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June 17, 2011


does TJ's sell those local strawberries??


Randy, no, I didn't see any local produce at Trader Joe's. That's a negative for the store. But I still see a lot of Trader Joe's positives. I just wish those tortilla chips I bought yesterday didn't taste so good.

I'm leaning toward bringing half of the bag to a get-together at someone else's house tonight, so Trader Joe's won't succeed in making me gain weight.

Yes, those chips in the bag with the blue label are good, low fat ...and low sodium. They are the ones I always get along with Trader Joe's roasted garlic salsa. Fetzer wine, sustainably grown and produced - at $6.99 for Sauvignon Blanc & Cabernet Sauvignon a few bucks more than Two Buck Chuck but, I have gotten cheap wine at Trader Joe's that was undrinkable, so I'll stick with Fetzer's. What other reasons to go to Trader Joe's? Nuts - good variety and prices not bad. Some kind of little crackers with rosemary, I know the box when I see it. That's it. If I'm there and need some yogurt or peanut butter, I might get it. But I don't like the way they sell produce, bananas by the piece notwithstanding, most of it is packaged so you can't select your own pieces. I've had bad luck with fish and cheese. Flowers wilt too soon. My cats are picky, picky, picky and Trader Joe's does not carry their brands (Lifesource does, though - good thing.)

Around here, Trader Joe's is just, you know around here. Walking distance from where I live. Just another Saturday errand. I never knew it was a "destination" until someone visited from a place that had no Trader Joe's and she made a great big huge deal about going there. So we went. However, since I will be moving to Salem where my daughter is later this summer, I'm glad to know the Salem store has those particular tortilla chips with the blue label and I hope they have the roasted garlic salsa. If they don't have the Fetzer wine in the Salem store, I know Lifesource carries Frey's organic wine - a bit pricier but reasonable.

Mark Bittman's New York Times column a few days ago (about slave labor conditions among tomato pickers in Florida) talked about the fact that Trader Joe's has not signed onto the "penny a pound" campaign presented by the the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Trader Joe's says it is, through its wholesalers, paying the extra penny a pound to improve workers' conditions, it just won't sign the agreement.

The Bittman article has a link to an interesting piece at CNN Money about the history and penchant for secrecy of Trader Joe's which "is owned by Germany's ultra-private Albrecht family, the people behind the Aldi Nord supermarket empire." Once upon a time there really was a Joe, but he sold the business to the Albrechts in 1979 for a price he says he can't remember.

Well I'm off - to Trader Joe's in fact, stopping first at one of the few remaining great independent bookstores, the Brookline Booksmith, which I will sorely miss in Salem. I know Powell's is in Portland, but will I be able to walk there, ride my bike there, hang out for a while there on weekend afternoon while out doing errands? No - a good bookstore will become a "destination," a great big huge deal.

Laurie, thanks for the chips advice. I didn't get the blue bag variety, but I'll look for them next time I visit Trader Joe's. Be sure to let me know when you make it to Salem. We'll have to get together in physical space, as contrasted with all this cyberspace communicating.

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