Small Local or Big Local? That IS the question

If you have been following the blog, you know that Jacob (my husband) and I have been having date nights and spending hour upon hour doing research at the local grocery stores.  I don’t have the time to tell you about all of the stores in one giant blog – believe me, it would be GIANT – and I am sure you don’t want to read a blog that long.  So, I have decided to devote an individual blog to some of the stores, but others don’t deserve such distinguished recognition and will be lumped together.  In all reality, some are worth shopping at and others are not.  The first stop for us was Costco and I will say on the record that Costco is DEFINITELY worth shopping at if you want good deals on organic food.

First, I must confess… I love Costco!  I love the free food that they hand out on Saturdays.  I love the smell of the bakery and the fresh muffins (but, I don’t love the muffins’ fat content!).  I love the clothes they carry, especially the kid’s pajamas.  But, most of all, I love the deals.  And, boy oh boy, did we find deals on organic food.   If you have shopped at Costco before, you know that they tend to carry one brand or type of a product.  There is one kind of potato chip, one kind of root beer, one kind of cheese… you get the idea.  But, as you walk down each aisle at a snail’s pace and divvy up the sides (I was always on the left and Jacob took the right – but I’m nosy and tended towards distraction and would look to his side, too), you start to notice the pockets of organic food that are stuck in the middle of the bigger brands.  Instead of getting five feet of prime shelf space, the organic food might only get three feet.  Amazingly there is an organic counterpart for almost half of the mainstream, non-organic food items available at Costco.

I have outlined my “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” below, but there are a few very cool products that deserve recognition.

The first is set of two 1/2 gallon cartons of organic orange juice.  The juice is made of Valencia oranges out of California and costs $6.99 for the two.  You cannot touch a single 1/2 gallon of organic orange juice at another store for under $5.00 each.

The second noteworthy product is the Wholesome Sweetners Organic Cane Sugar made from evaporated cane juice.  The bag is 10 pounds for $7.99 and is a quality free-trade product.  You might be asking what evaporated cane juice is and so I will attempt to give you a reader’s digest version: cane juice is extracted, clarified, evaporated and crystallized the same day and not refined in any way.  You are left with a blond-colored granular sugar that has not been stripped of all the natural molasses.  And you might be asking what fair trade means, so here comes another explanation: Fair Trade refers to the guaranteed practice of paying farmers directly for their product.  This means that local farmers are able to compete with large-scale factories and support their families directly with competitive wages.

The third product is the organic butter that is distributed by Kirkland.  You pay $6.89 for two 1-pound boxes of butter quarters.  The average price of a single 1-pound box of organic butter at the grocery store ranges between $4.89 and $5.99.

The final product that must be mentioned is the Ecos Liquid Laundry Detergent.  This is a product that we have been using for a number of years and I can’t say enough good things about it.  It is an earth-friendly, non-polluting, all natural cleanser that works incredibly well and has only six ingredients: 100% natural anionic coconut kernel oil-based surfactant, horsetail plant, lavender, coconut based fabric softener, essential oils of magnolias and lilies, purified water.  The bottle is $12.49 for 210 ounces and only 1.5 ounces are needed for each load!

Thumbs up! 🙂

Look at the cool products I gave you details on above – duh!

The prices on all the organic items Costco carries beat the prices at the local grocery stores – hands down!

If you want organic tortilla chips, Costco is the ONLY place that carries them at an affordable price.  They are 100% organic.  Safeway is the only other store that carried 100% organic chips and the other chips we found were only made of organic corn.  Another bonus – you get a lifetime supply of these 100% organic chips for under $5.00.

Local, local, local – if you are not trying to only buy organic, you will be impressed by the number of small local companies that Costco is supporting.  There is marionberry jam from a farm in Oregon and soup and salsa from another city in Oregon.  It is nice to see these kinds of products at a big name, big box store.

Thumbs down! 😦

Absolutely no fresh, organic produce with the exception of apples, lettuce (spinach & romaine) and carrots

The organic milk is only available in 1%.  The adults in our house drink 1%, but our toddler is still drinking whole milk.  The price on the organic milk is disappointingly comparable to the other brands and prices at grocery stores (some of which is very local – see my previous blog on Fresh Breeze Dairy).

A lot of the organic products that are carried by Costco are their “in house brand”: Kirkland.  There is no information on the packaging about where the actual stuff inside the package originated from, just a note on the outside that tells you it is distributed by Kirkland.  I want to know what I am eating and where it came from, not where it was distributed from.

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This entry was posted in nice & natural, oh! it's organic!, supper & sustenance, where the locals go!. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Small Local or Big Local? That IS the question

  1. Barb D.V. says:

    One of these days take a trip to Whole Foods in Bellevue–it is quite the experience! The vegies and fruit look like art!!! If you go try the sausages in the meat deli–they make them there–chix, turkey, etc with various spices. Very, very good!! I just put 2 in a pkg.–they wrap them. Barb

    • sacredbee says:

      Yes, I LOVE Whole Foods. Jacob and I are celebrating our anniversary with a weekend away the beginning of February and stopping at Whole Foods. It will be like Christmas – I can’t wait! And, I’ll definitely keep an eye out for the homemade sausage. Yummo!

  2. abloggersman says:

    Good blog, love. LOVED the Costco trip. LOVE saving money….but where will we store 700 bags of tortilla chips??? BTW, Barb, Whole Foods trip planned for one of the next 3 weekends, thanks for the suggestion.

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