Monday, February 20, 2012

A Different Kind of Grocery Store

This weekend I discovered that Metcalfe's Sentry grocery store's Madison Hilldale location is right next to Target, which I love. I also discovered that Metcalfe's gives away the Wisconsin State Journal Sunday paper free with a $5 purchase and I've been meaning to start buying the Sunday paper, both for the coupons and because I like to read newspapers. I'd heard from friends that Metcalfe's was a good grocery store, and I've tried out plenty of grocery stores in Madison. Which one I go to depends on what I want at the time. Aldi is great for European chocolate and cheap basics, Woodman's has the largest selection and is the cheapest, and HyVee has a large selection like Woodman's and takes credit cards but Aldi and Woodman's don't.

Metcalfe's seems to do a great job of taking sustainability and local foods into consideration, but they sold your standard brands. Their large specialty cheese selection included many, many varieties of cheese from many cheesemakers including Babcock Hall, Carr Valley, Hook's, Crave Brothers, Boar's Head, Nordic Creamery, and others. There were samples of the one of the cheeses on gourmet crackers made by a Madison cracker company. The meat section included cuts from local farms, both organic and non-organic. The bakery included items from many local companies, and there was a section with local chocolate company selections. I ended up with Christine's sea salt caramels. The beer selection also included many local craft breweries, including several I'd never heard of before. I've talked about how I buy my food a bit earlier, and it's often primarily based on price with some location and quality depending on what it is and if I feel like indulging in fancy cheese.

One of the best features of Metcalfe's (besides the free Sunday paper, because who doesn't like free and coupons?!) was the "Food Miles" signs throughout the store below foods that were local. These signs said the company the food came from, the city it came from, and how many miles it traveled to get to Metcalfe's. Local foods were often slightly more expensive, but not always, and it's a great way for those who truly care about local to easily find the local foods they seek. Not all foods had a local option but, even though I still often purchase on the basis of price, it was great to see figuring out where a food came from made easy.

I'd like to know: Would you purchase more local foods if your grocery featured "Food Miles" signs? How do you make your food purchases? Let me know in the comments below. 


  1. I probably make purchases predominately based on my income and budget, but I value certain items that seem qualitatively different. Local Hope Creamery butter (which I can get in Austin, MN, at SuperFresh bakery or HyVee) is not the same as store brand butter, and a pound is worth $4-5. It must have higher butterfat (is that possible in a butter?)--it has incredible flavor.
    -The sibling of a communications grad from a dairy farm

    1. Thanks for reading and sharing. I know I'm the same way with certain food items that I can tell are different.