What did Ralph’s Thriftway recommend for a Valentine’s Day well-spent? Some chocolate-covered strawberries, a bottle of red wine, a freshly baked cupcake and a bouquet of flowers.
All of these were available to customers Saturday, with the Olympia grocery store fully embracing the spirit of love. Store employee Julie Weisgerber said Ralph’s has become a one-stop shop for Valentine’s Day shoppers in recent years.
“It’s really grown since we started doing the chocolate-covered strawberries,” Weisgerber said. “People just can’t get enough of them.”
The store sells the chocolate-covered strawberries twice a year: on Valentine’s Day and on Mother’s Day. Weisberger said many customers stop by for both holidays.
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Produce supervisor Ralph Conat said they dipped a grand total of 1,185 strawberries Friday, and they had sold out by 7 p.m. He expected to sell another 900 on Saturday.
“We probably won’t sell as many (Saturday) because people came in Friday on their lunch breaks and brought back strawberries to their co-workers,” Conat said.
This year, the strawberries are especially sweet even though it’s early in the season, Conat said. They’re ordered from California, where the strawberry season started about two weeks ago.
“They got a lot of sun this year, which makes them nice and sweet,” Conat said. “But even if they weren’t, they would still taste great with the chocolate.”
The Saturday customers aren’t just last-minute Valentine’s Day shoppers, Weisgerber said. Many remembered the strawberries from last year and came to Ralph’s with strawberries in mind. She said she encountered many husbands and boyfriends who were sent by partners to pick up the treat.
“We had people in here at 6 a.m. asking for them,” Weisgerber said. “We had to tell them we wouldn’t have any for a couple hours.”
Weisgerber also recommended bottles of red wine that pair perfectly with the strawberries. Her favorite is a Walter Dacon Skookum Red.
“They really taste delicious together,” Weisgerber said.