What’s your Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods “must”?

One of the pleasures Dave and I have enjoyed since moving to Cleveland is the availability of a Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods to shop at.  Whereas before we would stock up during our infrequent trips to these stores, the availability of having them nearby has made the novelty begin to wear off. However, as my brother puts it; “shopping at Whole Foods just makes you feel happy” 🙂 The environment is great, but you can end up spending your whole paycheck if you’re not prudent!

Some products I love and plan to make a staple of our pantry. Namely the chocolate covered dunkers, decaf coffee and gnocchi from TJ’s.  It also seems that the 365 products at Whole Foods are pretty comparable to other grocery stores.  One of the issues as well as cost- how do you decide the trade-off between organic, fair trade or local products that are better for you, the environment and communities yet spending more for them? Since we weren’t able to get into a CSA farm share this year because of our move, we plan to participate in city fresh, a weekly veggie subscription here in Cleveland. I love this idea because with a normal farm share, you typically miss a couple weeks in the summer because of vacation.

We also plan to do some pick your own fruit, one of our favorite things to do in the summer. I’m a glutton for blueberries- we typically pick 40 lbs and freeze them to use through the winter.


  • Tammy McLeod

    TJ’s flourless chocolate cake rocks. I also love their individually wrapped packs of raw almonds for my purse, desk, etc… Some of their sauces are great too – curry, marinara, etc.

  • Teresa

    Just got back from Trader Joe’s!! TJ’s Fair Trade Swiss Milk Chocolate is a must! At $1.99 a bar is is way cheaper than fair trade chocolate bars at other places and I just can’t justify buying chocolate that isn’t fair trade since the chocolate industry is one of the worst offenders for human rights violations. My current favorite cereal can also be found at TJ’s – Honey, Almond & Flax 9 Whole Grain Crunch Cereal…mmmmmm! It has great fiber and protein and is oh so delicious 🙂 Since I moved a month ago I now have a TJ’s and Whole Foods right next to each other 3 miles away. I like TJ more than WF…its smaller and doesn’t make me feel like I am in the Walmart of Organics. Besides, they are generally cheaper too 🙂

  • joyce

    city fresh is so great! i went a few times last year. i really like the idea of the weekly subscription too. i think they donate the rest of the unsold food to local community development places?

    i really like some of the things that TJs has that i think are comparable, esp the granola and granola bars. i also love the rice drink/soy milk – i find them to be pretty cheap and much better tasting than the ones at other grocery stores.

    i’m so glad you’ve been able to find all this stuff in cleveland!

  • serinat

    i miss tjs and wfm so much. we make quarterly trips to ann arbor to stock up.

    here’s what i stock up on at trader joe’s (mostly due to good prices):

    -organic pasta
    -organic brown rice pasta
    -organic raisins
    -raw almonds and cashews
    -organic ketchup
    -organic low sugar jams
    -frozen organic corn & peas
    -black cocoa almonds (WARNING: ADDICTIVE)
    -organic animal crackers
    -simmer sauces – masala, korma, curry
    -free range cheddar
    -beef hot dogs (tj’s brand is really good)
    -organic cream top whole milk plan yogurt
    -dishwasher detergent (cheapest green stuff around)
    -dish soap

    for real, that was just off the top of my head. i’ve kind of got it down now, since i have to make sure i don’t miss anything when i go. i know there’s more stuff i buy that i’m not currently remembering. happy shopping!

  • Antonia Rose

    Have you tried Westside Market yet? I really miss that place.

    One of my faves from Whole Foods are the 365 Organic Vanilla Sandwich Cookies. Yum! Sad that in a place of wholesome goodness, the first thing that came to mind was cookies. lol

  • Lisa

    FYI the 365 products are often made in China. In our house, that’s a big deal since my in-laws are fearful of the Chinese government and their quality. Also, though Whole Foods says it’s really meeting the standards for US organics, I have my doubts since other products in China have been so grossly under standard. When I found this out, I was disappointed because Whole Foods presents itself as a US organic eco-friendly option.

    As for TJs, I only make a special trip there to get honey (tasty and cheaper). When I am there, I also pick up dried fruit (the dried mangos are awesome), nuts, granola, and their sparkling water. I like their orzo, but it’s not always available. I like their frozen asparagus and frozen peas. They taste so fresh when you cook it. Splurges are their cereal or chocolate covered granola bars.

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