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Review: Newflower Farmers Market

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Posted by johngl

Along about the middle of February, there came a new game to town.  They call themselves Newflower Farmers Market and they resemble a farmers market about as much as any chain grocery store might.  These guys are the “serious food at silly prices” people I mentioned in an earlier post.  The silly price on my first visit was a fresh pineapple for 88 cents.  Yes, I bought it.

New Flower
This has nothing to do with the post, but it is the first poinsettia blossom from my garden and therefore a New Flower (yes, it is still blooming!)

Here is the way the store really looks:

Newflower Farmers Market

Upon entering the store, the first thing you see is this sign that relates their silly slogan:

slogan

The thing is, I live in Austin, TX.  The headquarters and flagship Whole Foods is here.  Central Market, the high-end division of HEB is here.  I can find nearly anything I want here.

What brought me in this particular day was the most glorious spousal unit’s quest for lobster.  They had advertised tails at a reasonable price. Or so I thought.

lobster tails

I paid the same price for each of these.  The only one that actually came in at the advertised weight was the one on the far left.  The one on the far right was more than two full ounces lighter than it was supposed to be.  This didn’t make me happy.

This made me happy, at least at the time (I hadn’t weighed the lobsters yet):

elk and ostrich

The one on the left is ground elk.  The one on the right is ground ostrich.  Normally, you don’t see this in a grocery store.  It gave me hope that this could be a wonderful shopping experience.  I picked up the 88 cent pineapple and some actual coconut oil (great for Thai food).

We hit the checkout:

check out the checkout

Holy crap!

We waited, and waited, and became well acquainted with the guy behind us.  Nice guy.  Great sense of humor. We joked about the pineapples.  They were so cheap he was buying them for decoration.

None of us were amused at the waiting.  Yet, we waited some more.

We finally checked out and headed home.  I got to work on the lobster bisque.

The bisque turned out well, yet I was still not happy about getting rooked on the lobster.

I’ve done some research on yelp.com and the Austin Newflower scores a 3.5 stars after 42 reviews. Some love it, others not so much.  I am in the not so much camp.  I don’t like that they have “farmers market” in their name.  It isn’t — it doesn’t even resemble a farmers market. Farmers should revolt.

Every week, they have their “silly prices” on a few things like produce items, but the prices on a lot of other items are on par with or higher than HEB.  Since this visit was soon after they opened, I am probably going to give them another chance, but I am not really sure why I should be nice and spend more money there.

For the bulk of my groceries, I will stick with HEB.  For specialty items I will stick with Central Market or Whole Foods.  For certain ethnic foods, I will stick with Fiesta. For fresh produce I’ll hit a real farmers market.

I might go back to Newflower for another pineapple or maybe give the ostrich and elk a whirl…

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One Response to “Review: Newflower Farmers Market”

  1. Lauren says:

    We went here too around the end of Feb., on a weekday afternoon—couldn’t find a parking place and were about to leave when we lucked on someone pulling out. So that was not a good sign. The store was fairly crowded but we found a few produce and meat items we wanted pretty easily. But then when we had to wait over 20 minutes to check out, and there was no express lane for those with 10 items or less, we vowed never to go again, as it’s not really worth it since we live closer to HEB, CM, and the Sunset Valley Farmer’s Market. One reason for this might be that they have a lot of produce but no scales to weigh and tag it yourself like CM and HEB now have, so the checkers are ringing up a lot of things by hand.

    I guess these types of stores are popular as I just read that Sprouts Farmer’s Market (www.sprouts.com) is going to lease the old CompUSA space on Brodie Ln. near Hwy 71 for a new store this year (one is also coming to the Westlake area this year). If the checkout lines are more efficient, I’ll be glad to have another choice right in our ‘hood, but I wonder how they will do with CM and HEB very close by and NewFlower not too far.

    PS: Regarding your pineapple recipe, as some of your wino friends, we don’t drink only wine, so this looks good! We also like creating cocktails from fresh ingredients, like watermelons last summer (I mixed the juice with cold vodka for refreshing martinis) and the big meyer lemons a friend from Florida sent us a few months ago (margaritas and martinis). I sometimes sweeten drinks with lemon agave nectar bought at the SV Farmer’s Market (the booth has many different flavors, locally made).

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