Munchies With Max: Witness a Wholesome Wheatberry
By Max Gilbert ’13, Staff Writer
Upon returning to school by train last week, I once again passed by the little eatery, Wheatberry, and resolved to try it. Down Main Street past the police station about a quarter of a mile, the small bakery and café may be slightly off the beaten path for most Amherst students. For those on a mission to find the best coffee, sandwiches and baked goods in Amherst, however, Wheatberry should certainly be a destination.

Walking into Wheatberry was like walking into a stereotypical New-England hippie, organic, granola-type venue. As I took in the Bob Marley soundtrack, I looked at my options. They make everything fresh and to-order, and there are only two sandwich options each day. There was also an array of fresh baked goods, boasting whole-grain or whole-wheat descriptions. I chose a sandwich called “The Gobbler,” as well as a cup of coffee and a whole-wheat cranberry scone.

I drank my coffee while I waited for my sandwich to be prepared. There was only one employee working, who intermittently made my sandwich while she serviced other customers. I noticed that the same “Proudly Serving Dean’s Beans” sign that hangs over the coffee makers in Val was on the wall. The coffee was good, nothing to rave about, but obviously far better than Val’s.

I waited over 20 minutes before my sandwich was ready. I entertained myself by looking around at the pictures and bios of the farmers who apparently grew the wheat or raised the poultry for the food I was about to enjoy. Since there was nowhere to comfortably eat within the store, I took my sandwich to go.

“The Gobbler” featured “pasture-raised” local turkey with goat cheese and sweetened dried cranberries. There were big chunks of both white and dark meat turkey that was moist and delicious. The creamy, tart goat cheese and the sweet, chewy cranberries complimented the turkey very well. The best part of the sandwich by far was the bread, which had an amazing texture and a nutty taste. The sandwich was pressed on a Panini maker, and the bread was toasted to a crispy, crunchy perfection. My only complaint was that while the bread was hot and toasty, the turkey in the middle was still cold.

The pickle served with the sandwich was one of the strangest I have ever had. It was soggy, which is an offense I can rarely overcome. However, after tasting this pickle, I identified some flavor that was like nothing I had ever had before. Something in the brine-some herb or spice that I couldn’t put my finger on made this the most unique tasting pickle I had ever eaten. I could not make up my mind about whether the flavor was a positive contribution or not, so the watery sogginess of the pickle made the decision for me.

I finished my meal with my whole-wheat cranberry scone. The scone was crunchy on the outside and tender and flakey in the middle. It had just the right amount of sweetness, and the whole-wheat flour gave it a hearty, earthy flavor.

The overall experience of getting food from Wheatberry was a wholesome one. Knowing that everything that went into my meal was organic, all-natural, local and freshly made added that “responsible-eating” feeling. I would recommend Wheatberry to anyone who particularly enjoys eating establishments with a mission of using only all-natural and local products. I would most certainly not recommend Wheatberry to anyone who happens to be in a hurry. I am sure I will stop in again to try some more of the healthy baked goods, but my favorite sandwiches are still at the Black Sheep.

Issue 11, Submitted 2010-12-08 21:08:45