Could Detwiler’s come to St. Petersburg? 5 reasons why this is great news

I live just south of the Skyway Bridge, which I often keep to myself when talking to people up north. I’ve seen the fear and confusion in their eyes as they realize my commute involves driving on this thing.

There are a few perks: more affordable housing, the ability to be near the water but also inland in case of a hurricane, some of the best coffee in the Tampa Bay area.

But our biggest coup? Detwiler Farmers Market.

A family-owned business started in 2002, the Detwilers sold produce at local farmers’ markets before opening a total of six stores in the Bradenton-Sarasota area. Bright red storefronts that resemble barns are a staple in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday approved a plan for a mixed-use development on Tangerine Plaza, at 1794 22nd St. S. The area has been a federal food desert for years, and a grocery store is a priority for residents. space. According to my colleagues’ account, preliminary discussions have taken place with Detwiler’s to open a location there. This would be the first north of the Skyway.

Detwiler’s expansion would be exciting news for Tampa Bay.

I first discovered this grocery store just before the pandemic, becoming hooked on their produce and meat selection, then turning to their friendly curbside pickup program and being blown away by the prices.

It’s still my go-to for all kinds of produce: fresh seasonal fruit, pantry staples like onions and garlic, green beans and herbs, and a whole wall of lettuces. They stock a wide variety of things here, with odd options like rambutan, fresh aloe, and star fruit mixing among piles of potatoes.

And these prices! Much of this produce comes from local farms (there are many in Manatee County), and it shows. Aside from looking a lot less polished than other stores’ produce (I mean that as a compliment), Detwiler’s appears to have cut out the middleman so it can sell its fruits and vegetables, especially for a fraction of the price of Florida’s most popular products. grocery store.

The only downside to Detwiler’s is that it’s closed on Sundays, so just make sure (much like that Chick-fil-A fix) to do your shopping on Saturday.

The Detwiler Farmers Market has a ton of fresh produce. (MICHELLE STARK | Time (2019))

Here are five things I love about Detwiler’s.

Meat counter

One of my favorite parts of every week is scrolling through Detwiler’s advertising to see what’s on sale in their meat department. The meat and seafood selection is vast and varied, with many Florida-grown offerings. From New England cod fillets to USDA center-cut top sirloins to in-house ground beef, you could spend a lot of time browsing this part of the store. Some of their best deals are available on beef and chicken.

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Pineapple corer

Every time I take someone to Detwiler for the first time, I have to show them the pineapple corer. A large machine installed in the fruit and vegetable section next to the bananas, it has only one task and it does it impressively: you take a pineapple from the pile, slide it into a small compartment, then you close the door and press a button. The machine removes the outer shell of the pineapple, then cuts the hard core, and when the door opens again: There! You have a bright yellow pineapple ready to take home. Amusing And useful!

Food to go

Detwiler’s has a very good selection of takeout options, from wraps and salads to vats of soup and a deli counter with customizable sandwiches. The options are basic but they’re solid and affordable, whether it’s a classic Cobb salad, a bowl of tomato soup, or a make-ahead roast beef sandwich. There are also ready-to-cook pizzas and a cooler of pre-sliced ​​cold cuts and cheeses. One of my favorite things to grab is a package of cheese “ends”: a collection of leftover cheese from when they cut the cheese on the deli slicers. This sounds weird, and looks even weirder, but get past it and you’ll be rewarded with a few oddly shaped chunks of several different types of cheese (my last package had Cheddar, Swiss, Muenster, and Havarti) for less $5.

Bakery products

The Detwiler bakery is a thing of beauty, full of sugar bombs like cinnamon rolls, turnovers and cookies. They have a great selection of breads (my favorite is the multigrain seeded bread) and even huge soft pretzels sold individually. There’s a loaf of bread and a pie for every season; If you need a party or holiday treat, you won’t miss it here. Keep an eye out for mini donuts prepared daily in store. Sometimes they fry them fresh in the middle of the store and there are often samples.

The costs!

Did I mention the prices? They are truly stunning, especially compared to other grocery stores. The store hasn’t been immune to recent inflation, but the deals on fruits and vegetables in particular can’t be beat. When things are in season, you won’t find a better price. A tip: Detwiler’s has a lot of things you’ll find at other stores, like pasta, beans, frozen goods, and condiments, and while the prices on these are still reasonable, you’ll find the best deals along from the perimeter of the store. For the best value, shop here for produce, meat and seafood, deli items, grab-and-go foods, baked goods, and bulk items like nuts and homemade nut butter House.

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