While on a weekend get-a-way with friends, I had the opportunity to visit the Santa Fe, NM Trader Joe's. Similar to Vitamin Cottage or a mini Whole Foods, Trader Joe's offers a variety of healthy foods at much lower prices than even a Super Walmart. Since I went on a Saturday night, the place was packed. Even with the large crowd, the staff was very helpful and pleasant. The isles were a bit crowded with stockers trying to keep up with the demand, but they were helpful and courteous as well.
Here is short list of some of the great buys we found...
Ground Almond Meal - $3.69/lb
White Balsamic Vinegar (17oz) - $1.99
Sumatran Coffee (small can) - Less than $5? (A friend bought this so I didn't see the actual price. The taste was AWESOME!)
Coconut Milk - $1.04 (same sized can is now $1.12 at Super Walmart)
Vitamin C Lotion (16oz) - $2.50 (high end lotions with similar ingredients are closer to $20 for a much smaller container)
One of the best bargains at Trader Joe's is their wine. The Charles Shaw brand wine is affectionately known as "Three Buck Chuck" since they sell at only $2.99 a bottle. Despite its low price, this is AWARD WINNING wine! I picked up a bottle of White Zin and one of my girlfriends picked up an assorted case.
While there is no Trader Joe's in Colorado, and due to our insanely stupid liquor laws, there may never be one, a yearly trip to Trader Joe's may be something I have to schedule. Even with the high gas prices, the money I saved on the 6 bags of almond meal I bought pays for the trip since it retails for over $14/lb at my local King Soopers...IF you can find it. Besides, the drive from Colorado to New Mexico is beautiful. Having cheap, drinkable wine and affordable heath food at the end of the trip is just a bonus.