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Old 02-23-2012, 03:37 PM   #81
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I think Aldi is called Billa in Austria. I was in Vienna for two weeks last fall and the grocery closest to my hotel was Billa. It looked exactly like Aldi and had 1 euro carts (very deceptive, those euros since one euro is about the size of a quarter and seems to fly out of one's hand just as fast.) BTW, "Billa" means "cheap" in German!
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:39 PM   #82
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Aldi is also the best for colored peppers--they package a green, yellow, and red together, just perfect for chilis and soups.
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:06 AM   #83
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The Sprout's chain here has very good pricing for produce, and, since one is located on a regular route I take, I'll stop there for blueberries, bell peppers, etc. They also have grass-fed ground beef. Most other stuff is too pricey. Usually shop at the Tom Thumb; close, on the way home from w*rik, and cleaner and less crowded than WM. Still use WM for household supplies.

Went to Aldi's once; was not impressed...
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Old 02-26-2012, 12:28 AM   #84
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I love ALDI for dairy, veggies (which tend to be local), and dry goods.

For meat I tend to buy in bulk and freeze when on sale.

My weekly menu is generally planned around the weekly sales. Most weeks I go to two stores and buy sale items only.

I find it a challenge to see the "you've saved" amounts equal to my total bill, although you have to take the savings amounts with a grain of salt as they tend to be overstated.
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Old 02-26-2012, 09:52 AM   #85
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I assume you put a quarter in the cart, and the quarter is returned if you return the cart to the rack? This eliminates the need for cart collection?
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Old 02-26-2012, 10:08 AM   #86
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A few years ago we had two kids in college at the same time which made for a very expensive year. While it was just DH and I at home I started buying marked down meat that was close to it's "sell buy" date. These things are marked down 30%-50% and I've never had something that wasn't just as good as the full priced meat.

I still keep an eye out for discounted packages and use a Foodsaver vacuum sealer to freeze meat.

I also like to use a pressure cooker to make soups or stews. There is always extra for leftovers.
We do the same, Mondays seem to be a good day for shopping for markdowns. I like to look for discontinued stuff and we also we look for the discount ripe bananas and freeze them for smoothies.
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Old 02-26-2012, 12:27 PM   #87
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I assume you put a quarter in the cart, and the quarter is returned if you return the cart to the rack? This eliminates the need for cart collection?
Commonly here carts have a brake calibrated to allow you to get to the edge of the parking lot, or if there is no lot, just out the door. Once I saw an older guy on the sidewalk cussing and shoving thinking something had gone wrong with the wheels on his cart. He seemed normal enough so I told him about the brake and he took his bags and walked off. Anymore, I rarely see carts away from stores, or homeless people pushing carts. An older pre-lock cart might have a fairly high street value.

We have no Aldi's, and my cheapest and usually best valued produce is from Trader Joe. Ignoring supemarket promotions, Trader Joe is better and cheaper and for my money a much more pleasant shopping experience. Their meat is often good, but somewhat expensive

Ha
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Old 02-26-2012, 12:45 PM   #88
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I haven't been saving as much as I should lately. I would have more time to shop better if I were retired.

I try to do organic and grassfed, pasture fed, etc for protein. One thing I've found that lowers my cost is to do bulk buy with groups. I belong to a Weston Price Foundation local chapter. Members organize bulk buys to get discounts with different farms/ranches/companies (online and otherwise). There is enough interest in the area, so we can get a pretty good discount prices (much better than, say, getting things at WFM or online on your own.)
Find a Local Chapter - Weston A Price Foundation
Organic grassfed fed 1/4 cow cost me $4.50/lb and organic pasture fed 1/2 pig cost me $5/lb last year (including butchering/wrapping.) They also get discount prices from places like Certified Organic Products, Virgin Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Raw Foods & More Wilderness Family Naturals (mainly coconut oil), Radiant Life, Nourishing Traditions, Weston Price, Nutrient Dense Food (cod liver oil and such), Azure Standard - Quality Bulk & Natural Foods (all sorts of things), wild seafood delivery (not necessarily cheap, but when we get 200-300 lbs of seafood ordered directly from a fishery, we get a good discount, and whoever sets up the club gets 15% discount on top of that.) Different members contact the campanies/farms/ranches and cordinate the pickup (usually front of their house) with members.

