If you're not reading the Fairway Market sales flier, you are missing out on one of the slickest marketing campaigns for a supermarket in North Jersey.
Farm-raised shrimp, conventionally raised prime beef -- all of it looks terrific, and there are photos of the humans behind each department at its Paramus store with a quote or two for good measure.
None of this can obscure the truth -- that Fairway is selling a lot of pretty ordinary food, except for Murray's drug-free chicken, wild seafood and organic items.
There are some gems, though.
Whole porgy and whiting for $2.99 a pound is the lowest price I've seen on these fish (the sale starts today). Organic, Fair Trade coffee at $4.99 a pound is a steal. Three pounds of herbicide-free, Campari tomatoes for $5 is another great buy.
Capt. Tony Maltese, a licensed commercial fisherman, is shown and identified as the director of seafood.
But above his name there is a quote from R.W. Apple Jr., a reporter for The New York Times whose appetite was legendary and who roamed the world to write about food.
What is this quote doing in the flier and who is the "we" Apple refers to?
The quote is in bigger type than the attribution, so unless you look closely, you may think the "we" is Fairway and the person being quoted is Capt. Maltese. It's not clear. (Could Apple have covered the opening of a Fairway store in New York before he died and spoken to Maltese?)
"We pay serious attention to the fact that where a fish was caught, how a fish was caught and when it was caught is at least as important as how it is best cooked."It gets better. Ray Venezia, Fairway's third-generation butcher, also is pictured in the flier.
"It's really very simple. We cut every piece of meat as if we were going to serve it to our own family."That doesn't say he actually brings home the conventionally raised beef, pork and lamb Fairway sells. In fact, the store sells only American lamb, not the grass-fed, drug- and hormone-free lamb from Australia that you can find at Costco and ShopRite, generally at lower prices than American lamb.
Fairway also doesn't carry naturally raised beef from Australia.
Fairway Market, 34 E. Ridgewood Ave., Paramus; 201-444-5455. Open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.