Yay! A Friday Five that hits the spot, so to speak, at our house -- I am en route to a local church yard sale so this will not be a particularly articulate or lengthy post, but...here goes:
1. Grocery shopping--love it or hate it?
I generally love it. I'm always puzzled by the glum and even angry faces I see at the supermarket. Really, the only time I ever don't like shopping for food is if we're planning a party or have been tapped to bring food to a function and have that time and performance pressure.
2. Who is the primary food shopper in your household?
That would be me. Fellow Traveler loves to cook, but shopping not so much, especially in ginormous chain supermarkets that tend to make her start hyperventilating and looking for an exit.
3. Do you have a beloved store like TJ's which is unique to your location or family?
We love Trader Joe's as well -- unfortunately the closest TJ's is almost three hours away, so we only get to shop there on our infrequent trips to the Detroit/Ann Arbor area. We also love Whole Foods -- as constant readers know, the "no-commitment" tag-end cheese bin is one of our very favorite things -- but have the same dilemma shopping there. (We've taken to toting a cooler along with us on our trips downstate so that we can load up with provisions at both stores.) My favorite store in our own area is the Greentree Food Cooperative, where we do a great deal of our grocery shopping. It's a small store with a crunchy-granola vibe...friendly staff...competitive prices...lots of local/regional foods...great music (I actually do take this into consideration in quality-of-shopping)...everyone in the store, staff or customer, seems happy to be there. What a concept.
4. How about a farmer's market, or CSA share, as we move into summer? Or do you grow your own fruits/veggies/herbs?
Sadly, the concept of Community Supported Agriculture has not arrived here in the greater Outer Podunk/Castorville area. (And probably never will.) If we were in the vicinity of a CSA farm we'd join in a heartbeat. We do, though, have an assortment of Amish roadside stands we patronize all during the growing season, and especially in the later days of summer we purchase most of our vegetables there. We also have a nice farmer's market in our county whose owners grow their own produce; I love driving past the fields of growing vegetables, knowing that those are what I will find inside the store. We also visit the Midland Farmers' Market from time to time, although we're finding fewer truly local growers there and more produce retailers who are actually getting their stuff from places like Eastern Market; which rather defeats the whole idea of a farmers' market. Sigh. (I'm told the onerous regulations involved in selling produce to the public through these venues keep a lot of smaller growers out of the game. Which is why we get a perverse kick out of patronizing famiilies' humble roadside stands instead -- Fight The Power.) When it comes to meat, we have increasingly weaned ourselves off supermarket meat, and instead buy it from places like Graham's Organics, a local farm with its own organic/sustainably grown meat market, and other small establishments where we can discover the pedigree, so to speak, of what we're eating.
5. What's the favorite thing you buy at the grocery store?
That's a hard question to answer. I myself have a great deal of fun in produce sections -- particularly at our food coop, where as the summer progresses we'll be seeing more vegetables from the Swier Farm, a local organic grower. We also like trying ethnic foods, so on our perhaps monthly excursions to Meijer's, our regional big-box store with a huge, diverse grocery section, we stalk the ethnic aisle looking for sauces and ingredients. Because FT has an easier time digesting grains than a lot of other foods, I'm also always on the prowl for interesting whole grains and pastas that aren't too hard on the digestive system and that can be made in our rice cooker (one of the greatest inventions of all time). Tough, fibrous grains like rye or wheat berries are out, but we do enjoy quinoa, specialty rices and interesting pastas...Israeli couscous is one of our newer discoveries, and we just love the texture and ease of cooking.