I am such a bad blogger!! I've been meaning to blog about this for almost a month now - how does the time get away from me?
I often get jealous of people that live in New York City, or Seattle, or lots of places in California. Gorgeous farmer's markets, fresh seafood, any ingredient you can imagine is right at your fingertips. Here in the middle of Utah? It's not always so easy. But years ago, I found my secret weapon - Harmon's grocery store.
So needless to say, when I got an email inviting me to a "back of the store" tour at Harmon's, I was all in. In fact, it was supposed to be my last day of work, but I took off one day early just so I could attend this!! It was held at the beautiful store on Bangerter in Draper. Can I just say right now that I want to move to Draper now - just so that I can be near this store?
We started off with a chat with the Vice President for the Customer - Bob Harmon, and the Culinary School director, Bob Bryant. (Yes - they have a culinary school at the Draper location. Check out these classes!) Bob Harmon talked about the history of the store, and some of their values and beliefs. Let me tell you - if I wasn't sold on this store before, that would have sealed the deal. I didn't realize how much education and support that they give to their employees. They send their employees all over the world to educate them about the food that they are selling. The head of the bakery? A CIA graduate. The cheese department manager? She got to go to Italy. These people know what they are talking about!!
We headed down through the store - and these are just a few of the highlights.
1st - their gelato is a-ma-zing! I have been tempted many times to drive the 30 minute drive up there just so I can have a treat!!
Next up - my favorite department - CHEESE!!
I could seriously be happy, just visiting their cheese counter every day and trying a new cheese. There are TONS to choose from - I don't know anywhere in Utah that has a better selection. And they know what they are talking about, too!
We got to sample some of their salami and an amazing cheese - and I wish that I would have written down what it was. I have seriously been thinking about it for the whole past month! (so if any of you that were there remember what it was, I'd love to know!!)
And the Parmigiano-Reggiano? The real deal. Straight from Italy.
Not only do they have great imported cheeses, but a great selection of local cheeses as well. Like this Peppercorn Gouda from Rockhill Creamery. I will definitely be trying this one of these days!
Just check out this selection of blue cheeses. You aren't going to find a selection like this anywhere else!
The next stop was the produce department. The produce department is actually the first reason I fell in love with Harmon's. If it is to be found in Utah, you will find it at Harmon's! Things like turnips, which I needed for a recipe recently - I could spend my day going from grocery store to grocery store looking for them, or I can go to Harmon's where I know I'll find them! And if it's grown locally, Harmon's will have those products in the store from local growers. That means a lot to me - supporting local business, being friendlier on the environment, and let's face it - it always tastes better when it's local!
I had my first try of a fresh fig. I've never even seen fresh figs anywhere else around me!
And this is what I think is called a refractometer. (Correct me if I'm wrong!) It actually measures the sugar content in fruits. That way, they know if what they are selling is worthy of being on their shelves. And they only put out as much fruit and vegetables as will sell in one day - that way you're not getting produce that has been sitting on the shelf for a week!
There meat section is also pretty impressive. See that picture above? Dry aged beef. My mouth was watering. I can't wait for a special occasion to make my hubby a fancy dinner with some of those steaks!
And then there's seafood. I didn't know this, but Harmon's doesn't sell seafood that has been frozen. It's all fresh. Their crab legs were amazing, and I even tried my first oyster!
After I ate it, I realized I probably shouldn't have done that since I'm pregnant, but I knew I could trust that it was fresh! And yes - I actually did like it. It was a little bit slimy, but it tasted mostly like the sauce that was on it. I would definitely eat oysters again in the future! (Thanks to Frieda for taking and sending me the picture!)
Their bakery does not look like a grocery store bakery. There were some delicious looking confections. And I loved that the head baker said that she gets to pretty much do what she wants and she gets to get creative. A little different than most grocery stores where all you can find are those cupcakes with the spray-painted frosting on top!
Their bread section is equally impressive. All of their breads are preservative and additive free.
Other sections included the deli, which serves up dishes, sides and salads that are all made in house. They have a very fresh salad bar, as well as Chinese food, soups, and even a wood-burning pizza oven!
This grocery store really is top of the line. (Especially this location!!) I was already a Harmon's fan, so they didn't need to sell me, but I also learned so much and was so happy to have this experience! If you are in Utah and haven't checked out this grocery store yet, I guarantee you'll be sold on your first visit!
It was also great to meet and get reacquainted with some great Utah bloggers. And being that I'm so late posting this, most of them have already posted about our experiences, so click through to see what they had to say!
Laura from Real Mom Kitchen
Nisha from Healthy Mom's Kitchen
Gabi from The Feast Within
Frieda from Frieda Loves Bread
Carriann from Sweet Basil
Lisa from Gourmified
Mariel from Or So She Says
*Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review. I am a Harmon's shopper, and wanted to share my love of the store with you!! I was offered an afternoon of learning about the store - along with lots of samples and a delicious lunch - but was not required to write a review.