Everyone knows the two-mile crawl on Lawrence Avenue between Western and Pulaski sucks. You can't blame HarvesTime Foods, though. Located just west of Rockwell, HarvesTime has a large, easy-to-access parking lot. And two years ago HarvesTime, which is independently owned by the proprietors of Edgewater Produce, nearly doubled in size to accommodate the propitious rise of condo buildings along the crawl. The expansion highlightsówith arching skylights, ceiling fans, and exposed trussesóthe main attraction of HarvesTime: its produce selection. "We pride ourselves on our produce," says Chris, the manager at HarvesTime. On a recent visit, red peppers were on special for 98 cents a pound and diverse items like jicama, nopalitos and Korean tofu nestled together at the end of the open expanse.
Though HarvesTime has been slow to introduce organic produce to complement its organic dairy (a gallon of whole milk is $5) and frozen goods selections (mostly Amy's), the produce selection is comparable in scope and superior in quality to any of the supermarket chains. There's a deli and a meat department, with poultry and seafood buried in ice, as well as fresh bread and pastries (though no in-house bakery). You may not recognize some of the brand names, and you might be a little bewildered by the sand bags holding bulk rice and the giant jars of pickled anything, part of HarvesTime's attempts to cater to all its customers. "We get upper-middle class on down, Central American, Mexican, South American, Bulgarian, Greek, Filipino, Korean," Chris sighs as the list goes on. "This neighborhood, the demographic, is the hardest to market to." Take a break from Lawrence and check out this Chicago-centric grocer.
Centerstage Reviewer: Robert Duffer