"Bananas are a good deal," one employee told me. "Nineteen cents apiece. I've actually gone and weighed a pound, and you can get five bananas for under a dollar. Whereas if you go elsewhere, you're paying for the peel." But if you don't have a peel, how else do you cause one of your friends to fall down like they're the star of a 1920s-era slapstick comedy? Riddle me that, Mr. Joe.
Organic sweet potatoes
While the 19-cent bananas are not organic, plenty of the other produce is. That includes the big-ass 3lb bag of sweet potatoes, which goes for $3.99. Considering the non-organic ones at most stores run around $2.99/lb, going big is the best move here. And a healthy one.
Cage-free eggs are another good find. "Eggs are a good deal at only $1.99," the woman behind the sampling station told me. "Anywhere else, they're $2.30 and up. And I get my cage-free eggs for $2.79."
"The pasta is imported from Italy and is 99 cents," a manager told me. She noted that imported pasta elsewhere can run you at least $3-$4. That's a bunch of meals for the same price as a burger on a fast-food joint's dollar menu, and while you cook it, you can even sing the "That's Amore" song to yourself, like a real Italian chef! The manager also noted that other Italian staples like olive oil and vinegar are solid values. I can confirm: the 100% Italian organic extra-virgin olive oil is always competitively priced.
That manager wasn't done helping: she singled out the white Modena vinegar mixed with California Estate olive oil to make a killer homemade salad dressing, or the same vinegar mixed with garlic and lemon to make a chicken marinade.
And if you're the type of person who cares about what's in your food (as well as the price), anything with a TJ's label on it comes with a few guarantees: artificial flavors, preservatives, MSG, GMOs, or trans fats? Faghetaboutit.