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Shopping help!

Shopping help!

Old Feb 16th 2011, 5:07 pm
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Default Shopping help!

Hi, we arrived in SE Michigan on the 4th so we're only 12 days into our new life. However I'm struggling to equate shops to what I'd know at home and supermarket shopping takes forever! Fun to look at new stuff and browse but a nightmare when you just want to run in and get something quick. Also I am finding the cost of fresh fruit and veg pretty extortionate. We don't want to eat out all the time but don't want to not eat the fresh stuff we're used to. Can anyone offer any guidlines or tips? What would a kroger or a meijers equate to for example? All information welcome.. Thankyou in advance

My last resort it to go all "good life" and grow stuff. Once the snow melts obviously lol.
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Old Feb 16th 2011, 6:03 pm
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Default Re: Shopping help!

Try and find local producers. However, no one believes us when we post on this board that the cost of living isn't dramatically lower to the UK, especially where decent food is concerned. I guess you are just finding out the hard way, produce and decent food is not cheap. You can get dirt cheap food but the quality represents the price.
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Old Feb 16th 2011, 6:31 pm
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Default Re: Shopping help!

Unfortunately supermarket fruit and veg here are very poor quality compared to what you are used to in the UK. Growing your own is a good option, and you should investigate the CSA option (community supported agriculture.) This is where you pay a set fee to a local farmer or consortium and they give you a share each week for a good long growing season. Also, do you have Amish folk on farms near you? We can buy a lot direct from them, although they may not be organic like the CSA folk...

Another thing you might want to make yourself is bread.

Also, raise your own pigs... (OK I'm exaggerating on that one.)
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Old Feb 16th 2011, 6:58 pm
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Default Re: Shopping help!

meijers always reminds me of sainsburys - a little bit of a pricier supermarket. Locally we have a giant eagle - seems be a bit more cheap - maybe like tescos. Then walmart is like asda (very cheap and cheerful - no surprise there - they are the same firm), kroger is bteween Giant eagle and meijers to me. Then Whole foods is more akin to Waitrose- ie excellent quality but pay a lot!

But then - krogers and giant eagle do rewards card schemes with cheap petrol etc - remember you can buy gift cards in those stores that you can then spend like cash in the gift card store BUT earns rewards from the supermarket you brought them in (does that make sense? - if you know you are going to spend money in home depot - buy the gift card first where you have a reward card). Walmart does no reward but prices are generally the cheapest but not always a comprehensive choice and tends to be very cheap/cheerful.

I had the same issue as you when you arrived - had noconcept of what was what compared to home- but it does come with time and exposure - but after 3.5 years there are still plenty of shops i have still never been in lol.
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Old Feb 16th 2011, 7:02 pm
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Default Re: Shopping help!

Originally Posted by Essexfolks View Post
Hi, we arrived in SE Michigan on the 4th so we're only 12 days into our new life. However I'm struggling to equate shops to what I'd know at home and supermarket shopping takes forever! Fun to look at new stuff and browse but a nightmare when you just want to run in and get something quick. Also I am finding the cost of fresh fruit and veg pretty extortionate. We don't want to eat out all the time but don't want to not eat the fresh stuff we're used to. Can anyone offer any guidlines or tips? What would a kroger or a meijers equate to for example? All information welcome.. Thankyou in advance

My last resort it to go all "good life" and grow stuff. Once the snow melts obviously lol.
We don't have kroger or meijers around here so I can't give you a comparison.

If you're looking for good quality freash ready made meals like you get in M&S, Sainsbury's, Tesco etc I think you'll be disappointed...sorry. Of course it may be different in your area...but around here there's nothing like the stuff you can get in the UK.
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Old Feb 16th 2011, 7:09 pm
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Default Re: Shopping help!

I suppose one issue that is common in the US but obviously unknown in England is distance from good shopping options. We have a nice big Wegmans (like a huge Sainsburys) 125 miles south of here, and a nice big super pricey Cooperative supermarket 130 miles (and a $20 ferry ride..) east of here. Other than that, just piss-poor rural supermarkets with a good choice of cans, frozen, bread that won't go mouldy even if you keep if for a year, and plenty of beef jerky...

Pretty much every month or six weeks we drive over to Burlington VT (that's the one with the ferry ride) and stay at the Hilton overlooking Lake Champlain, & get in a month's groceries and wine. (Wine being the other thing that is super pricey and not much choice in rural New York.)
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Old Feb 16th 2011, 7:26 pm
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Default Re: Shopping help!

