Whole Foods Bulk Isle

I love the Whole Foods Market bulk isle! I love that I can buy as little or as much as I want of a product.

Keep in mind, not all bulk isles are created equal; there are some differences in products offered.

I recently visited the Whole Foods in Dedham, MA, the state of the art, environmentally-friendly, huge, Northeast flagship store and was thrilled to find bulk local honey, local maple syrup, and agave nectar. The agave was on sale, and I have never tried it, so I bought a container. (PS. I really like it!) Not all stores carry these items, and I’m on the look out! I will definitely buy all three if I can find them!

Some stores offer bulk spices, which I also really appreciate. I buy most of my spices at Penzey’s Spices, but it’s nice to know I can buy a tiny bit of a spice that I don’t use that often (like cream of tartar) or maybe a small amount of an unfamiliar spice like a curry powder. The good news is, unsanitary spice containers of the past are gone; they now offer easy pour spouts which keep out germs and keep in freshness.

I also love buying dried beans in the bulk isle. They must be really fresh, because they take no time at all to cook! I still soak the beans for a few hours, but once I start cooking, they are done in a snap! Almost as fast as the fresh cranberry beans I received in my CSA share last summer. I have been buying navy beans and black beans, along with dried garbanzo (chick peas), as well as lentils and split peas. It’s so convenient to buy a smaller amount, so I’ll always have fresh! Plus, it gives me an opportunity to try out some interesting varieties of beans, that I might not want in a full bag.

Besides beans, I also regularly purchase brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat couscous, steel cut oats, oatmeal, oat bran, sucanat sugar, rye flour, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, pecans, filberts, raisins, dates, barley, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds.

It’s almost always cheaper to buy from the bulk isle compared to commercially bagged products. And I love that most of the items are organic!

If you haven’t considered the bulk isle at your local Whole Foods, then I suggest giving it a try. Other stores like Hannaford also offer a few bulk choices as well. But I don’t believe Hannaford is as inexpensive as Whole Foods. Perhaps because the turn-around isn’t as great.

Whole Foods Market Organic Strawberries On Sale Friday!

Whole Foods Market is having a monster sale on organic strawberries tomorrow. $1.99 per pound!

Unfortunately, I called the closest store and they told me the sale strawberries are originating from Mexico. Not happy about that!

I called another store and they told me they were mixed from Mexico and California.

I’ve been holding off purchasing any berries this season because all the organic offerings have been from Mexico. If I can find California berries I’ll gladly purchase!

So the question is do I take a chance and go tomorrow hoping I’ll find strawberries grown in the USA, and if not, should I purchase them from Mexico at this crazy good price?

My gut is telling me no, stay away from any commercial organic berries anyway especially if they are grown in Mexico! Wait until my local farm offers them!

We will see how I feel tomorrow!

http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/2011/04/strawberries-sale-friday-only/

UPDATE: On Friday, I found organic strawberries from both California and Mexico. I noticed the ones from Mexico were larger and at first glance, “looked” more appealing. The strawberries from California looked more natural, because they didn’t look at “perfect” as the ones from Mexico. I ended up purchasing 5 boxes. Yum!

I cleaned and sliced two boxes for strawberry, apple, cranberry compote, slow cooked in the oven. Added raisins afterward for more sweetness.

5 boxes of organic california strawberries from whole foods
organic california strawberries from whole foods
organic california strawberries from whole foods
organic california strawberries from whole foods

Cancelled the Jaindl Farms Thanksgiving Turkey

It’s funny how some blog posts evolve. This started out as a post about ordering a “free range” Jaindl Farms turkey, and progressed into an investigation and a personal lesson learned on how turkeys are raised.

So, I placed my online order for the Thanksgiving turkey at Whole Foods Market, but so many thoughts kept nagging me. Where was my so-called “free range” bird coming from?

On the Whole Foods web site, it states:

From Jaindl Farms in Orefield, Pennsylvania. Our free-range turkey has 54% more white meat and 55% less fat. This has been the turkey of choice at the White House for more than 40 years!

It all sounds fabulous, until you really think about it. How are they raising turkeys with all that white meat? And we all know the “free range” claim isn’t always what it seems, so I decided to google “Jaindl Farms” and found their web site.

Jaindl Farms in Orefield, Pennsylvania

On their home page, message from David Jaindl states that they sell 750,000 turkeys annually. Three quarters of a million turkeys? Holy giblets batman! With numbers like that, how on earth could they humanely raise that many birds? My guess is they don’t, so I did some further reading.

