My adventure at Basil Bandwagon Natural Market began out of a need to find a better bulk foods selection than what my local Whole Foods had. I had been on the hunt to find bulk sugars, salt and pepper. I was able to locate 1 out of 3 items at Basil Bandwagon but I really found a lot more than just bulk foods.
I discovered Basil Bandwagon by using the Zero Waste Home Bulk app by Bea Johnson. Since Basil Bandwagon wasn’t in my neighborhood, I took the 30 minute trip to the quaint historic town of Clinton, New Jersey. Basil Bandwagon also has another location in Flemington, about 20 minutes from the Clinton location. Despite the Clinton location being small in size, it is huge in options.
The produce section as you walk in the store is strictly organic, although not all produce is zero waste/bulk, much of it is. Next to the produce is the bulk section, filled with many of the usual staples, however it didn’t carry either sugars or salt I had been hunting for. They did however have an amazing bulk spices section; which included the whole peppercorns and ground powder I was looking for. Much of the other spices in the section were less used items to me, but still very unique indeed.
The staff also assured me that if they didn’t carry a bulk item I wanted, it was likely they could order it. All of the spices were Frontier Co-Op certified organic with many also being Fair Trade. If an items wasn’t organic, it was likely wild picked and a natural version was only available. I was able to price out my organic Ceylon Cinnamon, which would turn out to be $.30 cheaper to fill my container at their store. Basil Bandwagon carries organic loose bulk teas also, I can’t wait to go back and stock up! I was over the moon about their bulk section and thrilled to have filled my own container with bulk oatmeal.
Looking for even more bulk? They offer grind your own peanut and almond butters! I only wished they were organic and I would have helped myself.
The refrigerated cases at Basil Bandwagon offered many alternative food brands that I’ve heard of but hadn’t come across them in stores yet. I have not been able to find Upton’s Naturals Jackfruit locally, only a couple flavors of their seitan so far. So I had a tough decision to make between the two flavors of jackfruit that this store had. Basil Bandwagon also had vegan treats by Sweet and Sara, I wish I could have bought all of the great items I had seen and wanted.
In their freezer section, they carry local made veggie burgers by Three Sisters Burgers of Jersey City. I am excited to return to pickup some of these!
The package food aisle had the standard foods you would expect; pasta, canned beans, pre-packaged tea. I did find myself excited to browse the cleaning aisle and picked up a natural sponge I had never seen before. I took a look at the candle and incense section, it smelled great! Basil Bandwagon offers a large health and wellness section with herbal remedies. Though I didn’t shop this section, I could tell they had an extensive section, it was the longest aisle in the store (sorry I forgot to take a photo!)
While I shopped I sipped on a sample of chocolate smoothie, it was delicious, I should have ordered a full size one for the road!
The Clinton location offers a small prepared foods section, which is prepared at their Flemington location café. It included salads, sandwiches and noodle dishes. The Flemington location offers a full sit-down café, the Clinton location didn’t really offer anywhere to sit and eat outside. Though there are some picnic tables beyond the parking lot in shade, so that is always an option.
What was my favorite part of the store?The Terracycle drop-off station! I was surprised and pleased to have come across it at the end of an aisle. I helped myself to a small slip of paper on the front of the box. The paper offered a list of the items that they accept, most of which I was already aware of. It is nice to be able to drop off your items instead of having to package and ship them, despite their free shipping label.
As I checked out and paid for my items, I signed up for their mailing list, which offers a 10% off one item coupon by mail. I was also please to find out that they offer a $.10 discount for bringing your own shopping bag. I’m not sure if that is per bag, as I only checked out with one bag.
Here are the goods that I grabbed at Basil Bandwagon!
All of the employees were extremely helpful and knowledgeable, which is a really great reason to shop small. You will receive persona attention and someone who cares about your inquiry, along with the knowledge to help.