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 Post subject: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:29 am 
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Hoards Peppermint Jo-Jos
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i've been eating junk food since moving here.
no pots, pans, bowls, plates or utensils.

every supermarket i've been to so far has only one or two items that i want so i spend hours traversing the city to source enough food for a couple of days.

at some point, i'll have time to peruse but for now i want one stop shopping similar to what i had in seattle.

madison co-op was where i was able to buy a bunch of produce (mixture of organic and conventional), big bulk bin section with dried beans, nuts, fruits and grain, decent deli food and pre-packaged food.

i've been to associated, fresh n save, vitality & health, natural market (queens) and veggie monster but none are one stop shopping.

help me


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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:33 am 
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I don't think you're going to be able to find that one stop shopping experience here unless you live near a whole foods or something. Here's what I do, but a lot of the way I shop is based on price and the fact that I don't really like going into the city just to get groceries because I'm lazy and cheap, so if you're not on as much of a budget as I am you might be able to just buy more expensive stuff at your local stores.

I buy all of my staples (beans, rice, tofu, soy milk, baking ingredients, some fake meat stuff etc...) at my neighborhood C-Town, Key Food or Trade Fair. They do have different stuff, so I switch up which one I go to based on what I need, but they are all within 5 blocks of my house. This is where most of my shopping is done. Then I go to whole foods when I'm in the city for specialty stuff (tofurkey slices, soy yogurt, fake cheese, frozen prepared stuff....)
I only go to the local health food stores like that Vitality and Health market for emergency health food store needs because they are WAYYYY overpriced. I'd love to support them, but I can't afford to.
I make special trips to trader joes sometimes for a lot of frozen stuff, but I only go rarely.
For produce, I belong to a CSA, so in the summer-fall, it's easy. In the Winter/Spring I go to Farmers Markets. The Jackson Heights market (easy to get to from Sunnyside/woodside on the 7) is open year round as are a number of other markets throughout the city.
When I used to work in the city I would do some of my grocery shopping on my lunch breaks. I'd go to either whole foods or a farmers market during lunch.
For bulk stuff, some whole foods have bulk bins and the 4th Street Food Co-Op on the LES has a really good bulk selection.
For vegan deli stuff, whole foods is your best bet.

We tend to stock up on a lot of fake meat stuff to have when we don't feel like cooking too much, so sometimes we'll make a trip to Target off of the Grand Ave/Newtown stop on the M/R to get Gardein and Morningstar stuff.

I can see this sounds like it's really annoying, but what it comes down to is that I either get my CSA once a week or go to a farmers market and then go to C-Town/Key Food every other day or so to get stuff I need for dinner/lunch. Whole Foods is maybe a once a month trip to restock on a few key items and then Trader Joes is probably only3-4 times a year (because I can't handle crazy lines or crowded grocery stores).
Unfortunately, it's just not quite as easy to get all of your groceries in one place like it is in other other places.

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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:19 am 
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Where in Queens did you end up? There is a Trader Joe's in Queens, with parking, but also reachable by bus. I work all the way downtown, so I usually go to WF in Tribeca or Chelsea, at lunch time or after work respectively. Farmers Market in Union Square whenever I can.

I also delegate my shopping to my husband (Trader Joe's for soy creamer, veggie dumplings, etc.) and my mother for the heavier stuff. She drives to the local supermarket and buys me the almond milk and bulky stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:31 am 
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Unfortunately, I would also say there isn't really such a thing as "one stop shopping" here, unless you can afford to buy everything at Whole Foods prices. We go to our local C-town for regular shops (which is actually above-average as far as C-Towns go), and supplement with visits to Trader Joes, Whole Foods, a produce market, and occasional trips to Pathmark and Chinatown. It's easier if you live with someone else and can split up the trips with them, and also split it up so you're not going to every single place every week.


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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:44 pm 
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Hoards Peppermint Jo-Jos
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Join a food co-op if you have the time! Never done it but have always wanted to. 4th Street Food co-op has always sounded promising.

I agree with everyone. No such thing, unless you pare down what you want, or stock up on everything you need from one store for a few months and only supplement if with what one other store has. I do that with Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, and then supplement perishables from my local supermarket, either Gristedes or Zeytuna, each of which is better for dry goods. It's not perfect, but it works.


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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:23 pm 
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Hoards Peppermint Jo-Jos
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ijdi - thanks for tips on c-town, key food, tradefair and 4th street coop. i'll check them out along with the jackson height farmers market. based on yelp 4th street coop sounds really promising.

i went to the target on atlantic ave in brooklyn and a trader joe in the city, i left both without buying anything.
the line at tj was wrapped around the store and through the aisle and the crowd in target was just too intense. i wasn't in the right frame mind to deal with it. both were a "omg..what the fork am i doing here" moment


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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:25 pm 
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were you at the tj's in union square? that place is the pits, it's always, always exactly that busy. if you're ever near atlantic ave again, the tj's on court street in brooklyn is usually much easier to navigate.

