Small Town Grocery Store Finds

The other day, I drove up to Alpena’s local grocery store, Neiman’s Family Market, to scope out the place and see what good things I could find to eat. I didn’t buy a whole lot, but enough to have some more options around the house for a few days. I got some strange looks from folks in the store because I kept snapping photos (granted it was on my iPhone, but still, weird looks) and they were probably wondering what the heck I was up to. I definitely had an interesting time while wandering the aisles and outskirts though, but found myself shaking my head a lot in disbelief, disappointment or disgust. Yes, lots of triple d’s going on. Seriously, if you were to see me on the store camera, you’d probably laugh your buns off at all my head shakes, and I would too.

Here’s some things I found (note — all photos taken on iPhone):

Michigan blueberries
Michigan blueberries, 2 for $5.
Broccoli crowns
A big ol’ pile of broccoli crowns, $1.29/lb.
Green kale
Green kale, $1.49 per bunch. I had to dig underneath for some good looking bunches because the ones on top looked quite sad. They had organic red kale too, but it was $3.99 per bunch. In this case, I went with conventional and washed it well.
Overly ripe avocados
A whole bunch of overly ripe avocados … too ripe to buy. A sad sight indeed. They were all mushy and caved-in. I was extra sad because I love avocados and normally eat at least a half of one every day. Boo hoo.
Coconut oil
I was thrilled to find coconut oil, but sadly it was $12.19 for 15 oz, which is a lot! I had it in my cart for a while, but then put it back. I just couldn’t get myself to spend that much. Back in Pdx, I pay $6.99 for a 16 oz jar at Whole Foods!
Hormone-free, natural chicken breasts from an Amish farm
Hormone and antibiotic-free all natural chicken breasts from a Midwest Amish farm, $5.79/lb.
Organic brown eggs
Hard to see, but it’s organic omega-3 brown eggs, $3.99/dozen.
My cart
My cart (before I put the coconut oil back). Also, normally I always buy unsalted butter, but the only two brands of organic butter were salted. The brands that were unsalted all had natural flavors in the ingredient list, which should not be in butter!

So, all in all, I left the store with a couple bunches of green kale, a couple broccoli crowns, a pint of Michigan blueberries, two peaches, some local honey, organic butter, chicken stock, organic spicy brown mustard, a few pickling cucumbers (I loves eating these guys!), a pack of Amish chicken breasts, organic omega-3 eggs, canned pure pumpkin puree, a lemon and a couple other things for my mom (bananas and paprika). Something else I enjoy from this grocery store that’s not pictured in my cart is fresh-ground almond or cashew butter that they carry in the bulk section. It’s thick, gritty and delicious! I didn’t have to get any this time around because my mom already had some for me at the house.

Sadly, there is not one speck of grass-fed beef to be found in this grocery store and aside from the Amish-farmed poultry, there’s not much quality meat to choose from. Luckily, my mom has a few different cuts of grass-fed beef from the farmer’s market in our freezer. It’s just crazy how different things are back here. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve gone back in time when I come home, but I understand that Alpena — and Michigan for that matter — is not as progressive as Portland. Regardless, my little hometown has come a long way and will hopefully continue to move in that direction.

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11 thoughts on “Small Town Grocery Store Finds

  1. KristenK August 14, 2012 / 5:40 am

    Fun post, I was waiting for this. My Mom and in laws often have me bring up things from Trader Joes, Whole Foods and Costco to them each trip I make from Detroit to Alpena. If we moved north Amazon w/prime membership would be my best friend for staples like coconut oil, etc.

  2. KristenK August 14, 2012 / 5:41 am

    And, Nieman’s and their avocados are crazy…most the time I get them they are not ripe yet and so hard that they don’t ripen before I leave!

    • paleoinportland August 14, 2012 / 8:16 am

      Thanks, Kristen! Your family is lucky to have your services to take advantage of 😉 Haha. That’s smart on their part. I’d probably have to take advantage of Amazon Prime, among other things, if I moved back here too.

