Sweet Potato collage

Just as much as mashed potatoes are part of Thanksgiving, so is serving sweet potatoes in some form. If you are looking for the best selection of sweets, you got to head to your local Whole Foods Market. Most places just offer one type, they have at least 6 to offer around the holidays. They even label each variety, so you know exactly what they are. If you are going to buy them there, then you will need to know more about what kind of sweet potato you’re looking for.

But before we get into all of that, we have to discuss the sweet potato vs. yam debate. This is hotly contested. I have been surprised how strong people’s opinions have been. Don’t tell someone that this yam is actually just a sweet potato. People are convinced there is a difference between the two. And they are right, sort of. Yam are large starchy tuber grown mostly in tropical climates, and not in the United States. It’s very difficult to find any exported to the U.S. True yams are not part of the Morning Glory family as sweet potatoes do. The name “Yam” is what some people called sweet potatoes upon finding them in the United States, particularly in the south.

Now that we got that out of the way, even if you still decrease me – I have had conversations with people who I told the same thing to and they refused to believe me – let’s look at the varieties of sweet potatoes out there.

sweet potatoes types

Beauregard
Developed at LSU in 1987, this is the most widely grown variety and what most people think of when they think “sweet potato”. Most sweet potatoes just labeled as sweet potatoes are Beauregard. Good for roasting/baking or anything where you are looking for a moist end product.

Jewel
Very similar to the Beauregard, can be hard to tell apart in both appearance and flavor. They were developed by North Carolina State University,

Garnett
These may be referred to as red sweet potato. The skin and flesh has a darker color. These are a favorite for baking. I know a lot of people prefer them over Jewel or Beauregard. Use these for a sweet potato pie.

Stokes Purple Sweet Potato

Stokes Purple
A newer variety, developed in North Carolina, now also grown in California, this potato is purple inside and out. What’s really neat about this sweetie is that the purple color actually intensifies when cooked. These have an unique flavor and are drier their orange/red cousins. Check out my post on Stokes Purple and these recipes:

Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Stokes Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Purple Sweet Potato & Delicata Squash Hash
Crispy Purple Sweet Potato Fries

Different Sweet Potatoes

Hannah
This is a white sweet potato. It’s good for those that don’t really like sweet potato as it is more similar to a traditional white potato. They are only slightly sweet. They make for an excellent mashed sweet potato, especially with some sage and chopped shallots!

Japanese
Often this variety will be listed as a Japanese Yam, but just like mentioned above it’s not a true yam. The skin on the outside is purple-red while the inside is completely white. Also a good one for mashing. It’s a tad sweeter than the Hannah, but not as much as the orange fleshed ones. Some say it has a chestnut like flavor.

For baking or roasting, I would go with the orange/red varieties : Jewel, Beauregard, or Garnet.
For making a hash or fries, I would go with Stokes Purple, Japanese, or Hannah.
For mashed, Hannah was by far my favorite.
For a pie, go with Garnet or for a breathtaking presentation, try Stokes Purple.

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Organic Turkey

As you are pursuing your options for this year’s Thanksgiving bird, one of the factors you must consider is whether or not to get an organic turkey. You know while you would want to buy organic fruit or vegetables, to avoid food from trees sprayed with pesticides. But they certainly don’t spray pesticides directly on turkeys. So wouldn’t all turkeys be organic? The USDA are certain requirements that turkey or any poultry must be to be certified organic. As you read them you will see why all turkeys are not organic.

“Farmers and ranchers must accommodate the health and natural behavior of their animals year-round. For example, organic livestock must be:
– Generally, managed organically from the last third of gestation (mammals) or second day of life
(poultry).
– Allowed year-round access to the outdoors except under specific conditions (e.g., inclement weather).
– Raised on certified organic land meeting all organic crop production standards.
– Raised per animal health and welfare standards.
– Fed 100 percent certified organic feed, except for trace minerals and vitamins used to meet the animal’s nutritional requirements.
– Managed without antibiotics, added growth hormones, mammalian or avian byproducts, or other prohibited feed ingredients (e.g., urea, manure, or arsenic compounds).

