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Chris Hennes

Oklahoma City Markets/Grocery

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I spent several days this past week scouting markets and grocery stores in the Norman and Oklahoma City area. Please, let me know if I missed any notable ones (I really did not find an adequate substitute for the local Wegmans here in Pennsylvania), or if you do not share my opinions of these :smile:.

Forward Foods (www.forwardfoods.com, 123 E Main St., Norman, OK 73069) Excellent selection of cheese, grains and legumes. Otherwise a typical organic foods store.

Native Roots (www.nativerootsmarket.com, 132 W Main St, Norman, OK, 73069) Highly locavore-oriented organic foods store.

The Earth (309 S. Flood, Norman, OK, 73069) Excellent selection of dried spices and herbs, otherwise generic organic foods store.

Wright's (Multiple Norman locations) Some locations are better than others, but tend towards small and dingy. OK produce section but the rest seems a bit scary.

Homeland (www.homelandstores.com, Regional chain) Some of the newer locations are reasonably nice, though the produce selection is not particularly good.

Dodson's (1305 36th Ave NW, Norman, OK, 73072) Better produce than the other organic places, it is still mediocre at best. The rest of the store is a fairly large, but still generic, organic foods store, with an absolutely frightening selection of "nutritional supplements."

Norman Farmer's Market (Cleveland County Fairgrounds, 615 E Robinson St, Norman, OK) Operates Wed. and Sat. mornings from 8-12, this is a pretty nice market for a town of this size. Almost entirely locally-grown produce so not great selection.

Wheeler's Meat Market (www.wheelersmeatmarket.com, 1524 SE 44th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73129). A bit odd, but promising, butcher shop. They have some pre-cut beef and pork, but my hope is that they can do special orders.

OKC Farmer's Public Market (www.okcfarmersmarket.com, 311 S. Klein Ave, Oklahoma City, OK, 73108). A much larger market than the Norman market, there are several produce stands that do not limit themselves to locally-grown produce and so have quite good selection and price. Most are open 6-7 days a week, normal business hours. Weighted towards Mexican ingredients, so very good dried chile selection.

Crescent Market (www.thecrescentmarket.com, 6409 Avondale Dr., Nichols Hills, OK 73116). A strange little market has a decent meat counter that might be worth visiting if in the area.

South of the Border Meat Market (Western between SW 29th and SW 30th). A Mexican market with a good meat counter and fresh tortillas, and a reasonable selection of Mexican ingredients.

Chinatown Supermarket (1228 NW 27th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73106). Fabulous selection of Asian ingredients, though the produce was nearly all pre-packaged in cellophane, which I found odd. They also had a wonderful seafood selection, including live crawfish, blue crabs, tilapia and lobster, al reasonably priced.

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wow I lived there for three years and never covered the stores like that ..of course when I lived there there were not too many choices especially of organic foods . ... I did find out you can catch crawfish (and catfish) in any pond or lake ... ..permits needed..but watch out for snakes!

I also know mequite beans make decent wine

Good luck!


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)

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Excellent job finding those that you did. Norman can be just far enough south of OKC to discourage shopping forays there.

Your post was from May of this year; I'm betting that by now you've also discovered these few other sources:

Super Cao Nguyen http://www.caonguyen.com/

The original benchmark for the Viet community in OKC. Moved into their new large venue about 5-6 years ago. Just NE of the Milk Bottle on Classen/23rd, on Military. Huge store. On my shopping runs, I start at the Chinatown store you mentioned, to check produce/fish/variety meats, make notes, then go to Cao Nguyen, and usually end up returning to pick up some items at Chinatown. Depends on the day's freshness of the produce and the fish. I always plan to have fish the night of a Little Saigon run, because these two stores have the best seafood selection in the metro. Also the place to get pork liver and pork belly and beef tendons, beef shank, hangar steak, etc.

Tofu factory shop, just about 2 blocks east of western on 23rd. Opened more than 10 years ago, the only freshmade tofu/soy products in town. You can ask for the warm tofu they haven't yet stocked in the storefront cooler. They press and fry there too, for the freshest fried tofu. Both Cao Ngyuen and Chinatown have their stuff, but if you want a warm tub of silken tofu to slurp on that ride back to Norman... ummmm.

Crest Grocery Stores, a local chain that built their footprint and reputation on low prices, is expanding. http://www.crestfoodsok.com/ They handle Prime grade in beef cuts in strip, ribeye etc., and all other cuts are from primals; yes, they have on-site meat cutters. The best time to get to know the meatguy in charge is at 5 or 6 AM, and he'll discuss what they have that week and will do special cuts. Eggs are often 3-5 days from laying. They somewhat match local loss leader advertisements in their weekly pricing structure. Deli items are shipped in, not made on site. Good careful attention to produce. I live less than 300 meters from a Crest, so I visit often.

Buy For Less www.buyforlessok.com is a local chain with 11 stores. They are shifting their marketing toward Hispanic customers, thereby increasing the diversity of produce and meat cuts. They put out a weekly sale flyer, and you can call them to have it mailed to your home. The store at 23rd and Penn, near Little Saigon, has for many years prided itself in their diversity and quality of produce.

Spices of India http://oklahomacity.eknazar.com/YellowPage...eNum=1&parent=0

Great diversity of bulk spices, plus Indian tools and produce and ingredients. Grown into a new store just off of I-44 at 39th St.

Health food Center at I-240 and South Penn.

http://shop.thehealthfoodcenter.net/ Best bulk bins in town, plus a well managed organic produce selection.