I happen to live in the bay area and there are hundreds of members who belong to the local chapter, so mileage may vary depending upon where you live, but it's worth looking into if you are inclined to want to eat the kind of food your ancesters might have eaten.
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Old 02-26-2012, 12:53 PM   #89
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I try to do organic and grassfed, pasture fed, etc for protein. One thing I've found that lowers my cost is to do bulk buy with groups. I belong to a Weston Price Foundation local chapter. Members organize bulk buys to get discounts with different farms/ranches/companies (online and otherwise). There is enough interest in the area, so we can get a pretty good discount prices (much better than, say, getting things at WFM or online on your own.)
Find a Local Chapter - Weston A Price Foundation
1/4 cow cost me $4.50/lb and 1/2 pig cost me $5/lb last year.
I assume that is the price for the uncut 1/4, not the net price on the food that you get cut and wrapped? Have you ever weighed the stuff you bring home? Also, is that a hind-quarter or the shoulder quarter?

Ha
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Old 02-26-2012, 01:13 PM   #90
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We have no Aldi's, and my cheapest and usually best valued produce is from Trader Joe. Ignoring supemarket promotions, Trader Joe is better and cheaper and for my money a much more pleasant shopping experience. Their meat is often good, but somewhat expensive

Ha

A Trader Joe's is opening in Sarasota , across from the JJill store and not far from Home Goods . To me that will be the trifecta of a shopping experience .
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Old 02-26-2012, 01:16 PM   #91
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I assume that is the price for the uncut 1/4, not the net price on the food that you get cut and wrapped? Have you ever weighed the stuff you bring home? Also, is that a hind-quarter or the shoulder quarter?

Ha
It's a split quarter. You pay by the hanging weight, so after dry aging, it shrinks and the weight goes down too, but you pay the hanging weight.

Here is the email excert for this from the coordinator, so I believe I paid less than what I said I paid. I bet people could get beef/pork cheaper in other areas, but this is bay area, so this I believe, is as good as it gets. (I believe prices are higher this year.)

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Beef is $2.75 per pound and pork is $3.50 per pound! The cut & wrapping is $0.78/pound and harvesting fee is $65 for a cow (16.25 per cow) and $45.00 per pig ($22.50 per pig).

I just got a fresh 1/2 hog, and since I didn't go in with a group (but there was someone who wanted to split a hog) and it cost me $4.25/lb plus wrapping.

The 1/4 split quarter beef was 140lb hanging weight (Black Angus) - I don't know how much the final product weighed, but I think I had 4 big boxes full. 36 of them (probably slightly over 1lb each) was ground beef and a bunch of huge roasts, tons of T-Bones (maybe 8 steaks), 8 sirloin steaks, ribs, rib steask, etc, etc ... with only 2 fillet (big, but still.) - You can get your portion cut the way you want.

Actually, the pasture chicken (via CSA) costs a lot more than beef and pork.

Anyway, if you think of getting beef, you want to make sure you like grassfed beef. It's tough and dry compared to grain finished. And depending upon the breed, the taste may be too beefy or slightly gamey to your taste.

I invested in Sous Vide and that solved the dryness/toughness problem. (BTW, I now like cooked tuna, mahi mahi, albacore - the kind of fish that gets too tough/dry too quickly.)
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Old 02-26-2012, 02:08 PM   #92
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It's a split quarter. You pay by the hanging weight, so after dry aging, it shrinks and the weight goes down too, but you pay the hanging weight.

Here is the email excert for this from the coordinator, so I believe I paid less than what I said I paid. I bet people could get beef/pork cheaper in other areas, but this is bay area, so this I believe, is as good as it gets. (I believe prices are higher this year.)




I just got a fresh 1/2 hog, and since I didn't go in with a group (but there was someone who wanted to split a hog) and it cost me $4.25/lb plus wrapping.

