If you live on campus, it might feel like your only options for food are the food carts or Subway. If you’re at all interested in cooking your own food or saving money (seriously, eating at the food carts for every meal gets expensive very quickly) the options are there, you just have to know where to look.
The most obvious choice for groceries near campus is Safeway. Located at 1010 SW Jefferson St., it’s a short walk from campus. Their self-checkout line does tend to get really long for some reason, so maybe steer clear of that, but otherwise Safeway has most of the groceries you would probably need for most recipes. Although if you’ll be shopping at Safeway often, make sure to sign up for the Club Card. It’s the only way to make Safeway reasonably affordable; without it, they are way too overpriced.
Portland Farmers Market
The Farmers Market, which takes over the Park Blocks every week, is only open on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., but it is open year-round and does offer a huge array of deliciously fresh fruits, berries, vegetables and other items. You might have to do some planning ahead in order to make your Farmers Market purchases last the week, but the quality of the food is definitely worth the effort.
The Farmers Market also accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cards for students who have them.
The Natural Mart
Although it would likely not be wise to do all of your grocery shopping at the Natural Mart, it does work very well as a convenience store. It’s located at 1726 SW Fourth Ave., so it’s a short walk for those living on campus or those who spend a lot of time here. It has enough food items to get you through a day or two, and even some organic food and healthy options. It works best if you need to grab a carton of milk or a can of soup, but maybe not as a way to do serious grocery shopping.
Pearl District Options
If you’re willing to travel away from campus in order to find a wide selection of groceries, you can always take the street car (which is free for Portland State students) to the Pearl District. The Pearl District is spoiled with grocery stores. The streetcar can be particularly slow during peak hours, so you might want to plan ahead and go at any time other than rush hour, but there are a wide selection of large grocery stores available in this part of town.
Fred Meyer is located at Northwest 20th Avenue and Burnside Street. Whole Foods is on the corner of Northwest 12th Avenue and Couch Street. Trader Joe’s is at 2122 NW Glisan St. and Zupan’s is at 2340 W Burnside St. There’s even a New Seasons on Northwest 22nd Avenue and Raleigh Street.
These Pearl District grocery stores might range from somewhat affordable to oh-hell-no-I’m-not-paying-that-much-for-apples expensive, but you at least have options. And really, almost any grocery store is going to be cheaper in the long run and better for your waist line than buying a burrito from Blazin’ Burrito every day (trust me, I would know).