I live in Alexandria, VA around the Braddock Road metro. I know of three grocery stores within walking distance: Trader Joe's, the Whole Foods on Duke Street and the Giant on First Street (both seem barely walking distance to me.)
It's really important to me that I eat a couple of servings of fruits and vegetables a day. However, while browsing AskMeFi I've come across some definite downsides to buying produce at Whole Foods (this thread
says vegetables are overpriced) and Trader Joe's (this thread
says they're poor quality). I've been to the Giant on First and not only is it far, but the quality is pretty sad.
Does anyone have any suggestions for ways to get fresh produce on a budget around Alexandria? I realize that at $200 a month for groceries I need to be realistic as to what I can actually buy. I plan to buy processed foods only rarely and supplement the fruits and vegetables with cheap sources of rice, beans, etc. However, I'm not looking for organic or local produce in particular--just good quality vegetables and fruits that will stay fresh and edible over a reasonable period of time.
I've researched CSAs and most of what I've found either require picking them up at the farm (which I can't since I don't have a car) or they are too big for a single person, even for half-shares. Something that may work is Washington's Green Grocers and getting their small box bi-weekly, and I'd appreciate any other suggestions or advice.
I've considered renting a Zipcar occasionally and driving to Super H Mart, but I'm worried that the cost of renting a Zipcar will offset any savings I might find at ethnic supermarkets. I have the same concern with taking the metro to find other supermarkets in the DC area. I'd love to hear about any metro-accessible supermarkets or farmer's markets, especially on the blue/yellow/orange lines that have decent produce.
I guess my questions can be summarized as follows:
- Should I just suck it up and buy produce at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's despite cost or quality concerns?
- Do I save more money in the long run if I rent a Zipcar to drive out to ethnic supermarkets in VA?
- Do I save more money in the long run if I find a metro-accessible supermarket? (Any suggestions would be welcome!)
Thanks in advance!