If you live in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Plano, San Antonio or Southlake, Texas then you probably already know about Central Market and if you know about it then I am willing to bet that you love it, just not the prices. Did you know that you can fill out a form in the store and be added to their coupon mailing list? The coupons are sent out about every 2 months and mostly you get a $10 item or items FREE with a $40 purchase, and the $40 total includes the items that you will be getting FREE. This weeks (02/09 - 02/22/09) coupon is for 1-lb (up to $8.99) of Atlantic Salmon FREE with $40 purchase. So you are probably thinking $40 is a lot to add into my weekly budget but really there are deals to be had at Central Market and they accept Manufacturers Coupons as well. Every Monday morning you can find me at Central Market getting in on those deals.
First, they are almost always sampling something yummy in the test kitchen and through out the store, sometimes in the mornings there are samples out but not as many as the weekends or evenings. Our favorite sampling is the Chocolate Festival that is the first week of February each year and my kids ask about it each time that we visit Central Market! Second, if you see something interesting that you would like to sample, like an unusual piece of fruit, just ask and unlike the typical grocery store there is always a knowledgeable associate close by more than willing to help you. The stores are always clean and orderly and I love the paper sacks they put your groceries in, I use mine as a recycling sack and then when it's full the sack and it's contents can go straight to the recycling cart! It really is the little things in life that make me smile!
Now for the deals, Central Market Organic Milk half-gallons are $2.99 and sometimes there are coupons taped to the milk for a FREE item (i.e. truffles) or $1.00 off something else (i.e. cereal). They have Frozen 5 Cheese Garlic Bread for $0.99 each and it is really the best one that I have ever eaten. The Central Market brand organic whole wheat pasta is the best pasta hands down and for $1.85 a package I think that it's a real steal. I love the Central Market brand of organic jellies, they are so good and not as sugary sweet as commercial brands, of course I have found the commercial brands way cheaper than $2.75 a jar but never as good. In the Seafood/Butcher Department they have little containers of fresh crushed almond or pecan crust that I love to press into chicken and fish then bake - so yummy, super easy and for under $2.00 a container it can't be beat! The Organic Broccoli bunches are fantastic and at $2.99 for 2, it a real deal. I love the selection of fresh produce they always have and the wide variety of seafood and meats in the Butcher Department. Bison is my latest find at $5.99/lb, now I know that is really high for ground meat but click here to read about how much better it is for you than typical red meat or even chicken! Ask your local CM butcher for a sample of bison to take home and cook, you just might get hooked like I did. For more weekly specials click here.
Central Market could never be your one-stop frugal grocery trip but they are not claiming to be instead they are offering the best selection, taste and customer service I have ever received in a store. Anytime that I buy something at CM and it doesn't live up to my standards, I take it back. Just a few weeks ago I purchased 2 1-lb. packages of Bison and while I was cooking it I noticed small bits of white plastic in the meat, I was horrified and scrambling, "Now what's for dinner?" I saved a few pieces of the plastic and the package label in a zip-top bag and placed it in the freezer along with the other lb. of meat. When Monday rolled around the following week I took the unopened lb. and the zip-top bag to Customer Service and with their deepest apologies I received a gift card for the full amount of both items and then the CSM called the butcher up to talk to me and he gave me 4 lbs. of bison FREE to try and make up for the problem! We never did find out what the white stuff was but accidents happen and at least they were willing to make up for their error.
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