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Grocery Prices

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(@tennisfan84)
Posts: 6
Active Member
Topic starter
 

What are typical grocery prices on St John...ie Bread, milk, fruit, cereal, chips, snack foods, etc. Is it worth bringing an extra suitcase loaded with staples? We are planning on bringing a cooler with meats and frozen fish, etc but wasn't sure about the other stuff.

 
Posted : May 31, 2010 1:26 pm
(@fl-barrier-islander)
Posts: 568
Honorable Member
 

We always bring our protein in a soft-sided cooler packed inside one of our checked luggage as a matter of convenience. Cost-U-Less, on STT, has reasonably priced and good, quality protein (pork, chicken, beef, fish) and if you're renting a car, you can stop by on your way to Red Hook/ferry if you have time. We always purchase our produce, dairy and dry goods locally. I do meal planning prior to the trip and determine what spices I will need to prepare the food. Spices can be very costly and those you may find in your villa cabinet may be stale (the tropics/heat shortens the shelf-life of some items). I buy those little snack-sized ziplocs and fill with the spices (bay leaves, garlic powder, minced onion, old bay seasoning, etc.) and mark/label each with a sharpe and bring the spices down in my carry-on or checked luggage. Your villa will have some of the staples like salt, pepper, etc. If there is a unique / special item that you cannot live without, then bring it. "Is it worth bringing an extra suitcase..."? I would say, "no".

 
Posted : May 31, 2010 3:55 pm
(@lmcneil1125)
Posts: 327
Reputable Member
 

I in the past and will in the future always plan out meals before even leaving the house. I always make sure to pack all the dry non refrigerated foods/spices and check it on the airlines and once on St. John buy only the cold items we will need for the week. But I only pack non refrigerated foods if there is room in the suitcases. Because once you check another suitcase just for food on the airlines there goes your savings on St. John. Just my 2 cents worth. Works for us. Have a great trip.

 
Posted : May 31, 2010 4:20 pm
(@linda-j)
Posts: 844
Prominent Member
 

I agree with the first poster regarding spices and things you can't live without. As far as more general stuff, the only exception, if you have room, might be breakfast cereal. Cereal here is outrageous! If your kids eat a lot of cereal, it might be worth it.

But, in general, with the airlines charging for baggage, it's not worth it any more to bring your own food.

 
Posted : May 31, 2010 4:20 pm
(@fl-barrier-islander)
Posts: 568
Honorable Member
 

Regarding "typical grocery prices", there was a STJ Trip Report recently posted and the poster reported the following:
"Grocery Store Prices are amazing. ½ gallon of milk $5.00, ¼ gallon chocolate milk $3.00, Chef Boyardee Ravioli $1.99, Oreos $5.00, 1 banana $.75 and this is at the cheapest market on island. Best deal a case of water $5.99."

 
Posted : May 31, 2010 6:22 pm
(@mcgee2u)
Posts: 18
Active Member
 

I was just in stj this weekend and dolphin markets had great prices. at least compared to st thomas! everything was at least 1 to up to 3 dollars cheaper. well i say everything i checked out! I bought string cheese for 3.95 , mixed greens were 2.95 they are 5.95 here! my coffee creamer 32 oz international delight coffee creamer sugar free was 4.95 I pay 6 and change at food center! I was very surprized even the meat was reasonable. I am even thinking about once a month going over and stocking up on some stuff! spend the day at the beach visit with my friends and do a little shopping will make the 12 dollar ferry ride worth it!!

 
Posted : May 31, 2010 8:40 pm
(@reefrunner)
Posts: 27
Eminent Member
 

I would say most groceries are 1.5 to 2 times more than the states. My example is a half gallon of milk is about 5 dollars and 1 pound package of strawberries (nice quality too) were 6 dollars when we were there last.

I understand the reason for higher prices. But it is also great to see nice produce on St. John.

 
Posted : May 31, 2010 9:58 pm
(@east-ender)
Posts: 2023
Noble Member
 

Are you telling me that milk is less than $7 a half gallon in the states?! Get outatown!

 
Posted : May 31, 2010 10:14 pm
(@exit-zero)
Posts: 871
Prominent Member
 

mcgee2u wrote:
I was just in stj this weekend and dolphin markets had great prices. at least compared to st thomas! ------------------------ I am even thinking about once a month going over and stocking up on some stuff! spend the day at the beach visit with my friends and do a little shopping will make the 12 dollar ferry ride worth it!!

Well I have to say that is a 1st - I have never heard that before and wonder where you shop in STT - most St John residents make the trek to STT for groceries and many other products.

 
Posted : May 31, 2010 10:26 pm
(@mcgee2u)
Posts: 18
Active Member
 

I thought it was crazy too ..... I shop mostly food center and marina market with the occasional cost you more oops cost ya less trip. and i almost shop everyother day or as needed no one big shop trip a week. things just go bad too fast for me. so the items i priced were items i buy on a regular basis. you have to know your prices cause somethings are cheaper at fc and others at marina market. cost you less is just too much for a single person all the time especially with small storage options! the only reason i even went exploring is i stayed a few days with a friend who lives there and saw some things priced in her fridge and questioned where she got it!!

 
Posted : June 1, 2010 12:47 am
(@mcgee2u)
Posts: 18
Active Member
 

maybe it was just a lucky timing on my part but I will check it out here again in a few weeks. I did read in the stj trader that dolphin market and another I think st john market? have merged so maybe they can order in larger quantities so cheaper prices ? who knows but it was a pleasant surprise for me!!

