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GROCERY GUMBO Legendary chef Jacques Pépin likes to reminisce about the way his mother shopped the French countryside, pedaling her old bicycle from farm to farm, over a 35-mile loop, to buy bread here, eggs there, chickens further down the road, and so on. For many Saratogians that Old Europe style of shopping is still popular, but doable in a far shorter route. My husband assures me that he would go to one supermarket and buy two weeks’ worth of groceries at a clip. My method is more like 12-stop shopping, although it does include the Price Chopper and Hannaford megamarts. Both carry my favorite Fage yogurt (made in Johnstown, N.Y.) and Heidelberg breads (made in Herkimer). There is one cereal I can only get at the Chopper, another that’s only at Hannaford. I tend to favor the supersized Chopper south on Route 50 for produce and the Hannaford on Weibel Avenue for seafood. And for running in and out quick, nothing beats the small old Chopper just a block west of Broadway at Railroad Place.

But I do much of my hunting and gathering elsewhere. At the top of my food chain is the Sara - toga Farmers’ Market on High Rock Avenue. Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons from May into October, it’s my first stop for arugula and collards, tomatoes and potatoes, snap peas and carrots, and fresh bread and baked treats. After years of sam- pling, though, I’ve settled on BJ’s Farm- stands (on West Avenue or up on Route 9 near the middle school) for corn, peaches, and blueberries.

In cold-weather months, I follow 68 SCOPE WINTER 2011

the Farmers’ Market to its winter home in the Division Street School, picking up root veggies, apples, small greens, and even hydroponic tomatoes and herbs. It also offers frozen meats and other fare all winter long. Year-round and hands-down my favorite shop is Roma Foods Importing on Washington Street. Their service is old school—they’re efficient, they’re friendly, and odds are they’ll remember what you like and whether you’re a Yankees fan. Roma is my source for cold cuts, meatballs, marinara sauce, parmesan, pignoli, pasta, olives, and olive oil. There is no happier place to shop.

I might pop into Putnam Market for a special salad, a cheese, or starter sauce for Indian food; Bruegger’s bagel shop for flavored cream cheese; Mrs. London’s for pastry; the Bread Basket for cupcakes; or the recently opened Meat House on Route 50 in Wilton for excellent hand-cut meat, plus lots of fixings to go with, from snacks and bread to salad makings and marinated vegetables ready for the grill. I’ll hit Four Seasons for organic greens and grains, teas, mo- lasses, and sea salt. As for milk and ice cream, I go to several different shops— all of them named Stewart’s. That’s probably a dozen stops, and I’ll likely hit many of them in any given week. It’s the only way I know how to shop, the only kind of shopping I truly enjoy, and the routine I will surely con- tinue. That is, unless—and if you live in western New York or northern New Jer- sey, you know what I’m talking about— Saratoga gets a Wegmans. —KG


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