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I planned to have a Roma tomato with breakfast Saturday morning, but when I opened the clear-plastic container, I could see a black spot forming on one and another split open and oozing juice. I bought them at Costco last Monday -- two pounds of Sunset-brand, herbicide-free tomatoes for $3.99, so decided to take them back.
Costco in Hackensack appeared to be overrun, with a long line of cars waiting to turn into the parking lot. In the store, register lines were just as long. I got my refund, and spoke to a produce manager about customers who open packages and hand-inspect the contents. He said employees have been alerted to discourage that behavior.
Not wanting to wait on a long register line, I left without replacement tomatoes and lemons I needed, figuring I could get them at Fairway Market in Paramus, while my wife was shopping for a summer dress on Saturday.
Tomato prices at Fairway stopped me cold. Vine-grown Canadian tomatoes were $1.99 a pound, the same price I pay for herbicide-free tomatoes at Costco. Herbicide-free Campari tomatoes were $2.99 a pound, compared with the Fairway sale price of 3 pounds for $5. One reason I like Costco is that prices fluctuate only slightly, and often go down.
So I bought loose Roma tomatoes for $1.49 a pound at Fairway, along with two lemons for $1. Two pounds of organic lemons (about four lemons) were $3.99 at Fairway. I also picked up four boxes of Barilla pasta for 80 cents each, and Kozy Shack rice pudding for $1.99 -- about half the price at ShopRite.