Look at These Great Brands - Key Food Shakes Off A Haunted Reputation

My family and I moved to Beacon in 2009 from Manhattan's "Upper Upper West Side" on Columbus Avenue. Grocery stores were all around us. Our apartment was above a Bravo, and we had several "markets" on Broadway. Not to mention vegetable stands, and an occasional honest to goodness bakery. Whole Foods had just opened up a few blocks down. Life was good food-wise.

So when we moved to Beacon, we had one requirement: to live within walking distance to a coffee shop so that we didn't experience too much of a culture shock from living in the City where we walked everywhere. This was one of the best requirements to have, because it meant we moved within walking distance to a big grocery store, Key Food.

In the last few years, I've noticed many changes at Key Food, as have others. From the classical music playing during the day, to the wide selection of organic and independent brands stocked on the shelves. So I took a meeting with two of the owners of Key Food - Junior and Mo - to give me the real scoop on what's been going on.

We met behind the big black doors near the produce section - the real behind the scenes of Key Food! Junior confirmed rumors I'd heard from shoppers who commute to Beacon from areas south of Newburgh, that this Key Food in particular was known for listening to shoppers. Junior says he takes many requests and finds the items to put on the shelves. I asked him if they felt as if they were living under the shadow of previous owners. Junior somberly nodded his head. Unknown to me was that the current owners of Key Food and my family moved here at the same time, so I didn't experience what longer Beaconites had encountered. From the day they bought the Beacon Key Food, his family, who also lives in Beacon, has been working to improve damaged relationships from everyone including customers and vendors.

As for pricing, well, I know that business owners do their best to deliver to their customers, and that the equation that makes a price is calculated based on what makes that business tick, from employees to benefits to group purchasing sales to warehouses. For instance, some grocery stores own their own warehouses to keep prices down, while other grocery stores can't take on owning a warehouse so they pay a warehouse to store their inventory, like Key Food does.

At the end of the day, has Key Food made a Beaconite's life easier? Yes. Several shoppers gave me their favorite items that they find weekly at Key Food, so lets walk the shelves in Key Food to see  what's in stock!

Mrs. Meyers is a fixture in our home, as is the $.99 dish soap!
Key Food gives you a selection here, to pay a few dollars more
for Mrs. Meyers, or $.99 for a generic brand. We actually use the
$.99 dish soap but buy the Mrs. Meyers counter spray and all
purpose liquid to refill.

Organic milk is a highly sought after item. New to me was the
price of Hudson Valley Fresh, a local brand that is delicious
and responsible. It's a fact that Stoneyfield milk is in the $5
range when it can be found at Hannaford for the $3 range,
but here sits Hudson Valley Fresh for $3.19!
An often over-looked and local choice.

Hello delicious cottage cheese.

Tas Kafe and Sumptown are favorites for a lot of people,
but so are illy and Starbucks for others. Lately, Starbucks
has been on sale for $7.99 or $8.99, which is on par with
Hannaford and other big stores.

Ghee has been growing in popularity by health enthusiasts
and butter lovers who want more from their butter, but less fat and
these health benefits.

Those who love nuts are loving the dedicated
nut section that has been living near the meat department.

The gluten free pasta selection has increased, as well as pasta
alternatives like rice pasta.

An entire freezer of healthy food! From frozen Indian food
to frozen Annies to Ezekiel bread.

And look! Ezekiel bread in cereal form!
Or you can get a strawberry PopTart. Options!
Annie's chocolate chip bars!

Some people really love seaweed snacks. Here is Annie Chun's
brand of Korean seaweed, and it's not the only brand here.

For the babies, HappyBaby and HappyTot. Pick up one as
you shop to help getting through the isles easier.

Hot dogs aren't the healthiest things, but if you like them,
the Boar's Head beef brand has been a favorite.

Alright - I'm no meat specialist, but early adopters of grass fed
beef like Poppy's has helped bring responsible meat to Beacon.
Beaconites actually have several options to get great meat that has
been raised  responsibly, but if you're in Key Food getting
other things and can't make another the meat section
does offer a wider selection now.
Northerers don't know how lucky they are to have Sticky Fingers
BBQ sauce in a bottle. I know this first hand because I
lived in Charleston, SC and frequently went to Sticky Fingers
restaurant before they bottled their sauces. Finger lickin' good.

Brioche Buns Up Your Sandwich at Home

Brioche buns from Beacon Bread Company

For those of you who pack a lunch or work from home, one easy way to up your game with your sandwich is to use this brioche bun from the Beacon Bread Company. And if you needed a dippin' bread, like for saucy cheese in an extra cheesy mac and cheese from April's Rachael Ray cover story, their baguette is nice and fluffy on the inside, ready for soaking. Because you won't eat all of this at once, just slice up the baguette into 3 sections and place into a big Ziploc bag.

The brioche buns pictured here were used for:
  • A really good egg salad sandwich courtesy of Easter eggs.
  • A grilled chicken sandwich with melted munster cheese and sauteed (in butter) spinach and mushrooms.
  • Brioche buns are also good on breakfast egg sandwiches...

And if you have better bread storage ideas, share them in the Comments below!

Warm Lunch at Home Idea: Pockets from All You Knead Bread, Artisan Bakers

Stopping in to All You Knead Bakery, the bread store in the middle of Main Street, to get my breakfast bread and bagels, I saw a larger variety of the warm pockets that you can take home and warm up in your oven for an easy and nutritious lunch! I melt provolone or mozzarella cheese on mine and warm a side of tomato sauce and pretend its a calzone.

And OMG, the proprietress gave me one of her vegetable Samosas that just came out of the oven, and OMG, it is so good! Fresh peas, ginger, other things, and a great dough wrapped around. Thank you All You Knead Bakery! I've been really missing my Samosas that used to be in walking distance when I lived in Manhattan, and now I can walk to you!