The moment we have all been waiting for is finally here — Trader Joe’s has officially opened in Ithaca! Both students and the Ithaca community alike have eagerly awaited this day. Located on 744 S Meadow Street, Trader Joe’s now occupies the corner store next to Old Navy. Students no longer have to trek to Syracuse to get their hands on the many decadent Trader Joe’s exclusives that we all know and love.
Walking into Trader Joe’s for the first time on Feb. 25 was like a breath of fresh air. The environment is clean, the staff is friendly and the products are neatly organized into their designated aisles. Upon entering, customers walk straight into the produce section, which includes an array of fresh fruits and vegetables at a moderate price. I highly recommend trying the shaved brussel sprouts, which serve as a delicious, healthy side to any dinner or meal.
As customers travel further into the store, there is an expansive dairy section stacked with a grand selection of cheeses, yogurts and dips. A fan favorite is the chocolate covered hummus, along with the vegan kale pesto. The aisles in between feature an array of different products including nuts and dried fruit, oils, pastas and delicious and unique snacks such as Scandanavian Swimmers, “Everything but the Bagel” spice mix and grainless granola.
As your eyes shift to the backhand left corner you’ll find the protein section, which includes a wide variety of options ranging from chicken breasts and thighs to red meat and turkey burgers. Last, but certainly not least, is the frozen section — arguably the greatest hit of the entire store. The extensive frozen section includes a varied array of ready-to-eat frozen foods such as mandarin orange chicken, sweet potato gnocchi and even cookie butter ice cream. For college students, the frozen section is a treasure trove where one can find dozens of meals that can be prepared within minutes — a lifesaver for students during high stress weeks.
Despite all of these delicious foods, the greatest part about Trader Joe’s is its prices. Almost everything on the shelves have prices that are less than or equal to their name brand competitors. This gives college students the opportunity to learn how to cook on a budget –– a necessity for those living off campus.
In addition, there are certainly no debates about the food quality. In fact, similar to Costco’s Kirkland brand, some of the Trader Joe’s products might actually be the exact same as the name brands. Case in point, Trader Joe’s dry roasted and unsalted pistachios are supplied by The Wonderful Company, which you can find at any other traditional grocery store for a higher price.
Students were fearful that given Trader Joe’s popularity, the lines would be hours long, so I was incredibly delighted that the two times I went there was no line at all. As a college student struggling to balance a healthy diet and my never-ending coursework, I highly recommend going to Trader Joe’s new location as soon as possible to check out all of their delicious and incredible offers. When you visit, be sure to try the cauliflower gnocchi, dried mango and, of course, their chocolate covered pretzel slims.
Sofia Siciliani is a Junior in the College of Human Ecology. She can be reached at [email protected]