Quote from David Jaindl:

Corn and soybeans, the main ingredients in our freshly mixed turkey feed are grown on our 10,000 acres of farm land. Jaindl Farms is a fully integrated turkey farm, breeding, hatching, growing, processing and marketing our premium turkeys.

So they grow their own corn and soybeans (and since they don’t state the opposite, I assume it’s GMO) for the turkey feed (1,800 tons of feed weekly). Using farm land to grow only two types of crops for the sole purpose to feed animals. hmmm. That doesn’t sound like sustainable, responsible farming, does it?

It’s just so big business – from the photos of the owners in their fancy suits (they don’t look like farmers, do they?) to the fact that they supplement their income with land development and rental management. I started to feel guilty for supporting a farm like this.

And then I found the Philadelphia Weekly article written about them back in 2008.

Their turkeys are bred to be “broad breasted and short legged.” Turkeys grown like this cannot walk very well, and they certainly cannot breed in a normal way.

The article stated that Jaindl Farm’s 23,000 turkey hens are artificially inseminated once a week for four months. By my calculation, each of the 23,000 hens needs to lay at least 32 eggs to produce the 750,000 turkeys needed for sale. And it’s just as bad for the poor male tom turkeys. Poor guys have to endure being milked for their sperm.

It’s all so cruel.

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Green Valley Organic Lacose Free Yogurt

I’ve been buying Green Valley Organic Yogurt for a couple of weeks now, and I just love it.

First, most importantly, it’s delicious! I’ve tried the blueberry, strawberry, and honey. Honey is okay, but the fruit flavors are very good. I really need to buy some vanilla and create my own flavors with frozen berries, bananas, apples, pineapples, etc. It would be so much better for me too!

Secondly, it’s a lot lower in sugar grams than other yogurts. 16 grams in their blueberry and strawberry flavors. Only 9 grams for vanilla. That’s a big difference to Stonyfield (20g) and Wallaby (22g)

I love that it’s organic and their dairy comes from farms that are certified humane. Not that that “label” really means anything, but at least it’s a start. No anti-biotic or growth hormone usage, and I like to think their cows aren’t hooked up to milking machines all day long.

I’m interested in trying their Kefir as well. I used to love love love the bottles of Stonyfield yogurt smoothies, but they were so extremely high in sugar, I gave them up! Green Valley offers plain plus a Blueberry Pom Açaí flavor that has 20 grams of sugar. Looks like each bottle is 32 oz, so that’s 4 servings of 8 oz each. The yogurts are 6 oz servings at 16g of sugar, so it breaks down to roughly the same amount of sugar per ounce.

It doesn’t look like it’s available in any other stores in my area, except Whole Foods, but that is a good thing. The more “mainstream” a small company becomes, the more they change. Less care goes into the product. I like that they are a small business. I hope they don’t get bought out by one of the big food companies like Stonyfield did.

Anyway, Green Valley Organic yogurt is definitely my yogurt of choice! I hope they don’t mind that I used one of their product photos for my post!

Green Valley Organic bottles and cups

Homemade Microwave Popcorn

My microwave usage has gone way down since I started eating cleaner. I am not necessarily afraid of the “microwaves” emoting from the microwave, but I don’t think it cooks food quite the same as on the stove or in the oven. I think it kills a lot of healthy nutrients.

But I was intrigued to try homemade microwave popcorn. And I was surprised how easy it is! Healthy too!

arrowhead brand organic popcorn

I like purchasing organic popcorn, mainly because it’s free of pesticides and it will not be grown from GMO (genetically modified) corn seeds. I found the Arrowhead Mills brand at Whole Foods. Check the organic isle at your local grocery. Whole Foods also carried bulk organic popcorn if you don’t want to commit to a full bag.

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Got Milk? Got Abuse?

http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=9671990

This video from ABC News is very disturbing, but it’s great that someone is finally speaking up for the animals! It’s one thing that we use animals for food, but why can’t we treat them with respect during their time on earth? After all, they are sacrificing a lot to give us sustanance, so why should they live in horror!?

I don’t know if buying organic dairy is any better, but the animals have to be treated better than normal dairy cows. Poor cows! It breaks my heart when I think of this stuff. We are a gluttonous nation, and if we just eat and drink a little less, we could save a few cows from having such a miserable life. Save calories, save animals, save the environment!