Are they similar in what they carry?
I know Whole Foods can be kind of pricey, is Trader Joe's less expensive?
Thanks in advance!
ETA: They are both over an hour away in Chicago and I still only shop there LOL!
However TJ's is my preference. And the staff is so nice there.
but dry goods and jars are fine for me from there.
Trader Joes does not have the selection and they tend to often discontinue items : That said, you should definately check out Trader Joes and buy stuff you *can* buy there--- it tends to be good and cheap!
It is worth checking them both out and deciding for yourself. TJ just opened here in Atlanta by me In Dec. I went with a friend who LOVES this place, I wasn't too impressed, but she absolutely loves it.
Aimee Blessed Momma to 4 amazing boys, P ~ 9 H ~ 7 J ~ 4 and B ~ 1. Happily married to D Living my almost dream life on an urban homestead, hoping for our forever land to find us soon!
trader joes is good for super cheap luna bars, wine, beer and snacky type stuff. jarred pasta sauce, etc. the thing is though you still have to watch their stuff for hfcs and pho's and stuff. but its good to go there if you are going to have people over.
we get a produce box, but for bulk items, any other produce or dairy we need, i usually go to new seasons. also, supplements. i don't feel good about tj's supplements but i am not sure why.
I don't think you can really compare trader jows to WF either. Trader Joes does not have selection (especially consistant selection) that WF has.
If we did, though, Whole Foods is where we'd go if we wanted to cook something, and Trader Joe's is where we'd go if we didn't.
Really that's the core of it for me, TJ's had more of the dry goods type of stuff, canned and processed stuff.
I always end up with lots of pantry and freezer stuff from TJ's.
And chocolate. They have an incredibly large selection of chocolate and sweets.
I also love the TJ brand of meatless meatballs and their cereal bars. Be careful at TJs though and read the allergy information if you are a vegetarian or vegan. I went to buy soup that a colleague was in love with only to find out that it was made in a plant that processes fish! Um, with my fish allergy, that is a no go. I love their cookies. They always have a great price on avocados, bananas, bagged salad, and I love their cocktail tomoatoes. TJ shopping actually cuts my grocery bill and I am still able to buy the healthy things we like. I also end up with more freezer stuff from TJS than anywhere else. Any meat that is purchased for dh is always purchased at Whole Foods.
CherieBerie- I'd love to know which northern suburb you shop in! Is it Evanston?
I do hit Trader Joe's once in a while. They're much closer to me than WF, so I get tempted in even though I feel guilty about it.
I find that fresh stuff at TJs is really suspect. I've had their cheeses go moldy on me within a couple of days more than once. My girls are utterly addicted to their organic hummus, it's the only brand they'll eat now that they've tried it. Four times now, I've had it ferment and bulge the package within a day or two. They're great about taking returns, really great, but since I'm in there kind of randomly, I rarely remember to bring these things along with me to return. The fruits and vegetables are so-so on freshness. Anything you can touch and smell is usually ok - loose apples, bananas, avocados. But, most of their produce is under plastic. I don't trust that right off the top because I can't smell it, but also, experience tells me that a lot of TJs produce is not very fresh. So, when it comes to produce, I mostly use them for cheap avocados and bananas. I think the produce is fresher at the TJs I've shopped at in Arizona, and I've been told that other west coast TJs are better as well, so maybe it's just a Pennsylvania thing? Are TJs all corporate owned or franchised?
Furthermore, TJs is *not* a health food store. They are a specialty food store. They have no compunction about selling foods with hfcs, phos, artificial ingredients, preservatives, etc. They claim that their private label stuff has no artificial ingredients, but I've found vanillin in a number of their candies. So, you have to be a careful label reader there.
It also bugs me that they will trial a name brand product for a while, and if it's popular, they will start selling it private label. In most cases, it seems utterly identical, which seems to indicate they're contracting private label foods from the same manufacturer who was making the name brand product. Not a bad thing... except that the manufacturer gets less money for it that way, presumably. Or does the distributer get cut out only, which isn't so bad? I wish they'd be more upfront about that. In any case, I do wish they'd reveal their manufacturers so we can shop ethically. I do boycott a lot of big manufacturers.
Basically, TJs is good for a few novelty things, and occasionally for cheap stuff. I think I could, if I didn't care about freshness or the whole manufacturer ethics thing, do all our shopping there, and it would be primarily organic. But, between all those issues and the fact that I *do* try to stay primarily local for our food, we really only go in there for a few things (and other than the avocados, bananas and hummus, it's mostly guilt things - candy and crackers )
I greatly prefer to shop at local health food stores. My local hfs carries exclusively organic produce, plus a lot of local dairy and meat products, including raw milk and meat from truly pastured animals (and I've literally met these farmers). They carry a lot of local produce in season. They are always seeking out more local providers for food. They don't carry anything with hfcs or phos, or anything artificial. And, they know me by name
Shop your local health foods store, the one that does not truck stuff all over the country.
We have a local Organic Farm which I can sometimes find stuff in summer and autumn but most of their produce is disgusting.
I've always had great luck with TJ's produce and other fresh items, except once for some avacados. (Which, IIRC, I took a picture of so I could take the photo in instead of rotten food for my refund, and I was new to the digital camera, and instead of emailing a charming picture of ds painting the closet doors with tempra paint to various members of my family... I sent a picture of overripe avacados.
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Our precious baby girl is coming to turn our world upside down in January 2014!