1745 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9410337.769313 -122.415497
Neighborhoods: Central East, Mission
Rainbow has the best bulk tea selection in town.
Rainbow Grocery is one of the biggest vegetarian stores in the Bay Area. It has an amazing bulk herb section, a 100% organic produce section, and ingredients that contain NO GMOs, NO high fructose corn syrup and NO artificial preservatives, flavorings or of coloring. Yes, you heard right.
(By the way, I am not vegetarian)
Their vitamin section is huge, they have an amazing cheese section and…they are a worker owned cooperative. They make it possible for buyers to read (at the store) about the ingredients in what they sell and they also have an egg chart that will let you know what kind of life and how the chickens lived. As if this weren't enough, they have free talks and classes for those interested and they make use of solar energy for much of their store's power needs.
Yes, they cost more than average mass production genetically modified foods with artificial flavors, processing, preservatives and colors. But the difference in cost is insignificant to anybody who cares about their health.
Additionally, their bulk sections and their produce section are varied (I want to say…at times, exotic) and I appreciate the diverse buyers and workers who populate the space every time I shop there.
To me, this store, becomes part of a way of life. It is an interesting experience to know that those in that space when I visit, probably value and interpret good quality food at the levels that I do. Fuel for life.
Premiere Health Food store – This is the best place in SF to buy organic items. This is also the best place for bulk foods, there's many things here in bulk that you wont find elsewhere like bulk nut-butters, but also maple syrup.
The supplements department is also excellent.
My only complaint: they dont carry meats!
Un-Happy Hippies – I love the food at Rainbow. But do the workers have to take themselves so seriously? I have yet to check out and bag my own groceries at Rainbow without any attitude from the staff. Attitude for what, I wonder? They are not the only ones doing great groceries. There is just an unhappy vibe there, and it's a shame, because I would patronize often sans the attitude.
Best Grocery Store in America – I thank the heavens above every time I walk into this place that I live close enough for it to be my grocery store. The bulk section is fantastic, the organic produce is outstanding, the pre-made food is delicious, and the people just rock. Plus the soundtrack is always good. They could be playing anything from Jay-Z to Journey at any given time, which makes shopping there even more fun. I've been going religiously two or three times a week since I moved here 5 years ago and I'll go for as long as they are open!
Overwhelmingly wonderful – Rainbow Grocery is what every independent health food store wants to be when it grows up. The selection of bulk items is just unparalleled, and so terrific if you only need a little bit of something. The body care section carries everything you'd ever need, including things like shampoo and bath salts in bulk. It's also the only place to go if you're vegan; they have a vegan version of pretty much every non-vegan food there is (including dog food). The prices are a little more than Trader Joe's, but much less than Whole Foods. They have a lot of discount programs as well, for everything from bringing your own grocery bags to case discounts and vitamin discounts.
Somewhere over this Rainbow, you'll find delicious gourmet items and crunchy granola shoppers. – In Short
Opened in 1975 by eight dedicated individuals who wanted to provide a wholesome alternative to commercial stores, this co-op remains true to its populist roots. The main draw is its overflowing supply of organic and earth-friendly products. If you're on the prowl for big-name products or meat, though, you'll want to head elsewhere. Buyers are strict, maintaining an almost anarchist agenda, and they make sure only the good-for-you stuff hits the shelves. Prices are somewhat higher than at the supermarket chains, but you'll at least feel better knowing that you're treating yourself to the very best.
Actually, Much Cheaper Than Most Groceries – I think it's a myth that Rainbow is more expensive. I have noticed that their stuff is MUCH cheaper than Whole Foods, Adronico's and even Safeway. They just tend to have some higher-end items that can be costly (but SO worth it, this foodie can tell you). I won't shop anywhere else anymore because I know that I can find anything I need at Rainbow (except meat, of course, but they do have the largest selection of fake meat I've ever seen). If you can find a worker who loves to chat about food, you can find some great recommendations and products you wouldn't normally pick up. Go mid-week and avoid the crowds.
Rainbow has what you need – Whatever you need, you can find it at Rainbow. Of course, you won't find bacon or PopTarts here at this health-food emporium, but you will find fresh burdock root, an amazing selection of herbs and spices, an awesome cheese selection that's super-fresh and very gourmet, and lots of useful and pretty cookware and tableware. Their body-care section is a great place for last-minute gifts--great soaps and lotions.
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