With grocery prices on the rise and the quality of produce looking a little questionable lately, I’ve struck out on a mission to find fresher fruits and veggies for less; not an easy quest. However, Vallarta Supermarkets are popping up all over my area and I decided to give them a try this past weekend. Not only was I impressed by the quantity and quality of their meat and produce, I was equally impressed with their lower prices.
For those readers unfamiliar with Vallarta, they are traditionally an Hispanic supermarket that caters to a growing and diverse Los Angeles population. Vallarta has been around for many years, 25 to be exact, yet until recently they remained in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods. However, over the past few years they’ve begun to expand their reach throughout the valley (the valley’s population is 40-45% Hispanic, so it makes sense that Vallarta is expanding their brand.)
During my visit to my neighborhood Vallarta market I found that it is slightly smaller than a chain grocery store, yet their meat selection is tremendous – at least three times the size of my neighborhood Ralphs market. Not only do they sell all kinds of meat and poultry, they sell cuts of meat I normally wouldn’t find in a standard store, like say….tongue. Now tongue and intestines aren’t cuts I’d normally buy, so I instead purchased half a pound of carne asada ready for grilling; perfect for tacos. They also sell all kinds of cheese and dairy items, like Mexican cream and goat cheese.
Vallarta’s produce section is about the same size as a chain store with a few select items I wouldn’t be able to find at Ralphs, like cactus leaves. Yet their produce is fresher and less expensive than what I’ve been finding lately at larger markets. Below are some sample sale items to compare:
Notice the difference in citrus prices. I can either buy one pound at Ralphs for 99-cents, or eight-pounds at Vallarta for $1.00. When comparing their meat prices, I had a little difficulty finding similar cuts, but the chicken price alone was a huge difference!
Of course I won’t be able to completely abandon Ralphs altogether as their boxed and canned items offer more of a variety than Vallarta. Yet I’m glad to announce that I’ll be shopping at Vallarta for my meat and produce from now on. Sometimes a little research and cultural diversity can make a huge difference in the quality of living.
Have you tried international markets in you area? Do you have a particular market you shop to find great deals on certain items?