(To read more visit the USDA’s website)

The two biggest things here is that the turkey is raised on organic land and fed 100% organic feed. What goes in the turkey need to be organic. If you are eating the turkey you are eating what the turkey ate indirectly. If that concerns you, you may want to consider an organic turkey.

In mass production of turkeys at places that are more like factories than farms, turkeys are fed a diet high in grain and corn without the food they would get if they were allowed to roam free. The cheap feed in all likelihood is going to have been treated with pesticides when growing and if it’s corn or soy is going to be genetically modified corn or soy. The chemicals they ingest can end up building up in their fatty tissues, which you then eat. Yummmy!

Antibiotics Used in Poultry Production
Another thing to be concerned about is antibiotics. When living in such tight quarters, sickness and disease is more likely. So the poultry is given antibiotics in their feed to “protect them” and any remnants of the antibiotics that remains in their system we digest. A turkey cannot be given antibiotics if it is to be considered organic.

Know Where Your Food Comes From
Just because a turkey is not organic doesn’t mean that it was fed “toxic sludge” it’s whole life. This is where getting to know where your food comes from is important. If you have concerns, express them to whoever produces the turkey you want to buy. If you don’t get the answers you want, move on. There is plenty of time now before Thanksgiving to ask these questions.

A Word About Growth Hormones
Whether organic or not, all turkeys grown in the US must be done so without given growth hormones. That practice is illegal, no matter how you raise your bird. So when that is listed on the packaging for a turkey is really isn’t telling you anything you didn’t already know.

How Much Does an Organic Turkey Cost?
It would be easy to buy organic if money is not object, but for many of us that is not the case. The cheapest organic turkeys I found where going for $3.99 per pound. A 15-pound bird is going to set you back $59.85. Until we can increase the demand for organic turkey and find ways to make producing them cheaper without sacrificing the organic integrity, the prices are going to be too high for a lot of Americans. Don’t feel guilty if that is the case.

Look for Antibiotic Free Turkeys
If you can’t go organic this year, maybe you can at least try to avoid turkeys given antibiotics. Select Whole Foods stores carry Nature’s Rancher turkeys that are antibiotic free, even though they are not certified organic. They go for $2.49/pound in most stores, with a few select stores at an even cheaper $1.99/pound (check my Whole Foods Market turkey price list). Trader Joe’s turkeys are also antibiotic free. Shop around, see what you can find in your price range. Consider a smaller bird to save money. Smaller turkeys cook quicker anyway, which means less chance of drying them out.

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Why Buy Diestel Turkeys for Thanksgiving

Turkey, turkey, turkey. Turkey on the mind. Everything right now is all about the turkey. I spent a good chunk of my time Monday evening researching turkey prices at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide. During the process I discovered a turkey ranch that really got my attention – Diestel. They offer a wide selection of options at Whole Foods stores on the west coast. I decided to check them out, see what they are all about and why you might considering purchasing one of their turkeys for your Thanksgiving feast this year.

Since 1949, Diestel Turkey Ranch has been raising turkeys on their ranch in Sonora, California, very close to Yosemite National Park (planning to go to the park, you should stop by the ranch!). It’s a family affair, spanning four generations.

Here are NINE REASONS to buy a Diestel turkey for this Thanksgiving:
1. The birds are given the freedom to roam free – for fresh air and exercise. They allow the birds to be birds!
2. They are given plenty of time to grow, no rushing to market. They don’t try to fatten up the turkeys so that they can sell them faster. They may take twice as long to grow, but you will taste the difference in the end product.
3. The turkeys free range diet is supplemented food that with comes from corn and soy that they carefully choose. The feed itself is milled right on the ranch. They built their first feed mill in 1956.
4. They take the time each day to check on the birds to see if there are any health concerns.
5. They grow multiple breeds for different weights, flavors, and to produce biological diversity.
6. They were the first turkey producer to score a Step 5+ on the Global Animal Parternship. These are the ratings you see on meat that you buy at Whole Foods Market.
7. Diestel was on the forefront of organic turkey. Tim Diestel was actually at national hearings that determine the organic standards for poultry.
8. Diestel has a compost program that not only reduces what goes into landfills, but also provides a product that provides compost for garden and school programs.
9. Once the turkeys are slaughtered, they use an old-fashion ice-chilling method that is meant to keep the birds nice and cold while limiting added water weight. Most mass produced turkeys are dumped into batches of cold water with chlorine added. Diestel using just H2O.