Originally Posted by robin1234 View Post
(Wine being the other thing that is super pricey and not much choice in rural New York.)
It's the same in many wine-producing states in the US. The locals have bought out the legislature, and it means that non-locally produced wine costs a fortune. This has the unfortunate side effect in states like NY of meaning that good wine is prohibitively expensive (unless places in the Finger Lakes like Wagners have started making drinkable wines). In CA it's not too bad, since the local competition is intense, and in WA it has definitely gotten better since I moved here in 2002 - some of the Walla Walla wines are outstanding, and even the Yakima wines are get getting to be very drinkable. Still not cheap, but generally better value than buying French.
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Old Feb 16th 2011, 7:38 pm
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Default Re: Shopping help!

Google, 'produce' in your local area.

Yelp is also helpful.
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Old Feb 16th 2011, 7:45 pm
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Default Re: Shopping help!

It does take a while to get used to shopping over here and I agree with others that the quality and variety of fresh fruit and veg especially is much lower than in the UK.

My plan of attack was to find the closest of each grocery store (for us Wal-mart, Kroger, Randalls, H.E.B., Whole Foods) and do a weekly shop at each one. I quickly found that H.E.B. was my first choice for a 'big' shop (price wise and selection) but that Kroger was fine if I just wanted to nip in quick.

If I am feeling flash I go to Central Market which is H.E.B.'s fancy supermarket hence lots of goodies but crazy prices!
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Old Feb 16th 2011, 7:47 pm
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Default Re: Shopping help!

Thanks so much for all the replies, Duncan you're right no one does believe me when I tell them the cost! Robin I will let you know if the pig farming takes my fancy, for now the meat is fine it's the stuff to go with it I'm struggling with lol. And wine here is actually ok price wise - thank GOD!
We are picking up the idea of bulk buying when we see it for a good deal, actually having the space to store it is a novelty so that's quite a nice change. But the fresh stuff obviously that won't work for.
So it's a case of shopping around (in the literal sense!) and being prepared to pay for what you want. Hopefully it comes soon cos I sound like a broken record going round every supermarket exclaiming "look at the price of that" or "what happened to 3 peppers for a pound"?!
I'm obsessed I admit it....
Thanks everyone, appreciate the feedback!
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Old Feb 16th 2011, 7:49 pm
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Default Re: Shopping help!

IMO Meijers is your best bet for grocery shopping in MI. don't forget that in the middle of winter there isn't going to be much, if any locally grown produce available right now. When we lived up there we'd use frozen veg until the spring/ summer and then most cities/ towns will have a farmers market once a week.
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Old Feb 16th 2011, 7:55 pm
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Default Re: Shopping help!

If there is a Trader Joe's in the area - they are great for vegetables, cheese and healthy cereals. Dont know what I'd eat if it wasn't for TJ and Wholefoods! I've been told Meijers is the best in this area too.
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Old Feb 16th 2011, 7:56 pm
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Default Re: Shopping help!

Originally Posted by Essexfolks View Post
"what happened to 3 peppers for a pound"?
They just rearranged the wording, $3 a pound!
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Old Feb 16th 2011, 7:58 pm
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Exclamation Re: Shopping help!

It said on the TV news a day or so ago that fresh produce has rocketed in price in the US; it has suddently spiked because of ruined crops in major fruit and veg producing States eg. Florida and California and linked to all the recent bad weather throughout the US.

Other reasons for the increase in food (not just the US but worldwide) include:

Higher oil prices - it's more expensive to transport food.

Drought in Russia/former USSR States affecting wheat production, floods in Pakistan and Australia (on top of a prolonged drought) causing crops to fail.

The reporter also said that staple foods such as rice are (and will remain for the forseeable future) higher in price; as Asian countries (in particular China and India are becoming more prosperous) more people have more money to spend on different varieties of food.

Worldwide the population is increasing - more food needs to be produced for all those extra mouths. (I despise Monsanto with a passion - but of course they will argue that their genetically modified crops are needed for this reason...)

It's all down to supply and demand.....more demand means higher prices

PS: Where are you from in Essex? We still have our little house in a village in the Epping Forest area.
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Old Feb 16th 2011, 7:58 pm
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Default Re: Shopping help!

Originally Posted by Essexfolks View Post
Thanks so much for all the replies, Duncan you're right no one does believe me when I tell them the cost! Robin I will let you know if the pig farming takes my fancy, for now the meat is fine it's the stuff to go with it I'm struggling with lol. And wine here is actually ok price wise - thank GOD!
We are picking up the idea of bulk buying when we see it for a good deal, actually having the space to store it is a novelty so that's quite a nice change. But the fresh stuff obviously that won't work for.
So it's a case of shopping around (in the literal sense!) and being prepared to pay for what you want. Hopefully it comes soon cos I sound like a broken record going round every supermarket exclaiming "look at the price of that" or "what happened to 3 peppers for a pound"?!
I'm obsessed I admit it....
Thanks everyone, appreciate the feedback!
Costco are really good pricewise and because they have such a high turnover their fruit/veg/meat/fish is usually fresh.

For what I pay for a container of mixed salad leaves at my local supermarket...I can get 5 times more for the same price at Costco.
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