Peonies, from you guessed it, Major Market

It’s official: I am in love with my grocery store.  Living in a small town makes for limited grocery options. We have three choices: Albertson’s, Fresh and Easy and Major Market. When we first moved to Fallbrook, that took some getting used to. I had numerous stores within 5 miles of where we lived before, including a Trader Joe’s, so I had withdrawls for a while and would routinely make the 30 minute drive to my old favorite markets.

For the first couple of years that we lived here I shopped at Albertson’s. I found Major Market a bit small and crowded. I had a hard time getting around, especially since people seemed to always be lingering in the aisles.  I was in a hurry, dammit. I had stuff to do and I didn’t have a lot of time to do it.  I was commuting insane distances teaching and the last thing I wanted to do was linger in the grocery store. And the parking lot was insane. No thanks, I thought, I’ll be at Albertson’s.

At first I enjoyed the big wide aisles, the really large produce section and what appeared to me to be a broad selection of items.  But as I became more of a local, which I am still not and may never be annointed such, I began to hear more and more about Major Market. We’d be at a dinner party or barbeque, and some unusual item would appear. Where’d you get that? Major Market.  hmm.  Did you make that salsa? No, I got it at the deli at Major Market. okay….

As time went on I was becoming really unhappy with Albertson’s produce, which seemed to spoil so quickly, and then there was the shrimp incident.  I bought some shrimp that by the time I went to cook it that night smelled of bleach and I was done. So I vowed that I would give it a go again at Major Market. I took my time and really thought about it from an investigative approach. I was going to really figure out this market and see if it was a fit for me.  I lingered at the refrigeration section, bought some of their enchiladas that are made in house and tried them. Fantastic!  I bought their in house made croutons, SOLD!!  I noticed that a lot of the produce was grown locally, including the heirloom tomatoes that we couldn’t get enough of. I discovered the artisan cheeses made locally, the bread baked by a Sadie Rose Bakery in Escondido and I couldn’t get enough of grocery shopping. Add to that the fact that I never have to wait in line to get rung up and never have to bag my own groceries, and I was in heaven.

I figured out that if you slow down you can see all of the nifty things they carry so now I am a lingerer.  They don’t have a ton of stock of anything on hand, so if you go too fast you might miss the ready to fry pappadums that taste authentic, hard to believe I know but true.  And the organic tahini that I use to make home made hummus.  Not to mention that you run into neighbors and folks that are just taking their time. And you can stop and chat with one of the guys that keeps the aisle neat, with a real feather duster in his back pocket.

I’m not sure what the final item was that sealed the deal. Maybe it was the exotic garlic that I found on Tuesday, or the new bulk organic section with quinoa, or maybe it was the black truffle butter that is quietly tucked in between the butter and whipping cream.  Whatever it was, I am hooked and I’ll never ever cheat on Major Market again.  We’re soul mates.