Recycla has been a devoted fan of Whole Foods for over a decade and has preached the love here on this blog many times. She loved having easy access to hundreds of organic foods, all under one roof, especially back when organic foods were more difficult to find. She adored not having to worry about undesirable ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup, because you just don’t see that stuff in Whole Foods.
However, this summer, Recycla broke up with the Whole Foods store in her town after a 12 year relationship. The reasons for this were varied, but all boiled down to the construction of a new store (and the closing of the old store) which lead to three main complaints: 1) the new location is in a part of town with notoriously bad traffic, 2) the new store is not well organized, and 3) prices went up across the board over what they were in the old store.
So where has Recycla been shopping for the past two months? The short answer is that she’s been going to a combination of stores, most of which are locally-owned.
The weekly shopping is done at a terrific market that sells fruits and vegetables at some of the best prices in town. Even better, the store has a nice selection of bulk foods, organic foods, and Virginia-made products.
Every couple of weeks, Recycla is going to a conventional grocery store to stock up on basics, like baking supplies, some dairy, and the few pre-packaged foods that her family eats. While this store does carry organic foods, she’s not buying only organic things. Recycla had forgotten just how insidious high fructose corn syrup is — it’s in everything. She’s having to read labels carefully and on a few occasions has had to choose between buying something with HFCS or doing without altogether. (She chooses to go without the item in question.)
Recycla’s family is omnivorous, so while many meals are vegetarian, others are not. There’s a great organic butcher in town, so Recycla popped by there last week and stocked up on about two months’ worth of beef and poultry.
While going to a few different places to buy food might seem inconvenient, the reality is that it is not and this was a practice that Recycla already had in place. She mostly goes to the one market and then visits the other stores only occasionally.
And, Recycla is sneaky and has figured out how to get more bang for her buck time-wise: She bikes to several of her errands. She bikes a lot anyway, so by combining her exercise with her errands, she’s maximizing her time, using her car less, and generally very happy with the arrangement.
Overall, Recycla is going to the store approximately the same number of times per month as she was before. It helps that she cooks mostly from scratch, so she doesn’t buy a lot of pre-packaged foods anyway. She hasn’t calculated numbers yet, but she’s pretty sure that she’s spending less money on her groceries than she was before.
Recycla hasn’t sworn off Whole Foods altogether — she’s sure she’ll need to pop in there at some point — but for now she’s getting along just fine without it.
Tell the Eco Women: Where do you shop for groceries?