I adore companies who take the time to do things right, instead of rushing and trying to pinch every penny in the name of profit over quality. It really pays off for the company, the consumer, the animals, and the land. In a day and age where our country is full of extra large, profit focused companies it is a breath of fresh air (and the turkeys get to breathe that air too) to encounter a company like Diestel.

Cost of Diestel
To give you an idea of how much a Diestel turkey costs, here are the prices of their turkeys from a Whole Foods Market store in San Francisco.

Heirloom Turkeys $4.99/lb
Heidi Organic Turkeys $3.99/lb
Pastured Raised Turkey $5.99/lb
Non-GMO Project Verified Turkey $3.49/lb
Mediterranean Brined Turkey $4.99/lb
Original Brined Turkey $4.99/lb
Lemon Herb Brined Turkey $4.99/lb
Petite Turkeys $2.99/lb
Original Diestel Turkeys $2.99/lb

Obviously you’re not going to get one of those rock bottom 54 cent a pound sales on these birds (But if that is all you can afford by all means go ahead). The amount of love and care put into these turkeys is naturally going to cost more money. The prices for this quality of turkey is very reasonable. Their lowest cost options are $2.99/lb. One of them is a petite turkey that between 6-10 pounds, which is great if you are only having a very small get together. The original is the same price as well. Consider this, how often have you paid $2.99/lb or more for boneless skinless chicken or any kind of beef? Although these prices look high in comparison to a cheap frozen turkey, they don’t look high when you compare them across the entire gamet of meat.

To find where else you might purchase Diestel’s product, visit their website, enter into your address or zipcode. Their products are not available in every part of the country, unfortunately where I live their products aren’t available.

If my words weren’t enough to convince you to consider buying a Diestel turkey this Thanksgiving, check out this video produced by Whole Foods Market.

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Whole Foods Market Turkey Prices 2014

Are you interested in buying your turkey from Whole Foods Market? Wondering if it will fit into your budget this year? Today I am talking all things turkey from “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store”.

Whole Foods Market sells a wide range of turkeys. The first thing you need to know is that the company is split up into 11 regions (12 if you count the United Kingdom). What is available in each region is different. Certain regions out west have a ton more choices than regions further east. Check out this map to find your region.

All turkeys sold at Whole Foods Market are fresh. I did not find any frozen turkeys listed online. The cheapest prices in each region are typically $2.49/lb which gets you a fresh, quality turkey . Some regions carry heirloom or heritage turkeys, which come at a steeper price but will give you a more authentic Thanksgiving experience. These birds were descended from the first birds found in the United States. That would be a great story to tell right at the dinner table! Most regions carry a kosher option. This turkey has been certified kosher by Rabbi Babad and the Orthodox Union. In all regions you will be able to find a turkey breast for those looking for just the white meat as well as a certified organic option. Some regions carry turkeys that have been certifited non-GMO by the non-GMO Project.

All turkeys sold at Whole Foods have to meet these following standards:

5-Step® Animal Welfare rated
No antibiotics
No animal by-products in their feed
No Added solutions or injections
No added growth hormones

Organic Turkeys
All Whole Foods store carry organic turkeys but not all turkeys at Whole Foods are organic. To learn more about organic turkeys, check out my post What is an Organic Turkey?

Selection and Prices
The selection should be identical at all stores in a region. However you will see some special pricing at certain locations. For example, the store in Detroit, Michigan has a fresh turkey for $1.99/lb cheaper than the standard lowest price. I would assume that the prices you see for your region would be the max your going to see in that region. Still check with your specific store.

