Welcome To the Jungle

26Mar09

There is an enchanting place, located in Fairfield, Ohio, that acts as a tourist attraction to out-of-towners, but a comfortable, quirky grocery store to locals. This place is more commonly known as Jungle Jim’s International Market, “A Food Lover’s Paradise.” And that may be an understatement.

When you first approach Jungle Jim’s you immediately think, “this is unlike any grocery store I’ve ever seen.”  There is an old monorail that juts out the face of the building. Starbucks and sandwich shops line the front. Outside the exit is a fake pond that holds equally fake elephants, giraffes and other jungle creatures. While it’s fascinating, the facade of the building isn’t what keeps people coming back.

It’s a challenge to capture every charming detail of Jungle Jim’s, but I have tried my best to snap pictures of my favorite parts, as well as bits of the grocery store that make it the loony place it is.

Let’s start with the wine and beer selections, which you’ll see upon first entrance. There are 15 rows on wine and champagne. Here is a glimpse:

The view from row 15

The view from row 15

Up close and personal:

True beauty

True beauty

Jungle Jim’s also has the largest beer selection I’ve ever seen.

Just a fraction

Just a fraction

There are entire sections of the enormous store dedicated to one food, such as cheese, meat, olives and even butter. Cheeses from countries around the globe are available:

Side one

Side one

Cheese, please!

Side two

Side two

Again, these are only fragments of all the cheeses offered. And to stay in tune with the dairy products, here’s a look at Butter Island:

Butters from around the world

Butters from around the world

Some of the finest…

Very different from my usual Smart Balance Light

Very different from my usual Smart Balance Light

As you move from the cheese and deli meat section, you will stumble upon a most glorious sight:

I Love Olive Pit!

I Love Olive Pit!

The Olive Pit in all its glory:

So much goodness

So much goodness

While I was taking these picture, the Olive Pit Man, Jason, became rather enamoured with MamaJ and I and offered to give us samples of anything. He noticed the Italian charm I always wear around my neck, telling me he is of Italian heritage.  Jason was a very friendly olive man…a little too friendly? Back to the yumyums:

I want it all

I want it all

As if those olives aren’t enough, I gasped when I saw this:

Fully-stocked Sabra

Fully-stocked Sabra

They have every single flavor! Before this, I’d only seen Original, Roasted Garlic, Toasted Pine Nuts and Roasted Red Pepper. I almost peed with excitement.

The next area in Jungle Jim’s is the serious meat department. I say serious because they don’t mess around at all. I have pictures of items, but have deemed them too heartbreaking to post. They have pork tongues, calve’s heads, goats’ heads, whole ducks, pig snouts…all wrapped in plastic and sitting in their own blood. Because Jungle Jim’s is an international market, I understand that most items are norms in other cultures, or even to all meat-lovers far and wide. It still makes me severely uncomfortable when I walk by those items, despite having gone to Jungle Jim’s for at least 12 years.

Once you get past the large meat section, you will find a cornucopia of colorful produce.

I hope that woman doesn't mind being in the pic!

I hope that woman doesn't mind being in the pic!

The rows are filled with bright oranges, deep purples and rich greens. The best find in the produce aisle? VeggieGirl, I took this pic specifically for you!

SWEET POTATOES!!!

SWEET POTATOES!!!

They were huge, too! Sitting between the produce section and the fish market is a boat. It is filled with characters you’ll recognize…and they sing and dance.

Cereal Boat!

Cereal Boat!

Behind that is a fish market that carries anything you can eat that has once lived in the see; we’re talking anything from sea bass to sea urchins and everything in-between.

Those are mannequins chillin' on the S.S. Minnow

Those are mannequins chillin' on the dock

Many fish, lobsters and crab fill the tanks to the right. Directly across from this is the international produce, which contains fruits and vegetables this girl has yet to experience.

Incredible

Incredible

Just one side of the international produce:

I'll have one of each, please.

I'll have one of each, please.

The back of the store is dedicated to different countries and cuisines. Next to the Italian section is the Mexican section, which is marked with this discreet sign:

Gigante, indeed

Gigante, indeed

There are also rows of just hot sauce and rows of just BBQ sauce next to this. Behind the Mercado lies, logically (not), England, where you’re greeted by Robin Hood.

Where you can find Digestives, Wheetabix, Shreddies, candies and teas and biscuits galore

Where you can find Digestives, Wheetabix, Shreddies, candies and teas and biscuits galore

Along the back wall are cubbies, each dedicated to a different country.

Kosher products and Greece

Kosher products and Greece

Next to that…

Scandinavia and Spain

Scandinavia and Spain

And then…

France,

France, Ireland and Holland

Going into the cubbies is like going into a mini market in the respective countries; it’s so cute!

Jungle Jim’s International Market is truly one-of-a-kind. Pictures cannot accurately present the hold that a giant grocery store han have on you. There is always something to take your eyes away from the intriguing item of food you’re already staring at. And when the plethora of food fails to intrigue you, well, there’s always the Cereal Boat. Here’s one last glimpse at the store I hope you all get to see some day…

Food paradise.

