Tag Archives: Trader Joe’s

Food Rescue US Sinks Deep Westport Roots

If you’re like me, you’ve probably given little — if any — thought to the enormous amount of food that restaurants and grocery stores throw away every day.

If you’re like Simon Hallgarten and Stephanie Webster though, you have.

The Westporters — he’s a founding partner of Northview Hotel Group, she’s editor-in-chief of CTbites — are national board members of Food Rescue US.

The organization — known until this past January as Community Plates — fills a simple, important, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that mission: moving fresh, usable food that would have been thrown away by restaurants, grocers and other food industry sources, to families that desperately need it.

The national Food Rescue US group has a strong local presence. Under Hallgarten and Webster’s leadership, Westport has become a big town for food donors — and as “food rescuers.”

Whole Foods cannot possibly sell all its food. It’s a leader in offering its unused goods to people in need.

Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Fresh Market are longtime donors. Many smaller stores and restaurants participate too.

Right now, 40 Westport volunteers transport food to shelters, kitchens and pantries in Norwalk, Bridgeport and Stamford. Over the past few years, more than 350 Westporters have helped.

Many bring their children on food rescue missions. “It’s an important lesson for our kids who otherwise are sheltered from the harsher side of life, and the struggles that many families go through every day,” Hallgarten — who started his career as a chef — says.

Ziggy Hallgarten — Simon’s son, an All-State soccer goalkeeper and current lacrosse player at Staples — and his younger brother Ollie are food rescuers.

Ollie Hallgarten, with a vehicle full of donated (“rescued”) food.

“It’s an easy way to give back to a large community at once,” Ziggy says. “With an hour’s worth of driving, you can change the lives of so many.”

On his first run with his dad 2 years ago, Ziggy was shocked to see some of his favorite foods — perfectly edible — about to be thrown away.

They filled the back of their station wagon, and drove “pounds and pounds of food” from a New Canaan grocery store to a Stamford homeless shelter.

“The locations of my deliveries changed during the couple of years I’ve been a food rescuer,” Ziggy says. “But the priceless smiles of the recipients when I’ve driven up with boxes of food never ceases to amaze me.”

He brought friends on runs too, showing them the feasibility — and ease — of saving otherwise wasted food.

Though Food Rescue US is a volunteer driven (ho ho) operation, there are of course administrative and other costs. So this year’s fundraiser — “Food for All 2017: An Evening to End Hunger” — is very important.

Set for next Wednesday (April 26, 6:30 p.m., The Loading Dock in Stamford), it features over 15 tasting plates from top Fairfield County chefs, along with beer, wine and craft cocktails. Every $1 donated helps cover 20 rescued meals.

Westport sponsors for Wednesday’s fundraiser include Whole Foods, Moffly Media, and the Elizabeth and Joseph Massoud Family Foundation. Fleishers Craft Kitchen and Whole Foods are among the participating food vendors.

“Hunger is an issue that can be fixed,” Simon Hallgarten says. “Food Rescue US’ goal of ending hunger in not a crazy pipe dream. It’s a reality — if we reach critical mass in the next decade.”

In Westport — thanks to so many restaurants, stores and volunteers — we’re almost there.

(For more information on the April 26 “Food for All” fundraiser, including tickets, click here.)

Yes, This Is An Actual Parking Job At Trader Joe’s. No, It’s Not A Late April Fool’s Joke.

Here’s another view. Yes, he left his door open the entire time.

When alert — and astonished — “06880” reader David Meth asked the driver if he couldn’t find a parking spot, the response was: “F— you!”

You can’t make this s— up.

Give A Little Le Rouge Love: The Sequel

On Sunday, “06880” gave a shout-out to Aarti Khosla. The owner of Le Rouge — the fantastic downtown artisan chocolate shop — is offering handmade hearts for just $5 each. She wants folks to give them to people who have made a difference in someone’s life. “Give a Little Love,” she calls her campaign.

Yesterday, there were lines out the door. Today, countless customers handed out untold numbers of chocolate hearts. What a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

Aarti welcomes photos of the recipients. She’ll display them on a “Wall of Love” in her cafe.

You’ll want to see it. But here’s a sneak peek:

give-a-little-love-skye-trader-joes

That’s Doris Ghitelman, bestowing her random act of kindness on Shy, one of Trader Joe’s superb employees.

“She always greets me with a smile, and inspires me with her generous spirit and drive,” Doris says. “Today I let her know how much I appreciate her.”

Doris adds: “When she’s not working at Trader Joe’s, Shy is an immigration law student at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.”

Aarti’s campaign runs all through February. So there’s plenty of time for all of us to join Doris and Shy, and “give a little love.”

Trader Joe’s Bouquet

Joyce Joiner — who calls herself a “moderately alert ‘06880’ reader” — writes:

I always wonder why there are so many disgruntled comments on this blog.

In the 9 years I’ve lived here I’ve reaped the benefits of this charming town: Compo Beach, Longshore, friendly bartenders, nice kids … it’s a pretty nice place to live!

Today, after a snowy walk to Trader Joe’s — where I got some flowers for my mom, who’s in the hospital — Trudy and I had our regular fond exchange about our cats, my mom, etc.

She noticed how tired I looked. When I told her I was at the hospital a lot, she pulled one bouquet away and said, “This is on me, honey.”

But wait! There’s more!

