Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Fairway Market's wild salmon costs $7 more a pound than Costco's

At Fairway Market in Paramus, fresh wild Copper River salmon fillet was $21.99 a pound on Tuesday, compared to $14.99 a pound at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack for fresh sockeye from the same Alaskan river, below.


I stopped at Fairway Market in Paramus on Tuesday to check out two promotions on the purchase of groceries -- the store is offering a $10 off coupon and American Express will give you $15 statement credit on your registered card.

In both cases, you have to spend $75 in a single visit.

I haven't visited Fairway since last October, and I noticed a number of changes:

More fixtures in the produce department and a new wine department make it harder to maneuver your cart through the store.

"Big Sale" signs are everywhere, but as with Fairway's fresh wild Alaskan salmon for $21.99 a pound, you'll find few bargains or even good buys.

After looking around the store on Tuesday, I decided I couldn't spend $75 on groceries to meet the American Express threshhold.

Instead, I purchased three pounds of coffee beans and had them ground Turkish style: 

French Roast ($7.99 a pound); Brazilian Arabica, a dark roast (on sale for $6.99 a pound); and Fairway Supreme Blend (also $7.99 a pound).

I brewed two small pots with the Fairway Blend, a light-to-medium roast, and no one in the family liked the weak brew that resulted.

Today, I returned the Fairway Supreme Blend for a full refund.

I grilled Costco Wholesae's sockeye salmon fillets on a grill pan placed over two burners on my stove, skin side down, then turned them. I added mint and oregano from the garden, Aleppo pepper and fresh lime juice.

Tonight, I had a leftover portion of wild salmon over salad, including green- and red-leaf lettuces from the garden. It was delicious right out of the refrigerator.

A long wait for fresh wild salmon

The fresh wild salmon we enjoyed on Tuesday night was the first we've had from Costco Wholesale in Hackensack since the season ended last October.

The 1.57-pound fillet yielded six serving portions, and they grilled on the stove top in under 10 minutes.

Although I cooked them through, they remained juicy.

There's no shortage of hype in Fairway Market's produce department.

A liter of pricey Fairway Extra Virgin Olive Oil is labeled "imported from Italy," but if you look carefully, you'll discover it is a blend that might include oil from Spain and Greece.

At Fairway, you won't find any bottles of red wine for $5 or under, as you will at Whole Foods Market, also in Paramus.

The $7.99 Fairway Supreme Blend, front, contains beans that are noticeably lighter than darker roasts in barrels next to it. The resulting brew is pretty weak.

No Fairway would be no loss

I could care less if Fairway's store in Paramus remains open.

The small chain, based in Manhattan, delayed the opening of a New Jersey store for many years, fearing it couldn't compete with low-price leader ShopRite.

Then, Fairway chose the least popular shopping center in Paramus, the so-called Fashion Center, for its first store.

Now, Fairway's competition is Costco Wholesale, Whole Foods Market and H Mart, the Korean supermarket chain, and compared to them, it falls short in so many ways.

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