Last week on the Outer Banks, I found myself in need of vital wheat gluten for a recipe for vegan Salisbury steak from Rabbit and Wolves that my friend and fellow blogger Britany shared with me. Well, the Harris Teeter didn’t have it. Of the remaining grocery stores at the beach, I figured the Fresh Market would be my best bet, and I was right! I did find it there.
This is not a store I frequent in Richmond, although we have a few locations in our region. They are simply too far away from me, and I find them rather expensive. But it’s fun to visit from time to time and see what’s new. What else did I find besides my gluten?
Well, as you would expect, the produce here is great. Beautifully displayed and, much like the store’s name, fresh. And they have lots of unusual fruits and vegetables. This section is also where they carry tofu, seitan, Beyond Meat products, seasoned jackfruit, another brand of seasoned tofu products I’ve never seen before called Hodo, and a number of specialty vegan sauces from Haven’s Kitchen. I’m going to have to go back and try some of these.
In the dairy case, there was a wide selection of plant based milks, a fair selection of Follow your Heart vegan cheese, and they had Just Egg as well. I shared in my recent post about egg substitutes and how the retail price of this product seems to be going down. I was pleased that it was on sale for $5.99. Still expensive, but an item that was not at Harris Teeter, which is where I did our primary shop for the week. So, yes, I bought some. I sensed some French toast in my future…
In the freezer section, I found your standard Gardein products, a large selection of products from Dr. Praeger’s, and a few more products from Strong Roots that I haven’t seen before. I’m a big fan of their cauliflower hash browns! I may have to go back and try some of the other product offered here.
One unexpected surprise was an extensive line of vegan chocolate bars by Endangered Species Chocolate! This is a brand that they also carry at Target, but Target only carries a couple of varieties. I think Fresh Market must carry every flavor! I brought home two bars: the oat milk sea salt and almonds + dark chocolate and the salted peanuts + dark chocolate. Both were delicious!
The biggest disappointment was their bakery. I was really hoping that they had jumped on the vegan bandwagon, but sadly, that was not the case. Among their gorgeous cakes, cookies, and pastries, not a vegan one was to be found. I even asked one of the associates in the bakery area if they had anything vegan made in house, and she kind of laughed at me. Sigh. What I would have given for a vegan pumpkin pie! Good thing I’m a good baker and had time on my hands last week.
So, overall, it was a fair experience. This is definitely not a primary shop for me due to the pricing here and limited selection of goods, but they do have a few items I haven’t seen anywhere else. Most importantly, if you need something unusual for a baking project and you are on the Outer Banks, the Fresh Market will likely have it, even though you’ll pay a premium for it. In addition to the vital wheat gluten, Just Egg, and chocolate, I also picked up some vegetable sushi rolls made in house that were quite tasty. I’m definitely going to have to try some of those pre-made vegan sauces! And I’m happy to report my Salisbury steak turned out great!
Do you have a Fresh Market where you live? Have you ever shopped there? I’d love to hear about your experience! As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.