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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:29 pm 
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angelina - i ended up in sunnyside and like it so far. nice mix of people with a neighborhood feel but the #7 is killing it for me. it's slow slow slow and packed with people. i work in chelsea so i'll check out whole foods and union square far mar.


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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:30 pm 
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Yeah, the TJs in Union Square is very crazy. If I'm going to go to one in the city I'd go to 72nd St or 23rd(ish) st one in the middle of the day on a weekday. they are both reasonable at those times. Usually I only go to Trader Joes when I need to rent a car for something else and then go to one in New Jersey.

Target in Queens is not so bad most of the time. It gets crowded, but it's manageable.

A long island city food co-op has been in the works for a few years. It'd be nice if there was one nearby. I'm super lazy though, so I'm not willing to travel too far for groceries.

This website has all the info about NYC Greenmarkets: http://www.grownyc.org/

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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:36 pm 
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limone - i live alone and now understand the appeal of grocery delivery. i like to pick out my food so i don't think i'll ever get to that point but it's starting to make sense.


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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:37 pm 
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oh yeah! if you're busy fresh direct usually has good organic produce. they don't have a lot of specialty vegan stuff, but it's totally good when you need it.

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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:46 pm 
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Hoards Peppermint Jo-Jos
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it was the tjs in union square.
and people were legitimately standing in that crazy banana line!!!! i just couldn't bring myself to do it because my life is way too short for that kind of stuff.
but it's good to know that other tjs are do-able.
ijdi, thanks for the link


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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:15 pm 
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The TJ's in union sq isn't always a zoo! I go weekly to either that one or the one on 6th ave and I rarely wait longer than 2 minutes. But, I work from home and can go during the day, usually the mornings 10-11 or afternoons 2-3ish in the middle of the week. The giant lines starting at the entrance is really intimidating, but it's not terrible if you just get all the things you need in the middle of the store and then just "shop in line" as you pass things on the outer perimeter of the store. Even better if you shop with a friend/partner and one person gets in line right away as the other one runs around the store shopping. The lines move pretty quickly too. The one on 6th ave in Manhattan is my favorite because it's bigger and has wider aisles. I always wait in line way longer at the TJ's in Brooklyn...

I get a weekly CSA and pick up things at my local farmer's market on Saturdays, and usually go to the TJ's for staples and Whole Foods for anything they don't have there. I use the bulk bins at Whole Foods.

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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:40 pm 
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SweetT wrote:
limone - i live alone and now understand the appeal of grocery delivery. i like to pick out my food so i don't think i'll ever get to that point but it's starting to make sense.

For what it's worth, both TJ's and WFM offer delivery after you've made your selections -- the delivery rate varies depending on where you live, though now that I mention it I'm not sure which (if any) deliver to Queens at this point in time. My Zoetrope's advice about TJ shop-in-line and make-your-partner-shop is solid. Honestly, the lines do look insane but the line management at the Chelsea TJ's is pretty great. They know what they're doing and it doesn't take long to check out.

eta: Hah, I just now realized that I wrote "make-your-partner-shop" and I meant "make your partner shop WHILE YOU STAND IN LINE". But I'm adding that as my own personal advice: make your partner shop at TJ's so you don't have to.


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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 3:29 pm 
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If you really want to go to TJ's, I would suggest going to the Court Street (Brooklyn) one at non-peak times, because it's much bigger and more manageable for one person than Union Square (in my opinion).

Aside from TJ's and WFM, some local supermarkets will offer local delivery, but you still have to go pick out your stuff and then they box it up and bring it to your house later. Someone else mentioned FreshDirect and that's not the worst option in the world if you're pressed for time. You have to pay a delivery fee and tip the guy, but the prices aren't totally outrageous. They are a bit more expensive than my local C-Town though, just for comparison's sake. I live in Brooklyn though so your mileage may vary of course.

Another thing I do to save time is order non-perishable specialty stuff online (like nutritional yeast, vital wheat gluten, vegan-friendly cleaning products etc.) so it's just shipped to the house/office by UPS and then stock up on perishable goods at the local market. The store I shop at stocks a lot of that stuff, but it's much more expensive than online and that can also save you a trip to Whole Foods and places like that.


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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 5:53 am 
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If you have your own transport, the Fairway in Red Hook is pretty one-stop shoppable. It's not accessible by subway though, so it's inconvenient if you have to rely on public transport.
I used to live a block away from it, and I miss it so...

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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:48 am 
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public transit is my only option but the Upper East & West Side both have a Fairway so I'll check it out.

i don't know what i was expecting at the 4th Ave Food Co-op but it's super small and expensive.
having lived in other cities, i'm not use to high food prices and so i'm in a perpetual state of sticker shock right now.

what i like about the co-op is that i can refill my dr. bronner soap, buy a nice big slab of tempeh for $5 and steel cut oats (i don't like taste of prepack oats).


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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:03 pm 
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There's also a Fairway in Harlem that's more spacious and less crowded than the one on the UWS. I've never been to the UES one, so I don't know how it compares, but the Harlem location was my favorite when I lived in the City.

