Cheryl Phelan's Blog
Changing locations is daunting. There are a plethora of exciting things to learn and do. One that might not be on your radar ahead of the move is finding a place to source your food. Most people have a favorite grocery store. You know, it's your go-to place because you know exactly where to find things. You get what you need and are in and out in a flash.
If your chain is national, you're in luck, because most modern grocery chains have similar layouts and offer similar, if not the same, product lines. Some chains, however, go by different names in different states. In this case, each brand may have its quirks, local products, and unique layout while still offering some of the nationally branded items. If you have a loyalty card from your current store, comparable "sister" stores may be on a list on the back or the connecting website. Visit the sister store to see if it appeals to your comfort level but check out other local stores as well. Some grocery conglomerations allow you to use your loyalty points interchangeably among all their stores, while others limit access to local stores.
For those that typically shop at farmers' markets, co-operatives, and directly from the source, finding local alternatives may be a little more difficult. Many area farmers' markets list hours and locations online, but you also might discover your local library is a better resource for information.
Some cities also boast small "mom and pop" shops that specialize in regional foods or ethnic products and spices. You might find the best ready-to-bake chicken parmigiana you've ever had at that tiny shop around the corner. And if your taste runs to more exotic fare and African, Hispanic, or Asian markets might have just the specialty items you need.
Check out local butchers, bakers, well, and even candle-stick makers for regionally sourced produce, locally baked bread, and farm-to-table livestock.
And if you prefer a more extensive, one-stop-shop type store, you may find local versions with higher quality goods or locally sourced products than the nationwide brands. Some stores even offer special-order products unavailable from other sources.
Some local stores may offer special events such as cooking classes or live music and outdoor seating with a dine-in option. Plan to explore new culinary experiences in your new home by branching out from the national chain stores to include local produce and spices, ethnic stores, and farmers’ markets.