Last Wednesday, Sprouts Farmers Market, a grocery chain from Arizona, opened its doors in Culver City. With many locations already in place outside of Arizona, (in both Texas and Colorado) Sprouts clearly has a defined brand that they are able to set into motion fairly swiftly. We made our first visit to Sprouts recently, and found it to be an interesting addition to the L.A. food shopping landscape. While the term "Farmers Market" seems a bit misguided when compared to the bevy of truly great farmers markets throughout Southern California, Sprouts does offer a different experience for local patrons.
It is a large and open market, with high ceilings and big signs advertising the various sections. The bread area is surprisingly diverse, with many organic options, though most of the bread (even the loaves not in the refrigerated section) was alarmingly cold to the touch. Though if the bread section is big, the vitamin section is enormous, with multiple rows of supplements and nutrients. Sprouts also carries beer and wine, and while the quantity isn't dizzying, they do have some nice options.
The market also boasts a decently sized bulk bin department, with everything from gummi worms and salt water taffy, to dried vegetables and yellow corn grits. The deli department, meanwhile, has prepared foods, with a full crew working behind the counter, while the meat and fish area has a range of options like pre-marinated kabobs and stuffed clams, to go along with good old fashioned plain, raw protein.
One of the more pleasant surprises comes in the diversity of some of their produce. They of course carry standbys like bananas, apples, and grapes, but the ability to buy items like chayote, tomatillos, yucca and Anaheim chilies makes for a nice change of pace. What's not immediately clear is whether the price points are a bit lower for the grand opening than they will be down the line -- as one dollar loaf of sourdough bread, or a pair of pineapples for a mere four, is surprisingly cheap. Prices, though, seem to be fairly low across the board.
Is it the answer to all of your marketing needs? Certainly not. But if you shop around town as much as we do, finding something different that's also affordable certainly makes it worth a trip.
Sprouts Farmers Market: 5660 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, (310) 591-1028. Open seven days a week from 7 a.m. -10 p.m.
Noah Galuten can be followed on Twitter via @ManBitesWorld.