The 1/4 split quarter beef was 140lb hanging weight (Black Angus) - I don't know how much the final product weighed, but I think I had 4 big boxes full. 36 of them (probably slightly over 1lb each) was ground beef and a bunch of huge roasts, tons of T-Bones (maybe 8 steaks), 8 sirloin steaks, ribs, rib steask, etc, etc ... with only 2 fillet (big, but still.) - You can get your portion cut the way you want.

Actually, the pasture chicken (via CSA) costs a lot more than beef and pork.

Anyway, if you think of getting beef, you want to make sure you like grassfed beef. It's tough and dry compared to grain finished. And depending upon the breed, the taste may be too beefy or slightly gamey to your taste.

I invested in Sous Vide and that solved the dryness/toughness problem. (BTW, I now like cooked tuna, mahi mahi, albacore - the kind of fish that gets too tough/dry too quickly.)
Thanks for avyer helpful answer. I have bought/eaten grass fed from Whole Foods, and when I was raisng a family bought 1/2 beef from a local farmer each fall. Also I grew up eating this, in the South it was called 'baby beef" because they butchered before full maturity.

BTW, I would really like to hear your ideas about sous vide. Do you go all the way with the torch for searing, etc?

Ha
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Old 02-26-2012, 02:24 PM   #93
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A Trader Joe's is opening in Sarasota , across from the JJill store and not far from Home Goods . To me that will be the trifecta of a shopping experience .

Trader Joe's is great for bread and cheese; they have an excellent selection and the best cheese prices per pound of any chain grocery store. Their prices are also good for fresh fruits and vegetables, and their own brand cereals and frozen foods.
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Old 02-26-2012, 09:15 PM   #94
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Thanks for avyer helpful answer. I have bought/eaten grass fed from Whole Foods, and when I was raisng a family bought 1/2 beef from a local farmer each fall. Also I grew up eating this, in the South it was called 'baby beef" because they butchered before full maturity.

BTW, I would really like to hear your ideas about sous vide. Do you go all the way with the torch for searing, etc?

Ha
Sounds like you have done grass fed beef much more than I have.

With Sous vide, I don't do the torch thing. I just melt butter in a skillet and brown the surface of steaks. I haven't used much for beef so far except for tougher cuts of meat like sirloin and round steaks. I have been wanting to do the brisket I have had in a freezer for a while, but it will take two days in a sous vide, and I have been forgetting to start two days in advance for a weekend meal. I got interested in sous vide when I found out Michael Eades (author of Protein Power) produced a reasonably priced sous vide (well, for a sous vide, anyway). I tried tenderizing beef with a bladed tenderizer (kind of like cubed steaks - meat juice galore when you cook it) and tried bromelain (mushy on the outside, tough on the inside) and I just felt I needed something better.

Fish like wild salmon (since less fat), halibut, tuna, mahi mahi turns out great in a sous vide. (If I have a very fresh fish, I just brown the outside (to kill surface germs) and eat it kind of raw in the middle, but anything else, it goes into my sous vide. Looking back at some seafood restaurant experiences, I am certain some of the fish came out of a water oven.
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Old 02-26-2012, 09:20 PM   #95
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A Trader Joe's is opening in Sarasota , across from the JJill store and not far from Home Goods . To me that will be the trifecta of a shopping experience .
]]

OHHHHHHHHHHH I want Trader Joe's too !!! I'm envious
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Old 02-26-2012, 09:45 PM   #96
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Aldi owns the Trader Joe's chain. You'll see a little overlap of products in both stores.
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Old 02-26-2012, 09:56 PM   #97
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We have some of those carts here too. Here's how they work, courtesy of Wikipedia. Being an engineer, I am impressed with the design of such a device, which must be inexpensive, and work off a small battery for a long time.
Each shopping cart is fitted with an electronic locking wheel, or 'boot'. A transmitter with a thin wire is placed around the perimeter of the parking lot, and the boot locks when the cart leaves the designated area. Store personnel must then deactivate the lock with a hand-held remote to return the cart to stock. Often a line is painted in front of the broadcast range to warn customers that their cart will stop when rolled past the line.
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Commonly here carts have a brake calibrated to allow you to get to the edge of the parking lot, or if there is no lot, just out the door. Once I saw an older guy on the sidewalk cussing and shoving thinking something had gone wrong with the wheels on his cart. He seemed normal enough so I told him about the brake and he took his bags and walked off. Anymore, I rarely see carts away from stores, or homeless people pushing carts. An older pre-lock cart might have a fairly high street value.
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Old 02-26-2012, 10:16 PM   #98
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Sounds like you have done grass fed beef much more than I have.