Region 1 Pacific Northwest

Prices from store in Seattle, Washington
Organic Whole Turkey (grown by the Pittman family) $3.99/lb
Whole Foods Market Whole Turkey $2.49/lb
Mary’s Free-Range Heritage Turkey comes from the Pitman Family Farm and are descended from the first breed of turkeys that existed in the United States. $5.99/lb

Region 2 Northern California

Why Buy Diestel Turkeys for Thanksgiving

If you live in Regions 2, 3, 5, or 11, you have the chance to purchase a Diestel’s turkey. Learn more about Diestel on my post entitled Why Buy a Diestel Turkey

Prices from store in San Francisco, California
Diestel’s Heirloom Turkeys $4.99/lb
Diestel’s Heidi Organic Turkeys $3.99/lb
Diestel’s Pastured Raised Turkey $5.99/lb
Diestel’s Non-GMO Project Verified Turkey $3.49/lb
Whole Foods Market Turkey $2.69/lb
Diestel’s Mediterranean Brined Turkey $4.99/lb
Diestel’s Original Brined Turkey $4.99/lb
Diestel’s Lemon Herb Brined Turkey $4.99/lb
Diestel’s Petite Turkeys $2.99/lb
Diestel’s Natural Turkeys $2.99/lb
Organic Bone-In Breast $7.99/lb
Organic Bone-In Half Breast $7.99/lb
Organic Boneless Turkey Breast Roll $8.99/lb
Natural Bone-In Turkey Breast $5.99/lb
Natural Bone-In Half Turkey Breast $5.99/lb
Natural Boneless Turkey Breast Roll $7.49/lb

Region 3 Southern Pacific

Prices from store in Laguna Niguel (Orange County), California
Mary’s Free Range $2.69/lb
Mary’s Organic $3.99/lb
Mary’s Heritage $5.99/lb
Diestel’s Free Range $2.79/lb
Diestel’s Free Range Boneless Turkey Breast $7.99/lb
Diestel’s Free Range Petite $2.79/lb
Heidi’s Hens Organic Turkey $3.99/lb
Kosher Valley Turkey $3.99/lb
Plainville Farms Brined Turkey $3.29/lb
Diestel’s Free Range Bone-In Breast $5.99/lb
Heidi’s Hen Organic Bone-In Breast $7.99/lb
Heidi’s Hen Organic Boneless Breast $8.99/lb
Mary’s Bone-In Breast $5.99/lb
Mary’s Boneless Breast $6.99/lb
Mary’s Organic Bone-In Breast $7.99/lb
Mary’s Organic Boneless Turkey Breast $8.99/lb

Region 4 Midwest

Prices from store in Ann Arbor, Michigan (my home store!)
Nature’s Rancher Fresh Turkey $2.49/lb
Larry Schultz Organic Turkey $3.99/lb
Valerie’s Family Organic Brined Whole Turkey $2.49/lb
Whole Kosher Turkey $2.99/lb (up $1 per pound from last year)
Bone-in Turkey Breast $4.99/lb
Boneless Turkey Breast $6.99/lb
Organic Bone-In Turkey Breast $6.99/lb

Please note that the stores in Lincoln, Nebraska and Detroit, Michigan have the following speical prices:
Nature’s Rancher Fresh Turkey $1.99/lb
Larry Schultz Organic Turkey $2.99/lb

Region 5 Southwest


Prices from store in Austin, Texas (the flagship store)
Bone-in Turkey Breast $5.99/lb
Boneless Turkey Breast $7.99/lb
Diestel All Natural Turkey $2.99/lb
Diestel Heirloom Organic $4.99/lb
Diestel Organic $3.99/lb
Nature’s Rancher $2.69/lb
Organic Bone-In Breast $7.99/lb
Organic Boneless Breast $8.99/lb

Region 6 North Atlantic


Prices from store in Boston, MA
Jaindl Farms Free Range (turkey served at the White House) $2.49/lb
Free Range Herb Rubbed Turkey $2.99/lb
Free Range Brined Turkey $2.99/lb
Free Range Organic $3.99/lb
Koch’s Turkey Farm Heirloom Bronze $3.99/lb
Plainville Free Range $2.99/lb
Boneless Turkey Breast $6.99/lb


