For most, the bulk of grocery shopping happens at grocery store chains. Farmers markets and local specialty markets are the ideal but, in practice, the big guys just make more sense for certain grocery trips. But as Americans living in a
capitalistic democracy, for most of us, our buying power is the biggest muscle we have to flex. Few would argue against supporting local businesses, and every little bit counts.
It's interesting, while shopping, to look at where food comes from. We went to a few stores and literally couldn’t find a single local item. If you ask an employee to help you find local products, they tend to be puzzled by the query. Kroger has blue tags that mark Texas products and goes out of their way to tell shoppers where certain items come from, but otherwise, be prepared to do some label detective work. Here are some locally produced items you can find at grocery store chains — even when you're stocking up on bananas from South America and California strawberries, it's not hard to make a local impact.
There are liars, there are damn liars and there are people who say Dude, Sweet Chocolate isn't the best chocolate in Dallas. Who hasn't dropped what they're doing to drive 15 minutes to Oak Cliff just for chocolate? If you live near a Whole Foods, you can easily stock up on Dude, Sweet. For the most part, you should still buy direct for the most up-to-date creations and limited-edition runs, but for a quick fix, get thee to Whole Foods. Still need persuading as you're standing in front of the chocolate at Whole Foods? DJ Ez Eddie D, host of one of the longest running hip-hop radio shows on the planet at KNON, works at Dude, Sweet Chocolate in Oak Cliff. You can't front on that.
This is an obvious local grocery item. There are many schools of thought that believe consuming local honey can help with seasonal allergies, since it contains small amounts of the pollen that ails you. Local honey is also sold at just about any grocery store that's worth its salt. Nature Nate from McKinney sells this raw and unfiltered honey at Whole Foods. The more you stick to local honey, the more you can taste the nuances of honeys coming from different parts of the region. And as you pay attention, you'll start to notice something else, too — it's no coincidence if the color of the honey you're buying has been a little lighter than usual. Environmental factors from different parts of the country have some companies stretching their supply and processing their honey even more than usual, and that means less bang for your buck.
Hating Oak Cliff is like hating puppies, even if it's a trendy thing to do now and then. Whether a coffee is made with monkey feces or grown on a volcano 10,000 miles away, we'll reach for this coffee, spotted at Whole Foods, every time. There are good coffee roasters in Dallas-Fort Worth, but the city's coffee scene could always be more robust. Support our roasters so the local industry can grow.
Greetings, Tom Thumb shoppers. Are you going to Deep Ellum every weekend but still throwing beer money at Colorado or Wisconsin? What's up with that? Craft beer may set you back a few extra dollars, but DFW's vibrant beer scene means you'll be drinking above average beer while supporting local business. Tom Thumb, along with plenty of local corner stores and grocery chains, sells Deep Ellum Brewing Co. products, brewed just down the road. If you find yourself at Central Market, stock up on Revolver's beloved Blood and Honey, brewed in Granbury.
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Ever been to Joe T. Garcia's in Fort Worth? Of course you have. Walk up to that place for dinner and there's a line out the door as if Leon Bridges was playing in there. Not only that, but they only take cash. If you have cash and are up for that line, do it. But Joe T. Garcia's is not only a great restaurant — it's a happy place and a Fort Worth institution. And you can stock up on their salsas — no line required — when you shop at Kroger.
Texans have strong opinions about salsa, but opinions don’t seem to be as polarized about chips. Upgrade your chip game at Fiesta, which carries Irving's Calidad tortilla chips, both regular and white corn. With Texans spending so much money on chips and salsa, it's good to know there's a way to keep that money in North Texas.
If you're particular about pickles, Best Maid has been around since 1926, having started as a one-room grocery store in Fort Worth owned by Mildred and Jesse Otis Dalton. The caricature you see on the jar is Smiley, a character inspired by the couple’s granddaughter. In 2013, the Smiley Fund was founded for the benefit of poor children in Dallas-Forth Worth. Best Maid has any type of pickle you want, sweet jalapeños, three types of relish, even dressings. What’s in your refrigerator door?
It's great to buy eggs that were in a hen yesterday when making the trip to a farmers market. But if you're stocking up at a grocery store, don't just check the eggs for cracks and — look at where they come from.
Who wants to buy eggs that spent several hours on the road and may be weeks old? Mahard Egg Farm, sold at El Rancho, has been feeding Texans since 1926, and it is 30 miles from Dallas.