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!