Saturday, February 6, 2010
Follow the tracks to great food buys
I've enjoyed shopping and eating in Paterson's Middle Eastern food bazaar for nearly 30 years, but haven't paid much attention to the city's bustling, year-round Farmers' Market.
Today, I met Chuck, one of my loyal readers, at the market on East Railway Avenue and he led me to some remarkable food bargains, most of which are gone by Sunday. Besides produce stores, there are butchers, a fish market, restaurants and non-food merchants. Parking is free.
My first stop was Eastern Groceries Inc. at 459 E. Railway Ave. (look for the number, the name on the door says something else). None of the following prices are typos.
Greek-style yogurt for $2 -- that's less than 17 cents each. They were stamped with a date of Feb. 8, meaning we will have about two weeks to finish them. A simple drizzle of honey turns this yogurt into a great dessert.
Earthbound Farm organic heirloom lettuce leaves were $1 for 7 ounces -- or $2.28 a pound. Organic spring mix was $1.99 for 12 ounces -- or $2.65 a pound -- far less than at Costco. Both had use-by dates of Feb. 10. A 5-pound box of Spanish clementines was $3.49 -- by far the lowest price of the season.
A 1-pound package of large, Sunset-brand, herbicide-free tomatoes was $1.50. A bunch of radishes was 50 cents. I had to pass up a lot of other bargains -- my refrigerator and freezer are bulging as it is.
Despite the sub-freezing weather, there was a beautiful display of produce outside Brother's, 327 E. Railway Ave., but all I needed were lemons (four for $1). Olives are only $1.99 a pound. This store also carries a good selection of Middle Eastern food, such as imported tahini sauce, fava beans, hummus and so forth.
Then I drove over to Main Street, lined with Turkish and Middle Eastern restaurants, shawarma shops and markets, to shop at Nouri's and Fattal's bakeries, two longtime Syrian rivals I have patronized for decades.They are at 999 and 975-77 Main St., respectively, and both have their own parking lots and carry so much more than just bread.
At Nouri's, I found three liters of Greek extra-virgin olive oil for $17.99, among bottles and tins from Syria, Lebanon and Turkey. At Fattal's, I picked up five cans of Moroccan sardines in spicy oil at 99 cents each and large, store-made spinach pies ($8.99 for six).
A big thank you to Chuck.