The L’Chaim team spent the afternoon at Barons Market in Point Loma, the home location in a tasting meeting where we experienced what Barons employees routinely do when they pull product (as in purchasing something not needed). An eclectic group of employees meet each Thursday to discuss which products will be in the store and which may not make it based on taste, quality and pricing. Much discussion and sharing enters into the process so that only top quality products are available to the public.
A family owned operation, Barons is most supportive of the Jewish community in Rancho Bernardo, Poway and the surrounding areas. Joe Shemirani and his daughters Rachel and Dana are the owners, in addition to brothers Paris Shemirani, Eli and their cousin Bijan Moossazadeh.
Sandwiches are made fresh daily and there are fresh and amazing baked goods available. Three important questions the staff asks regarding products to be carried in-store include: Is it locally grown? Is it affordable, and would the customer buy it again?
Team L’Chaim tasted from the salad and olive bar, Indian cuisine, items such as couscous, and organic salads. At Barons, there are many products that one does not see in many other stores, including cookie butter which is sinfully delicious!
Some of the items which will be on the shelves this week due to the past tasting include: Rotini with Spicy Winter Squash, Tofu Salad with Asian Sauce, Red Quinoa for the salad bar, Pappillon Roquefort Cheese, Woodstock Organic Bar B Que Sauce, Woodstock Organic Kosher Dill Pickles, Bon Maman Purple Fig Spread and many other items.
Additional brands carried in the store include: Roland products, Baba Foods Hummus and Pita Chips, Bitchin’ Sauce, Bread and Cie, and Hilliker’s eggs just to name a few. Some of the brands are typically found in Eat Coast markets such as Zabar’s in New York.
For the holidays, expect more quality at Barons with cheese stuffed peppers, marinated mushrooms, stuffed grape leaves, balsamic cippoli onions and cookies Con Amore which are locally made Italian cookies.
At Barons, 96% of store products are organic and natural and they are moving toward a goal of 100%. Locations include the home store in Point Loma which opened in 1993, Alpine, Rancho Bernardo, Temecula, Wildomar with a store planned soon in Murrieta. With about 9,500 products, friendly and educated staff and smaller spaces, logistics help shoppers reach a goal of 10 minutes total shopping time to achieve a great shopping experience.
We spoke with Mia Bolton, Public Relations Consultant for Barons and she shared some interesting facts with us.
L’Chaim Magazine: Does Barons use local growers for fruits and vegetables?
Mia Bolton: We definitely buy from local growers whenever we can. Farms that we work with are Be Wise Ranch, Suzie’s Farms, Crows Past Farms and other family farms. We believe in supporting local farms because we’re not only supporting other businesses but we like to know exactly where our produce comes from. Plus, when we buy locally, we save money on transportation costs and can pass those savings on to the customer.
L’Chaim: What do you feel sets Barons apart from other markets?
M.B.: We are a neighborhood market. We hire employees local to the area, we support local organizations and we participate in community events that are important in the neighborhood. Also, we have designed the store to give our customers a 10-minute shopping experience. People are busier than ever and customers are usually in and out of our store, grabbing fresh foods in under 10 minutes. We really believe in offering value to the customer, which means good quality products at the best prices. You will not find “sales” or “club cards” here. Our prices change only if our costs change. Finally, each product we carry has been hand selected by our food panel. Every Thursday, 30 Barons managers, deli managers, buyers and even the owner, Joe, sit down to taste and evaluate 80-120 products. We evaluate the taste, look at the ingredients, discuss the price and vote.
L’Chaim: In addition to the tastings and input from the customers, how does Barons seek to be unique in the marketplace?
M.B.: Because we are not a large chain, we have the flexibility to constantly add new features in our store. For instance, we added our olive and antipasto bar, then our hot soup bar and most recently our salad bar. We hope to add fresh squeezed OJ made from locally grown oranges in the near future. We are constantly changing because it’s important to keep improving our customer shopping experience.
L’Chaim: How about the holidays? Whether Christmas or Chanukkah, are there any specialty items we might not find elsewhere?
M.B.: Cucina and Amore Italian cookies are a locally made, all natural Italian cookie company. This is a perfect hostess gift or you can serve it as a delicious desert. We probably have the best craft beer selection of any grocery store in San Diego. So, if you are looking for the perfect gift for the craft beer lover in yourlife, you will definitely find the latest and greatest local beer at Barons.
Speaking of beer, in September, Barons Market hosted a Pizza Port Brewing Harvest of Fall Flavors. Pizza Port Brewing Company was announced as the partner for its food and local brew speakeasy. Each location transformed their loading dock and stockroom into quaint speakeasies for beer and food lovers. In addition to eating and drinking for a cause, Barons hosts its Backroom Beer Pairings to support local breweries and bring the community together for an evening with neighbors and friends.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Barons donated proceeds to two cancer support organizations: Michelle’s Place in Riverside County and Cancer Angels in San Diego County.
“For Breast Cancer Awareness month, we wanted to support two organizations making a tremendous difference in the lives of our neighbors going through tough times,” says Rachel Shemirani, Vie-President of Marketing at Barons. “We’re giving back to these heroic organizations in the Barons Market way.”
In addition to a quick and quality shopping experience and weekly management meetings to vet every product, Barons prides themselves on a large selection of gluten free products collected in one place, a focus on cultivating community and good food at good prices every day. Barons Market carries a terrific selection of organic, natural and specialty food at rock bottom prices, they are passionate about value and enthusiastic about passing great deals on to you.
Check it out: BaronsMarket.com