11/24/10

4 Harmon's Back of the Store Tour

Recently, Harmons Grocery store contacted me about attending a "Behind the Store Tour" in Draper, Utah.  My mind flashed back a few months.  I had inquired at the customer service desk about a tour of their bakery, intending on getting a first hand look at their steam injected ovens.  I left my name, number and blog address with the attendant and soon forgot all about it.

Then came the email invitation.  Not only was I invited, but several other Utah food bloggers were coming!  I consider it a bonus to rub shoulders with fellow and veteran bloggers Laura (Real Mom Kitchen), Deborah (Taste and Tell), Carriann (Sweet Basil) Lisa (Gourmified), Nisha (Healthy Mom's Kitchen), Mariel (Or So She Says), and Gabi (The Feast Within). 

Three things come to mind when I think about Harmons:

Customer Service, Education, and Quality.
Bob Harmon personally directed the tour and introduced us to his amazing staff.  He is passionate about what he does and values customer service above anything.

I love Harmons, especially their bakery department.  What does it take to be a baker at Harmons?   A two week bread training in San Francisco, continued with the head baker while working at Harmons.  Bread is made daily from scratch with organic ingredients; nothing artificial is used.  On my very first visit, a baker gave me a sample of each of their breads.  My favorite?  White Chocolate Pecan.  Soft, creamy interior studded with sweet white chocolate, nutty pecans, and a slightly sweet, caramelized crust.  I want this bread for my last meal.
White Chocolate Pecan Bread

The cheeses are out of this world.  I asked Shauna, their cheesemonger for a melting cheese to use in an oven baked macaroni and cheese and she gave me several examples, even letting me taste a few of them.  Harmons even sent their cheese specialists to Italy where they witnessed the making of Parmesan first hand.  A several months ago, I observed Shauna cracking a 100 pound wheel of Parmesan...so cool.  They also support local cheeses, such as the Beehive Cheese Co.


The produce at Harmons is phenomenal.  In their humble beginnings as a local grocer, they may have carried only 5 varities of apples.  Now they carry around thirty!  You are sure to find your favorites here, all in one place.  Many of the fruits and veggies are purchased locally, ensuring that you have produce at their peak of freshness.  Every item is tracked hourly, encouraging a high turnover of fresh items.  These pistachios are from Hurricane, Utah...take advantage of them while they are here!

Star Fruit
The butcher can be your next best friend!  Everything is USDA prime or above.  When prime rib steaks were on sale in June, my dad asked the butcher if he could keep it as a roast.  He received the roast trimmed, cut from the bone, re-tied back on and seasoned.  Oh, and he got the sale price.  That's above and beyond quality customer service!

I needed turkey thighs to recreate ChuckARama's Roasted Turkey Stew.  I searched high and low and finally grabbed the butcher.  He said they have turkey thighs in the back to use for their freshly ground sausage.  Could he sell me some?  Of course.  Awesome!


Seafood?  What can I say?  I'm a newbie to seafood and am learning to like it, little by little.  I tried the fresh shrimp, which I normally wouldn't touch unless it was deep fried.  It was amazing.  Deborah, one of our brave bloggers, downed some fresh oyster, as she had never tried one before.  "A little slimy, but otherwise really good," was her review.




Everything at the deli is made fresh.  They don't do the bulk bag stuff and dump in the display case.  The deli manager made fresh cranberry sauce with orange juice.  So good!  They use fresh fruit and veggies from the produce department and make dozens of salads. 
Veggie Lasagna

Want a crispy hearth baked pizza?  You can have it here.  Dough is made fresh daily,  hand stretched, topped with fresh cheeses, veggies and meats all from Harmons.  Can't beat that.


Have you ever tried gelato?  The guy that works here specializes in making only gelato.  I tried a grapefruit variety that was very refreshing.  Gelato has 50 percent less fat than traditional ice cream, and the texture is exceptionally creamy ~
Gelato Bar


Did you know Harmons offers cooking classes?  Chef Bob introduced us to this pristine kitchen with five huge stations and to an amazing meal: Rosemary/garlic infused ciabatta red pepper and olive sandwich, fresh fruit medley, crunchy lentil salad, and a to-die-for mint and basil lemonade. 




I'm a frugal shopper.  I watch the sales and use coupons when I can.  Bob Harmon explained that their products are "high end quality without the high end price."  I wholeheartedly agree!  Expect to pay a little more than your typical grocery store, and be amazed by the freshness and quality.  I asked Bob Harmon if his company participated in donating leftover food and his answer was an unequivocal, "Yes."  Senior citizen centers and many other organizations are recipients of any quality food that is left at the end of the day.  That means no doughnuts or baked items are thrown out.  I consider this a win/win for everyone.  You are ensured fresh, quality food every day and so are local organizations that are in need of donated items.
Public upstairs dining area with Wi-fi and a fireplace!

Thank you, Bob Harmon, and all the wonderful people that worked hard to make this blogger tour possible!   If you are in a Thanksgiving dinner pinch, come on over to Harmons and let their friendly, educated staff help you out.  They are open Thanksgiving Day until 4 P.M.

I'm tempted to apply for a job at this Harmons store.  Who wouldn't want to be around great people and fabulous high quality food?  Guess which department I'd like to work in....

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