Before moving to Hoboken my aunt inquired about where I would grocery shop. At the time, I don’t think I thoroughly understood the importance of her question. 5 months later I have yet to fully figure out how to handle keeping a stocked fridge.
Hoboken has many grocery shops within walking distance of our home. Most of the stores are local, small (but packed to the brim) and primarily organic. These shops are reasonably priced for some items and outrageously priced for others. It is not rare for me to walk to one store see the price of what I need and then walk to a second and third in hopes I find a price I am willing to pay. Sometimes I have great success and am thrilled with the price. Other times I think they are crazy and resort to plan B for dinner (oatmeal and almond butter). The other issues with these local shops is half way home from larger hauls, I feel like my arms are about to fall off from carrying the groceries. The worst is when the bags rip and I end up chasing my rolling groceries!
There are also well known chain grocery stores within a 5 minute drive. However, we learned the hard way their prices are OUTRAGEOUS!!! To be specific, we purchase a block of cheese at the local “A&P” for $8 and an identical block of cheese was later found at Trader Joes for $3. Seems backward right?
A coworker tipped me off to the fruit stands in Manhattan. All over Manhattan there are people who have set up a stand to sell fruit on the sidewalk. These stands are almost always cheaper than the stores and have all the in season goodness. The key is to get the items early before the sun has beaten down on them all day. Also, they are cash only and I conveniently never have cash when needed.
Our saving grace is the Trader Joes within a 20ish minute drive of our home. I had researched to find the alternate grocery stores and made Keith accompany me to the closest Trader Joes awhile back and since then, we have been making trips every two weeks. In addition to being decently located, this store is the optimum combination of price and quality we have found. Win!
Recently, Keith and I accidently stumbled across an Indian Bazaar in Jersey City while getting new tires for our car. We randomly hopped in to find rows of fruits and vegetables for crazy cheap prices. Prices were so cheap that I was a little bit concerned about the suitability for eating. My weariness wore off fast when we saw a box of 9 mangos for $6.99 (we had been buying mangos for our personal limit of $1.50), grapes for $1.99/lb (I refuse to buy them at $3.99/lb at the local stores) and a head of cauliflower for $2.50 (the cheapest I have found is around $3.50). We were beyond ecstatic about our box of mangos. Of course, this Bazaar is not conveniently located near us.
Between Trader Joes, local shops, fruit stands and the Bazaar, I think we have grocery shopping close to down. I am still working on having the right ingredients at the right time to make complete meals. I definitely need to improve my meal planning. Right now, we choose our meals based on the meat options in our freezer. Of course our options are limited since we don’t have abundant freezer space like those of you in Kansas with multiple fridges and freezers. We also have to utilize a portion of our little freezer space for fruits and vegetables. This is pertinent to our existence since I can’t keep enough fresh fruit and vegetable on hand for Keith’s daily smoothie and my body’s nutritional needs.
And when all else fails the Italian deli on the corner makes a killer sandwich for a reasonable price.