The Bee's Knees
Michael Ubaldi, February 1, 2007.
As I reached for honey, down an aisle at Giant Eagle yesterday, I saw ten choices instead of three. I could only, once, buy clover honey associated with a bear, or a bee, or an Indian — but that was at Tops Friendly Market, the grocery store chain which recently sold a number of stores in northeastern Ohio to Giant Eagle, one of them in the building closest to my apartment. So there on the right side of the shelf were, in order, bottles of Dutch Gold honey gathered from bees frequenting orange blossoms, wildflowers, alfalfa, safflowers, buckwheat, sage and clovers.
The melted cheddar cheese sandwich has been a lunchtime meal of mine for years and honey, I discovered, is a fine condiment for it; so the stuff goes quickly. Six dollars for Dutch Gold seemed, in a moment's calculation, fair. Which one? This was a chance for excursion. With seven flavors in front of me, I decided that buckwheat honey, as dark as lager, would taste the least like regular honey. And: I was at least partially correct. Viscosity is no different between cultivations, but one won't confuse buckwheat with clover. There is a hint of molasses in buckwheat — Dutch Gold states that "it can be easily substituted for molasses in your favorite recipes."
Apparent here is Giant Eagle's better use of space than Tops'. No shelving was added between the change of ownership, and yet Giant Eagle provides variety out on the floor that Tops never did. At least seven other local and regional chains purchased stores from Tops, so competition in the area continues, but unless Tops was particularly below standard, one chain has an advantage.
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