A pet peeve many people mention is the lack of fresh, local produce. “To be honest, the produce is not the best,” says Brooks. “It definitely leaves a lot to be desired.” I confess that I like to buy fresh and local whenever I can and Trader Joe’s cellophane-wrapped peppers and other produce don’t often inspire me. But to keep an open mind, I went to a Trader Joe’s and picked up a bundle of unwrapped asparagus.
In this Connecticut store, rather anemic-looking spears were selling for $4.39 a pound, whereas the larger market down the street featured healthier-looking asparagus at $3.79 a pound or less.
But not all deals are duds in the produce section; you just have to pick the right ones. Trader Joe’s is known for buying in bulk and produce that ships well seems to fare better here. Hass avocados were bundled in a bag of four for $3.29. That seemed worth it, especially when a nearby supermarket was selling four for $5. Granted, the Trader Joe’s avocados were small and hard but after I let them ripen for a day, they were delicious. I found similarly good deals and quality on sturdy produce like clementines and bananas too.