Region 7 South


Prices from store in Atlanta, Georgia
Organic Turkey Breast $4.99/lb
Bone-In Turkey Breast $5.99/lb
Bells & Evan Whole Brined Turkey $2.99/lb
Whole Organic Turkey $3.99/lb
Whole Foods Market Fresh Turkey $2.49/lb

Region 8 Florida


Prices from store in Orlando, FL
Plainville Fresh Brined Turkey $2.99/lb
Nature’s Rancher Fresh $2.69/lb
Plainville Organic $3.99/lb
Kosher Valley Fresh $3.99/lb
Fresh Bone-In Breast $6.99/lb
Plainville Boneless Netted Turkey Breast $7.99/lb

Region 9 Mid-Atlantic

Prices from store in Columbus, Ohio
Fresh Natural Free Range Turkey $2.69/lb
Fresh Organic Turkey $3.99/lb
Fresh Brined Turkey $2.99/lb
Fresh Kosher Turkey $3.49/lb
Fresh Heirloom Turkey $3.49/lb
Fresh Bone-In Turkey Breast $4.99/lb
Fresh Boneless Turkey Breast $6.99/lb


Region 10 Northeast


Prices from store in New York City, NY
Jaindl Turkey Farms Organic Free Range $3.99/lb
Whole Foods Market Free Range Brined $2.99/lb
Whole Foods Market Free Range $2.49/lb
Plainville Organic $3.99/lb
Plainville Turkey $2.99/lb
Plainville Brined Turkey Breast $6.99/lb (bone-in), $7.99/lb (boneless)
Kosher Valley Turkey $3.49/lb
Koch’s Free Range Heirloom Bronze $4.99/lb

Region 11 Rocky Mountain


Prices from store in Denver, Colorado
Diestel’s Natural $2.49/lb
Diestel’s Organic $3.69/lb
Diestel’s Non-GMO Project Verified $3.49/lb
Diestel’s Organic Heirloom $4.99/lb
Diestel’s Step 5+ Pasture Raised $5.99/lb
Brined Turkey $1.99/lb
Diestel’s Petitie Whole Turkey $2.99/lb
Kosher Valley Farms $3.49/lb

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Chestnut Crab Apples

What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say “crap apple”? Do you think of some tree growing in our yard, your neighbor’s yard, or your favorite park? Do you have childhood memories of deciding that throwing a crab apple at someone was much more fun than actually eating one?

As we grow older our palates become more sophisticated – hopefully, at least mine did. Maybe you have grown to show some appreciate for crap apples. Apple jelly anyone? Just grabbing one and eating then out of hand? Probably not. Are crab apples just not worthy of eating out of hand? Or have you just not found the right crab apple. Let me introduce to you the Chestnut Crab – the apples I am munching on as I write this post.

I have more surprises up my sleeve – the Chestnut Crab was developed by the same people that brought the world the Honeycrisp – the University of Minnesota. It was developed back in 1946. You can buy your very own tree from the famous Stark Bros Nursery.

My Experience with this Apple (Rating Scale 1-10)

Aspect Score
Crispiness 8
Tartness 6
Apple Flavor 8
Sweetness 7
Juiciness 7
Where I Bought Them Tree-Mendus (Eau Claire MI)

Overall Feeling:
Wow, wow, wow, and wow so more. I love this apple. In my opinion – Best Crab apple EVER. Snack size mall, yet so flavorful. It packs the right amount of sweetness in perfect melody with it’s tart side. The flavor is rich and slightly nutty. My wife’s favorite part is the skin. We both think apples that have brown or russetting on them make for the best skin. If I wasn’t having so much fun eating them, I know they would make an excellent apple jelly or butter.

I made the mistake in 2013, of only tasting the Chestnut Crab at Whole Foods and not buying a bag. The moment they were available this year, I made sure to get myself a full bag of them. If you find them as your produce worker for a sample, do not just pass them by. They are a hard to find variety so your best bet is stores that carry more unique and heirloom apples as well as visiting a farmer’s market.

