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Apr 26, 2009 12:03 PM

Source for fresh hearts of palm and other unusual ingredients...

Looking for the following:

fresh hearts of palm
purple potatoes
guava puree

for the first two, I'm thinking Russo's, and for the third some Latin-American foods market. I live in Somerville. thanks.

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  1. I know Sams is pretty similar all over. I'm in FL, but when I was in PA 2 months ago I got purple potatoes and I know whole foods does. Hearts of Palm Sams had, same with whole foods and Costco and all of our regular grocery stores. Guava puree most liquor stores have.

    I know it isn't Boston related but most of the stores are pretty similar is most places.

    10 Replies
    1. re: kchurchill5

      kc-- boston is a tiny congested city. we don't have big box stores like a costco.

      wholefoods does have purple potatoes sometimes, though. i live in eastie and all the latin markets carry guava puree and i see fresh hearts of palm at haymarket most times.

      1. re: hotoynoodle

        I knew it was congested but some of the outskirts have the bigger store as wasn't sure where you lived. Understand. I'm sure markets from store to store due to the region vary as well.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          There definitely are Costcos in the Boston area, just not within the city limits! I visit the one in Waltham regularly. It is just west of route 128 Exit 27B. From what I have been told by the people who work there, it is one of the busiest stores in the region.

          That aside, Russo's regularly has purple potatoes. I have never seen fresh hearts of palm there. If you go there, visit the nearby Stop and Shop (on the same side of the street, less than a minute away if you go towards Waltham) and I am sure you will find guava puree in appropriate spot on the ethnic food aisle.

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              When we were up north 10 miles around the lake with back roads and the closest was IGA, beer and a few canned things was it. But anywhere you drove up there took a while. Now in FL, 1 block is about all I drive, maybe 30 minutes actually but probably 8 miles to downtown, traffic for purple or some more gourmet items, but not a bad drive.

              1. re: kchurchill5

                you drive one block?

                can we get some sense of perspective here? i can walk 2 minutes and be to a store and buy potatoes. driving 10 miles from boston to buy potatoes is absurd.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  1 block to 1 main grocery store, 5 minutes to 3 or 4 others and probably 25 minutes to specialty markets but in actuality only 5-8 miles. Just traffic. But usually my local store has hearts of palm, purple potatoes and the liquor store across the street has the quava. It is safer to drive rather than try to cross the street on foot.

              2. re: hotoynoodle

                The OP was thinking of Russo's anyway. Is it really 10 miles from Somerville to Watertown? Or Eastie to Watertown? In any case, Russo's is not that far from the Waltham Costco. I often make a circuit with the two, perhaps adding a stop at one of the Indian groceries on Moody Street in the middle.

                The thing about Boston is... it is bigger that just Boston! :-)

                1. re: PinchOfSalt

                  There is a Costco on Rt 16 in Everett that is significantly closer than Russo's to many parts of Somerville.

                  That being said, I would choose Russo's :) I bought some purple fingerlings there just the other day.

                  1. re: dtremit

                    I saw those purple fingerlings at Russo's on Saturday, and I actually passed on them, since they seemed a bit shrivelled to me. Did they taste good?

        2. Not sure if I am 100% correct on this, but hearts of palm I believe are seldom fresh. They generally come in cans. Big huge food service cans, or smaller ones, but they are generally cooked before distribution, and thus are canned.

          Guava puree can be found at any latino market in somerville, lynn, or JP.

          10 Replies
          1. re: StriperGuy

            WF in Newton had fresh hearts of palm last year.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              It's true hearts of palm are rarely sold fresh. (That's why I asked for a source) Supposedly the fresh ones are very different and I'd like to try them. Regarding the Sam's/Costco issue, I don't have memberships at those places and don't want to shop there so those are out.

              To hotoynoodle: any guidance within haymarket as to where the hearts of palm might be found?

              thanks to all for the info!

              1. re: bella_sarda

                sorry, lol, "towards the middle" is about the best i can do. i've never purchased them. maybe ask in one of the halal markets downstairs. they might know more specifically which stall has them.

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    good question---as far as I know they are long, cylindrical, and pale colored, but I'v'e never seen them fresh.

                    1. re: bella_sarda

                      I wondered if they came in bark or something. Or looked like the jarred kind.

              2. re: StriperGuy

                I couldn't find the guava puree at El Internacional in Union Sq, Somerville, which is my go-to for Mexican, Central Am., South Am., etc., ingredients. They had frozen naranjilla puree, by Goya, and the label indicates that Goya also makes a frozen guava puree. The liquor store across the street (Jerry's) had no idea what I was talking about. I don't mean guava juice/nectar, by the way. I'm thinking Market Basket will probably have it, or, failing that, one of the Brazilian groceries in Somerville, or Tropical Foods on Washington St. in Roxbury. Can anyone confirm guava puree at any of these places? I may just go with the naranjilla, but it's an odd fruit, less sweet than guava, so I'm not sure how it will substitute in the recipe. Thanks.

                1. re: bella_sarda

                  I would start with Casa de Carnes Solucao a bit further up on Bow street from Capone's. There they usually have a Brazilian pulp (until they run out) which I think is better quality (you can by by the box or tube), but probably a bit more expensive. It usually has the year of the harvest (based on last year they should be getting 2009 in now or reasonably soon). The Somerville MB doesn't carry all of the frozen Goya products, they usually have passion fruit and I think guanabana... but if they have guava its not all the time (they do have the juice concentrate and sometimes fresh, but its usually been white guava, the Super88 is a better choice*). The next place I would try is Tony's Foodland on Broadway which is a bit more complete than La Internacional -- they may even have the Brazilian as well as either Goya or La Fe (which seem interchangeable). S&S on McGrath is a decent bet... I think the Twin Cities Shaw has La Fe.

                  * I am probably going to buy a couple of boxes at some point and can give some pointers to wholesalers in Chelsea which offer them, although at this time of year its a bit harder to find them.

                  1. re: itaunas

                    wow--muchas gracias, itaunas. That's a really helpful post. I will definitely try the Casa de Carnes. I know exactly where it is. If I don't get it there I'll check out the other options.

                    1. re: bella_sarda

                      Wanted to follow up that I found guava puree, as well as passion fruit puree and several others, at Casa de Carnes Solucao. It's great stuff! Still smells like fresh fruit. It makes beautiful sorbets, cocktails, etc. So thanks much, itaunas.