Does it really matter where you buy your groceries? With multiple grocers available to most of us, we have our preferences where we choose to shop. We go to certain stores for certain items – for example, I like to get fresh meat and seafood at Giant Eagle and we get our basics from Aldi – a discounted grocer in our area. I like to get fresh produce from the farm or a farmer’s market when I can, but also like the produce section at Kroger. I like the International section at Meijer. For items we use in bulk like rice, pasta, dog food and some spices we shop at Sam’s Club. So yes, for me it does matter where I buy my groceries.
This weekend , I had the opportunity to visit Jungle Jim’s International Market , located in Fairfield, Ohio just outside of Cincinnati. It was glorious, to say the least. I wish I lived closer than two hours away so I could shop there on a regular basis because I would! Jungle Jim’s began as a local farmer’s market in 1971 and has only grown from there. What makes Jungle Jim’s special (besides the size, variety, freshness, local fare, international selections)? Jungle Jim’s is much more than a grocery store, it’s a whole destination! There are over 200,000 square feet (that’s about six acres) of shopping space in and over 150,000 products from which to choose. You could get lost there.
But, there’s more – Jungle Jim’s also offers tours of the store, food demonstrations, cooking classes and special events like the Weekend of Fire .
The store also offers demos on a regular basis so you can try the products the offer – including produce, gluten-free, seafood, cheese and international food. They also offer gift shops, specialized boutiques (where you can find clothing, accessories and gifts) and places to eat inside the store.
So what exactly can you find at Jungle Jim’s? Prepare to be amazed.
What I loved about the Fresh Food: I love seafood and we eat it regularly in our house. The seafood department is so fresh, you can pick out live fish for dinner to take home with you. Jungle Jim’s will take care of everything for you (but, I still feel bad for the fish, I think). The produce section is second to none – they had so much variety! I also liked the reduced section where I found some great prices on produce like peppers.
Gourmet Galleria (pots, pans, specialty cookware, gadgets, small appliances, etc.)
Herb ‘N Jungle (herbal supplements, sports nutrition, vitamins, minerals, etc.)
Greenhouse (everything plants and growing)
What I loved about the Specialty Food: Um, if you have to ask, it is the HOT SAUCE! You can read more about that here . I have never seen a bigger hot sauce display anywhere. I was also impressed with the gigantic selection of honey, much of it locally harvested.
Health and Beauty
What I loved about the American Grocery Food: The pets section! There was a large variety of foods, treats and products, many reasonably priced or even cheaper than my local grocers. You can even purchase natural treats for your canines there. My two got pigs’ ears, which they love. Grace didn’t even wait for me to take her picture, it was gone within a minute or two.
What I loved about the International Food: This is my favorite part of the store. I love cooking international and ethnic foods, and I can find everything I need in this store. It is clearly labeled and easy to navigate the large aisles. I even found my favorite Asian hot sauce there – and purchased it in an extra large size (seriously, I need to buy stock in this company). Asian cooking is my favorite and there are over ten Asian countries alone represented here as well as a huge selection of Indian curries.
What I loved about Beer and Wine (Food): They have an incredibly unique selection of products here, including my newly discovered favorite Woodchuck Cider .
And, don’t forget, you can also find things like chocolate-covered insects and bacon ketchup (which they apparently sold out of before) at Jungle Jim’s.
I will be visiting Jungle Jim’s again – and possibly taking a cooler to purchase meats and dairy for my deep-freezer at home. This store has certainly become my favorite grocer!
What about you? Have you been to Jungle Jim’s? Did you like it? What do you look for in a grocery store? Tell me in the comments below?