Posts Tagged ‘Trader Joe’s’

Kosher Trader Joe’s

Here is a panoramic shot I took at the Portland, Maine Trader Joe’s store.  Notice that every hipster shopper there just looks so darn happy!


Trader Joe’s in Portland Maine

Just for fun, at the behest of my daughter, I recently joined a national Facebook group called “Kosher Trader Joe’s.” Anyone from the group who has tried a product from there that is kosher will post online, letting members know not only what kosher products they can find in the store, but how they taste.  In only a few weeks, the group already has 2000 members.

The closest Trader Joe’s to my house in rural Maine is in Portland (1.5 hour drive) and Portsmouth New Hampshire (2 hours drive).  Whenever I have an errand in Portland (which fortunately is not often), or need to pick up someone from the airport who has come to visit us, or if we go to the synagogues in Portland or Old Orchard Beach for a mid-week event, I always make sure to stock up at Trader Joe’s.

There aren’t a whole lot of people who keep strictly kosher in Maine, and certain items can be hard to locate, so with its extensive inventory of kosher foods, TJ’s is a true blessing.  The Portland branch is actually one of TJ’s biggest and busiest in the East, and it is really well stocked.  The problem with the Kosher Trader Joe’s Facebook group is that once a New Yorker waxes poetic about a TJ’s product, the entire herd of New York Jews reading the post stampedes down to the Brooklyn store, wiping products off the shelf in one fell swoop, and stock cannot keep up with the demand.  I’ll take Portland any day of the week by comparison!

For a guide to all kosher products available at Trader Joe’s (availability varies depending on region), click here.

For a guide to all the different kosher certifications on Trader Joe’s products, click here.  

Trader Joe’s in Maine: Update

On the way to Portland International Jetport (airport) to pick up a friend, I decided to stop by Trader Joe’s and see what all the excitement is about here in Maine.  Turns out it’s the largest Trader Joe’s in the eastern United States in terms of square footage; it was the biggest and best-attended grand opening in TJ’s history; and it’s one of their busiest and most lucrative stores to date.

Yes, the store is a whole lot bigger than any other TJ’s I’ve visited – they have to compete with a ginormous Whole Foods not far away – but I can’t say I noticed all that many more products on the shelves, just wider aisles and lots more elbow room in general. The good news for me personally is that they stock the same kosher products as in my home town, including fresh Empire chicken in a variety of cuts, Empire ground turkey, kosher Tillamook cheddar cheese (chalav stam) and chalav yisrael Feta cheese from Israel.  That will definitely cut down on the number of foods we find it necessary to pack in the car in coolers on our long driving trips from our home town to our place in Maine.

Is it worth the 1 hour 20 minute drive from my house in the woods? I can see myself making the drive every 6 weeks or so and really stocking up. I wish I could say the store’s employees were uniquely exemplary as they are in my home town – they truly were nice – but honestly, they reflect the helpful customer service and pleasant demeanor that is not limited only to Trader Joe’s, but so prevalent throughout Maine. I’m getting spoiled!

More shopping: Trader Joe’s comes to Maine!

Maine is a mostly rural state with lots of little towns. Even the big cities (Bangor, Portland, Augusta, and Lewiston-Auburn) are really little cities.  When something novel happens here in Maine it is BIG news.  And tomorrow’s opening of Maine’s first Trader Joe’s is, as one reader of the Portland Press-Herald newspaper declared, “the most exciting event in Portland’s history!”  Another writes, “Is it too early to proclaim opening day as a state holiday?”  They were not  being facetious.

Alas, Maine’s new Trader Joe’s is a 90 minute drive from our house.  That’s nothing compared to the devotees who regularly drive 3 hours to stock up at Trader Joe’s closest store unitl now, in Boston.

The other day I was doing errands in North Conway, New Hampshire, which has a giant outlet center with every possible type of upscale designer and regular store, 2 supermarkets, and a Walmart.  I got into a conversation with a 20-something woman who moved there only 2 years ago.

“Is there anything you miss?”  I aksed her.

“Yeah,” she sighed. “I’d kill for a Target!”