Food paradise.

As for me, I’ll be back tomorrow with a recap of today’s audition and tomorrow’s photo shoot! Love you all!

Ciao for now,

Kailey

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24 Responses to “Welcome To the Jungle”

  1. Wowza, I’ve never been there!! And it’s not too far from home!!

    HAHA!! Hell yes for the sweet potato food porn photo and for the shout-out 😀

    Cant wait to read your recap!!

  2. OH MY GOD i am dizzy from excited over jungle jim’s! if only i were close enough to explore the depths of that jungle, i’d get into some serious trouble and probably emerge with way too many things, chronic fatigue, and a pork tongue or two (kidding!)

    loved this post! what a fun day — thanks for sharing! can’t wait to hear about the audition =) xoxox

  3. 3 Anna

    That looks like the most attractive blend of super tacky and ridiculously awesome and convenient. I would totally venture out to Ohio just to see all of this up close and personal. It’s awesome that you live nearby!

  4. I hope that’s what heaven looks like!

  5. OH MY GOSH, I TOTALLY WANT TO GO THERE!!!

  6. hahaha THAT is ridonkulous!! I want to go to there 😀 It’s like a cross b/w chuck E cheese- Disneyland- and COSTCO!! like my top faves…how fun, glad you and momz are out and about! And i’m glad you (hopefully) didnt pee inside the store…

  7. 7 dailydulcie

    THAT PLACE IS AMAZING! take me there PLEASE?!! wow total craziness!

    Love Love LOVE all the produce 🙂

    Thanks for all those wonderful pictures!

  8. 8 priyankalovesfood

    OMG that really is Food heaven, I so want to go there!

  9. HOLY CRIPES!!!

    I would never leave that store. Seriously. I gasped out loud at the Sabra cooler and then I got crazy mad jealous of you (not for being a gorgeous, smart, funny cool supermodel) for actually seeing and experiencing the glory of the CEREAL BOAT.

    I am so envious.

    How many miles is it Ohio?

    PS Thanks for your awesome comment today. I had to drag Chris over to the computer to read it…I was so happy!

  10. 10 BB

    omgahhhh i’m so jealous. that is by far THE coolest market ever. Markets like that don’t even show up in my dreams. I don’t think browsing for a couple of hours would cut it at that place. I don’t know what else is in Ohio, but I would consider taking a road (ok, airplane) trip there just to check out Jungle Jim.

  11. oh wow that looks amazing!!! i wish we had that store over here!
    good luck with the audition hun,
    much love
    xxx

  12. Kailey,
    Thanks for the compliments!
    I generally receive about 100 “alerts” with websites that have our store name in it. Most are nice, but your pictures and descriptions are very impressive.
    Send me an email the next time you will be visiting the store. I will or will have someone show you the Oscar Event Center located on the second floor. It will blow you mind.

    Have Fun Kailey
    Phill Adams
    Director of Development
    Jungle Jim’s International Market, Inc.
    Fairifield, Ohio 45014-4108

  13. wow that place is HEAVEN!!!!! so glad you had a good time there! haha seriously cant they have one of those in boston!?! thanks for your sweet comment girl! ❤ yous

  14. OH MY GOSH! Screw I-75 North, I’ll be taking a trip on I-75 South so we can go play in this foodie playground! I’m in LOVE!

    PS. GOOD LUCK TODAY!!

  15. its like i’ve died and gone to foodie heaven! i probably would try and find a way to sleep there if i lived close to it. haha. how amazinggggggg

  16. whoa – I would have way too much fun in that place! Thanks for the spotlight!

    Kaneil, balanceisbest

  17. 17 sue

    omg that is just ridiculous! those mini markets are sooo cool!

  18. 18 cleanveggiex3

    i think i died and went to heaven just looking at those pictures!! such a great food super store! love it (and the hummus stock!)

  19. 19 shelby

    I WANT TO GO THERE!!!! It’s too cute!

  20. 20 Emily

    Ohmygosh! I always go to visit my grandparents but never before have I said with excitement – “holy crap I need to go to Ohio!!!!” I am beyond jealous that people get to live near that thing!

    http://eatingchalk.wordpress.com

  21. how AMAZINGGGGG is that store?!?!? I had no idea such grocery stores exist…it’s like a fairy tale. But i’m not excited. BOOOOO because I’m never gonna get to shop there. hahahah 😛 My favorite has got to be that crazy cereal ship/boat! Hmmm I curious if people gave you funny looks for taking so many pictures there or if it’s pretty normal at a store like that! hahahah

    Have a greaaat weekend Kailey!!

  22. 22 Trace

    I was just there last week, that place is amazing… I think I was there for like 2 hours!!

  23. Wowie!! That place looks enormous!! I want to go!!!

    Thanks for sharing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. 24 TokiLoveVal

    omg. when i think of heaven…this is what i hope it’s like. 🙂 i don’t think i would ever want to leave!! my mom and boyfriend already complain i take too long in whole foods and the fresh markets…i think this would have to be a field trip!!!! thank u so much for sharing.


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