Wegmans products I love

A typical Wegmans produce section.(Photo pilfered from someone else's website.)

If you live in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic, you know about Wegmans. When I have friends in town not from the area, we make a trip just to taunt them. See, Stop and Shop, Pathmark, Giant, Giant Eagle, Safeway…it doesn’t matter. Wegmans is in a class by itself. It’s the produce and selection of groceries that does the trick. Their meat is meh…I would just assume go to Nichols Supermarket in Liverpool or Ascioti’s Meat Market in Solvay. I’m not a big fan of their seafood either (the value isn’t there for the price). But, the start-to-finish shopping experience does not get better. Harris Teeter gets close, as do some Price Chopper stores in New York.

I’ve prattled on about Wegmans in the past. It’s really a love/hate thing. I worked for Chase-Pitkin, the company’s now-shuttered home improvement chain, in the 1990s until my unceremonious (but well-deserved, in retrospect) firing for trying to be funny in a public forum. I was an idiot. Digressing. During my junior and senior years of college, I would drive to Wegmans stores in Jamestown or Hornell (45-60 minutes away) to get groceries. The Tops in Olean, N.Y. was nice, but often times missed in terms of the exact ingredients I wanted.

Wegmans is celebrating the “10 Years of Products We Love,” a self-promoting tribute to its private-label products. This is the list I would submit if their website hadn’t stopped working this morning (short-attention span means I’m not getting back to it):

  • Wegmans Herbes de Provence. We’ve already discussed my love for this dearly-departed spice blend.
  • Culinary Stock. Wegmans makes four flavors — vegetarian, beef, chicken and Thai. It’s better than the culinary stock Swanson’s makes both in terms of flavor and value.  I still buy Swanson’s broth for soups and such, but Wegmans’ stock is the bees knees.
  • Culinary Sauces. You can’t go wrong with fresh beef demi-glace.
  • Bagged greens. I’m lazy. I don’t particularly like cleaning and chopping greens. Actually, I don’t like cleaning up afterwards more. So, the bagged escarole, rappi and spinach are nice and well worth the markup.
  • Super Yogurt. The Wife swears by the vanilla. If The Wife is happy, we’re all happy.
  • Sushi. Wegmans really stepped up their game in the past year in terms of sushi, especially at Fairmount.

Wegmans John Glenn (via Flickr)

But, in the interest of equal time, here’s some stuff I could do without:

  • Selective product inventory. Herbes de provence. Reduced fat crunchy peanut butter. Cascade Plastic Booster. Dishwasher Magic. I have my list of grievances.
  • Baby food hot potato. It’s not the pharmacy’s department. It’s not health-and-beauty. It might be general merchandise. It’s probably grocery. No one seems to know. Either way, I’d really like a consistent stock of Similac Sensitive Ready-to-Feed Formula. Please and thank you.
  • Expecting Mother parking. Let’s face it. I park in it. Other people park in it. Courtesies are nice, but when things can’t be enforced, it becomes a free-for-all of lazy bastards (like me) and disabled people who don’t distinguish between it and the handicapped spots.

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  • Melissa says:

    I’m planning a trip to the nearest Wegmans in Erie in a couple of weeks. It’s almost a two-hour drive from where we live, but so worth it.

    Some of the things I love about Wegmans:

    1. International foods. Wegmans house-brand peanut sauce makes an outstanding cold noodle salad. John spent a year studying in England, so he loves all the British food. We always get Colman’s shepherd’s pie mix, and Yorkie bars.

    2. Wegmans house brands. The cereals are priced on par with Trader Joe’s, there’s a great selection and the quality is equal to the national brands. I’m sad to hear there are no more herbs de provence at Wegmans. At least I can go to Penzey’s for that. I also love their flavored sparkling water with no sweeteners.

    3. Produce. Great selection, great quality, very reasonable prices. Makes our local Giant Eagle and Heinen’s look skimpy.

    4. Beer (at least in PA). Fantastic selection of beers you just can’t find anyplace else. Heinen’s is the closest we’ve got to that. Just need to add some Great Lakes for the rest of you.

    5. Deli/prepared foods. Every time I go there, no matter what time it is, there’s always at least a dozen people waiting to be served. The deli selection is really good in terms of variety, price and quality. And I’d kill to have prepared food options like that for when mid-week gets crazy.

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