In Louisville, Krogers are as ubiquitous as mint juleps over Derby weekend. Not only are they everywhere (there are 4 within a 2-mile radius of the Tisdale house), but there is very little competition from other grocery chains. So most of us Louisvillians are stuck buying groceries from a Kroger store.
Louisville is a city of micro-neighborhoods, with each having its own vibe. That’s true for Louisville’s Krogers as well. Each has a personality and nickname. Mention Ghetto Kroger, Dirty Kroger, Churchill Downs Kroger or Highlands Kroger (we call it Bourgeoisie Kroger) and everyone in Louisville will know exactly which Kroger you’re talking about. And if you are a Kroger aficionado, you’ll notice that each store has varying selections depending on customer base. For example, you can always find great collard and turnip greens at Ghetto Kroger, but nary an olive bar. Highlands Kroger has free samples, a large organics section and 30 minute lines.
One thing that all Krogers have in common is the “Oops” areas in their produce and bakery departments. This is where they sell older produce and almost expired bread at reduced prices. As a house husband of sorts, Mr. Tisdale typically makes the rounds to about 3 Krogers every week to look through their Oops areas. Mr. Tisdale says there is part science, part art to Oops shopping. He has found that if you show up too early, the Oops produce and breads haven’t been put out yet. He says 10-11 a.m. is often ideal. Also, he can often find more “exotic”/expensive produce in the Oops section at Ghetto Kroger. Also he recommends looking for Manager’s Specials in the packaged produce section: often mushrooms and veggies are heavily discounted.
Sometimes Mr. Tisdale comes up empty handed after visiting the Oops section, and other times he hits the jackpot. In the last month he scored 2 bags of pomegranates (8 total fruit), a bag with 3 star fruit and a mango, a giant papaya, a Buddha’s hand fruit, and a bag of four avocados – all for $6.
Today, we went to Goss Avenue Kroger (AKA Hipster Kroger) and got 3 bags of tomatoes (Romas with a few heirlooms thrown in), 1 bag of Vadalia onions (3 giant onions), two loaves of “artisan” style bread ($1.79 each) and two flat breads that are a great base for homemade pizzas ($1.29 each). Total cost was $10.12. If we had paid full price, it would have been around $27. And there is no way we would have been buying fresh tomatoes, especially heirlooms, in January if they weren’t so discounted. And while that’s a lot of bread, it’s great keep some in the freezer to take out as needed.
Given today’s haul, it looks like Mr. Tisdale and I will be having flatbread pizza with fresh tomatoes tonight and fresh tomato sauce with pasta and vegetables tomorrow night. Chin chin!