I’ve been doing the grocery store shopping the past few weeks. It usually happens on Tuesday — 5 % senior discount. With store coupons, you can sometimes save 15 percent on the bill. McCaffrey’s in Yardley is our standard. About once a month we go to Wegman’s, Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s (all on Route 1 in New Jersey). Each has some special items that we like and they all have offerings not available in McCaffrey’s. Shopping in these markets is more of an experience; an outing.
Even better are farm markets and speciality stores. We regularly go to Non Such Farm in Doylestown, the Trenton Farmer’s Market (all NJ produce), the high end Stockton Farmer’s Market, and in summer a number of farm stands in NJ and PA. There are also many great speciality stores we visit regularly — Earth Foods (Buckingham), Kimberton (Ottsville), Ely’s Pork Products (Upper Makefield), Griggstown Quail Farm (great pot pies), Gravity Hill Farm, the Brick Farm Market (a great find in Hopewell), Tabora Farm and Orchard (great bakery), Solebury Orchards (apples, apples), Nassau Street Seafood and Buckingham Seafood ( both have items not usually available locally). We recently purchased octopus at Buckingham Seafood. It was delicious, very similar to some we had last month at the Blue Point Grill in Princeton. The secret: it was pre cooked. Octopus can be very tough, the pre cooking took care of that.
There are any number of speciality stores — DiBruno’s (various locations now), Casa Casale (in Lahaska), and Lucy’s Ravoli Kitchen (Princeton) provide Italian specialities. This weekend we discovered an Italian Deli, Pasqualina’s in Blooming Glen (small town in Upper Bucks). A FB friend described it as “a hidden gem.” It’s a longer trip but I like to get beef at Wyebrook Farm in Honey Brook and locally eggs from the Milk House in Upper Makefield. There are a many more but these are some of our regular stops. We can spend an entire day food shopping.
It was only today that I noticed the slogan on the McCaffrey sign– ” a supermarket experience.” Maybe it is possible to look at regular food shopping as an experience. Carrots, onions and potatoes are on my list. Are there any interesting varieties? The avacados look nice — get a few and make guacomole. Philadelphia cream cheese in a tub is actually cheaper than the traditional block. Soy milk, we haven’t had it in some time, get a quart. Buying fish is usually fun. I talk to Pete behind the counter and decide on the Haddock. What kind of olives, dried fruit and nuts do I get. We need juice and they have Solebury cider — buy local. Get a big package of chicken breasts and make pot pies this week. Dried Navy beans are on the list (recently made Boston Baked Beans) but how about some split peas. Buy a piece of ham from Ely’s farm and make some soup.
One of my favorite photography assignments is taking pictures in markets. So much color, texture and interesting display. McCaffrey’s isn’t the 9th Street market or Reading terminal. It doesn’t hold up to the European, Nicaraguan, or American markets I have photographed. But why not, I shot some pictures today. Maybe everyday food shopping can be an experience. Imagination, questions and a camera.