 
Posted : June 1, 2010 12:57 am
(@exit-zero)
Posts: 871
Prominent Member
 

What is the STJ Trader??

 
Posted : June 1, 2010 3:06 am
(@mcgee2u)
Posts: 18
Active Member
 

its a island trader but called the lovecity trader with just a few pages added for st john.

 
Posted : June 1, 2010 8:02 am
(@future-islander)
Posts: 909
Prominent Member
 

Tennisfan:

Out of curiosity.....how long are you staying on STJ, how many people are coming and where are you staying?

I'm wondering if bringing fish & meat is really worth the risk and trouble.

I've seen several people post that they bring these items and wonder if it's worth it.

Yes, the prices on-island are higher than the mainland, but they're not that high. Milk does cost about $4-$5 a half gallon (vs $2.79-$3.19 in NJ), but how much milk do you (really) drink. Rum and other liquors are significantly lower (one sixth to one half) than on the mainland.
Cereal is about $1.00 to $1.50 more per box.

The airlines charge anywhere from $25 - $35 per suitcase (or cooler) each way...that's an extra cost of $50 - $70, if you return with your suitcase or cooler. What's the cost for the dry ice (for the cooler)?

So excluding your savings on the rum, etc...........what would your "extra cost" for food be?......$100. per week?

Do what we do.....eat chicken, get your frozen fish at Cost-U-Less and if you really need your red meat have a burger at a nice restaurant.

Enjoy your vacation!

F.I.

 
Posted : June 1, 2010 10:04 am
(@tennisfan84)
Posts: 6
Active Member
Topic starter
 

Future Islander wrote:
Tennisfan:

Out of curiosity.....how long are you staying on STJ, how many people are coming and where are you staying?

I'm wondering if bringing fish & meat is really worth the risk and trouble.

I've seen several people post that they bring these items and wonder if it's worth it.

Yes, the prices on-island are higher than the mainland, but they're not that high. Milk does cost about $4-$5 a half gallon (vs $2.79-$3.19 in NJ), but how much milk do you (really) drink. Rum and other liquors are significantly lower (one sixth to one half) than on the mainland.
Cereal is about $1.00 to $1.50 more per box.

The airlines charge anywhere from $25 - $35 per suitcase (or cooler) each way...that's an extra cost of $50 - $70, if you return with your suitcase or cooler. What's the cost for the dry ice (for the cooler)?

So excluding your savings on the rum, etc...........what would your "extra cost" for food be?......$100. per week?

Do what we do.....eat chicken, get your frozen fish at Cost-U-Less and if you really need your red meat have a burger at a nice restaurant.

Enjoy your vacation!

F.I.

 
Posted : June 8, 2010 2:18 pm
(@tennisfan84)
Posts: 6
Active Member
Topic starter
 

F.I.

We will be staying 10 days and there will be 16 of us ( family reunion). Our family of 4 is allowed to check 2 bags each so we are taking a large cooler with frozen steaks, chicken, burgers, spaghetti sauce, etc. We will have 8 young adults (18-23) who eat alot so we are trying to take as much as we can from home. It just makes sense to us to fill out our luggage with staples ( peanut butter, snacks, pasta) rather than eating out alot or paying exorbitant prices. All we really need are shorts, t-shirts and bathing suits so we have plenty of room in the suitcases!!

Our flight is direct to St Thomas so the time factor isn't an issue. The items in the cooler will easily stay completely frozen without dry ice. We also like having the large cooler with us to take to the beach. We will just buy fruits, vegetables, milk and beer when we get there....

And of course we will wait to buy our Rum til we get to the islands!!

 
Posted : June 8, 2010 2:33 pm
(@stjohnjulie)
Posts: 272
Reputable Member
 

A note on Dolphin and St. John Market.... sometimes you can find really great deals on their produce because they drastically reduce it the day before they get a shipment in. I've always found the produce at both stores to be very good. And although this will not apply to the original poster, they offer a LOCAL discount!!! 20% if you spend $50, 10% if you spend $25. You must ask for it, and you will probably have to show VI i.d., but well worth it.

Also want to mention that you really have to check the expiration dates at Dolphin (probably St. John Market as well since they are managed by the same people now). They may have gotten better about it recently, but in the past I KNOW that they would remove the dates on some of the stuff. Stay away from things that should have a date on them but you can't find it, or things that have been repackaged. And if something is on sale, well, check that too. They had a pile of crackers on sale over the summer that were more than three months expired. Trying to return things to them can be a real hassle, so it's better to check before you buy.

 
Posted : June 9, 2010 4:38 am
(@ncsusan)
Posts: 34
Eminent Member
 

We always bring a cooler of meat,crackers and cheese with us when we travel to St. John, it cuts down on our grocery bill. We buy fresh fish from the locals who are along side the Coral Bay waterfront. One of our best discoveries is Coral Bay Organic Farms down the street from Love City. They are open 11-4 everyday except Monday. Josephine's produce is so good and fresh that we wouldn't even think of buying produce from the grocery store. Worth the trip from Cruz Bay to get healthy fresh produce.

 
Posted : June 9, 2010 2:48 pm
 rose
(@rose)
Posts: 129
Estimable Member
 

Thanks for the tip on Coral Bay Organic Farms. We just returned from our 8th visit to St. John, and I have never heard of this. Will check it out next year or sooner if possible. We always stay on that side of the island so this is really great info.

 
Posted : June 10, 2010 9:55 pm
(@ncsusan)
Posts: 34
Eminent Member
 

Here is a great video about Hugo and Josephine. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ_w-pRwonE

 
Posted : June 11, 2010 10:42 am
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