Wednesday, October 13, 2010

From chicken feet to oysters on the half shell

Organic applesImage by Gudlyf via Flickr
Organic apples at Whole Foods Market look a lot better than these do.

I never know what I'll find at Whole Foods Market in Paramus. It's a wonderful store and a great experience to just roam around, especially if you shop carefully and look for sale items, and it's rarely so crowded that you feel rushed.

But as with most other food stores, it's hard to make sense of what goes on sale and when. I was in there one Tuesday, when wild Alaskan coho salmon fillets were on sale for one day at $7.99 a pound -- matching the price at Costco, which is as frenetic as Whole Foods is calm.

When a friend went looking for that salmon a few days later, the price was $10.99 a pound, also called a sale, and her husband complained the fish monger left the pin bones in. Next Tuesday, 6-ounce cups of Stonyfield Farm organic yogurt will be on sale, again for one day, at 10 for $4.

The Monday before last, I had a couple of hours to kill and drove over to the store, which is a little more than a mile from my home. My chief complaint about the store is the lack of free samples.

I bought a cup of black coffee ($1.71) and an 8-ounce container of vegetable soup ($2.99), which needed salt and pepper, and grabbed a bag of oyster crackers, as the woman in front of me did. I was charged 29 cents, but don't recall seeing a price sign; I thought they came with the soup.

I did better with oysters on the half shell. Over at the wonderful fish counter, "local," wild-caught Bluepoint oysters were selling for 99 cents each. I asked for six, and they were shucked and packed on ice in two plastic containers. At home, I squeezed on lemon and ate them right from the containers. (Some stores refuse to shuck oysters.)

One of my wife's specialties is chicken-foot soup, but I always recoil at what I imagine is the awful quality of the chicken feet she has purchased at ShopRite and Hackensack Market. After I nagged her mercilessly, she went to Whole Foods and found out it carries organic chicken feet for $3.49 a pound -- sometimes.

Last week, the Paramus store didn't have any, but the Whole Foods Market in Union Township did. It's called the Millburn-Union store, and we drove down for an unrelated reason. Besides the chicken feet, I bought organic Jona Gold apples for $1.49 a pound.

My other purchases in Paramus, along with the Bluepoint oysters, were organic red grapes, $1.99 a pound; a bottle of white zinfandel, $4.99; and organic green chard, $1.99.
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