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Lower cost, unique, choice ingredients at Valley Produce

Posted By Karen Young On August 6, 2009 @ 12:35 am In Featured,Food,Grocery Markets,Markets,My Daily Find,Other,Shop,spotlight | 2 Comments

erinnphoto110x110PHOTOS AND TEXT BY ERINN EICHINGER

For me, one integral aspect of the joy of cooking, and eating, is the part that comes before.  Finding that perfect recipe, or honing in on that dish that’s going satisfy the craving you’ve been having for days, is where the fun begins.

Then comes the part where you write the list and set out to get your ingredients.

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I am not a huge fan of supermarket chains.  I understand their necessity for things like Kleenex and band-aids.  But for other things – the important things, the food, their cold impersonal nature, their hermetically sealed meats and cheeses, their slicked up veggies and perfect fruits just leave me feeling, to put it mildly, under-whelmed.

What I love about visiting and shopping in New York City, Rome or Paris are the small neighborhood stores.  They’re personal, the food is lovingly picked out and placed on the shelves.  There are no glaring fluorescent lights, no sounds of “ping, pinging”  as food is “scanned” through a computer system.  Shopping in these kinds of places is a much more intimate affair.

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The Valley has an incredible ethnic diversity here, and some great mom and pop markets to to serve that population.  Once I started paying attention, I found there were some such gems, right under my nose.

There is one in Reseda and  one in Simi Valley — Valley Produce.  This is a place where you can find unusual fruits, nuts, dried peppers, grains, oils, and veggies at unbelievably cheap prices.  They had the not unusual russet potato on sale for 10 cents a pound not too long ago.  Hello!?

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Their ethnic offerings are also to die for. You want Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Vietnamese?  You will most likely find the ingredients you are looking for.

Their meat and fish counters are crazy (in a good way) with every part of every animal you might like.  If you are into trying the more “unusual”  bits and parts of a creature, you will be in heaven.

Cheeses are limited, but Feta is $3.99 a pound, about half what you’d pay at a major chain.  Although, for my day to day cheese purchases I still think Trader Joe’s is a pretty good bargain.

A few caveats:   it isn’t always as spotless as one might like (more of a Farmers Market  feel), there are no oiled up fruits and veggies at this place, a good thing in my estimation, so you’ll have to pick and choose amongst the piles  and it’s beyond busy on the weekends – be prepared.

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Valley Produce
18345 Vanowen St. Reseda, CA 91335  (818)609-1955

Erinn Eichinger is a lifestyle writer for print and television who’s worked and lived in the Valley for close to 20 years. She was a contributing writer for Sun Community Newspapers, as well as Fox News, KCBS News, Food Network, Discovery Health, A&E, Fine Living and The History Channel. You can check out more of her writing at www.Sundaydish.typepad.com

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