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Witch Finger Grapes 2014

Ladies and gentlemen – it’s time! All grapes lovers get ready to run to your local store to pick up some of the world’s tastiest and unique grapes, offered by the Grapery – in my opinion the premier grape grower in the country. Their Witch Finger grapes are now beginning to pop up in stores across the country. These grapes are red in color, look like long fingers, and have an amazing crisp bite and flavor. The season runs from July 20th to September 20th. The actual harvest began on July 8th, 2014.

My Journey to Find Witch Finger in 2014
My own personal journey to seek out these grapes in 2014

Here in Michigan I have two potential sources – Kroger and Rocky Produce (which is a distribuitor out of Detroit, Michigan). They supplied the Hiller’s store I bought them at last season. I first checked on Friday, July 18th at Hillers – no grapes – but I did find these cool Saskatoon Berries. Monday, July 21st, I walked out of Kroger with some Salted Caramel Ice Cream and milk, but no grapes yet.

Witch Finger Grapes

Where to Buy Them

This page is your source for where to find these grapes. I will be updating with confirmed locations as the season progresses. I hope I can successfully guide to grape bliss! You will find a basic store listings below and where you see a particular city that is a location that has been confirmed to have them.

Store Listings by State

Alabama
Publix
Rouses
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Alaska
None

Arizona
AJs
Sprouts
Sam’s Club

Arkansas
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

California
Sam’s Club
Sprouts
Raley’s
Gelson’s
The Fresh Market
Whole Foods
Sequoia Sandwich Shop (Bakersfield, CA)
Sully’s (Bakersfield, CA)

Colorado
King Soopers
Sprouts

Connecticut
Fresh Direct
Nathel & Nathel (Distributor)
The Fresh Market
Whole Foods

Delaware
TMK Produce (Distributor)

Florida
Publix
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Georgia
Sprouts
Publix
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Hawaii
None

Idaho
Yokes Fresh Market
Pacific Coast Fruit Company

Illinois
Schnucks
The Fresh Market
Target
Treasure Island Foods
Hy-Vee
Niemanns

Indiana
Kroger
Schnucks
The Fresh Market

Iowa
Hy-Vee
Niemanns
Schnucks
Sam’s Club

Kansas
The Fresh Market
Sprouts
Hy-Vee
Sam’s Club

Kentucky
The Fresh Market

Louisiana
Rouses
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Maine
None

Maryland
Wegmans
The Fresh Market
Whole Foods
TMK Produce (Distributor)

Massachusetts
Wegmans
The Fresh Market
Whole Foods

Michigan
The Produce Station (Ann Arbor, MI)
Kroger

Minnesota
Lunds/Byerlys
H Brooks
Hy-Vee
Target

Mississippi
Rouses
Sam’s Club

Missouri
Hy-Vee
Niemanns
Schnucks
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Montana
None

Nebraska
Hy-Vee
Sam’s Club

Nevada
Sprouts
Raley’s

New Hampshire
The Fresh Market

New Jersey
Wegmans
Sonoma Produce
Baldor
The Fresh Market
Nathel & Nathel (Distributor)
TMK Produce (Distributor)

New Mexico
Sprouts
Sam’s Club

New York
Fresh Direct
Nathel & Nathel (Distributor)
Baldor
The Fresh Market
Wegmans
Whole Foods

North Carolina
Publix
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

North Dakota
None

Ohio
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Oklahoma
Sprouts
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Oregon
Roth’s Fresh Markets
Pacific Coast Fruit Company
QFC

Pennsylvania
The Fresh Market
Wegmans
Sonoma Produce
Sam’s Club
TMK Produce (Distributor)

Rhode Island
None

South Carolina
The Fresh Market
Publix

South Dakota
Hy-Vee

Tennessee
The Fresh Market
Publix (confirmed in Chattanooga, TN)
Sam’s Club

Texas
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club
Publix
Whole Foods
Green & Fresh
HEB

Utah
Sprouts

Vermont
None

Virginia
The Fresh Market
Wegmans
Sam’s Club
TMK Produce (Distributor)

Washington
Town and Country Markets
Yoke’s Fresh Markets
Pacific Coast Fruit Company
QFC

West Virginia
None

Wisconsin
Schnucks
The Fresh Market
H Brooks

Wyoming
None

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Angelcots

For years I let the apricot be an afterthought in my life. I know it’s sad. I think it may have been from some jam I had years ago that I didn’t care for. I can’t remember ever having a fresh apricot growing up. A few years ago I start expanding my horizons in the stone fruit world to go beyond peaches and nectarines, and now apricots do have a place in my household. A well deserved place at that.