The chip reader needed rebooting. It was taking a long time. Trudy was ready to say, “Just go! I’ll get it. You can pay me back.”

The chip reader came to life.

And I — happily walking in the snow, to Uber it to Norwalk Hospital — did too!

joyce-joiners-mom

Joyce Joiner’s mom, and her flowers.

 

Farrow & Ball’s Window On Westport

Unless you’re a 5th Avenue department store at Christmas, it’s tough to get folks to look in your window.

It’s especially difficult when you’re located next to Trader Joe’s in Westport. You’re set back from the Post Road — and who can pay attention when you’re weaving in and out of traffic at 40 miles an hour, anyway?

But that has not stopped Farrow & Ball from trying.

The intriguing Farrow & Ball window invites you to peek inside.

The intriguing Farrow & Ball window invites you to peek inside.

The UK-based paint-and-paper crafts shop has 14 US showrooms. As part of an AIDS awareness and fundraising initiative with DIFFA — Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS — each location chose a local designer to create a window based on the theme “Comfort and Cure.”

Westport’s Farrow & Ball selected Connie Cooper. She wanted to make her design intriguing from inside the store, as well as the street.

She imagined the vignette as the home office of an international doctor, home relaxing during the holidays. She found an antique bag from 1948, filled with all kinds of vintage doctor tools. It belonged to an actual naval physician.

And here's the view from inside.

And here’s the view from inside.

It’s a cool window. But you should do more than just glance at it, as you fly toward your parking space by Trader Joe’s.

Every time someone shares a photo of the window on social media (#FaBForDIFFA), the firm donates $1 to AIDS research.

It’s up for a couple of more weeks. So hurry! (But drive safely…)

(An open house at Farrow & Ball from 5-7 p.m. this Thursday [January 19] salutes window creator Connie Cooper. Guests receive a goody bag, while supplies last.)

Westport’s Greatest Parking Job

For years, “06880” has featured mind-blowing, head-scratching, eye-rolling entitled parking photos.

Today we found someone who actually knows how to park between two white lines.

Of course, with this car it’s almost impossible to miss:

BMW Isetta

Alert “06880” photographer Jaime Bairaktaris spotted this 1955 BMW Isetta at Trader Joe’s this evening.

The Italian-designed microcar from 1955 — complete with retro license plate — attracted many onlookers. From the front-opening door and disco ball to the courtesy car sticker, Jaime says, it deserved the attention.

Meanwhile, I’m impressed it made it through the parking lot without being run over.

One More Reason To Love Trader Joe’s: The Sequel

Last week, we gave a shout-out to Trader Joe’s for the very selfish reason that a study shows the store’s presence in a town increases property values.

Today we salute the fun, funky and reasonably priced market for doing good for folks who may not have homes.

Alert “06880” reader Jo Ann Davidson — okay, very alert — noticed something the other day in the little hall near the bathrooms. (You didn’t know Trader Joe’s had bathrooms? They do — and they’re spacious, clean and nicely decorated. But I never spotted what Jo Ann saw.)

A sign nearby notes — proudly, but without bragging — that Trader Joe’s recycles about-to-expire (yet still quite edible) food.

Trader Joe's - 1

As the photo above explains, every store in the chain partners with “reliable and trustworthy” non-profits to pick up nearly expired food. (Flowers too!) Last week alone, Trader Joe’s donated nearly $12,000 worth of food.

But wait! There’s more!

They also collect winter items like coats, hats and gloves in a nearby box.

Trader Joe's - 2

What great ideas! Thanks, Trader Joe’s (and Jo Ann).

Just imagine how much they’d collect though, if they moved the collection box away from the who-knew-they-were-there bathrooms?

Like, say, over by the spot where they hand out (fantastic) free samples every day.

One More Reason To Love Trader Joe’s

Everyone knows that our strong school system keeps property values high.

But who knew Trader Joe’s does the same?

According to the Huffington Post, a recent study found that 2 years after a Trader Joe’s opens, the median home within a mile of that store increased in value 10 percent more than others in the same town.

One economic engine...

One economic engine…

Homes within a mile of a Whole Foods also gain value faster than others in the surrounding area.

...and another.

…and another.

That’s not only good news for Westport — where we enjoy both a Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

It’s also a solution to the teardown battles. Instead of building big new homes everywhere in town, we just need to erect more Trader Joe’s and Whole Foodses!

(Hat tip: Johanna Rossi)

Compo Acres Shopping Center Just Got A Bit More Crowded

Jersey Mike’s Subs opened today, in the Compo Acres space previously occupied by Robek’s.

The “fast-casual sub sandwich” spot — the 10th Connecticut location for the franchise, and one of 1500 overall — joins Trader Joe’s, Chipotle and SoulCycle in contributing plenty of constant, in-and-out traffic to Westport’s toughest-to-navigate shopping center.

That traffic will be particularly intense for a while. In addition to the usual let’s-try-the-new-place mentality, there’s an added incentive: Through Sunday, Jersey Mike’s is offering free subs for a minimum $1 contribution to Special Olympics.

The only catch: You’ve got to already have one of the 10,000 certificates “circulating throughout the community.”

Jersey Mike's was packed at 1:30 p.m. today.

Jersey Mike’s was packed at 1:30 p.m. today.

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Pachelbel Meets Compo Beach At Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe's