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As an avid supporter of all things Ina Garten, I take all of her recommendations to heart. Usually her recommendations are ingredient- or recipe-related, but when I learned about her favorite grocery tote, I found myself gobbling that up too.
“I love this tote,” said Ina in an old interview with Food Network Magazine. “It’s my commuter bag. I take it with me when I go into New York City every week, and I carry things back and forth from the barn to the house with it. I’ve bought one for everyone I know!”
Enter: the Apolis Market Bag, a reusable shopping tote that seriously changed my habits and brought me even closer to my idol. (No, she’s certainly not traveling to NYC these days, but I’m sure the bag is still serving her well!)
Compared to other tote bags, the Apolis Market Bag is incredibly spacious, at 13 inches wide, 18 inches high, 8 inches deep, which makes it great for lugging home an entire TJ’s haul. According to the product details, it can hold up to 100 pounds, thanks to its reinforced leather handles. (And I can attest that this isn’t an exaggeration.) It also holds its shape fairly well when loading it up, and it has a waterproof lining, which is great when it comes time to wiping up inevitable spills. Additionally, each bag is handcrafted by a cooperative of mothers in Bangladesh who are provided a fair-trade wage, job security, and benefits.
And because the bag is as useful as it is stylish, I actually use it.
Last March, New York state passed a sweeping Bag Waste Reduction Law, meant to limit plastic bag usage. Stores still give customers the option of paper bags, but there is a small fee per bag. The movement was meant to promote #BYOBag, encouraging customers to bring their own reusable bags as much as possible. It was a pretty big wakeup call for me: I had no shortage of totes but almost always forgot to bring them. Or I just dreaded using them because they were floppy and annoying to fill and carry. But then I got this Apolis Market Bag and I was actually using it.
Naturally, though, around the same time the law was passed, COVID-19 reared its ugly head and the #BYOBag law wasn’t super enforced. (Some stores around the country even stopped accepting reusable bags, citing health and safety concerns.) Months later, as we learned more about the virus, many stores have eased up on reusable bag restrictions. I was thrilled when the Trader Joe’s in my neighborhood started allowing BYOB again, because that meant I could start reusing my reusable tote. In fact, I even made it my goal for February — to bring it on every trip.
Ina and I are not the only people who love this bag, either. Take it from this satisfied customer:
“It is quite simple … save on plastic and paper bags and invest in this bag that will last you forever. We purchased our first bag 6 years ago and our second bag last summer when we moved to CA and started going to the farmers markets weekly … from our experience each bag can hold a LOT and getting two basically equals 4-5 standard Trader Joe’s paper bags [once] filled!” says Mette W.
Need I say more? Get yourself one of these bags and you’ll never forget it under the kitchen sink again.
Do you have a reusable shopping bag that you adore?