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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Steering around the farmed fish at Costco. Plus, first (maybe last) visit to Wegmans

FROM COSTCO WHOLESALE: Fresh, wild flounder caught in the United States turns snowy white when prepared with pesto, organic spinach, tomatoes and pitted olives, above; or with pesto, tomatoes and pitted olives, below. See Victor's Healthy Kitchen on YouTube for how-to videos.


HACKENSACK, N.J. -- Let me count the ways I love the wild-caught fish I find at Costco Wholesale.

The refrigerated cases in Teterboro and Wayne offer skinless-and-boneless fillets of Cod from Iceland, Flounder from the United States or Canada; Haddock, Silver Corvina from Suriname in South America, skin-on Ocean Perch and whole Snappers from Panama.

From time to time, I also see thick, wild-caught ahi-tuna steaks, fat fillets of wild halibut; and monkfish, which has the texture of lobster when cooked.

They're the best reasons to avoid the farmed fish you'll see nearby, especially the bargain-basement Farmed Tilapia from Colombia or the enormous slabs of artificially colored Farmed Atlantic Salmon raised with antibiotics and who knows what else.

FROM COLOMBIA TO COSTCO IN WAYNE: Fresh Farmed Tilapia ($4.99 a pound), also known as Saint Peter Fish, is called a "good alternative" by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch when the fillets come from Colombia, but Tilapia fillets from Peru and Ecuador are rated "best choice."
FROM NORWAY TO WAYNE: Costco Wholesale carries two types of Fresh Farmed Atlantic Salmon, including these artificially colored fillets from Norway, where they are raised without harmful antibiotics ($8.99 a pound). However, the best Farmed Atlantic Salmon comes from Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified salmon farms, and the Costco label doesn't mention the council.
AT COSTCO IN WAYNE: Fresh, wild Flounder Fillets were $7.99 a pound. With no Sunday blue laws to worry about in Passaic County, I also picked up 7 bottles of Kirkland Signature red wine, including Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Rioja Reserva.
FROM CANADA TO WAYNE: Fresh, wild Ocean Perch Fillets were $5.49 a pound on Sunday at the Costco Wholesale, 149 Route 23 north, in the Wayne Towne Center mall.
FROM SOUTH AMERICA TO WAYNE:  Fresh, wild Silver Corvina is an unusually meaty fish when cooked ($8.99 a pound).
FROM PANAMA TO TETERBORO: My wife bought fresh, whole wild-caught Snappers from Panama at the Costco in the Teterboro Landing Shopping Center, 2 Teterboro Landing Drive; wrapped them in foil with sweet peppers, garlic, onions, tomatoes and seasonings, and baked them for 1 hour. Delicious.

At Wegmans in Montvale

The opening of an enormous Wegmans supermarket in Montvale last September was a non-event to me and other residents of Hackensack nearly 16 miles away.

The company, based in Rochester, N.Y., dragged its feet for years on opening in Bergen County, then picked a town on the far-off New York State border.

Last Thursday, when me and my son were returning home from Bear Mountain State Park in New York State, I stopped in and picked up a few things. 

I didn't see any reason to make a special return trip, though.

TOO BIG FOR MY TASTE: In the produce section, I strained to see the back of the store.
COMPARED TO COSTCO: I could save 22 cents if I bought 3 pounds of organic bananas at Wegmans in Montvale instead of at Costco Wholesale in Teterboro, where they are $1.99.
SPARKLING WATER: I found a good deal on a dozen naturally flavored cans of seltzer for $2.50 with a Shoppers Club Card. I bought 4 packs for $10, but avoided Blackberry Tangerine and Coconut Lime.
TOO SWEET: A 6-ounce container of Wegmans Fruit On The Bottom Lowfat Yogurt contains 32 grams or nearly 8 teaspoons of natural and added sugars. I passed.
GOES ON AND ON: This photo shows the center section of Wegmans; there are large wings on each side. We spent about 30 minutes there, but never saw the fresh seafood department. The supermarket is at 100 Farm View, Montvale. Open 7 days from 6 a.m. to midnight. 

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