milk, and 2 brands of Soy milk, only one of which was fair trade and organic. There egg selection was weak too. They have cage- free/free range/grain-fed hen eggs, but no certified organic eggs to speak of.
There were other things that made the store attractive. In every department I was asked if I needed help, granted this is Hialeah so no one spoke English, but it was still nice. The produce department had misters much like the newer Winn-Dixies do, but they don't have motion sensors so keep in mind that entering the produce department that you will be misted while grabbing a head of lettuce. Next to the dairy selection they have a pastry rack filled with "day-old" baked goods at a serious discount, which is fun. There was one little detail that I adored, the cashiers wore vinyl gloves and changed them out after each transaction. I like. Very much. But the severe lack of organic product will probably keep me at bay.

Publix (Biscayne and 20th, Biscayne and 95th): What I love about Publix is their variety of organic products. It's insane! The new Publix I frequent on my way to or from work on 20th and Biscayne gives whole foods or fresh market a run for their money, with a vast selection of ready-to eat products that are healthy and cater to very specific dietary needs and a huge selection of certified organic produce at an astonishingly reasonable price. What I love about my Publix on 96th St is that they have receptacles by the front door to recycle plastic bags and Styrofoam trays.

Winn-Dixie (107th at 7th ave): The better things about Winn-Dixie is their sales on meats and their eagerness to just give things away. Their produce is much more pricey, and regular groceries are about the same price as other grocers. The benefits of their customer rewards program is pretty awesome tho. You can not only save money on groceries by being a member, but save money on gas. But that's all they really have to offer. I'm not a big fan of visiting this Winn-Dixie because I feel like I'm taking my own life in my hands, but if I can score a damn good deal, then so be it. lol.

Yellow-Green Farmer's Market (Taft, just east of 95): Love this place. Yellow-green is like the holy grail of South Florida farmer's markets in that everything I could possibly need at a grocer is available at the market sold by local entrepreneurs. When I have a late in-time at work, I'll take CJ to the market for lunch. I wish I could be a more devout Market go-er, but alas they are only open Saturday and Sunday. Lame.  There is a gentleman selling his grass fed hens eggs, chickens and beef from his local farm, and 2 or 3 stands selling produce. Now, keep in mind that I can't verify that any of the produce is organic or local grown except that one stand says "Local Produce" on it. They also didn't have any prices on their fruit, but as a whole the prices of produce where the lowest of any other grocer option, and I felt better buying produce from a neighbor then the fat-cats at Walmart.

I bought some yummy goodies too! I stopped at the french bakery for some freshly baked sliced rye bread, whole grain bread and a couple of slices of some super yummy apple pie. Then stopped by a young lady selling honey and bought some locally harvested coffee honey. The honey isn't infused with coffee but is made from the bees who pollinate the coffee bean plants. It's so much smoother, lighter and sweeter than regular wild flower honey your used to. She had other honey too like palmetto and orange blossom and had them set up in a honey bar of sorts so you can try the different flavors.

I then bought some of the BEST grade B maple syrup I have ever had in my life and maple sugar and some loose leaf tea from a gentleman next to the honey stand. I also got some raw cat's claw (shit heals EVERYTHING)  herb and Maca root powder from a super knowledgeable young herbalist. I bought some organic coffee and chai tea that is blended with a sort of mushroom that has over 100 antioxidants in it. Hey, I'm game. (and no, you don't taste the mushroom.) All and all, I LOVED IT! But if you plan on bringing the shorties, be sure to bring some Off! spray cause CJ got eaten alive by mosquitoes. I can't wait to go again!


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