Today was a good day to go spend a morning at Whole Foods. I had wanted to go tomorrow with a good friend of mine, but because of wicked snows in the forecast for tomorrow, decided there’s no time like the present. Also I was inexplicably grumpy and there’s nothing like gorgeous displays of fancy foods to lighten my spirits. SofĂ­a loved it, and as a treat for being the sweetest baby ever the whole time, she got to devour her first hippie-style Fig Newton. And then she pestered me for more all the way home.

I was ostensibly going in the first place to taste-test their blue cheeses and decide if I wanted to make my own. Here’s what I came home with:

(Oh yes, three different blues. Well, one is a Roquefort. They were so good. So good. I could not resist.)

A lot more than I’d bargained for, but get this: everything I got is dual-purpose. Not only will they be eaten, but also saved for my garden later this year. Roast butternut squash is yummy, but just scoop out the seeds and I’ve saved myself a $3 packet of seeds. Bake the rest of those yams and put just one in the window to sprout, and it’ll eventually be good for a whole lotta meals. Same for the lemons and clementines.

I was thrilled to find scoop-your-own beans in the bulk foods. For about 25 cents each I bought enough soybeans, kidney beans, cannellini, and black beans to keep a family of 4 in beans for a year. These beans aren’t any different from the ones you buy in the seed packets, with the exception that they’re more boring (and cheaper). These are just your run-of-the-mill beans: not for me the named and beloved “Cherokee Trail of Tears” or “Lazy Housewife” or “Calypso” or “Walking Woman.” Too bad. These were nearly free, and saved me $12.

There were sunchokes for sale (underground tubers), which will keep nicely in the fridge till Spring and ought to do beautifully in our soil; and of course I bought some russet potatoes to sprout as well. They may not sprout in time – if they were grown in a drastically different climate than ours they won’t sprout till their internal clock goes off, be it August or May or whatever – but I think they will since I tried hard to verify that they were grown Stateside, so hopefully the climate won’t be too different.

I almost bought raw peanuts and popcorn too (I mean to get one of those antique hand grinders and make my own corn flour). And what about rice for the boggy patches? Hm. I abstained.

Even the three blue cheeses will get enjoyed, saved, and reused again and again as their cultures live on in my own household cheeses. They’re kind of like sourdough that way.

It brings a whole new light to grocery-store shopping: think of all the different kinds of heritage tomatoes they’ll have in summer! The varieties of melons! The squash in the fall! I’m already excited to stock up for Spring 2011.

So let’s see – if I’d bought these all at the online seed and plant stores I frequent I’d have paid:

$10+$10 shipping for the yams
$10+$10 shipping for the potatoes
$25 for the clementine tree (assuming it grows)
$25 for the meyer lemon tree
$3 each for the beans and butternut seeds
$10 for the sunchokes
$6 each for the blue cheese cultures, plus $8 shipping

Totals about $130. That doesn’t even include the shipping for the seeds and citrus trees, which is probably substantial. Versus the $30 spent today… Whoo-ee. I think I made a killing.

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