There really is no perfect one stop shop, is there?
I shop once a week, and I balance taking care of my family’s household needs by visiting Costco (about every 4-6 weeks to stock up on certain things), and a combination of Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, the local farmer's market, ordering some things online (like bulk wheat berries, oats, raw honey, nuts, etc.), and by receiving my weekly farm box. Occasionally there will be a trip to Whole Foods, and even rarer, the regular grocery store. I don't get over to Whole Foods so much because of its distance from me (and while I think some things are great buys, and I love all the eye candy there, I don’t really like to do my full weekly shopping there because of the high prices). And the regular grocery store, well, suffice it to say, there really isn't much real food there. Lots of pretty packages, but not a lot of food. When I walk in, I say to myself, "welcome to the downfall of American health."
The first several times I went to Sprouts I wasn’t interested in it at all. I actually even wondered why such a store would exist. It seemed like a Trader Joe's in some ways, but not as good.... and also sort of like a Whole Foods, but not as extensive. But, slowly over time, I started to discover more and more things that I really liked about it. First of all, my store in La Canada is small and uncrowded, so I enjoy shopping there. Plus, I have discovered that they really do carry many of the products that are most important to me, and those things are at good prices.
Here are some things I really like about Sprouts:
-Raw milk products from Organic Pastures (milk, cream, butter)
-Organic, grass fed meats & organic Rosie's chicken (and a butcher that will cut up a whole chicken that's on sale!)
-Fresh heads of lettuce & greens like kale (washed & bagged ones are convenient but seem to get slimy fast. Fresh heads have a longer shelf life)
-Fresh bunches of herbs (not expensive/small plastic pkgs)
-Loose raw beets – both golden and red – love those for roasting, juicing
-Fairly good organic produce selection – I can find celery, large bags of carrots for juicing, mushrooms, cucumbers, beets, lettuces and greens, herbs, tomatoes, apples, pears, radishes, even red cabbage.
-Full fat canned coconut milk, and unsweetened shredded coconut (love my coconut products!)
-Ezekiel sprouted breads
-Whole grain sourdough bread
-Kombucha! (I make my own, but sometimes it’s fun to drink one on the way home from shopping!)
-Great selection/prices on or organic teas and organic decaf coffee beans
Then there are a few things I really don’t like....
-The bulk food bins. They make my skin crawl! Just think about it for a minute. How clean (and fresh) do you think they are? My favorite is watching someone reach inside and help themself to a "sample." And, not really all that healthful when you scrutinize the labels. I once was looking to get some of their roasted peanuts for making peanut butter when I read the ingredient label: peanuts, salt, canola oil. CANOLA oil? Whaa?? And everything else in that section is pretty much red dye #40... or full of sugar and unhealthful oils.
-Organic red bell peppers. Sounds funny, but I always get bummed that they don’t carry organic red bell peppers- they are one of the things I like to buy each and every week and miss if I can’t get. I really, really wish they would have them. Maybe someday.
-Dry goods. Their prices on packaged grains, flour, sugar, and other baking goods are very high. I try to just keep stocked up from other places.
So... do you like Sprouts? What kinds of things are your favorite finds?