Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sweet Bay

One thing that we have found difficult about moving is finding a grocery store that we like. This may sound a little silly, but we liked how our old grocery stores were laid out, we knew when they had sales, etc. In Lakeland, we do not have the same chains and actually we have very few choices on where we can go. This is because Lakeland is the headquarters for Publix, a grocery store down here, and they have taken over the grocery store market. There are so many Publix that I didn't think you would believe me when I said there were 9 in our general vicinity so here is a pic.

Now, you might look at this and think this is convenient! No matter where you live in the Lakeland area, you can be at a grocery store in mere minutes. This would be true if they all stocked the same merchandise which unfortunately they do not. The other issue is they are quite pricey. Some of them do, however, carry some of my favorite gluten free products so they sometimes make the list of places we shop at.

Now, besides Publix, you have the option of Winn-Dixie, which there are 3 of and Walmart which there are also 3 of. Now, I don't mind Winn-Dixie, although a lot of people do, because they are much lower in price. The issue here is that their produce section is abysmal. When I think Florida, I think overflowing produce sections. This is not the case. Most grocery store produce sections are the smallest I have ever seen. Walmart, surprisingly is the one exception. Normally I find they don't have good produce, but down here they do... weird? I don't really like Walmart though because I always leave with more then I intended to buy and they don't sell a lot of wheat free items and I can never find the sour cream... once again weird?

So recently, I have been grocery shopping at at least 2 stores and a couple of farm stands. Most of the time I don't mind this much, but other days I would like to get the shopping done in less then 3 hours. This is why I am so excited for the new grocery store that just opened above the F marker on the map. There is just the one Sweet Bay in our area and it is a little far, but there is one amazing thing about this store that I will make the trip for.

Can any New Englander's guess just from the sign why we are happy? We actually both thought it looked a lot like a grocery store we had a home right when we drove up (the colors are different)

pic from google images
Even though we both saw a resemblance, to our old store both inside and out, we didn't really think to much of it. That is until I went to get popcorn and low and behold found this,

It is a little sad how excited I was about this, but one of the best parts of Hannaford's is that their store brand products are sooo cheap (especially their cereal) and they still taste like the name brand! 

At this point we had to ask someone what was going on here. We also needed to find out if they had a wheat free section so on our way over to the wheat free section we asked what was up with the Hannaford products. It turns out that they are sister companies and so basically everything we loved about Hannaford's we will be able to find at Sweet Bay. (And, this is for my dad, they also do not have discount cards just like Hannaford's.... their prices are just really low) 

Included in things I can find at Sweet Bay and nowhere else is my absolute favorite gluten free company Schar.

They are a little pricey but this is one of the few companies that makes bread that you do not have to freeze and tastes like your normal bread. I love the rolls the best but they also make fantastic pasta, cookies, crackers... you name it! 

Overall, this was a pretty overwhelming trip to the grocery store. Not only do we now have a grocery store that we are familiar with and like (oh and they had a very large produce section) but I also have a place to get my favorite gluten free products! Needless to say, we are now very happy campers. 

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