Local Day at Whole Foods – 2nd Visit!

Another great shopping experience at the Bedford, MA Whole Foods. It was LOCAL DAY again! Just like last time, I met some great people.

I was hoping to see a couple of the locals I met last time, like Nancy from Three Acre Kitchen, the woman from Ozioli’s Cookies, and WS Badger Company.

Today, I did purchase a tin of the original Badger Balm today. I kept searching for it at other Whole Foods stores, but couldn’t find it. I love that light wintergreen scent! I’ve been using the balm on my hands tonight and I love it. The balm is very thick; it was difficult to get a good portion out of the tin because it’s so compressed. I finally figured out that instead of trying to rub it on my hands, I should rub my knuckles inside the tin, and that worked better! Anyway, I love that it’s totally natural, and can even be used on your lips! I need a natural moisturizer while I’m cooking, and this will work wonderfully!

Who Did I Meet?

Grillo’s PIckles was set up by the entrance (produce section). I sampled each of their freshly made Italian dill pickles. There was the original recipe, which was delicious, and the spicy hot recipe, which I was told gets hotter the longer the container is open in your fridge! Ha! I preferred the original – ooh I love pickles! I didn’t purchase today, but definitely will in the future, probably in the spring, summer, when we start cooking on the BBQ. It’s so cool finding local Massachusetts food companies!

Then I met a rep from Schlotterbeck & Foss, who had a selection of sauces. She was cooking up samples using the sauces as marinades. I really wasn’t too happy with most of the flavors, since they were pretty high in refined sugars. But I was thrilled to find their Country Ketchup. $4 for a 12 oz bottle, not a bargain, but she gave me a sample, and oooh it was yummy. It didn’t taste like normal boring ketchup; it was loaded with yummy chunks of peppers and onions, and there was a spicy kick! It would be great with BBQ’d burgers. Sugar was 4g which is the same as most ketchup.

I bought a 3 oz bar of 80% Stone Ground Organic Chocolate from Taza Chocolate. My husband was a little shocked that I paid $7 for such a small bar, but I plan on using it for something special, maybe melting the chocolate and pouring it over some crisp organic bacon!

Anyway, Tazo Chocolate is from the Boston area, and use organic fair trade cacao. They also offer tours of their factory! It’s also cool that (on their web site) you can type in the batch code on the back of the chocolate bar, and find the details of the chocolate and how it was made. Anyway, I ate samples of their 50-60% chocolate discs (Vanilla Bean Mexican, Salted Almond) and they were delicious but a bit too sweet for my taste; the rep told me they are planning on creating more darker flavors very soon.

I have previously purchased the 1 year Whole Foods Team Member crafted cheddar from Grafton Village Cheese. I love cheddar cheese, the sharper the better! So, it was great to see a Grafton Village rep at the store today. She had samples of the 1 year Team Member cheese, along with the 2 year aged. I bought a small chunk of 2 year. And now that I know that they use dairy from Vermont “Jersey” cows that graze on grass for most of the year (except colder winter months), I will look for their brand a lot more!

I sipped a sample of the antho-immune organic elderberry syrup from Maine Medicinals. It tasted alright, but it’s really not something that I’d buy.

I also sipped a sample of chai tea, and I wish I took note of the company name. Chai isn’t really my thing, so I didn’t purchase.

I had a sample of skim milk from High Lawn Farm from Lee, Massachusetts and while I am not a milk drinker, I will definitely keep them in mind, because I do occasionally purchase smaller quantities of milk, cream, half & half, egg nog, etc.

The farm offers dairy products from Jersey cows, and she was very proud to tell me that Jersey cows’ milk is 20% higher in calcium than other cow’s milk. It’s also richer, so skim milk is more like whole milk…and their whole milk is more like cream. I have to admit, the skim milk I tried didn’t really taste rich to me, but as I said, I’m really not a milk fan! But anyway, I love that they are raising high quality Jersey cows, grazing on grass in the summer, and hay and corn that they grow themselves in the winter. No GMO (genetically modified) or pesticide usage, no hormones. They say they milk only twice daily, which is more “humane” than dairy “factories” that milk more often. Happy cows!

Their web site states they also produce butter. I don’t believe I’ve seen their butter products at Whole Foods, so I’ll have to look into that. If I can find a local good quality butter source, that’ll make me very happy!

A rep from SoCo Creamery was there again. I didn’t purchase any ice cream this time though, but I did have a taste of their ginger flavor and Mexican something or other. Both flavors were really good, but strong; good for a spoon or two, but I don’t know that I’d want to eat a whole bowl of it. But I won’t hesitate to buy their brand in the future when I’m shopping for good quality ice cream.

