I live in Vancouver, Canada, and there is a section of the population that makes a pilgrimage down to Bellingham, Washington on a monthly basis to visit the Trader Joe’s and stock up. Ah, Trader Joe’s! Where food is cheap and plentiful!
Making the passage is best when one has a Nexus card. A nexus card whips you through the border without having to wait in the border line up (which will be at least 30 minutes). As a Nexus holder, though, you have to be particularly careful about your declarations. Not declaring a cup of coffee can get you in trouble. And there are no exemptions for under 24 hours, so you can be taxed on everything.
There are also certain items that are prohibited from the crossing. Obviously fresh fruit and seeds. But also things like “fruit of the hemlock,” whatever that is. No wine, either, or they’ll tax you about 200% to bring it up to Canadian standards. (Side note: Canadians love their sin tax. But I’ll take it and keep my health care insurance, thank you very much.)
We made the voyage with vegan Steph, who made sure to point out the particularly good deals. “Canned beans, nuts, these little seaweed snacks are to die for. Get at least three bags.”
We ate most of the seaweed snacks on the way home. Steph is right; they are to die for.
Trader Joe’s is great for certain items. They even have an online list of all their vegan products. Here are my fav’s:
- white bean hummus
- regular hummus
- salsa (so many kinds)
- nuts (best prices around – remember, go RAW with your nuts, not roasted, they’re better for you)
- dried fruit (go un-sulfured – they taste better)
- seaweed snacks (now available at Whole Wallet, I mean, Foods)
- dark chocolate things (yum, yum – check to make sure it’s cocoa butter and not butter)
- ginger chews
- meatless meatballs
- veggie burgers
- organic staple condiments (mustard, etc)
Our freezer had been completely de-iced and emptied by a freezer malfunction before we left. When we get back, we fill it to the brim with Trader Joe goodies. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as a well stocked larder. Happiness.
Moral: Trader Joe’s is worth the trek. Get a Nexus card. Make the pilgrimage.