9 Inspiring Specialty Food Markets in Wilmington NC
The opening of a new grocery store on Front Street has inspired us to remind shoppers about the great specialty food markets in Wilmington. This big handful of stores offers international foods, imported groceries, and exotic gift items for both foodies and armchair travelers. These stores also bring it back home, with fresh organic produce, small batch food stuffs, and locally sourced specialty products from the sea and the farm.
Fresh oysters? Newly laid eggs? Japanese buckwheat noodles? Wilmington has it, and the food lover’s imagination reels. Check out this list of markets and get cooking.
So, indulge in an adventure in a different direction than your local Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Whole Foods, or Fresh Market. Tear yourself away from your beloved Trader Joe’s. Drive right past that shiny, newly-arrived, Florida-based, Publix.
Treat yourself to an ultimate foodie outing, and let your menu be inspired at one of these nine inspiring specialty food markets:
1. Farmin’ On Front
143 North Front Street, Wilmington NC
The urban food market, Farmin’ On Front, is the newest venture of Farmin’ Brands, Wilmington’s leading locally-sourced food purveyor. Located in the heart of Wilmington’s historic downtown, residents and visitors can run in for a quick armload of the best of what’s local: local produce from area farmers, fresh seafood, milk, cheese, pork, poultry, and tempting baked goods. The store boasts a “unique interactive setting,” so drop in and expect to sample, browse and enjoy the experience. You will find products from these purveyers: Captain Willie’s Fish & Shrimp Co, Farmin’ Butcher Shoppe, Farmin’ Creative Kitchen, Nanny’s Stock bakery, and Capital Creamery Gelato and Sorbet.
2. Loveys Market
1319 Military Cutoff Road, Wilmington NC
Lovey’s Market is a must-stop for foodies who want natural and organic groceries, with an emphasis on bulk sales of produce, grains, flours, beans and spices at affordable prices. Meat eaters will appreciate the top quality grass-fed and free-range meats and poultry. For those with special dietary requirements, vegans, and vegetarians there is a large selection of wheat-free, gluten-free, sugar-free and low-carb products. One of the specialty food markets that understands family includes the four legged members, Lovey’s even carries wholesome pet foods. Try their Food Bar for a convenient, healthy meal, with cold salad and hot selections measured by the pound, fruit and vegetable juices, and smoothies. Eat in the café or ask for your selections to be boxed for take-out.
3. Saigon Market Oriental Grocery
4507 Franklin Avenue, Wilminngton NC
Saigon Market has been the go-to market for Asian grocery items. Opened by Lan Washington, a Vietnamese native, the family-owned grocery store, has been in business for more than 20 years. It originally opened in a Chinese restaurant, with a few select imported items… today there are groceries and products from around the world in the 5,000-square-foot store. Foodies will be transported by the huge selection of inexpensive, groceries from Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, the Mediterranean, India, Mexico and more. They have fresh Asian fruit and vegetables daily, Halal meats, sushi products, various noodles and rice, quail eggs. There is also a wonderful selection of chopsticks, utensils, rice cookers, tableware and imported gifts. Treat yourself with a visit to their website for recipes, too.
4. Italian Gourmet Market
22 South Front Street, Wilmington NC
Looking for Italian specialty foods? The Foods of Italy brings Wilmingtonians only the very best imported and authentic Italian flavored oils, olives, pasta, sauces, spices, tomato products, vinegars, and sweets and cakes. If you have a foodie on your gift list, you will find all kinds of option in their selection of beautiful Italian specialty gift baskets. There are also ceramics, olive wood products, and unique imported gifts that are guaranteed to please any gourmet.
5. La Va Quita
4338 Market Street, Wilmington NC
If you need Mexican and authentic Latin American food products and ingredients for your culinary adventures, visit La Va Quita. They have the items you would expect, from tortillas, sauces, and exotic fruit juices, to specialty produce and a full range of herbs and spices. The home cook will find plenty of inspiration to add some variety and spice to their repertoire.
6. Tidal Creek Co-op
5329 Oleander Drive, Wilmington NC
You don’t have to be a co-op owner to shop at Tidal Creek, but your investment of $30 helps you save money and garners you exclusive deals and specials. That investment also makes you an official owner of this co-operatively owned and operated, not-for-profit business. The mission at Tidal Creek Co-op is to care about community and the foods we eat by seeking and promoting competitively priced local and organically grown products that support health and well-being. Their products are free of harmful and artificial ingredients. Foodies will revel in the quality products that are artisan, local, sustainably produced, healthful, humanely-raised and reflect fair trade practices. The staff are always happy to provide information about food sources and producers.
7. Port City Produce
5740 Market Street, Wilmington NC
Port City Produce – a local, fresh farm market – has two locations in Wilmington. They are dedicated to providing fresh, local fruits, and vegetables to promote clean, healthy living and help connect locals to local growers. The goal is to stimulate agricultural growth in the Carolinas. Regulars rave about the heirloom tomatoes and peaches in the summer, the honeycrisp apples in the fall, pumpkins, and locally made jams. At holiday time, find top-notch fresh 2-15 foot Christmas trees, garland, and wreaths. All of the produce here is at fraction of the price you will find at the major grocery stores.
8. Los Portales
912 South Kerr, Wilmington NC
Los Portales promises the adventuresome foodie a large offering of authentic Mexican food products, dairy, seasonings, dry peppers, and produce. They have a meat market with everything from menudo and longaniza, and carne asada to carne arrachera. The butchers are helpful and will help you make the right selections for your recipes. Go ahead and be tempted by the selection of pastries, sweets, freshly baked pan dulce and tres leches cakes.
9. Veggie Wagon
608 B South Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach NC
The Veggie Wagon is so much more than a road-side produce stand. This great store offers a cornucopia of baked goods, cheeses, eggs, coffee, dry rubs, fresh local North Carolina produce, honey, jams, jellies, and meats. They make it their job #1 to travel to the best local farms and small batch producers so that they can feature a huge selection of food products and hand-picked produce. The Veggie Wagon promise is that everything is picked within 24 hours of being from their store. They will also deliver their fresh local North Carolina fruits, vegetables, and homemade products to Wilmington, Kure Beach, Carolina Beach, and Wrightsville Beach area offices, homes or vacation rentals. With many delivery options to choose from, including a 9 week subscription, single delivery, and a build your own basket option, they please every one. The Veggie Wagon proprietors are foodies in their own right, and are always excited to share cooking tips, recipes and inspiration.
Do you have a review, a favorite grocery store, or a lead on a specialty food market that we missed? Comment below and share!