Lastly, I met the owner of a brand new company called Five Acre Farm. He makes jars of fruit topping/pie filling. I tasted the cherry and immediately thought about my husband, as he’s a maraschino cherry junkie, but I love blueberries, so I decided on that flavor. The owner spoke of high quality ingredients like Maine blueberries, and he even was using organic cane sugar (not beet sugar). I plan on adding the blueberries to plain yogurt. There’s 17g of sugar in a 1/3 cup, so that calculates to about 3 grams for 1 Tbsp. I paid $6 for a large 25 oz jar of fruit.

So, that was my day! I enjoyed speaking to so many different local businesses, and it’s nice to try a sample of a product before buying it. It looks like the Bedford Whole Foods regularly offers a “Local” day and I think Woburn also does as well. I love shopping at Whole Foods, but this gives it an extra special reason to shop on those particular days!

Local Day at Whole Foods

I had a great afternoon at Whole Foods in Bedford, MA. It was “local day” and a bunch of local food companies were giving out samples of their products. I noshed my way through the isles, eating samples, and talking to some wonderful people.

I ended up buying way more than I planned, but it was worth it to support the local businesses!

Who did I meet?

Three Acre Kitchen – I was constantly seeing so many TV chefs using balsamic vinegar in their dishes. Most recently, Jamie Oliver (At Home with Jamie) using a whole bottle of balsamic on top of roasted vegetables, so I was really intrigued to try it, but intimidated because I had no clue which brand to buy.

It was fate to meet Nancy, the delightful woman behind the Three Acre Kitchen. She sells three different balsamic products: Balsamic Marinade, Balsamic Vinaigrette, and Blueberry Balsamic Glaze. I tried a couple of samples, and decided that the marinade would be a great choice. Nancy gave me tips on using it with roasted potatoes and/or vegetables, along with reducing it for sauces. I’m now excited to experiment!

Oak Knoll Dairy Farm – I met George, the owner of the farm. They raise goats! I love goats! I want a goat! Maybe when we move to a nice big farm somewhere.

Anyway, I tried a sample of the goats milk plain yogurt and started to ask questions; he proudly showed me some photos while explaining about the goats and their farming practices. Hey did you know that goats are picky eaters? It’s not true that they eat everything in sight, like tin cans!

I also tried a sample of the goat whole milk, and it was good. I am generally not a big milk drinker, so I really am not a good judge. I did taste a teenie tiny smidgen tang of goat’s milk, but it really don’t think it would be noticeable if you didn’t know it wasn’t cow’s milk. I enjoyed the yogurt, so I picked up a container. I might get their milk for my dad, as he likes milk in his coffee.

SoCo Creamery – they had samples of coffee, mission fig, and pumpkin ice cream. The pumpkin ice cream was good, but I think it might be a bit too much for a whole bowl. I really loved the mission fig flavor, so I bought a pint. Just finished a bowl tonight. Very creamy, and not overly sweet actually! It had little bits of figs!!!!

Blue Moon Sorbet – I tried a sample of blackberry lime, and yum, it was fab. Very sweet and sugary, which is expected with shorbet. I had just grabbed the SoCo fig ice cream, so I really didn’t want to buy another frozen treat, but I will keep them in mind for future visits to Whole Foods.

Ozioli’s Cookies – I ate samples of the chocolate, lemon and almond cookies; I thought they all were delicious, but I especially loved the almond flavor, so of course I bought them! The owner was super friendly, and very proud of her product. It was nice to hear about how she was baking her cookies using her nana’s old recipe. I loved the almond cookies so much that I went back for a second serving. At 55 calories (4g sugar) they are a nice snack! hehee.

WS Badger Company – The demo rep was set up near the front registers, so she was my last stop. I rubbed a little of the original Badger Balm, with a touch of wintergreen scent. It seemed to work very well. I specifically asked if the balm could be used in the kitchen while cooking. I explained the main reason my hands are dry is because I’m constantly washing them but can’t apply any lotion because I’m cooking. Who wants lotion chemicals on my food? She informed me that their products were natural and could actually be eaten! Cool! So yes! It would be great to use them while cooking.

I also inquired about the Capsicum balms for my mom, and she explained how they were very hot when used, and the extra strength could be irritating to some skin.

She told me that they only sold a few products at Whole Foods (like the original balm) but until the end of the month, they were offering free shipping on their web site. I’ve been checking out their products and definitely want to order. If not, then I will definitely pick up some of that original balm at Whole Foods.

Raw Honey – There was also a woman with samples of spreadable raw honey, but I can’t recall the name. It was very sweet, and I might have thought about buying a jar, but I really didn’t need anymore raw honey.

I hope I didn’t leave out anyone. It really was a fun afternoon and I truly enjoyed talking to everyone! I loved it!