With Sous vide, I don't do the torch thing. I just melt butter in a skillet and brown the surface of steaks. I haven't used much for beef so far except for tougher cuts of meat like sirloin and round steaks. I have been wanting to do the brisket I have had in a freezer for a while, but it will take two days in a sous vide, and I have been forgetting to start two days in advance for a weekend meal. I got interested in sous vide when I found out Michael Eades (author of Protein Power) produced a reasonably priced sous vide (well, for a sous vide, anyway). I tried tenderizing beef with a bladed tenderizer (kind of like cubed steaks - meat juice galore when you cook it) and tried bromelain (mushy on the outside, tough on the inside) and I just felt I needed something better.

Fish like wild salmon (since less fat), halibut, tuna, mahi mahi turns out great in a sous vide. (If I have a very fresh fish, I just brown the outside (to kill surface germs) and eat it kind of raw in the middle, but anything else, it goes into my sous vide. Looking back at some seafood restaurant experiences, I am certain some of the fish came out of a water oven.
Thanks TM for the description. I guess the fish is pretty much like poached, so you need a sauce?

Today after I read your post I stopped in a Co-op a few blocks away that I had never gone in, and ALL their beef is only pastured and given hay, but no grain. They also sell venison that is from deer penned on a big pasture, but not fed any grain, or least that is what they say. This place is about like Whole Foods price wise, but very close while Whole Foods is 1 1/2 miles away.

Ha
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Old 02-27-2012, 02:58 PM   #99
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Thanks TM for the description. I guess the fish is pretty much like poached, so you need a sauce?

Today after I read your post I stopped in a Co-op a few blocks away that I had never gone in, and ALL their beef is only pastured and given hay, but no grain. They also sell venison that is from deer penned on a big pasture, but not fed any grain, or least that is what they say. This place is about like Whole Foods price wise, but very close while Whole Foods is 1 1/2 miles away.

Ha
I imagine it could be like poaching if you could keep the temperature of the water pretty consistent (maybe put a pot with water in the oven, check the temp and drop a vacuumed packed fish in a pot for 30 minutes?) The problem with fish, especially not so fatty fish is that the tender/juicy zone is only a few degrees. It's kind of hit and miss or rare in the middle with the conventional cooking method. Same with poaching if your water is too hot.

Talking about pasture fed beef. As you know, pork and chickens are OK cannot be grassfed 100%, since they cannot live on grass alone (some people only get grain fed (no soy, no corn) pasture chicken, but I don't, although my pork happens to be fed no soy, no corn.)

I went to WFM a couple of weeks ago, and I saw "pasture raised beef". I was like what? I asked one of the guys behind the counter what they ate. The first guy said "they have choice to eat grass or feed." My question to him was "What's the feed?" He went back to ask, and came back saying "Soy and corn".

Talking about food (I am totally hijacking this thread, but it's wound down, so I hope it's OK...)

My local WFM sells pature fed chicken eggs (by Vital Farms in TX) - I like them. Yolks have nice colors (more so in warmer months.) And Kerry Gold butter (grassfed cow's milk - so much yellower (More VitA) than say Challenger butter.)
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Old 02-27-2012, 07:41 PM   #100
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I read about these food budgets and wonder how it could be possible. I have tried, but so far all my efforts are cancelled by what to my eye has been considerable food inflation.

Ha
Ha, in one of your strolls about the vibrant core of Seattle, i.e., 3rd and Pike, you might enjoy visiting IGA and chatting with John, the butcher. He has a very interesting theory regarding why food prices are so inflationary, and a supportive book recommendation. He earned (late in life) a business degree from Seattle University and has years of grocery experiences. Super guy, and you'll likely enjoy the chat, also he makes two types of his own sausage and worth trying.

You ain't wrong on food inflation.
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