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hazelnut exultation

(post, Sarah Gilbert)

I love, love Freddy Guys hazelnuts and enjoy my brief farmer's market-day conversations with Barb and Fritz Foulke. I'm not the only one who loves and reveres the two; they were featured in both [/books/collections/allbooks/thepaleysplacecookbook "Vitaly Paley's 'The Paley's Place Cookbook'"] and [/books/collections/allbooks/The+Farm+to+Table+Cookbook "Ivy Manning's 'The Farm to Table Cookbook'"] And when the farmer's market was closed for the winter, I was sadly casting about for a good hazelnut replacement.

At Bob's Red Mill in Milwaukie, Oregon, there was hope. When I biked down to pick up 25-pound bags of organic flour and oats, I checked out the bulk section, too. Most of the prices, I found, were just as high (or higher) than at People's Co-op, where I shop for most of my bulk foods (and much of my local produce in the winter); but there were hazelnuts! "Oregon-grown," the label said, and the raw hazelnuts were cheaper than Freddy Guys; $6.95 a pound. I wouldn't be back soon, so I bought two pounds.

On the way home, about three miles into our bike ride, I stopped with my son at a park to play. I was famished after pushing 100 pounds of grains and beans up hills and down hills, so I dug into the hazelnuts. Zoinks! They tasted, not only old, but also like bubble gum (could their bulk bin have recently held candy?_ I wondered).

I couldn't wait to buy Barb's hazelnuts, and I couldn't wait to confess how I'd strayed. "So, I bought some hazelnuts from Bob's Red Mill," I told her. "Aaannndd?" she asked hopefully. "They were awful!" I replied.

I won't reveal her exact response as it might appear uncharitable to the purveyors of the flour I love. But suffice it to say her hazelnuts were the first thing I dug into when I got home from the farmer's market; and Bob's hazelnuts will probably be fed to the chickens.

Maybe they like bubble gum.