Recently a Fresh Thyme Farmers Market grocery store opened up in our town. When I saw the sign go up a few months ago and checked it out online, I was super excited to check it out. I was at a friend’s house and we were all discussing it too. My one friend said they have weigh/bag your own spices so you can get just the pinch or more of that not so common spice so you don’t have to buy a whole container. This intrigued me. She said they have white pepper that you can bag up yourself. Um, you had me at white pepper! 🙂 White pepper is kinda difficult to find in grocery stores. Trust me, I’ve looked.
I had the grand opening marked on my calendar and after I dropped my two oldest to school, my little shadow and I went to the grand opening around 8:45 AM! I was excited. It was like a kid at Disney World. Well, maybe not quite that exciting, but pretty darn exciting. The place was busy and very crowded with other curious joes and people checking out the place. I’m not really a Whole Foods shopper. We have one in town and I’ve been there a couple of times. It’s ok, but just doesn’t do much for me. I’m not sure how people can afford to actually buy all their groceries there. Fresh Thyme is affiliated with Meijer which you all know I love and as my husband says is my second home. Fresh Thyme focuses on produce. That is clear right when you walk in. They have their produce right down the center of the store and all its beauty.
I walked around and they have a nice selection of bulk items which is just fun. A few isles filled with all sorts of grains, nuts, coffees, dry goods and even chocolate covered pretzels just waiting for you to dispense into a bag.
What I also like about Fresh Thyme is that it’s more realistic. They have organic, gluten-free and all kinds of healthy goods, but they also sell soda and junk food that we all buy from time to time. My husband was appalled one time when he was in a Whole Foods and there was not a 20 oz Coke in sight. I think they lost a customer for life. It’s great to offer healthy choices, but if I want a Coke, don’t you dare deny me. I’m an adult for pete’s sake. So I was pleased to report back to my husband that I spotted some cold Cokes in a case as I was leaving. they also have a nice selection of local craft beers which is always a selling feature for him. Fresh Thyme offers a nice selection of natural health and beauty products like deodorants, cleansers, lotions etc. A few bars of natural soap just happened to catch my nose and for $2 a bar, I couldn’t resist. They had some opening sales that jumped on like fresh asparagus bundles and fresh pineapple for $0.97 each. You can’t beat that price.
Everyone was very friendly and helpful and offering product samples throughout the store. I noticed they have a nice selection of fresh made pastas and ready to eat family style meals as well that looked good.
As I circled the produce, I noticed these large bags of fresh brussels sprouts and I grabbed one of those. I had been wanting to make this salad that a friend had made one that I really liked. I’ve tried brussels sprouts a few different ways, roasted in the oven, sautéed and honestly, I could not stand them. I wanted to like them. They are so pretty. So green and so good for you, but I hated the smell of the cooked brussels sprouts and ended up tossing most of the dishes I tried to my critters. Hopefully they enjoyed them. So when my friend made this salad, I was so excited to eat brussels spouts and actually like them. Now I know – raw brussels sprouts are the way to go for me! So I picked up a bag of brussels sprouts at Fresh Thyme. The sign said $3.99. I thought that was a good deal. I don’t know if it was the hustle and bustle or my little lady distracting me with her new BFF – the blue Fresh Thyme balloon they handed her when we walked in, but I must have missed the fine print that the price was $3.99 PER POUND. Ooops. When the lady rang me up and I looked at my receipt, I saw I had bought over 4 pounds of brussels sprouts and spent about $17.00. On Brussels Sprouts! This must be some amazing salad, right? Ha! So I learned my lesson, always ask if the price is per bag or per pound.
I froze the remaining 3 pounds without blanching so I’ll make this salad again in the future, but fresh brussels sprouts are ideal in the recipe. They have that fresh crunch that you just can’t always get once they have been frozen.
I know I won’t do the majority of my shopping at Fresh Thyme, but when looking for a specialty item, special spice or want good produce, it’s a great option. In case you are wondering, their chocolate hazelnut spread was great.
Brussels Sprout Salad
Rinse and cook the quinoa. It was cheaper for me to get a small amount in bulk, than buy a box of it at Fresh Thyme.
Chop up your lovely little sprouts. I cut them in half and then slice up thin.
Combine the chopped brussels sprouts, cranberries, orange segments and nuts in a bowl.
Toss gently to combine. Mix in the cooked and slightly cooled quinoa.
Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing.
Pour this over the salad and toss gently to coat.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Brussels Sprout Salad
Brussles Sprout Salad
1 pound raw fresh brussels sprouts. Rinsed, trimmed, and chopped
3 Mandarin oranges – peeled and separated into segments
1 C dry quinoa
2 C water
1 1/2 C dried cranberries
1/2 C chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 C orange juice
1/3 C olive oil
3 TBS red wine, rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer with cool water. Transfer to sauce pan and add 2 C of water and bring quinoa and water to a boil. Once to a boil, turn down to simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with fork and set aside to cool a bit until ready to mix in salad.
Combine rinsed, trimmed and chopped brussels sprouts, cranberries and nuts in a bowl.
Add in cooked and slightly cooled quinoa and stir.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour this over the salad. Toss gently to coat.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Keeps for a couple of days.