Shopping European

ImagesThis summer I basically shopped at the local farm stand, the fish store, the bakery and butcher.  All different locations for different foods.  Very European.  It is work to do that kind of shopping but the rewards are high.  Our food was just better tasting and fresher. 

We are now back in the city and I have decided to continue on that journey.  After going to Citarella where I generally stock up for the week, I was so disappointed in the products that I opted out.  Things might change as the season changes but I am going to work on sticking with the program.

I am shopping for all our meats at Dickinsons Farms in Chelsea Market.  The Manhattan Fruit Exchange in Chelsea Market for vegetables and fruit and the local farmers market on weekends.  Bread is either Amy's bread or other local bakeries.  Fish is at the Lobster Place which is also located in Chelsea Market.  Fillers such as cereal and milk is at D'Agostinos which is down the street from us and if we need cheese, Murrays Cheeses.  Of course I fill in with indie products that we like at Mouth Foods. 

Let's see how it goes.  I kind of believe the effort is worth it. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. johndodds

    My immediate thought relates to the cost. I know NY supermarkets are expensive (it always amused me that the arrival of Whole Foods downtown actually served to put some downward pressure on prices), but isn’t this a more expensive route to take?It certainly would be in the UK where very few people do it, though there is a lot of noise now around people wanting to grow their own, but again I think that’s very much a minority behaviour.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I am not a fan of Whole Foods so I don’t shop there. Interesting enough, the prices at high end grocers like Citarella are many times less expensive than chains like D’Agastinos. Probably because Citarella is very focused on what they carry and turn it often vs Dag’s that has a slew of products that sit on their shelves.The butcher we are using is less than Citarella and the meats are superior.

      1. johndodds

        Wow. The economics of Manhattan groceries never cease to bewilder me. Given that the cost is cheaper, it seems to me there might be an opportunity for someone to build a business that removes the extra effort by doing the schlepping for you, especially as the suppliers pride themselves on consistently high quality. Bespoke online groceries, if you will.

        1. Jonathan

          Its called Fresh Direct ( but they aren’t cheap either. However they allow for tight delivery windows and above average quality. We love shopping at the local greenmarket (behind the AMNH) on Sundays and find the quality excellent. And it is a 4 block walk. Otherwise, it is Fairway — good prices, food turnovers constantly, and an easy walk. (And yes, I saw the rat video yesterday.) D’ag and Gristiedes are to avoided at all costs. For example, their cereal is 2x Fairway. But I have to disageee on Citarella — when we want really excellent quality meat, it is Citarella we go to. I have bought at Dickinson’s too when I could, but it is a schlep.

          1. johndodds

            I was thinking more of a business that went to each of the retailers that the customer specified.

      2. AG

        I was going to also note that I was surprised by your choice of Citarella vs Whole Foods. I’m sort of intrigued by your preference for the former, as mine definitely goes the other way.

    2. SallyBroom

      I guess it depends on your local area – I live by Brixton market where I can stock up on enough fruit and veg for the week and it saves me 70% of the supermarket cost. What’s more, there’s a huge number of fish mongers where I can get just about any fish I want, rather than the rubbish in the big stores. So I guess I’m lucky but I also have to make the effort and be organised about my week ahead – but man does it pay off!

      1. johndodds

        Brixton market is great. But away from the larger cities, the markets just aren’t comparable in my experience. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places.

        1. SallyBroom

          Absolutely, there’s such huge variation between places even across small areas of England. Abel & Cole and the like do offer decent delivery solutions but we still have a loooong way to go in providing access to great fresh food direct from local/individual suppliers. I guess the key is to keep buying it and keep talking about it – like we’re doing here.And I’m delighted to hear you love Brixton. Unbelievable change to an entire area in such a relatively short space of time – largely thanks to great food experiences!

  2. awaldstein

    Local/neighborhood resources are a huge gap.There are great spots for food and wine all over NYC but almost no online resource that makes it easy to locate in proximity of where you work and live.Hyper local is a gaping how in the social web.

  3. Daniel Doebrich

    if you’d like to add some amazing focaccia or pane to your basket, you should try Il Cantuccio at Christopher and Bleeker

  4. pixiedust8

    I think that is a great option in NYC (although of course I wish there was one perfect place that had everything), but probably not so much in the suburbs, where the amount of driving would negate the benefits (at least environmentally).

  5. David Miller

    Good for you … Another one of the benefits of life in NYC.Down here in Charlotte, that would mean five different stores and drives all over town. We have to make sacrifices in our daily food choices to not overly inconvenience our daily life schedule.We save the real meals for the weekend.

  6. AG

    I too find Citarella always has terribly disappointing produce.

  7. Drumm

    There is a general movement in this direction – thank goodness! Local, healthy, with an eye to supporting the smaller companies. And of course, very nice to be buying actual ‘food’, not packages.

  8. Laura Yecies

    I wish I had time to shop like that but I don’t – I need to make the best of markets that have overall good quality products to shop in one stop…

    1. Gotham Gal

      I fill up on Sunday…and admit to have someone do the rest of the filling up over the week. It is a lot of work.

  9. ShanaC

    I wish I could shop like this. And that it was easier to shop like this.

  10. WendyCW

    Have you tried the Foragers Market in Chelsea? Wonderful produce, meat and bakery. They also have a small boutique wine shop next store. Worth a visit for all types of local indie products like craft bitters, jams and sweets as well.

    1. Gotham Gal

      been there. love chelsea market. thanks!