looking for cheap fennel in nova
Not sure how cheap Penzey's is, but I think they have the freshest spices around - they are certainly VERY comparable to spices you will find at the grocery store. In many cases, they are cheaper and the spices are so much more flavorful and fresh.
They have a store in Falls Church - below is a link their page on Fennel:
513 W Broad St, Falls Church, VA
I have never seen inexpensive fennel. Always seems to be at least $2 or above.
Maybe you could check the case price from a wholesaler and just pig out. It keeps pretty well in the crisper in the fridge.
Try potatoes and fennel au gratin. Extra special with some bleu cheese crumbled into it.
Terrific with fish too. Makes a wonderful fish stew with a light tomato broth.
I love the stuff. Could eat it every day.