I finally took what I knew would be a couple hours, in reality about 8 to explore Denver grocery stores and food delivery systems and discover what would be the best shopping route for whom. I looked at Whole Foods, King Soopers, Sprouts, Vitamin Cottage, Door-to-Door Organics, Mile High Organics and Costco. I looked at the prices of foods I cook with most. It also took into respect the dirty dozen and all animal products are grass-fed/finished or pasture-raised. Click here for a fancy little pdf full of colors, columns and calculations, for all my type A peeps. Here is a summary of what I found.
For the non-grocey shopper who wants the best food possible Door-to-Door Organics is the way to go. Some items are cheaper then any other on the market and some items are on average $1 more. Well worth it for the quality of your produce, meat and dairy and you are also supporting the local economy and saving yourself lots of time. You are able to change your weekly box, including and excluding certain products. Mile High Organics did not have as many options as Door-to-Door and was a bit more expensive.
For those who prefer to grocery shop, look for local, organic, grass-finished meat and pasture-raised animal products, basically the best food you can get in Denver, Vitamin Cottage/Natural Grocers is your place. I was pleasantly surprised that Vitamin Cottage was the cheapest in almost all categories found on my handy price guide, cheaper then Sprouts and Whole Foods. The only down fall to Vitamin Cottage is that you can't find all meat products here. You may need to supplement elsewhere or better yet purchase your animal products from a local farmer.
For those who are looking to do the best they can and meet my bare minimum requirements - follow the dirty dozen, eat pasture-raised, grass-fed/finished meat and eggs and full-fat, grass-fed dairy - a combo of Costco, Vitamin Cottage, Sprouts and Whole Foods will do the trick. Geeze Door-to-Door Organics is looking great right about now! Costco is great for bulk organic items. This can be fruit, veggies, grass-fed butter, olive oil and coconut oil and some pasture-raised, grass-fed/finished meats. Every location offers a slightly different supply of these products, so look around. If you don't go to Costco get your organic items including any dairy and eggs from Vitamin Cottage, your non-dirty dozen produce and some packaged foods from Sprouts and your meats (Steps 4 and 5 preferred of their Step Program) from Whole Foods or from a local farmer.
If time is of the essence and you finally realize the importance of healthy eating and that you can't put a price on your health :) I recommend you do majority of your shopping at Vitamin Cottage. Maybe make a trip once a month to Costco for bulk and if you have freezer space buy your animal products from a local farmer.
PS - King Soopers did not offer majority of the products on my list and if they did it was very expensive in comparison. Also all Whole Foods meat is antibiotic and hormone-free. By 2018 all products including meat will have to label if it contains GMOs or if the animal ate GMO corn, soy or alfalfa. Whole Foods also requires all slaughter facilities to successfully pass annual third party audits of their animal welfare and food safety practices. Whole Foods Market also visits farms and ranches regularly and requires all our vendors to complete affidavits each year. Their rating system can be defined here. I would stick with steps 4 and 5 only.