Where To Buy Groceries In Castro Valley

A question from a newcomer prompts some advice. Add yours in the comments below.


A recent transplant from Palo Alto wondered aloud: where are the best places to buy groceries in Castro Valley?

So I asked for tips on our Patch Facebook page. Here are excerpts from that discussion. Please add your suggestions below.

Rachel Bradley-Gomez laments that there's nothing even remotely resembling Sigona's Market of Palo Alto in Castro Valley. She says the best option for meat and poultry would be the tiny independent market, on Redwood Road. Her preference for fruit and produce are the farmer's markets in Hayward (Saturdays 9 am to 1 pm; location and details) and San Leandro (Wednesdays 4 pm to 8 pm; location and details).

Tami Blackley-Paiz gets her groceries delivered by (sounds easy; have you tried?). 

Catalina Garcia-Quick checks the circulars each week to find bargains at Safeway or . For veggies, she swears by the produce market on B street (just across the Hayward line about 2 blocks from Vals heading towards Foothill.) "Twenty dollars will get you bags and bags of everything." 

For dry goods/cleaning supplies her choice is Target (Dublin/San Ramon/ or San Leandro if you're brave).

For meat, she like for butcher items like steak or specialty cuts and Costco for the staples like hamburger/chicken.

As a result: "I've shaved about $200 off my grocery bill each month buying for a family of 4. (Including travel costs)."

Felicia Hsieh likes the Ranch 99 Market in Dublin. 

Charmaine Wilcox Tilly swears by .

Here is where you can read the entire Facebook discussion.

Can you add to the list of grocery shopping tips?

Ken Martin September 07, 2012 at 05:26 PM
AL'S FOOD MARKET!! AL'S FOOD MARKET!! AL'S FOOD MARKET!! Why? Because money spent here stays here in Castro Valley. Jerry and Nancy Weinmeister, the operators, are long time Castro Valley residents. The money they make from the store goes home with them to be spent in Castro Valley . The property owner, Al (yes, the original) Low, lives right next to the store and that's where his share goes. Money spent at Safeway, Lucky's, Trader Joe's. etc., leaves Castro Valley DAILY, generally to end up in the pocket of some overpaid executive that probably doesn't even know or care where Castro Valley is Al's Food Market gives personal, one-on-one service. It is the "Cheers" of grocery stores where everybody knows your name. In addition, the produce here is the best in the area because Jerry Weinmeinster buys it himself daily to insure that customers are getting FRESH stuff and not the two-week-old cold storage junk that you get at the big chain stores. Jim Hickey is a REAL butcher, not just some guy in the back wrapping meat in saran wrap as is done at Costco. If you need it, Larry Bronzini will deliver your groceries to your home. Jim and Larry both live just around the corner from the store. Also, Al's hires a good number of the local high school and college kids and works them in around their school schedules.
Ken Martin September 07, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Al's also has a bon of specialty food items that you can't even get at any of the big markets. Al's Food Market supports the community by allowing local organizations to put up posters in the windows advertising local events. Try getting Safeway, Lucky's, or Trader Joe's to put up a flyer for your event. You'll get a flat "No, it's against our policy". No community support from these guys. Al's supports the community. The community should support those merchants that support the residents of Castro Valley. Do you need any more reasons to patronize Al's Food Market, the greatest little grocery store in the West??!!
Rusty Y. September 07, 2012 at 06:19 PM
A few corrections to Ken's comments. First Trader Joe's, Safeway and Lucky have made donations to local events, so to say they provide no community support is a stretch. Second, Safeway and Lucky hire high school students, I know because I have had children who worked at both locations. Trader Joe's may as well. Third, I'm sure the executives of Safeway know where Castro Valley is as they are headquartered in Pleasanton, and Lucky is privately owned out of Modesto, with their CEO making visits to each store every year to thank the employees. It is still important to support these businesses even though they may be chains because they support a lot of jobs, all of whom live in your community or close by. Also to the writer, was the part about being brave to go to the San Leandro Target necessary for the article? The risk of driving farther to your safe Dublin Target is probably higher than anything happening to you in San Leandro.
Gary Allsebrook September 07, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Unfortunately you have to shop at all of them as none of them have everything the best. Safeway is ok for produce, terrible for meat. Lucky has great produce, meat and even a section with big box items like cereal similar to Costco. Al's is great, especially for meat and specialty items, etc. Their produce is hand selected. Trader Joes brings their own flavor to the mix. The Castro Valley farmers market prices for produce are too high.
Tom Abate (Editor) September 07, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Thanks for the additional thoughts. A family-owned grocery is a rarity. May it live long and prosper. But I appreciate the sentiment that Safeway and Lucky get involved locally. Safeway is headquartered in Pleasanton. There had been some rumors last year that the chain was up for sale (see link below) but it appears to have been wishful thinking by Wall Street shortsellers. Keeping California HQs for Lucky and Safeway very important, for us. Link to Safeway rumors: http://www.thestreet.com/story/11494622/1/safeway-sp-intraday-gainer.html
Ken Martin September 07, 2012 at 09:00 PM
In several years of promoting various events for local organizations my personal, first-hand experience with Safeway, Lucky's, and Trader Joe's is that they all both refused to allow me to put up a poster and would not make any kind of donation. This transpired in my personal conversations directly with the store managers. And not just on one occasion but two or more times. Modesto is not local. Our money still leaves the area. Though closer, money going even to Pleasanton is still leaving our community. A couple of other points: Parking is much better at Al's than the downtown Safeway and the service at Al's is much more up close and personal which makes it a much better, more fun shopping experience. Support our local Castro Valley merchants!!
Dalamar September 07, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Al's Market always gets high marks. Great meats. Great service. Everytime


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