Santa Fe has a real rainbow of choices when it comes to grocery stores so I thought I'd run through the list...
In the "most economical" category you will find Smith's and Albertson's. Albertson's has three stores: DeVargas, south St. Francis near I-25 and at Zafarano. These are big box stores where I can recommend the produce but I don't usually venture in to the meat or fish department unless it's for something standard. We also have a Sam's Club if you have the storage capacity for stock piling.
Our Trader Joe's is small here compared to other stores in other cities but it's at the top of my list if I'm planning a party. And I regularly buy their rack of lamb and the pecan salmon is very good. Life would not be worth living without their dark chocolate caramels sold in bulk.
We have two new Sunflower Markets here which is a chain. The fruit and produce are often good buys but their packaged dinners and meat have been a disappointment. Sunflower is in DeVargas and south of town on the west side of Zafarano.
My market of choice is Kaune's (pronounced Ka-nees) which is at the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Old Santa Fe Trail or kitty-corner across from the state house. The location is ideal for me and the parking is awesome. They have an old style meat department and a real butcher. If Tur-duck-ins are your thing, you can order one from Kaune's. Their standing rib roasts and beef tenderloins are cut to order and divine. The prices are somewhat elevated but if I forgot the ginger ale, I don't have to criss-cross the length of a football field to back track. And did I mention the parking?
Then we have a smattering of what I call mother-earth style markets. The best one is the Co-op in Solana Center. They have a great deli, quality meats and fresh produce. The prices are up there and you can't find Dr. Pepper there but this is a manageble and quality market.
Last but certainly not least, the moment you've been waiting for: Whole Foods. I'll start with the parking lot which is a nightmare. There are times when I've tried to park but gave up and headed to Kaune's. Yes, this is a high end, expensive market and the produce is lovely but the quality of the meat and fish are not a given. Always smell before you agree to buy. If you are planning an event or a holiday meal, go to Whole Foods early and during off times like early morning. I've been in there with my basket full of food and felt so over-whelmed that I was tempted to abandon my basket and run screaming. But there's nothing like the smell of fresh roasted chilis as you pick out a beautiful bunch of cut flowers to grace your table.