An aside here: I'm overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people and traffic. I knew, of course, what it was like, but this time I'm not going home to a small town where I know almost everybody. It reminds me of the movie Crocodile Dundee from the 80's when Dundee learns there are 8 million people all living together in NY City and says something like 'this must be the friendliest place on earth!'In Aspen I shopped where I worked and bought a little food every day or every other day to stick in my backpack on the way home. I also purchased my meat from ranchers in bulk. It's quite a change up having to drive to the store a few times a week. Anyway, a few quick impressions before I tell you about the deal I stumbled upon. First, prices in general are way cheaper here. There are big discount stores and some of them have items that you would only have found in 'natural' stores a few years ago. Things like Kerrygold cheese and greek yogurt. Second, there is no sales tax in this state. If an item is $9.99, that's the amount you owe when you pay at the register. I had a 10% employee discount at the store I worked at and that BARELY covered the state and county sales tax. Scary.
The best price I've found on ground grass-fed beef here is in Trader Joe's which has it at $5.99/lb for the frozen brick (Angus no less). At most other places it's at least $6.99/lb for frozen and even more for fresh. In my mind, $5.99 is a very good price. I paid more in Aspen even when I bough it in bulk quantities from local ranchers. And buffalo was even more spendy. One evening my bro and I were Xmas shopping and he asked if I wanted to go into another grocery store that was in the strip mall we were at. My exact words were 'Sure, I always like going into grocery stores'. Now, I've been to this place's sister store and know that it is of the higher end variety. That is to say, if one is looking to save money, you wouldn't be shopping there. So imagine my surprise when I was perusing the meat section and came across fresh ground grass-fed beef on a buy one get one free deal. Their everyday price was $7.99/lb for that item, so the discount put it at 4 bucks a pound. As you can guess, I was a little skeptical. There was a hand written sign with ubiquitous 'buy one get one free' stickers on the packages. Not being one to pass on a good deal I first purchased 6 units and brought them home where I then looked the company up online to see if they were putting out a legit grass-fed product. Check on that one (from the PNW too). Next, I had some for dinner to see if it tasted good. Another check. Then I put the rest in the ice box to see if it froze well. Bam ... good to go. The finale of the story involves me going back there multiple times, sometimes twice a day, to stock up. I stuck the product I purchased in the freezer and when it was solid I pulled it out of the plastic tray and sealed it in a smaller bag. I wound up purchasing 60 units in total! The meat manager there must have thought his bogo sale was going pretty gangbusters. Heck, on the third day he almost doubled the amount of space he devoted to the sale (he could only fit about 14 out at once in the beginning).
I suppose I could have asked the meat manager to package me up a bunch at the sale price and would have only had to come in one more time, BUT, I was worried he was going to figure out that he was essentially giving that stuff away if he noticed one person was completely pimping out their freezer with it. Who knows, perhaps they were sitting on a bunch and figured it was better to get rid of it at cost than to lose it. However, it sure doesn't seem like old product to me and I'm not exactly a rookie when it comes to consuming grass-fed ground beef.
|Takes after his crazy uncle|
It's also strange for me to not be working during the holidays (or at all right now) I worked my butt off this time of year in that small mountain town.
Happy Holidays to everyone and best wishes for 2014!
PS One of the many perks of living with family is stuff like finding selfies of your nephew on your phone with his tongue sticking out. Stinker!