The Fruit is Always Sweeter...

Every Monday it's the same conversation: "So...what did you do this weekend?" Well, for starters, I weaseled a trip to Longhorns Steak House in Marlborough with Spencer on Saturday. It was hotter than hell and what better way to cool off than with a nice hot steak and a baked potato? Seriously, I know I'm fantastically insane...but I like meat.

Our lunch was actually pretty underwhelming, but that's for another blog. What I want to tell you about today is our little side trip to a grocery store called Hannaford which is next to Longhorns. I love shopping for fruit and right now my Holy Grail is a big juicy piece of watermelon priced right at about 55 cents a pound. It's not gonna happen and believe me, I know that. But it's the thrill of the chase because after all, Summer means delicious watermelon and next up is Pomegranate season (the most holy of seasons).

Hannaford is my new favorite grocery store. The aisles are wide, the selection is plentiful and the floors aren't sticky. The was no dust to be found on their canned goods and we found a rippled no-salt bag of potato chips about four aisles into our browsing. (My mom is going to be psyched and I can't wait to present her with my new find when I visit her this Tuesday! She loves no-salt chips and can't understand why the selection is so minimal anytime we go into a superstore like Wal-Mart or Target. I keep trying to tell her no-salt anything is difficult to find, but when she wants something her needs must be met--or I'll be nagged to death.)

Spencer is all about the price and I think he was pleased that the prices were surprisingly good-especially on their health & beauty products. We didn't even have to add another one of those annoying plastic discount cards to our already overloaded keychains to benefit from their prices.

We walked the aisles of Hannaford like tourists in Disneyland. But what cinched it for me was the yogurt section. Amazingly, they were charging $.55 cents for Breyer's Creme Savers yogurt! It's normally about $.89 or more at Price Chopper and Stop & Shop so I snagged a few containers and moved (or shall I be corny and say MOOOOved) over to the dairy section to price the Bunny Milk. Although they were charging $1.29 for it, they still redeemed themselves because they had Garelick Coffee Milk. I can never find coffee milk anywhere.

Did I mention the store was completely dead? I didn't have to maneuver around annoying customers leaving their shopping carts in the middle of the aisle or deal with screaming kids in the cereal aisle demanding Cookie Crisp cereal. I expected to see pallets of food in the aisles waiting to be put away by stocking clerks hoping to take advantage of down time. Nothing. The aisles were free and clear. Come to think of it, I don't recall seeing too many cardboard displays taking up aisle space either.

Since I'm a shopper who purposely shops in the dead of the night to avoid being stressed when I want to browse the salad dressing aisle for an undiscovered flavor (to stoke my salad dressing fetish), Hannaford scores points for the discerning shopper who wants to spend time experiencing what it's like to have such a grand amount of food choices. At Hannaford, it's perfectly okay to shuffle through your coupons with ease never worrying about the agitation from a stressed out, low-on-patience mom eager to push past you to get their cans of spaghettio's. The aisles are just that spacious.

The checkout was wonderful and free of any confrontation from apathetic cashiers. I was actually asked if my two flavors of Skinny Cow ice cream was the same price and when I confirmed it--the cashier nodded, punched in the price and moved on to my next item on the belt. No price checks or surly behavior whatsoever.

But here's the best part. They give you plastic bags that are study (about the thickness of a Target bag) and say cheeky things like:
I'm observant. I may look like an ordinary bag, but I'm not. I notice things. Like that tender asparagus you selected...and that roast...Excellent choice! You know what you're doing and I can tell you have GOOD TASTE.
The bag then has a little request: Please re-use this bag as many times as you can, then return it to Hannaford for recycling.
I am here to tell you that I've witnessed patrons of Hannaford actually bringing their used plastic bags back into the store for reuse! And that's the amazing thing about these gray bags. They are so hearty that you can actually recycle them. They don't rip or tear from your trunk to your countertop. They withstand the journey sustaining the weight of glass pickle jars, Ocean Spray grapefruit juice, boxes of Lean Cuisines and a can of scrubbing bubbles.
Today we drove 16 miles out of our way-from Worcester to Marlboro- to do our weekly grocery shop at Hannaford. Our trip was not disappointing in the sense that the store was still stone-cold quiet, Bing cherries were on sale for $2.99/pound and I even found a new salad dressing that I had never tried before-Ken's Sweet Vidalia Onion.
So that's what I did this past weekend--I shopped Hannaford and discovered a wonder right in my own 20-mile radius of home.

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  1. Yeah, but you still can't beat Shaw's in Shrewsbury as the only place in the known Universe where you can buy my coveted Lipton Calorie Free iced tea mix. That's "Calorie Free", with saccharin, not Diet. Mmmmm...saccharin...gotta love that rich, carcinogenic goodness! :)

  2. I found myself longing for Hannaford's on our latest trip to Stop & Shop as we struggled to find the card that gets us the sale prices everybody who has a card is eligible for--a card that is so exclusive that only everybody is eligible to own...for free. Oh, they'd simply swipe some generic store card if you didn't have yours, but you still have to do the dance to get their sale prices--all so they can get a little bit of marketing information on their shoppers. One would have thought they could tell what was selling by what people were buying, but, hey, I never studied marketing as thoroughly as they obviously have. Give me Hannaford's where everybody belongs to the sale price club without having to have a card!