The obsession with Trader Joe’s Markets is real. Mention Trader Joe’s to someone far away from one who has shopped there, and you will see their countenance break into a warm, wistful smile of remembrance and longing! Mention that you will be visiting one, and you may receive a long list of treasures to be brought back for others! Hear from people planning to visit you who are traveling from near a Trader Joe’s location, and you rattle off your list of goodies for them to bring to you!
Over 350 locations (including those “opening soon”) in about 29 states plus the District of Columbia, and WE have to cross TWO WHOLE STATES to get to the nearest one… REALLY BIG states.
We currently live about 700 long and lonely miles from the nearest Trader Joe’s. It might as well be on the moon, the carbon footprint of getting there might be about the same. When we DO travel, a Trader Joe’s stop is required before heading home! No, it’s not just about “Two Buck Chuck” (Three Buck Chuck in Arizona and the mid-west), although usually very good and always reasonably priced wine is an added attraction.
Yes, we understand all about keeping organic, fresh and sustainable foods as fresh as possible, and the impossibility of doing that close to 1000 miles from a distribution center — we might as well be a whole light-year away. We are conversant with unique State Liquor Laws that place special requirements and related prohibitions on importation and sale of wine produced in another State, or upon alcoholic beverages in general. The challenges of even finding suitable, economical space in a beneficial location where permits can be obtained are not strangers to us — architects and planners, after all.
Still, the fabulous produce, great grains, nuts, dried fruits, pastas, confections, not to mention “Two Buck Chuck”, the fabulous folks assisting in the stores, herbs and spices…on and on…do cause wistful dreams and fond remembrances embracing nose, palate, stomach and brain.
What to do? Well, first check the pantry and wine cellar (OK, the really little section of bottle storage cubbies), then make a list, then arrange necessary business meetings (a little practicality is required), then add to the list, and finally…
Plan a trip somewhere where there is a Trader Joe’s – before we run out!