Not all apricots are the same. In recent years new exciting varieties have been released – one of them being the Angelcot® from Frieda’s Produce. These I recently got to try out. Right away you will notice a different – the skin is much lighter in color, almost white – not the usual orange hue. They come packaged in 1 lb clamshells, where they are referred to as “Mother Nature’s Juiciest Apricot” and “Heavenly White Apricots”. They are grown by F. A. Maggiore & Sons in Brentwood, California and distributed by Frieda’s. The variety was developed by Ross Sanborn from Iranian and Moroccan seeds.

Angelcots

What do they taste like? They are super sweet with a honey like taste. They are quite juicy and aren’t measly like a lot of the large apricot varieties you find in most stores. I think that is what turns people off to apricots. That and the flavor not being what it was. A move to San Joaquin Valley for cheaper land to grow on has caused varieties such as the Blenheim, that were flavorful to be replaced by varieties that could stand up to the heat in that area. These varieties don’t match up in the flavor department (read more about this in this New York Times article).

Angelcots are great to enjoy right out of hand or…

Angelcots in Ice Cream

Slice them up and mix them with vanilla bean ice cream with a good wildflower honey drizzled on top! Now that is what I call a summer time treat.

Where to Find Angelcots®
Angelcots are available at Trader Joe’s stores nationwide. They are also available at these locations while supplies last. The season runs from mid-June to beginning of July. Get to the store fast!

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
Safeway
Whole Foods
Mollie Stone’s

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Ralphs

COLORADO
City Market
King Soopers

KENTUCKY
Kroger Louisville
Kroger Shelbyville

ILLINOIS
Mariano’s
Whole Foods

INDIANA
Kroger
Whole Foods

IOWA
Whole Foods

MICHIGAN
Whole Foods (confirmed in Ann Arbor, Michigan)

MINNESOTA
Rainbow
Whole Foods

MISSOURI
Schnucks
Whole Foods

NEBRASKA
Whole Foods

NEW MEXICO
City Market

NORTH CAROLINA
Lowe’s Food

OHIO
Kroger Cincinnati
Kroger Columbus
Kroger Shelbyville

PENNSYLVANIA
Shop N Save

SOUTH CAROLINA
Lowe’s Food Stores

TEXAS
HEB
Central Market San Antonio
Central Market Houston
Kroger Dallas
Kroger Houston

TENNESSEE
Kroger Memphis
Kroger Nashville

UTAH
AF Fresh Market
Salt Lake City
City Market

WISCONSIN
Copps
Metro Market
Pick N Save
Whole Foods

WYOMING
City Market

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When Cherries Get Cheaper

If you are anything like me, you love cherries. I can just spend an afternoon tackling an entire bag. It’s always exciting when you see the first bag of cherries show up each year after a long wait. You reach for the bag and then you notice the price sign. Sticker shock! The first cherries, typically the Brook or Chealean variety can range from $7 to $12 per pound, generally around $8.99 is the starting point (at least it was this year at Whole Foods Market). When you grab a two pound bag you have just added $17.98 to your grocery bill. In your excitement over having cherries they will probably be gone in one day. Even thought I love my fruit, if I am going to spend $17.98 at the store I something that will be gone in a day, I opting for a nice steak.

Why Are They So Expensive?
Simple supply and demand. People want cherries but there isn’t much to meet up with the demand. California cherries are first on the market. Their crop doesn’t come close to the volume that comes out of Washington – the state. Reason being cherries need a certain number of chill hours where the plants go dormant. It’s hard for parts of California to meet that requirement, hence why it cannot compete with Washington. Being further south they are able to produce a crop earlier in the year. California cherry prices remain sky high until they get into the Bing variety (around mid to late May), and then you start seeing prices go down a bit, but still remain on the high side as store sales are hard to come by.

