My 12-year-old son has been complaining that we've been out of bacon for two weeks, so I headed to Trader Joe's in Paramus today to pick up that and some of our other favorites.
Trader Joe's isn't anywhere as big as a supermarket and doesn't reward you for bringing re-usable bags, but it has a great selection of antibiotic-free meat and poultry, and drug- and preservative-free cold cuts and bacon. Not everything is a bargain, either, but you'll find a lot of quality food at good prices.
I picked up Applegate Farms sliced roast beef and smoked turkey, uncured Italian salami, Trader Joe's uncured bacon (three packages, two for the freezer), T.J.'s sliced yogurt cheese with jalapenos and one of our all-time favorites, a 3-pound rack of fully cooked and sauced St. Louis-style pork ribs from the Niman Ranch, a relative bargain at $5.99 a pound.
The 2%, lactose-free milk cost about the same as I pay for organic at ShopRite. Organic plain, low-fat yogurt was a steal at $2.99 for 32 ounces, but organic and conventional tomatoes from the small produce section were pricey. I paid $2.99 for 20 ounces of tomatoes on the vine, compared with $2.99 for 16 ounces of herbicide-free Campari tomatoes at Fairway Market.
I stopped at Trader Joe's about 1:30 yesterday afternoon. The store was crowded, with customers jockeying for position with their carts. If I stopped to read ingredients or look for a price sign, another customer would invariably thrust past me to pluck an item off the shelf. The staff is perky and helpful. But few of the customers were smiling.