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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:12 am 
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in case anyone cares about my shopping adventures...

the court street tj in bk is so much nicer than union square AND I was able to checkout in a reasonable amount of time.
downside? it's in bk and not queens. plus it's 3 blocks from the subway. i can't see myself schelping out there every few days for groceries but it's a nice to know.

went to the columbus cirle wf yesterday around 3p and it was packed but checkout was fast. the subway station is literally across the street so do-able when the weather turns but the prices are un-fuckin'-real on everything.

uws fairways was also busy yesterday complete with a line to enter into the store(!!!) but once inside, it was decent. conventional produce and grocery are on the ground floor with a huge selection of organic produce and grocery upstairs. upstairs was complete with a ton of vegan/gluten-free/fancy pants food, body care products and vitamins. they have the biggest bulk bin section i've seen since moving to ny. plenty of registers on both floors and i didn't have to wait in line. amazing!
downside? one and half blocks of schelping to get to the subway station

ues fairways, i went first thing this morning to see how it compares to the uws and it doesn't. uws is so much nicer.

fairway has the most reasonable prices i've seen for vegan goods

associated supermarket is the neighborhood grocery store. i immediately dismissed because produce was questionable and grocery items are limited but they came to rescue when i forgot to buy almond milk at fairway so yea.


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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:44 am 
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i don't want to be a jerk or anything, but 3 blocks from the subway is close, especially outside Manhattan.

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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:58 am 
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EmperorTomatoKetchup wrote:
i don't want to be a jerk or anything, but 3 blocks from the subway is close, especially outside Manhattan.

Yeah, I was going to say... you're not going to get much better than that here, so I don't want you to think otherwise. You'll have to settle for a bodega if you're looking for subway convenience, unfortunately. Sorry to be a negative nancy, but sadly them's the breaks!

Maybe consider getting a cart? They're kind of hard to maneuver in the subway but Whole Foods sells some kind of vertical rolly thing that might be helpful to you if you're not a fan of carrying groceries too far. Just a thought!


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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:54 am 
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alice1drland wrote:
Maybe consider getting a cart? They're kind of hard to maneuver in the subway but Whole Foods sells some kind of vertical rolly thing that might be helpful to you if you're not a fan of carrying groceries too far. Just a thought!

or if you don't already, maybe get in the habit of carrying a backpack? i find it's a lot easier to carry heavy stuff on my back than in my hands.

SweetT, i forget where you lived before you moved to NYC, but you'll probably have to get used to a lot of schlepping on foot if you've previously relied heavily on car transport. it sucks when you're carrying a load of groceries and you're exhausted when you get home, but you'll get used to it & find ways to make it less hard on yourself.

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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:15 am 
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EmperorTomatoKetchup wrote:
or if you don't already, maybe get in the habit of carrying a backpack? i find it's a lot easier to carry heavy stuff on my back than in my hands.

This! Personally I think those little carts can be a serious pain in the asparagus to bring on the subway, unless you are always traveling at a magically uncrowded time. I usually do a backpack plus bring a couple of cloth bags (one on each side!) and that works out well for me. Heavy stuff in the backpack, lighter stuff in the side bags. Yes, your arms and back might get sore the first couple times you do it, but eventually you will grow SO VERY STRONG!!!

Also, I'm agreeing with the others that 3 blocks from the subway is really pretty close. I can imagine the subway ride from Queens to the Court St. Trader Joe's wasn't an especially quick affair though.


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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:34 pm 
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i use to live in seattle and have been car-free for almost 8 years so i'm not new to walking w/ groceries and walking everywhere for miles and miles. occasionally, i zipcar but was just hoping my experience would be different here..that's all.

/lazyass


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 Post subject: Re: Where do you grocery shop?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:18 pm 
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Limone wrote:
EmperorTomatoKetchup wrote:
or if you don't already, maybe get in the habit of carrying a backpack? i find it's a lot easier to carry heavy stuff on my back than in my hands.

This! Personally I think those little carts can be a serious pain in the asparagus to bring on the subway, unless you are always traveling at a magically uncrowded time. I usually do a backpack plus bring a couple of cloth bags (one on each side!) and that works out well for me. Heavy stuff in the backpack, lighter stuff in the side bags. Yes, your arms and back might get sore the first couple times you do it, but eventually you will grow SO VERY STRONG!!!

Also, I'm agreeing with the others that 3 blocks from the subway is really pretty close. I can imagine the subway ride from Queens to the Court St. Trader Joe's wasn't an especially quick affair though.


i rock the three-bag system for trips to the coop. probably half the people i know from the coop recognize my giant green backpack first and me second. i think the carts are a pain both on the subway and once i get home, where i have to shoulder all my bags in order to get them, me, and the cart up the stairs anyway. like limone, i now have superstrength, and i'm so good at estimating the weight of a cart of groceries that i could probably make a killing as a carny. keepin' that dream alive in my back pocket.

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