My friend Mel told me about this new chain of mini-grocery stores that has started to open in our Valley. They are called "Fresh & Easy." These stores are the antithesis of the super-huge-I-need-a-gallon-of-maple-syrup stores like Costco and Sam's Club.
There is one open about four miles from me, so I popped James in the car yesterday and we went to check it out.
I really liked it! These stores have opened in what used to be old Rite-Aids. You can imagine how small they are. They are making an attempt to be the true "neighborhood grocery store" (unlike the Neighborhood Wal-Marts, which still feel just as large as a regular grocery store.)
Mel was so right! These are great stores. They package a lot of their own foods, which in many cases have little or no preservatives. They have an incredible ready-made line of foods, like pasta and meatballs, burritos, fresh salads and awesome gourmet desserts. The meat is so great looking, too! I haven't seen cuts of meat as nice as theirs since the last time I was in a Whole Foods store (and who can afford that??)
And the prices? Well, for a bag of dried apricots at Smith's I usually pay $5.29. I don't know how many ounces the bag has, but it probably holds 30 apricots. A bag at Fresh and Easy that holds twice as many was only $2.28! Wow-ee!!!
I went to their website to learn a little more about them. Here is what it says:
"People want fresh and healthy food choices. People want things to be easy. So we're making our stores that way. How? By recruiting friendly people and offering high-quality food at prices you can't believe.We also think people might like some inspiration, so we're creating easy-to-prepare meals and sharing Fresh & Easy™ Ideas that make busy lives easier. Because we're a good neighbor who cares about the environment, we're including energy efficient equipment in our stores and operations. And since we're a neighborhood market, we recruit from the local area, reduce travel time, and encourage neighborhood shopping.A simple shopping experience with everything you need right in the neighborhood."
I was very excited to see that they are building one even closer to my house, only about a mile away.
I was watching a Food Network show the other day about European markets. It seems that while everyone else in the world adopted a "get your groceries everyday" kind of shopping style, where they went to the butcher, the baker, the grocer, the fish monger, etc., we here in America adopted the "Let's go to Costco twice a month and buy enough food for an army" mentality. (And I am not saying that I don't frequent Costco--I do.)
At Fresh and Easy, I actually feel like the look of the meats, cheese and veggies that they have, and the aromas of the fresh bread and the fruit that they offer, can inspire me to make a meal for that day. (Like I did!) Last night we had homemade Shepherd's Pie. YUM!
If you want to find a Fresh and Easy location near you, visit their website for locations.
Thanks for the tip, Mel!