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May 7th,
written by Arthur

I mention Union Market in a lot of my posts.  It’s the store that sources a good deal of my cooking and where I often find myself wandering the selves looking for inspiration.  But, I’ve gotta be honest, unless you live in Park Slope, this post might be a bit of a snore for you.  (And if you don’t live in Park Slope, my sincere regrets that you don’t live in the best neighborhood, of the best borough, of the best city in America.  Sorry Twin Cities, I still love you, but it’s true!)

Union Market opened the doors to its first store on Union Street in North Slope (then just Park Slope and probably still is to the folks up there) in 2005.  It has since opened a couple more stores here in the BK and, in a Brooklyn takes on the City move, has a store under construction on Houston Street.

If any Minnesotans are still reading, Union Market reminds of what you’d get if the Wedge Coop on Lyndale in Minneapolis and Whole Foods had a love child.  Larger than a bodega, but dwarfed by Whole Foods, Union Market might feel a bit cramped to those hailing from The Land of Ice and Snow (say shhhh).

Unlike Whole Foods, Union Market doesn’t guarantee a purely organic experience, though I would venture to guess that  nearly the full store is.    I’m perfectly comfortable with that arrangement.  I’m not an organic food nut (buying regularly from a large by NY standards supermarket, Key Food), quality local/seasonal isn’t always organic, and I’m confident the increased selection is selected with care.

I appreciate the smaller size and the lack of pretension that might be found in a Brooklyn coop.   I never have to wait in the seemingly endless lines that plagued me at Whole Foods in Union Square.  I never feel like I’m being pressed through an organic meat grinder just to pick-up dinner.

Today I picked up ingredients to make a salad.  At checkout, the cashier noticed that there was a questionable spot on my package of spinach and encouraged me, over my objections, to get a replacement.  I hadn’t noticed and honestly didn’t think it looked too bad, but I appreciated the attention to quality.

From the fresh baked breads, to the fresh produce, to the amazing selection of cheese that I’ve probably spent hours drooling over, to the fresh meat and seafood counters, to the beer selection, it appears thought and care has gone in the variety and quality of offerings.

The comfort, attention to detail, and quality seems to usually clock-in at less than a similar run to Whole Foods (at least in terms of produce).  The meat, seafood, and cheese can come at a price, but it’s a price paid for quality.  And a number house brand products help me find quality at a lower price.

Union Market helps fuel my culinary adventures and is one of the reasons Park Slope is the best neighborhood in New York.


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