East Bay whole foods/natural foods stores? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 02-25-2009, 03:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Does anyone have any suggestions about where to go in the East Bay (or even S.F for a weekend adventure) for great whole/natural foods stores?
So far we have adventured to Whole foods in Berkeley, spotted the Trader Joe's in Berkeley but didn't have a chance to go in. Is that Trader Joe's bigger than the one in Alameda? Do they have better pricing?
We shopped at Trader Joe's and "Market of Choice" in Alameda and thought they were pretty cool as well.
I saw some "farmers market/ market place venue on Alcatraz ST in Berkeley. Has any one stopped by there?

I am also looking for places to pick up the coupon adds-like the mambo sprouts.

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#2 of 6 Old 02-25-2009, 07:28 AM
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We do a lot of our everyday shopping at Berkeley Natural Grocery (a tiny store with a great selection) and Monterey Market (for all your produce needs... like a farmers market in a store). But we live in the neighborhood... I don't think I would come all the way from Alameda to shop here, there must be similar stores nearer to you!

One store that we do miss since moving here from SF is Rainbow Grocery. It is a great store and we especially love the extensive bulk section. Worth the trip to SF in my opinion.
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#3 of 6 Old 02-26-2009, 01:24 AM - Thread Starter
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That sounds very cool. I will have to check it out. Thanks!
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#4 of 6 Old 02-27-2009, 02:21 AM
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Berkeley Bowl is great. Just try to go midday or it can be intense (kind of reminds me of Times Square NYC at times). Otherwise, we go to Monterey Market (both MM and BB are much cheaper than the farmers markets from the same vendors, I'm assuming because they have large procurement contracts), or Natural Grocery -- the El Cerrito one has a meat counter.

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#5 of 6 Old 03-03-2009, 10:10 PM
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There isn't a Trader Joes in Berkeley... do you mean the one on College (Rockridge)? I haven't been to that one, since the parking situation is a joke, but if you're taking BART it's fairly convenient.

If you're in Alameda, I'd hit Trader Joes at Southshore. It's a lot closer. There's a farmer's market on Tuesday... Wednesday? Don't remember. It's small but not bad. There's the marketplace out in the old downtown area (I'm bad with street names)... right near the bridge. It's pretty cool, but pricey. There's also a farmers market on Friday in old downtown Oakland near the tunnel that is good. Better during the summer than the winter. Definitely get in and out before lunch though, since the office buildings flood it at lunch time.

I do my natural food shopping in Oakland, since they finally gave us some options (drove to Alameda for years before that). The Saturday farmer's market at Grand Lake is fabulous, but if you want parking get there by 9:30. There's a Trader Joes right around the corner, so it's one stop shopping. There's even a natural food store on that same block, although I've never checked it out. After I do those two stops then I swing by the Whole Foods on the corner of 27th and Harrison, which is on my way home, and get what's left. That WF has plenty of parking, unlike the one in Berkeley.

Everybody raves about Berkeley Bowl, but honestly I don't see it. I've been in there once and wasn't terribly impressed. Definitely not worth the hassle of driving and parking in Berkeley, IMO.

For bulk foods I go to the Food Mill in Oakland. I like supporting the local guy, and they have the best selection I've found. From bulk herbs to all your kitchen spices and even bulk honey and maple. Right nearby that is Farmer Johns which is a pretty darn nice regular locally owned supermarket. They don't really concentrate so much on the organics, but they do have good meats. Andronicos is also pretty nice, but like Farmer Johns they don't concentrate on organics.

I've heard great things about Rainbow, but they're an entirely vegetarian store, which really makes it not worth the trip for me.

And of course, being in Alameda, you have access to the Ferry, which means the Ferry building markets in SF. The Saturday market is excellent, although it is expensive. Prather Ranch and Cowgirl Creamery both have shops in there and are great sources for local meat and cheese. But, alone they're not worth the trip, since Prather is at the Grand Lake farmer's market on Saturday, and WF carries Cowgirl Creamery.

Oh, and all the TJs in the area have the same pricing. There's not much point in shopping around on that. And the one in Alameda is the biggest one I've been into, both Oakland (Grand Lake) and Emeryville are smaller.

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#6 of 6 Old 03-04-2009, 06:12 AM
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cristeen listed most of what i would. there's 2 farmer joe's though: one at 35th ave and macarthur, and a newer, bigger, more expensive (dunno why, same company) one at fruitvale and macarthur.

i do feel the berkeley bowl love. they have specials like organic pears for 89c/#, while the farmers' market rarely get below $2/#. but my kid goes to school fairly close to there, so i drop her at 830, then grab a parking place before they open at 9. the afternoon/eve is a gridlock experience, in the lot AND the store.

i love rainbow, i hit it up after work (i work in the city) on the weekends.

ther berkeley/el cerrito natural grocery stores are good, too, but a bit far from me (grand lake). i go there if i'm in the area already. one's near the target and REI (gilman st.).

farmers' market thread:

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