      Man, I wish I could have found some non-ripe avocados at Neiman’s. At least I’d have some time to let them ripen. In my case, there was no hope!

  3. BarefeetBob August 14, 2012 / 8:05 am

    Alisa –

    Where do you get your grass fed beef in Portland? I have seen your mail order pics, but nothing local. I buy meat at Shy Ann Meats in Oregon City. His chicken is fabulous, and I eat a hunk of his ghost pepper summer sausage every day, but I can’t even lead myself to ask where he gets his beef.

    Enjoy the rest of your stay in Alpena.

    • paleoinportland August 14, 2012 / 8:12 am

      Hey Bob,
      I get grass-fed beef from Whole Foods (Panorama is the brand) and the farmer’s market (the King farmer’s market near NE Alberta). At the farmer’s market, there are two different farms that sell it and one of them sells grass-fed ground beef for only $5.99/lb! I’ve even been able to find grass-fed ground beef at the Hollywood Trader Joe’s. I think some of the co-ops may also carry it, like Food Front and the Alberta Co-op.

      Thanks, I’m having a nice time at home 🙂

  4. Bethany Schafer August 14, 2012 / 11:33 am

    Alisa,
    Thanks for visiting us on your latest trip to Alpena. I was sad to read about your “triple D” experience. We certainly hope you’ll give us a try when you return and experience how great we are and can be! At Neiman’s we are all about making you feel like family so whenever you’re in one of our stores please don’t hesitate to bring something to our attention or make a special request!

    Hope to see you again soon,
    Bethany Schafer
    Marketing Coordinator

    • paleoinportland August 14, 2012 / 12:14 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Bethany! I really appreciate hearing from you. I believe Neiman’s is the best grocery store to shop at when I come home (and I love supporting local) and I do know that you’re open and accommodating to suggestions. I would love to see you carry Applegate Naturals brand hot dogs (chicken, turkey and grass-fed beef), deli meats (for slicing fresh, not pre-sliced) and frozen breakfast sausages, along with some options for grass-fed beef or at the very least pastured, hormone and antibiotic-free beef. Also, Natural Value brand full fat canned coconut milk (has a red label) would be fantastic too, along with some organic unsalted butter. I didn’t think to reach out to Neiman’s before coming home, but is this something you’d suggest doing next time? Overall, my “triple D” experience was mainly based on the poor meat choices (aside from the Amish chicken), lack of local products, and overwhelming amount of processed foods and commercialized meats.

      • Bethany Schafer August 22, 2012 / 11:07 am

        Thanks for the compliment and support! We love to hear feedback from our customers… near and far! I would definitely suggest reaching out to Neiman’s when you are in the store. It doesn’t matter that you reside across the country. I would guess you are not the only person wishing for and looking for those types of products you mentioned. I do not know for certain, but we may have tried bringing these products in before or at least researched to see if we could even get these products into our stores. Long story short, ask a customer service associate about bringing in these products. Sometimes we even get surprised as to what we can bring in! 🙂

      • paleoinportland August 22, 2012 / 11:09 am

        Thanks Bethany! That’s great to know and I’ll definitely keep it in mind for the future 🙂

  5. girlmeetspaleo August 14, 2012 / 1:48 pm

    What, coconut oil for 7 bucks?!? Thats amazing! Is it cold pressed? I LOVEE wandering new grocery stores 🙂 also love the pumpkin purchase! I had pumpkin “oatmeal” for lunch today !

    • paleoinportland August 14, 2012 / 3:29 pm

      Yep, organic extra virgin coconut oil and I’m nearly certain it’s cold-pressed. It’s the Whole Foods brand (365). I made pudding with the pumpkin purchase, similar to the sugar detox carrot cake pudding I posted about a couple weeks back, but with pumpkin instead of carrots. It was yummy … I ate it with blueberries on top 🙂

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