Photo: Sarah McClure

With the opening of two local markets this month, Local Mission Market and Whole Foods, we headed out to do an informal survey of four popular grocers. Here’s what we found.

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Sarah McClure loves the colorful writing, and opportunity to connect to larger issues, that Arts & Culture reporting allows—she reads the Times’ Art Beat often. Here, she’s experiencing art on the street that the LA native is accustomed to seeing whiz-by from car windows. She is a Master's degree candidate at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where she is specializing in multimedia, Spanish-language reporting and Latin America.

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  1. Thanks Sarah! It’s for anywhere, but since we live in the Bay Area, most of the data is from there 😉 Anyone can enter info or photos for any geographic location.

    Oh and BTW Local Mission is great! Here’s a list of some of their stuff, I think their Mariquita Farm green tomatoes and Straus Yogurt are ridiculously good and ridiculously cheap:

  2. My wife and I wanted to keep track of details like this while grocery shopping, so we decided to write a little search page of what you can get in the Bay Area.

    You can do searches for locally sourced foods or organic foods only. We’re always trying to add more details to what we’re eating, so if you’ve got any more info, please share! It’s still beta so please be gentle.


  3. Local Mission is really fantastic, but just too expensive to go to regularly. Their fresh bread rivals Sour Flour, but not quite as distinctly delicious as La Victoria’s, and two dollars more.

    Casa Grande is my fave over all, but they’re register line set-up (or lack of one)can be sort of a mess.

    And what’s the deal with the eternally abandoned former DeLano’s? That should be a Trader Joe’s already.

    1. A lot of people do not like the condescending and self-important attitude of the staff at Rainbow. It feels like you are on the receiving end of a lecture on political correctness every time you shop there.

      Now that the new WholeFoods is open, with better produce, cleaner-looking staff, no attitude and (here’s a shocking idea) meat and fish, there is quite simply no reason to ever go to Rainbow.

      1. Everyone at rainbow has always been lovely to me. It comes down about knowing and trusting who you get your food from and rainbow has been great for that, I know and support most of the farms that supply them and they’ve always had interesting and varied produce which I appreciate. You seem to have some strong feelings against them but I don’t think your solution of going to whole foods will work for everyone. From my experience growing up and working on a small farm whole foods has not done much to support local farmers compared to a lot of stores (you’d be surprised that albertsons or luckys historically would source more locally than them) yet they bombard you with advertising about how healthy green and local they are. I mean it’s awesome to have these values but in the end whole foods has not proven to me that they live up to what they preach.

        1. Hattie, I understand your remarks. You are clearly coming from a more ideological and political place, with your consideration of the source.

          I do not have any ideological preference and so go only by service, convenience, variety and price (not that WF is cheap but then neither is Rainbow).

          Also, the meat and fish, and the much better booze selection, are category killers for me. If you’re a vegan who doesn’t drink, I can see why that wouldn’t matter.

          Finally, and maybe it’s just me, but i always feel like I am getting a silent political lecture whenever I’ve been to Rainbow.

          1. You feel like you are being a lecture when you go shopping? I think that you should revisit Rainbow simply to deal with whatever is behind that “lecture” thing — your conscience needs to be fed, too.

            Rainbow has a great variety of cheeses and really everything that goes so far beyond other stores in this part of town. They are run differently and the employees have a different vibe, but you know where your food comes from and what the ingredients are. I shop there once a month because I get staples nearer and cheaper. Still, there are many things I can only get there. If you can suspend your ideological preference for stores that carry meat, you should give it another try.

          2. I used to feel the same way about the employees at Rainbow. But I go there a few times a month now, since I live right down the street from Rainbow, and the people there are super cool. Never received a political lecture even one time.

            Good points on the booze section and the lack of meat, which is why I pretty much just use Rainbow for fruit/eggs/some vegetables/supplements. Other than that, I really like that store, even though it may seem like a strange place at first glance.