Buying Locally Offers Better Prices & Selection
I avoid Safeway as much as possible. I used to think I didn’t have much of a choice for buying groceries. Now I’m learning that there are plenty of options that beat chain grocery stores for both price & selection.
Growing up in a nuclear family, I always thought that big grocery stores were necessary to supply my house with staples. Mom made the weekly trip to Stater Brothers or Alpha Beta and collected Blue Chip Stamps to save up for free appliances, long before the days of club cards. It seemed like back then, there were more major grocery stores as well as plenty of small markets you could choose from.
Nowadays, in San Francisco, you’re pretty much limited to Safeway and the Vons that’s out on Sloat. Calla Foods closed up a couple years ago. So are we stuck buying groceries from huge national chains that truck in supplies lord-knows-where and set prices however they please? Hell No!
San Francisco has plenty of small mom-pop markets with much better selection of produce, meats, and seafood than the Mega Marts. You just have to be willing to look for them.
While Safeway charges fifty cents per lime, my corner market sells them ten for a dollar. El Chico markets have wonderful produce and a fantastic meat counter too. I frequent the one on Mission in the Excelsior but they have locations all over town. Chain grocery stores also tend to have a very limited seafood selection. Try J.R. Seafood on BayView or Mission Meat & Poultry Market at 22nd & Mission for unbeatable quality, price and selection. In fact, Mission Poultry only sells sushi-grade fish. Your neighborhood Asian market is also going to be a great place to pick up fresh seafood. My favorite butcher, also at 22nd & Mission is Mission Meat Department. The staff is always so friendly and ready to offer recipe suggestions. They carry a variety of delicious hand-made sausages, too.
The best part about avoiding Safeway is that I am supporting local businesses and directly affecting the local economy. I may have to make a few more stops, but in my opinion, I get a much richer shopping experience and the access to greater variety of foods that chain stores just don’t carry.
I’ve listed a few of my favorite stores. I’d love to hear where you shop, whether or not you’re in San Francisco.