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Dairy discoveries

September 15, 2010

I went to the Whole Foods in Bedford last weekend with the intention of buying exactly four things – couscous and granola in bulk, crusty bread, and whatever interesting cheese was on sale. Naturally, by the time I made it to the store, I thought of a bunch of other cheapish pantry-staple type things I needed, so it was a more expensive trip than originally planned. BUT I made two very happy discoveries.

1. Whole Foods carries eggs from Chip-in Farm, which is a little silly since you could just go down the road and buy them there yourself, but that wouldn’t have occurred to me. We have often bought our Christmas trees there as well as the odd tomato or chicken pot pie, and as a child I liked to visit the pigs and chickens – I’m pretty sure I thought it was called Chicken Farm. Anyway, it’s nice to see a small business represented someplace accessible, and it’s nice to know where to buy super-local free-range eggs while supporting said business. Next time I’ll probably even buy them at the farm. (For the record, they cost maybe a dollar more than your basic supermarket eggs, but they were the cheapest dozen at Whole Foods.)

2. Whole Foods also now offers an assortment of “snack-sized” cheeses – little bits that are smaller than how they normally package things, and therefore cheaper, allowing broke people like me to try things they couldn’t otherwise. I had been longingly eyeing a big wedge of something creamy and seed-studded with a red rind, only to discover a smaller chunk in the snack bin (as well as some aged Irish cheddar, and I am a sucker for good cheddar). It was labeled “leyden with cumin seeds,” which it turns out is redundant because leyden, a traditional cheese from the Netherlands, is always flavored with cumin. It struck me as something like a drier, less creamy Gouda, fine by me as I find Gouda a bit overwhelming; apparently this is because it’s made with lower-fat milk, and the cumin seeds absorb some moisture as well. And are delicious. Especially served with chickpea stew.

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