Marketing! What is it like where you shop for food?

There seems to be so many ways to shop for food these days. Big box discount clubs, on line ordering, erhnic markets, specialty markets like TJ’s, limited choice discount markets, farmers markets, CSA.

Share your food shopping experiences here.
Mods feel free to move if this is the wrong place.

I get bored and like to change it up. I generally shop from a hanndful of places scattered around the city. This weekend I took my bike down to the Italian Market in south Philly it’s a fun place to shop with affordable produce from street vendors and excellent specialty shops for meats, fish, cheese and pasta etc. In good weather shopping here is a joy but parking is atrocious. There are great asian and Mexican places to grab a taco or Bahn Mi as a snack.
I also took a trip to the big Eastern European supermarket in Northeast Philadelphia which is one of my favorites. They have a mind boggling selection of smoked and cured meats, 3 marker boards of kielbasa varieties, house baked breads and cakes, make thier own pickles, and have a great dairy selection with raw milk, pro biotic sour cream, lots of kefir and grass fed butters. It is nearly an ideal market for limited fresh seafood and meats. It is a rough place to shop though the staff can be stern and the shoppers agressive and communication in English can be a challenge.

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Fab thread. I would like to think it’s slowly improving here in my food hell. Now we have a Hungarian trailer at the market. Eastern European smoked and cured meats are delicious indeed.
I never had “pork cheese” til the Hungarian set up his trailer at one of my regular markets.
(full-size photos in the short slide show)

I immediately recognized this as the Italian market (aren’t you proud of me? haha), having just spent a significant time in town.

I was also blown away by the huge Asian grocer nearby - the produce section alone blew my mind, not to mention the fish & meat selection, or the frozen aisle. Wow.

As for where I live most of the year, it’s Wegmans, TJ’s, farmers’ markets, Asian grocers… and we also have an Eastern European store with great pickles & kraut and a variety of smoked fish and other products you can’t really get elsewhere.

In the summers, which I spend in Berlin, there are plenty of fresh markets and specialty stores - like actual butchers, fish mongers, cheese mongers, bakeries etc. etc.

Does this belong to General Discussions, vs Cooking?


Hmm. I’d leave it in HC, but maybe a sub-board like “food shopping” or some such could be established… if deemed necessary.

I’d think “General”.
Someone start another same thread the traveller’s version. I have lots of (super)market photos from my travels.

. . . does this belong . . .

sigh. the problem with sectioning things so fine.
we could have a “Marketing/Shops” section, but then we’d need a separate section for Farmers Markets, Stockbrokers Markets, Asian Markets, UpScale Markets, DownScale Markets, Best Buys at the Discount Market and of course WallyWorldMarket would need its own section.

methinks if one has to ask the question, it’s in the right place. as clearly it belongs no where else, or there wouldn’t be a question. eh?

Thanks for starting this one, JT – it’s interesting to see how everyone else obtains their daily crumb.

Not many markets around me, due to an arcane Florida law requiring produce to be sold through distributors, not directly from the farms. (dumb, huh?) There are roadside stands, however, and ways to sidestep it, so people are finding a way. I belong to a small coop that for a very reasonable fee, delivers a grab bag of fresh local produce (bought at the wholesale market) every week.

I am at least lucky enough to have Asian and Middle Eastern markets close to me, so I can find most things.

like you, i live in an urban area (somerville, next to boston and cambridge), and have a lot of choices. the somerville market basket is my regular go-to. between may and november, i brave the saturday morning crowds at mb, so i combine it with a trip to the outdoor farmers market a few blocks away. the rest of the year, i go when it’s less crowded.

in davis square, there are a couple of italian specialty markets, pepe bocca and dave’s fresh pasta, along with the great meat selections (and prices) at mckinnons.

i stock up @ trader joe’s when i hit the hairdresser (every 6-8 weeks).

all of which barely scratches the surface of what’s available to me.

I live near you it would seem, and also use the Market Basket extensively during the winter months. For Italian items and many cheeses, I go to Capone’s in Union Square. Fish is purchased at Courthouse, and any poultry and eggs from the Mayflower Poultry. I only buy pork and lamb by the animal, and when we want a bit of beef, I shop at Costco. During the summer, I am at the farmer’s market at 9am at the first bell, and I often shop at either Central Square or Davis when I need to supplement.

For Indian ingredients I shop at either Shalimar in Central Square or Desi Bazaar on Broadway. I use the Reliable for general Korean and Japanese items, but head to Medford for harder to find Japanese. I shop at H-mart in Malden for Chinese items.

And as wonderwoman states, that is only the beginning of what we have available nearby.

IMO, this is a General or Culture/Customs topic, rather than a Cooking thread.

Moved to general.

Where I live there is an open air food market every Wednesday morning, rain or shine. I have to walk 30 minutes down the hillside to get to it, but it is worth it. The longer I live here, the longer it takes me to shop, because the more people I know, and they want to talk as well as shop. I usually buy a lot of whatever is in season, and take a taxi home rather than walk up the hill again with all the heavy stuff.

For other days of the week, there is a good bakery just 10 minutes up the hill and an excellent butcher. There is fresh-caught fish store, and one tiny general market and one fair-sized (for Italy) “supermarket”. There are other bakeries, another butcher, a fairly good cheese store/meat deli, one “take-away” prepared food shop, and one fresh pasta shop, but I rarely shop at them.

When I am cooking for guests, I generally take a 20-minute bus ride to another town which reliably has better stuff (plus a good wine store) or take a 40 minute train ride to the nearest city, where there is an historic food market that is excellent.

When I travel to other Italian cities, which I frequently do, carry with me thermal bags and extra totes so I can bring back regional specialities.

Finally, I rent 2 properties in Italy for reasons of necessity and both are maintained by a “gentleman” farmers, and I am regularly the recipient of fruits, veg, olive oil, all the herbs I could ever possibly want. Yesterday, I was handed a huge pumpkin. It will easily last me the month.

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i miss mayflower poultry; their eggs are incredible. but, i depend on public transportation, and a few years ago my schedule changed and i haven’t had the time to make a special trip. but, now i’m thinking that i should find a way to squeeze out the time maybe once a month.

You are right. The eggs are fabulous! If my life were more regular, I would offer to pick up provisions for you, but I never know when I might be going in that direction. My world is pretty random these days.

thanks much for the kind offer…

@JTPhilly can you get to the Eastern European market (is it called Bell’s Market) by SEPTA? I may be heading down to Philly for the weekend, and think that 'hood would be worth a visit…for shopping, and for lunch.

I was actually at Net Cost a bit further up Bustleton ave but they are similar. Net Cost is bigger Bells is a bit cuter. Similar product range. From Center City it is about 50 minutes out taking the MFL to Frankford then a bus. It is a hike and a bit sketchy but safe during daylight hours. I would consider Uber.

A visit to the homeland (NY Burbs) this weekend gave me a chance to visit a favorite local chain. I wish we had a Stew Leanords here. Its a strange path based store (like Ikea) and they have sneaky displays of craft beer around every corner and lota of local produce and good quality store brands. Not a cheap place to shop but some good deals and nice products despite the hokey farm theme. Sort of like trader joes meets a farmers market.