The South Bend area is already pretty set with grocery options. If you are in the market for bespoke sea salt, head to “Gucci” Granger Martins. Meijer has all of your exotic produce needs covered. Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck) is happy to trade you a bag of excellent Intelligentsia coffee for half of your paycheck. Costco has you covered for meat and industrial sized canned goods. The farmer’s market and Purple Porch have you covered for all things fresh and local.
So when I heard Fresh Thyme was opening a shop in Mishawaka, I was doubtful I really needed another grocery option. (Unless someone from Trader Joe’s is reading this. I really, really want a Trader Joe’s!) Still, I was willing to give it a shot.
I hereby withdraw all of my doubts. Fresh Thyme is a great option. I headed over last week to check it out and pick up the ingredients for West African peanut stew (recipe below). The first thing you notice in Fresh Thyme is the unusual layout—there is loads of walking space and sections are set up more like stalls in a market place. For anyone who gets stressed navigating their cart through the labyrinthine aisles at Meijer and Martin’s, this is already a welcome innovation. They have a beautiful produce selection, with about double the options of Whole Foods (and just slightly fewer than Meijer). They stock nearly every major brand of organic dry goods, and I easily found the roasted tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and spices that I needed for my stew. On the way out, I picked up a bag of freshly roasted coffee beans, which definitely held their own with my go-to Zen or Intelligentsia beans.
I don’t know if I will make Fresh Thyme my first source for grocery shopping (I am loyal to Costco, Meijer and the farmer’s market), but I will definitely stop in whenever I am over at Bowl of Pho. (And I am often at Bowl of Pho.) Prices are certainly better than Whole Foods, though the latter is still one notch higher on the luxury grocery scale. All in all, I’m very glad they are here. Now if only we could get a TJ’s in downtown South Bend.
Peanut Stew Recipe (which didn’t quite post the first time)
- 1 Cup Garbanzo Beans
- 1 Enormous Sweet Potato Diced
- 1.5 tsp Curry Powder
- 1 tsp Garam Masala (I add more)
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 Tbs Minced Ginger
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 4 dashes cinnamon
- 1.5 tbs Maple Syrup
- 1 14oz can air Glen diced Tomatoes (fire roasted with chipotles kind is best)
- 14oz Coconut Milk
- 2 cups Vegetable Broth
- 2 tbs Peanut Butter
- .5 Cup Red Lentils
- Crushed peanuts for topping.
Mix everything up. Bring to boil. Then let simmer for an hour and enjoy.