You probably think I’m going to write up some little charming food boutique in a hidden corner of the state. Wrong – it’s a store that you’ve probably already seen. Even more, it’s a chain: Ocean State Job Lot.
Job Lot has been around since the late 70s and sells items unwanted by the manufacturer or stores, like overstocks and overruns. This includes everything from clothing to tools and, as you can guess by my title, food.
Since my first visit a few years ago, the store has become a regular stop in my shopping rotation. Sometimes I pick up staples there, but often I go for the unusual and international products.
My top Job Lot food picks (in no particular order):
1. Teddie Natural Peanut Butter – This natural (non-homogenized, peanut only) peanut butter is delicious and usually around $2 a jar.
2. Gnocchi – Vacuum-packed soft gnocchi are available with or without herbs for only $1. These cook up in minutes and are a tasty alternative to the usual pastas.
3. Israeli Couscous - If you haven’t had Israeli couscous, it’s a larger version of the usual small grains. I’ve seen it in restaurants now and then, but it’s pretty rare – and expensive – in stores. Job Lot’s $1 packages disappear from the shelves fairly quickly.
4. Danish Garden Jams – These jams from Denmark come in a huge blue bucket for only $2. My favorites are the blackcurrant and raspberry. The low-sugar versions don’t have artificial sweeteners, just less sugar, so they are the perfect consistency for stirring into yogurt. Lately we’ve found smaller jars with more exotic flavors, like strawberry mango and orange pineapple with lime and carrot.
5. Dried Figs – catch them in stock and you can get the traditional ring of figs for only $1. If you’re even luckier, you might find luxurious bags of soft miniature mission figs. Also check out other dried fruits like dates and apricots.
Do you frequent Job Lot? What do you usually buy?