Our tour started out in the produce section where most of the fruits and veggies are locally sourced within a 100 mile radius of the store, following their awesome “100 miles or less” program. They have signs with the location, mileage and name of the farm (they had organic Fuji apples from my hometown!). When you look up above, they have signs that direct you to the specific region in California the produce is from. They also have produce from around the country and world, for those items that are not in season, but their main goal is to offer as many local fruits and veggies as possible. They offer organic and conventional produce. One thing that I noticed was the size of their organic produce; it was pretty much the same size as their regular ones. Most other stores’ organic produce is much smaller than their regular fruit and veggies.
From my hometown!
More signs, as part of their local 100 program!
Next, we headed to the cheese section and sampled a 24 month aged Parmesan cheese imported from Italy, which brought me back to memories living in Italy! They freshly grate and cut all of the Parmesan cheese in their store. They also feature 200 different cheeses to choose from and if you aren’t sure about something, they are more than welcome to let you sample before purchasing. You can select a cheese and have them cut it to amount you want. During the holidays, they are also going to offer baked brie!
After we learned about the cheeses they feature, we headed over to the candy section. As we approached the candy, I must say it was the largest bulk candy selection I have ever seen! They have every color and type of candy you could imagine, even ones that looked like legos! They also have chocolate covered walnuts, pecans and almonds, as well as chocolate peanut butter caramels!
I just love the colorful display!
Aren’t the jars cute?
Their bulk foods section was a decent size, not as big as others, but very unique in that they offer veggie chips, such as okra and green beans (something I haven’t seen before). They also offer three types of “make your own” nut butters from regular peanut, honey roasted peanut and almond. All you need to do is get a cup, press the button to grind the nuts and you have fresh nut butter of your choice!
Good variety in their bulk foods section!
Honey roasted peanut butter, YUM!
Next up was their deli counter and hot foods bar. They feature fresh Indian food daily from a local restaurant, as well as Chinese food and some seasonal dishes. They allowed us to help ourselves and take home a plate of Indian food. I was quite impressed; the ikka masala was excellent! In addition to the hot foods, they also have a salad bar, featuring four types of lettuce and all kinds of fixings. In their deli, they offer twelve different salads, packaged salads to-go, fresh whole rotisserie chickens and chicken breasts.
Fresh and delicious!
Next to the deli counter was their large meat and seafood counter. They feature fresh (never frozen) and cut-to-order meat and seafood. Their seafood is locally sourced from San Francisco and most of their beef comes from the Mid-West (where most grocery stores buy their meat). They have a natural section of beef, but it is still corn-feed. They currently don’t offer any grass-fed beef, but are thinking about adding it in the future.
Speaking of beef, we watched one of their chef’s prepare a steak in a nonstick pan with some wine and blue cheese. Sine I’m not a blue cheese fan, I was a little unsure of how it was going to taste, but it was excellent! The steak was perfectly tender, rich in flavor and had a hint of sweetness from the cheese. I am definitely going to keep this in mind for when we have steak!
After sampling the steak, we headed over to the bakery. My mouth was salivating just looking at all of the delectable desserts! They offer cupcakes, whoopie pies (even pumpkin ones!), pastries, custom cakes, as well as fresh baked bread daily, including small quick breads, such as zucchini, pumpkin and banana nut (two loaves for $5.00!).
Pumpkin whoopie pies, YUM!!
Lots of different freshly baked quick breads to choose from!
As we made our way to the dairy section, I noticed it was a little smaller than other stores, but it was packed with several different brands. They offer organic and dairy alternatives (soy, almond, coconut and goat milk) for all of their milk and yogurt products.
Lots of different flavors and types of yogurt!
Last, but certainly not least, we made our way to the wine and beer department. Though their section is slightly smaller than other stores, they have a great variety of international and local wines, as well as a lot of craft beers. The best part about their beer selection is that you can mix and match, creating your own six-pack for $8.99! Most other stores don’t allow you to create your own six-pack, so I was excited to see The Fresh Market offering it! I can’t wait to bring my husband so we can create our own six-pack, since we always love to try different beers! Also, they have someone staffed in the wine and beer department daily to help provide suggestions or answer any questions that you may have.
Wine and more wine!
Mix and match!
In addition to taking a tour, we got to meet some local vendors and sample some of their products that are featured in the store. We first tried some of the best toffee I have ever eaten from Toffee Boutique , which is located in the Sacramento area. Lisa, the owner, was very friendly and offered us some generously sized samples. I look forward to having my husband try some of her toffee!
Another local vendor that was present tonight was Snow’s Citrus Court . They are a family owned business that operates a citrus grove in Newcastle. They have a variety of products from mandarin orange syrup, marinade, salad dressing, oil, sauce, fruit spread and chocolate sauce. We got to taste their fruit spread, which was excellent on top of brie, and some of their chocolate sauce. I’m not a huge fan of orange paired with chocolate, so I didn’t care for their sauce.
The fruit spread with brie was a perfect combo!
The last vendor we got to meet was The Chef in Black , that makes salad dressing, marinades and dips. Dorene Humason, the owner, was featured on NBC’s “Shark Tank,” which helped kick-start her business. We were able to sample some of their salad dressing, which was good! Unfortunately, they ran out of their dip, so I couldn’t try it.
A great salad dressing (or could be used as a marinade)!
Some other cool things about The Fresh Market is that they offer free cooking classes once a month, as well as a monthly publication called, “Inspirations,” that contains recipes, meal ideas, tips and tricks. They also have over 1,000 in-house products, including pumpkin cider (which was SOOO tasty!) and pumpkin spice almonds! In addition, they offer gift baskets for that special occasion where you need to bring a gift to an event or holiday gathering.
Pumpkin cider, yes please!
Beautiful gift baskets!
All, in all, The Fresh Market is a fantastic store, featuring local produce and products, having superb customer service, and best of all, being competitive in its’ prices (lower than other local gourmet grocery stores!). I highly recommend checking out the store if you live in the Sacramento area. Since the grand opening is tomorrow (well, today, as I write this), they will have tastings throughout their store all week. I can’t wait to go back and shop there!
Since I had so much to say about The Fresh Market , I’ll post about our awesome roasted beet salad we had for dinner last night (well, on Monday night, since it is so late) later, as well as my PR (personal best) on power cleans! It is WAY past my bed time, so good night! As you can see, I still need to work on my sleep…
Questions: What are some of your favorite grocery stores? When you grocery shop, do you stick to your list, or do you tend to venture off and buy new items? I love the Nugget, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and now, The Fresh Market. With our budget, I stick to my list, but when I shop in a specialty grocery store, I tend to venture off of my list to try new things!