Reading, Sunflower Seeds, and Trader Joes (Opened in Boise  February 28, 2014!)

What on earth, you ask, do sunflower seeds and Trader Joes have to do with reading?!

Probably nothing to anyone else, but to me, the ties are strong. It’s no surprise at this point to mention that one of my favorite pass times is reading. And going back to early, early days (pre-teen), a perfect afternoon was spent reading an intriguing book with a tasty big bag of sunflower seeds next to me, plowing my way through both seed and book. You could tell how engaging the book was by how rapidly the pile of sunflower seed shells rose in height!

I could (and still can) pop in 25 or more shelled seeds and munch through them – perfectly cracking each one at a time – no hands! I’ve seen sillier claims to fame in Ripley’s. The salt and fat content is a little high, but there are far worse snacks.

But before the good news in this blog post comes some sad news. The best brand of roasted sunflower seeds ever was Art’s Sunflower Seeds. Available in small or large bags (2-pounds worth!), this brand of seeds was carried for years and years by the Safeway grocery chain. This “Work-of-Art’s” combination of giant sunflower seeds, expertly roasted and topped with the perfect amount of “tender salt,” as they put it, was pure, seed-munching magic. But alas, Art’s sunflower brand is no more.

A moment of silence please. But just to see or confirm if I was crazy, I did a search and found someone else lamenting Art’s going out of business — and there was!

He (aka Pocket) said this:

“Have you ever heard of Art’s sunflower seeds? Anybody know what I’m talkin’ about? They’re the best sunflower seeds in the whole world….and Pocket is very sad they are going out of business….I demand answers to this tragedy?”

Sadly, I couldn’t commiserate with Pocket by responding to his lament. Like Art’s, his postings have gone by the wayside. Too bad he’ll never know there was at least one other chipmunk soul who knew exactly what he was talkin’ about!

My apologies to David’s brand, but someone needs to tell them to lay off the salt! Buying a David’s bag is like buying a canister of Morton’s and tossing in a few seeds — enough salt to put anyone’s taste buds into sodium chloride shock!

Is there any hope in this sunflower seed travesty? Thankfully yes — enter the third and best news of this post – Trader Joe’s!! Now here’s where I get doubly excited. First, Trader Joe’s is the king provider of all manner of nuts – almonds, pistachios, cashews, and so on, including a very decent brand of sunflower seeds. They don’t quite measure up to Art’s (no one ever will), but they come respectably close enough, and sufficiently so to keep my multi-tasking “sunflower seed + reading” habit going. Like Art’s, the seeds are large-to-giant in size, well roasted and usually evenly salted (sometimes erring slightly on the side of too much but mostly getting it right). If you get a bag that’s too salty – try again, as they do vary!). Thanks to TJ’s, we connoisseurs of sunflower seed excellence can face the future bravely without Art’s.

But even better than the sunflower seeds they bring, is the reality that finally, after multitudes of emails and requests to their “suggestion” boxes (many from me), Trader Joe’s has finally decided to come to our city, which where for hauling goods to by truck, is considered the middle of nowhere (that’s what they told me :->), otherwise known as the city of Boise, Idaho. I’ve heard our beautiful city of Boise described that way before by many, but mostly those who have either never been here or are trying to get to any large city from here by plane without making 45 connections (I get that)! But once you’ve been here and seen the beauty, you see Boise is itself the center of somewhere quite special! I assured Trader Joe’s it would be well worth the trip for all concerned and that we’d welcome them with bells on! If you don’t have your bells ready or are not excited by this news, you clearly haven’t experienced TJ’s wonderful wares.

At last, I won’t have to drive to Oregon, Nevada or California to get excellent frozen shrimps, dried fruits, sweet creamy chocolate, the world’s best hummus, savory sliced salami, sweet jams and jellies, great pureed and low-calorie soups, yummy frozen or packaged Indian dishes, fresh salads, 2 (and a half) Buck Chuck, and on and on –all reasonably priced for the frugal pocket book!

At long last,
Welcome to the currently reigning
sunflower-seed bearer–
AKA Trader Joe’s–
to the City of Trees!!