I’ve always loved grocery shopping. It could be because it combines two things I love– picking out new things AND food.
And as a child I remember my mom (the consumate educator) would test my math skills by making me add up totals in my head while we shopped– a habit I’ve lately abandoned. And if i was on point I’d get a treat! ANY. THING. I WANTED. AT THE STORE! Usually tomatoes or swiss cake rolls. I know those are random options, but I would eat all of the tomatoes before my mom had a chance to cook with them– so she started buying me my own. I still love them today.
Outside of that, I had loads of other opportunities to earn sweets because my older cousins hated going to the store with their mom. So I would volunteer to go with my aunt when I was little. She would test my memory by verbally giving me a list in the car and pretending to need my help remembering. No matter what, I came home with a treat from the Kroger bakery when I went with her. #spoiled. So it was always good times!
Anyway, there is no one rewarding me for randoms tasks while grocery shopping these days, BUT i still enjoy going up and down the aisles, considering meal options and comparing prices. Over time I’ve learned where to go for certain things. And I want to share that with you guys!!! If you live in Atlanta– these are the places that I like to shop.
BEST PRODUCE: Any Metro-Atlanta Farmers Market!
I’m not going to say one farmers market is better than another for produce. It kinda depends on the produce you’re looking for, but I’ll say that farmers markets generally have better options than traditional grocery stores! I love checking out small pop up markets too. They usually feature locally grown organic items. I’ll splurge for that!
Side note: Dekalb and the Sandy Springs pop-up have great greens, but Buford Hwy has great potatoes and tomatoes.
BEST SPICES: Your Dekalb Famers Market!
HANDS DOWN. They have a wall of spices packaged in a variety of weights for the lowest prices you can imagine. I buy big tubs of coarse salt and peppercorns for less than $1.00 every time I go. And if you’ve ever tried to buy nutmeg at a traditional grocery store, you know that it’ll cost you a smooth $5 for nearly none. And at Dekalb, you can get an eff load it for under $2.00. That’s just an example. But think of a natural herb– and they have it for the low!
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BEST BEEF and PORK: Your Dekalb Farmers Market!
I love having the option to buy grass-fed meats. Dekalb has a variety of options! Fresh ground meats, lean cuts, fatty cuts, housemade sausages– whatever. You can find really good options there! I hate that I live so far from it now, but whenever we can we get there– we leave loaded down with meat. Meat. (inside joke for fans of the baron)
BEST POULTRY: Buford Highway Farmers Market and Your Dekalb Farmers Market!
I like options. In short, Dekalb offers more free-range and cage-free poultry than anywhere else I’ve shopped, but Buford Highway offers more cuts. I love boneless skinless chicken thighs and chicken hearts– a plethora can be found at Buford Highway. Are they grass-fed? Nope. But if my recipe calls for that cut of meat– that’s the only place with a nominal price. Dekalb offers many well priced options for poultry including turkey necks and duck breasts.
DAIRY PRODUCTS: Whole Foods Market and Your Dekalb Farmers Market
I should probably just name the brand that I love. The best is Johnston’s Family Farm. They seriously offer the most amazing milks, creams, butters, etc. You can find their products at those two places AND at pop up farmers markets. I also love Siggi’s, Greek Gods, Cabots, and the cage-free eggs at Dekalb.
BEST SEAFOOD: Super H-Mart and Your Dekalb Farmers Market
Most farmers markets have a seafood processing section, but I’m most often impressed with the H-mart. They process fish quickly (scaling, filets, steak) and the shellfish is generally better than anywhere else. Dekalb has the best variety, but depending on the time of day– you could be there for a good minute. No thanks. If the H-mart has it– i’ll get it there.
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Krogers (select locations) Whole Foods Markets
I do not have celiac disease, but I find that I’m less gassy and weigh less when I eat a gluten free diet. So I’ve started buying gluten free cereals and pastas as well as flour blends so that I can make dishes that require flour dredging and whatnot without wheat. But I don’t believe in buying gluten free breads though– they never taste good or have the right texture. So I try to cut sandwiches from my diet completely.
FLOURS AND MILLED PRODUCTS: Your Dekalb Farmers Market
There is an aisle dedicated to this! Any kind of flour you can think of can be found here– wheat, barley, corn, rice, almond, xanthum, anything! All in one place, super cheap, easy peasy.
PACKAGED GOODS: Publix
Well duh! The buy one get one sales are endless. And all the name brand packaged goods are sold there. No matter how big or small your Publix is– you can generally find what you want as national packaged goods go. Sausages, canned fruit, frozen dinners, etc. Done. Although, IF a Target or Walmart has what you’re looking for– it will be much cheaper. But I have a hard time finding the items i like specifically.
INTERNATIONAL PACKAGED GOODS: Buford Highway Farmers Market
South America, the Middle East, Eastern Europe– whatever country your favorite items come from, the Buford Highway Farmers Market will likely have it! I’m always impressed when I want to try something new! And truthfully, a third of the store is basically an H-mart! Asian packaged goods are abundant. Don’t even get me started on the canned coffees from Korea. Those are some of my faves!
FROZEN FOODS: Target
I believe in buying frozen produce if I can’t get it fresh. My mom never cooked with canned foods– so i don’t even know what to do with them. I find that Super Targets have frozen veggies that even some farmers markets don’t. I LOVE butternut squash, whole okra, mangos, etc. but I don’t always have the time to chop or peel or whatever. And its nice to go to a store that sells more than frozen broccoli and corn– and for a good price too! I didn’t even mention the number of macaroni and cheese options! Get your life.
WINES and BEERS: Your Dekalb Farmers Market
Okay, when you walk in– go to the far right! That is my first stop when i visit. The wines and beers are organized by country and style. I get my life every. single. time. Make sure you grab a cart from the parking lot before you walk in the door (they are always out once you get inside). And there is no way I can carry all that wine, plus meat and greens in a hand cart. Champagnes that cost you hundreds at the club and $75 plus at your local “package store” will be priced well below market there! You’ll see. Enjoy!!
Here is a video about my first time at a specific pop-up farmers market! Thanks guys. Don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel.