I was writing a love-letter to Trader Joe’s the other day when I suddenly realised I should share it here as well.
This is why I love Trader Joe’s
- First and foremost, the sheer number of products they sell that don’t contain un-necessary ingredients, especially soy, which causes me so much pain. Shopping at Trader Joe’s is a truly heady experience simply because of the abundance of foods which can go in my trolley and not back on the shelf.
- Patrick, the manager, of whom I have heard real praise from his employees, and who wears a mad pair of sunglasses and a crazy straw hat, and is the apple of my daughter’s eye.
- Their gorgeous, heavy Honey-and-Oat Bread, to which my mother rushes to the moment we set foot in the store in order to grab as many loaves as she can .
- Their Organic Alphabet pasta and Multicoloured Pasta, which contain durum wheat semolina, spinach, and tomato, and not much else — and are E1’s absolute favourites. Coloured pasta! Coloured pasta pleeeeeeeease!
- The free coffee and free food samples, every single day.
- Their Dorset Coastal Cheddar, which tastes as true and English as it is, comes from the very county I think of as home, and takes me straight back there from the first lusciously sharp bite.
- Their prices, which are so reasonable that they shock me each and every time I go and which knock the socks off their competition — I simply don’t know how they do it.
- ‘Just Mango Slices,’ which have become essential to managing my day. What made me buy a package the first time is that it contains exactly what it says on the label: nothing but dried mango, no preservatives of any kind. What made me go back and buy eight packages the second time is the realisation that it is delicious but really quite difficult to eat — it can take E2 a good 10 minutes to slowly chomp her way through a single piece. And what does Mummy do whilst she is working away so hard at her mango? Mummy sits back with a nice cup of tea and savours the peace and quiet.
- Rachel, who was a breath of fresh air the last time we were there, singing as she stocked the freezer section and just as friendly as anything when she was behind the till.
- Their fabulous Apple Pie, the one with the cinnamon-y sugary crust, and no soy.
- Their Lemon Curd — real lemon curd, zingy and sweet, and made in England by a manufacturer whose distinctive glass jar I recognised right away. This is the real stuff!
- Their Organic Corn Chips, which contain only organic corn, organic sunflower oil, and organic salt — just what is needed and absolutely nothing unnecessary.
- Their shampoos and conditioners, with an ingredient list that actually reads like a herbalist’s organic dream but with a price that’s cheap-as-chips.
- Their Veggie and Flaxseed Tortilla Chips — they take tortilla chips and add in the goodness of flaxseed and the deliciousness of tomato, beet root, spinach, and carrots. Still guilty but yet, so much better!
- That they don’t slap the dreaded “Made in a facility that also processes…” warning (which almost always makes that food forever off-limits to E2) on each and every package just to cover their backsides. It’s on only the packages it needs to be on, and I am so very grateful for that.
- Their pesto — I had been hunting high and low for proper pesto and finally found some in the specialty imported section of my local supermarket — a very tiny jar with a very big price tag. I had been eeking out small rations of it… until I got to Trader Joe’s and found their pesto, in a good-sized jar and at a very good price. I allow myself lashings of the stuff now!
- Their bananas, priced by the banana — so useful when your daughter wants to eat one as you shop. You just produce the empty skin at the till and they still know exactly how much to charge.
- Their Triple Ginger Cookies, which M adores and eats as easily as breathing.
- Paula, who is always so warm and welcoming, always remembers my daughter (and is adored for it in return), and who is a true asset to the shop.
- Organic tomatoes, organic bananas, organic avocados, organic broccoli, organic raisins… at prices normal people can afford!
- Their ‘100% Fruit’ fruit leathers, with contain only the fruit and nothing else, not even preservatives! Portable, wholesome, guilt-free kiddie snacks.
- Mike F, who came rushing up to me 10 minutes after telling me they were out of organic raisins, with two bags of them and said, “I went looking and found the last two bags for you!”
- Their deep-fried pea pods. I tried them because they sounded so weird. I bought them because they are so very very more-ish!
- Their Cinnamon and Sugar Pita Chips — kind of like sopapillas, but not at all… but baked instead of fried… Delicious!
- Their bathrooms, which simply have to be seen to be believed. In fact, the unique decor of the whole store, which never fails to bring a smile to my face.
- Get this: 1lb of pasta from Italy, made out of whole wheat flour, whole grain spelt (delicious!), and with flaxseed, with eight grams of protein and six grams of fibre and 200mg of Omega-3 in every serving… and it costs less than $1!
Have I convinced you? If you’ve never been a Trader Joe’s, go. Go now. Discovering Trader Joe’s has been a lifeline to me and I want to see their wonderful business — with its unusual product lines, wholesome ingredients, and very reasonable prices — go from strength to strength!