When Will The Prices of Cherries Get Cheaper?
Once Washington cherries come into season around early to mid June, you will start seeing the prices decline. California will finish up. When Washington arrive you will start seeing prices around $4.99 per pound or less. Around 4th of July when the Washington Bing cherries come out is when the buying will be at the best for the consumer. Bing cherries are the most grown sweet cherry variety and for a good reason, they are one of the best – flavor and texture. Combine that will a holiday and you can find awesome sales of even $1.99/pound during the time period. Prices go up as Bings are done but never go as high as they were at the start of the season.

Leave a comment below, let us know what prices you have seen for cherries this year.

Want to learn more about the cherry season? Check out my article on When Does Cherry Season Begin (and End)?

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Maple Vinegar

All like something new, now and again, right? I have been focusing more about shopping for food here at Eat Like No One Else, as those kinds of topics have been my most popular. So I am starting up a new weekly series on the blog talking about some of the best things that I have found at one of my favorite stores to shop at, Whole Foods Market. If you take some time to look around you may find some things you never knew where there. I am finding items all the time that I have never seen elsewhere. Whole Foods does sell many produce exclusive at their stores, such as Three Sisters cereal.

For the series, each week I will highlight something you is unique, tasty, a great value, etc. Let’s get right into the first selection. What happens when you take maple syrup and combine with a vinegar made from the same thing? The perfect combination of sweet rich maple syrup with the acidity of vinegar. What a brilliant idea! I love how you think at first you are just having maple syrup and that acidic bite of the vinegar hits your tongue and you realize you have met your match. I was glad to grab a bottle while it was on sale.

This vinegar is made by PurNatur, a member of the Citadelle Maple Syrup Producers’ Cooperative. Not a whole lot of information about them.

What to Use Maple Vinegar For?
If you are in a rush and need a salad dressing (I am sure that is your worst nightmare) you can just pour on a little bit of the maple vinegar and your ready to go. Got to love a vinegar that you can use as a salad dressing all by itself. Of course you can add oil, and some salt and create for yourself a simply vinaigrette (exactly what I ate tonight). Besides dressings you can use at as a part of a marinade. Or next time you bake a ham you can use it as part of a glaze. Just add your favorite mustard. Might be the best ham you ever had! What do you think might be a good use of this vinegar?

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Goat Muenster Cheese

When somehow ask whether you like goat cheese, do you a) smile and say yes please! or b) run for the nearest exit. People seem to have a strong opinion on goat cheese. It’s a love/hate thing, with not a lot of people in the middle. A lot of people assume that all goat cheese has this strong, earthy, tangy flavor. I am here to say that this isn’t true. You need to look for mild goat cheese and that can start by looking for typical cow’s milk cheese made from goat’s milk. Here are a few examples:

Goat Milk Muenster
This is one I found recently. Pasture Pride Cheese makes a goat milk muenster. Now I am not talking about the French version which is a strong stinky cheese, but the traditional American muenster that is white with orange around the edges. It is a mild cheese that one of my favorite melters. The goat milk version had the same feel as a muenster, a little extra kick, almost fresher taste. I picked up this cheese at Holiday Market in Canton, Michigan.

Goat Milk Cheddar
Trader Joe’s sells a 5 month old goat milk cheddar. It is a mild cheddar that is flavorful and not overly “goat”. This cheese is extremely white in color.

Goat Milk Gouda
Whole Foods Market sells Yodeling Goat Gouda. I picked it up once on one of their 3 day weekend sales. In a blind taste test I probably wouldn’t have assumed this is made from goat’s milk. It is a milder gouda with a tame flavor.

Lactose and Goat Cheese
People that have problem digesting the lactose in cow’s milk cheeses, may be better off with goat cheese. Goat cheese does still contain lactose however the fat globules in goat’s milk are smaller and do not separate in the milk. Goat’s milk is naturally homogenized. Some people may be able to do ok with goat’s cheese because of this, but still depends on the person. If you are someone that wants to try this and has been turned off by the taste of goat cheese in the past, might want to try one of the milder “cow-type” cheeses mentioned above.

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