Akins http://www.akins.com/retailer/store_templa...420A7A75B27460A

Northside, but worth a visit. Good organic produce. Careful attention to top-line brand items (refrigerated flours, best variety of yogurts, etc).

Farmers market N of Reno and Portland, thus I44.

http://www.osuokc.edu/farmersmarket/

This place gets better every year, even extending into winter seasons just north at a site in OSU Tech. Great critical mass of patrons and growers/producers.

Walmart has suppressed market diversity. OKC was the test market for WM's campaign for "how to take over a city" in the early 90's. They planted a huge footprint of Supercenters and Food-only "Neighborhood Markets." Several chains have been snuffed out with this mega-campaign. Albertsons tucked tail back towards Boise, and Homeland (local OK chain) has taken over the Albs stores and their upper middle class niche. Weekly sales flyers in the city are down from 6 in 1995 to only 2 in 2008. Thus the rec for the thriving local Crest and BFL.

As to hanging beef, surprisingly, about 30 years ago the City passed an ordinance against hanging packers. The carcasses moved to Chicago. The prime beef steakhouses deal with Chicago. Kamps (and Bill Kamp's Meat Market, 7310 N Western) and http://www.labaguettebistro.com/ nearby on Western will meet any high end meat order. Those two, plus the Crescent foods 1 mile south are your three best bets for top line meat and home-prepped deli.http://www.eataroundokc.com/2008/la-bouche...market-in-town/

Oklahoma Food Cooperative is a great locavore effort. http://www.oklahomafood.coop/ Their producers, along with the OSU OKC Farmers market, will plug you in to most of the local Oklahoma products.

Still no TJ's, Whole Foods, or Wild Oats. Still no Duke's mayo. A local grocer (Pratt's) overexpanded into the high end healthy enviro-concious market in late 90's and didn't make it and disappeared, and those marketing reports seem to continue to make WF etc gun shy from coming in. Costco won't come here because of the plethora of Sam's.

OKC is growing and the food choices improving. What are your recent experiences and feedback?

Here's a fun Bubba list of "Oklahoma specialties": http://www.okctalk.com/food-court/8615-100...re-you-die.html


Edited by FoodGrowDude (log)

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I don't see the mediterranean imports on 5620 N. May Ave. Has a great import meat and cheese section, imported olives, etc. I hear they have lamb for cheap in the back if you ask for it. I never put that to the test, though.

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Gosh yes cKat! How could I have neglected to include Mediterranean?

They now have a website (not for ordering) where they list some of their numerous cheeses etc along with their lunch menu. http://medimportsokc.com/

Only place in town that I've found Dry salted anchovies available by the loose ounce. You can spend hours discovering things in this store.

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FoodGrowDude, thanks for the recommendations. This weekend I checked out:

Super Cao Nguyen (www.caonguyen.com, 2668 N. Military Rd., Oklahoma City) — Great recommendation. I had a little trouble finding it since they still have the sign up on their old location, so I was confused to see a place that looked all boarded up. As I was driving away I noticed their new location next door, which was very nice. Similar selection as the Asian Supermarket, but slightly better produce and slightly worse seafood. A much nicer-looking store, however, with a lot more room in the aisles, etc. This is a great Asian grocer.

Buy For Less! (2500 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Oklahoma City) — I was skeptical of this one, but you are right, it is clearly targeted at the local Hispanic population. The produce selection was surprisingly good, but the big find was FRESH MASA! I have been looking all over for this. I don't know if it is really fresh, or if the tortilleria it comes from (in Ft. Worth) uses masa harina, but it's the best I've found so far in the city.

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Good point about the directions to Cao Nguyen; the OLD building is directly adjacent to the milk bottle, and has remained vacant for years after the opening of the new Megastore, which is about two blocks to the northeast.

As to fresh masa, well, mi masa su masa. I recently found it fresh. You can get the stuff freshly made at the Serapio's tortilla factory, near the airport, 5024 SW 36th St.

The procedure, since they lack a storefront, is to call 942-2086 and order for pickup the next day at their office. Call before 1 PM to order for the next day. Mon-Fri, 7:30 - 4PM.

The cost is 70 cents a pound.

Here's a google page that includes a map and info:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=serap...oma&btnG=Search

I've recently contacted Buy 4 Less and asked them to consider carrying this one rather that the Ft. Worth product. I hope to hear from them soon.

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Artisan's Pride (artisanspride.com, 1965 West Lindsey Street, Norman, OK)

From their website:

Artisan's Pride is "The Premium Meat Market" in Norman, Oklahoma. Dedicated to quality craftsmanship, time-honored tradition and hand crafted expertise, we hand select only the finest products to carry the Artisan's Pride name. Our focus on quality product and great value will ensure that you always receive the best from Artisan's Pride Quality Meats!

I'm thrilled to have these guys in town, it saves me driving all the way up to Kamp's up in OKC every time I need meat. I use them primarily for beef, since they have far and away the best selection and quality in town. Their prices are competitive, and the service is top-notch. They also have some chicken, pork, lamb, etc., but it's basically the same stuff you would get anywhere else in town (I buy it from these guys anyway because I like them, but that's me). If you live in Norman, this is the only place you should consider buying beef. Sign up for their mailing list too, they sometimes get great deals from their distributor. At Christmas this past year they were selling all their prime rib at choice prices, and I saw some gorgeous-looking, clearly-prime specimens go out the door for a song.

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