Friday, February 26, 2010

Where to Buy Avocados, Broccoli, Carrots, and Citrus

Many readers have written in over the last two years (Pinch is gonna be two on Monday, yo!) asking for advice on the best grocers from which to purchase produce. So here's a starter list, inspired by The Atlantic food writer Corby Kummer's blind tasting of produce from Whole Foods and Walmart in his Northeastern locale. Pinch is Chicago-based. The following store recommendations are based on price and quality.

There's no Walmart in my 'hood so you won't see that as an option. You won't see Stanley's, either. Stanley's can be good, but I found it not reliable enough to justify the trip west. I don't get to the indoor Green City Market very frequently. Remaining indoor market Saturdays are February 27, March 13 & 27, and April 10 & 24 from 8:00 am- 1:00 pm at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

The outdoor market begins May 12. I am so looking forward to riding my bike there are getting my Ciabatta fix and filling my bike baskets with farm produce. Until then, I'll be shopping for:

Avocados - Dominick's, Treasure Island, or Whole Foods. I'm at WF more frequently and will always check to see if there's a deal on avocados. Many times this winter I've seen them at $1 apiece. If you buy firm avocados, allow them to ripen at room temperature in a brown paper lunch bag.

Broccoli - Trader Joe's. They sell Earthbound Organic crowns and conventional (non-organic) baby broccoli that we love. In the fall I love picking up crowns at the Green City or LP Farmer's Market.

Carrots - Whole Foods. And I no longer buy baby carrots on account of them not tasting like anything. I buy 2# bags of organic carrots at WF and find them substantially better than any other carrots in the city grocers.

Citrus - Trader Joe's has the best prices on lemons, limes, Navel oranges, and Clementines. They get a nod for carrying Key Limes, blood oranges and Meyer lemons when they are in season (right now for the latter two). Whole Foods has the best Texas Ruby Red grapefruit.


Unknown said...

1. Totally agree on the baby carrots. I stopped buying them years ago.

2. Picked up a couple of Meyer lemons for the first time today (at Apple Farm). What can we do with them?

Katie Fairbank said...

Meyer lemons are sweeter than regular lemons. I only use them for baking - simply substituting them for regular lemons and reducing the sugar by a tablespoon or so.

I'll post my lemon curd recipe later today. For now, here's a great Chez Panisse cake:

I make this every year for Josh's birthday, with a dollop of lemon curd on the side. I've even omitted the butter and substituted canola oil with great success.