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Monday, October 12, 2020

Archer Farms Maple & Peanut Trail Mix

Almost exactly two years ago, I looked at Archer Farms Maple Trail Mix. No, this isn't simply a re-packaging and re-naming of the exact same product. There are different ingredients here, and both the wifey and I like this version better than the original. Let's take a look.

Where the original had stale Chex-esque cereal squares and boring, dog-treat-like "cookies," this iteration has maple-flavored confectionery coated pretzel balls and maple-glazed almonds. Both of those ingredients boast a candy sweetness, but they also let some real maple flavor through, with the almonds containing some actual maple syrup.

The original maple trail mix had raisins, while this version has craisins, or "dried, sweetened cranberries" if you prefer. I've always liked craisins more than raisins, so that's a good change, as well. Then there are honey roasted peanuts. They're scrumptious. I mean, I love any honey roasted peanuts, but these taste quite fresh and have just the right amount of saltiness and sweetness.

Finally, there are pumpkin seeds, AKA pepitas. These are the weakest element in my opinion—not because I don't like pepitas, but because I don't really feel like they belong in this mix. That is, they don't really add anything to the flavor. 

Even before the pumpkin seeds, there's already plenty of saltiness and nuttiness present. Furthermore, the vast majority of them settle at the bottom of the bag, making the last dozen handfuls or so essentially entirely pumpkin seeds, with maybe a few shreds of cranberry here and there.

All things considered, this is one of the best Archer Farms trail mixes I've tried in a long time. It's got a great combination of flavors, it's uniquely mapley and fall-ish, and it's very filling, too. My wife agrees. I'd call this "Awesome Autumn Trail Mix" or something like that since they already have a "Maple Trail Mix."

I would definitely repurchase. I hope they keep it around, even if they slap the GAG label on it. $3.69 for an 8.5oz bag.

I give this trail mix 9 out of 10 stars.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Archer Farms Maple Truffle Butter Cookies

This Archer Farms relic is still lingering there on Target's shelves. That is, it hasn't been Good & Gather-ified yet. You know, "Good & Gathered" would actually make more sense than Good & Gather because at least in the former case, both words are adjectives. By the way, if I ever started my own food line, I'd call it Bad & Dispersed.

No, I wouldn't. But I might call it Bowhunter Ranch. Pretty badass, huh?

These cookies actually tasted just a tad stale. And since Archer Farms is on the way out, I had to check the "best by" date on the box. They're good until April 2021. So...not sure why they were just a bit less fresh than their outstanding Raspberry Truffle Cookie counterparts. Still, they were pretty tasty.

I smelled a nice whiff of mapliciousness when I opened the cellophane wrapper on the tray of cookies. There's definitely an essence of the classic tree sap-based confection surrounding these treats. But honestly, after biting into one, I wanted more maple flavor in the cookie.

And unfortunately, it's not real maple syrup inside. It's "maple filling," with corn syrup as the main ingredient. I think real maple syrup would have seriously improved these cookies. Even if they would have been more expensive, it would have been worth it.

Even if putting real maple syrup inside would be impractical for whatever reason, they still would have benefited from more of the maple gel. The cookies were just a tad dryer than I expected. Despite the filling not being quite up to par with real maple syrup, the cookies would have been better with more liquid in the mix.

You can taste plenty of chocolate, and there's still a detectable amount of maple flavor. The vanilla cookie mostly gets lost in the mix. I feel like the flavors aren't quite as balanced here as the above-mentioned raspberry version. Still, these are a yummy autumn treat. I mean, technically, maple is a late winter/early spring flavor, but it has become known colloquially as a fall flavor, which is fine by me. Happy Fall, everybody. 

$3.69 for 18 cookies. It's doubtful I'll purchase them again unless they tweak the formula a little. 

I give these truffle butter cookies 7 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Good & Gather Roasted Artichoke & Spinach Hummus

Flavorful and fiber-rich, there's nothing like a good tub of hummus. It's so easy to eat, too. Just warm up a piece of pita bread, and soon you've got a makeshift Middle Eastern restaurant on your coffee table while you watch TV.

I usually don't even take the hummus out of the tub. I just dunk the bread right into the container, and when I'm done, I put it all back in the fridge. This product was no different.

I'm not sure if Archer Farms, Simply Balanced, or Market Pantry ever produced any hummus or not. If they did, I somehow missed it all those years. I'm a pretty big fan of the swirled chickpea delight, so I'm sure if I had ever seen it at Target, I would have tried it and probably reviewed it.

There's a subtle artichokey kinda flavor to this hummus, and like many other varieties and brands, there's a nice garlic undertone. I don't really remember tasting much in the way of lemon, capers, or spinach in the actual hummus mix. The peppers are mostly in the middle, where you'll also find bits of artichoke and spinach leaves. I usually feel like there aren't enough vegetable chunks in the middle of tubs of hummus like they did here. Sabra brand does something similar. But if you evenly disperse the center veggies throughout this product, there's plenty of them in this case.

There's nothing harsh about the taste. Sometimes there's just too much garlic or a nasty aftertaste with certain hummus. Not so here. It's got a refined mellow essence that makes it uber-noshable. Quality-wise, I'd put it on par with any other major hummus brand, and honestly, this flavor is probably one of the best combos I've ever tried.

All things considered, this is an extremely tasty condiment. $2.99 for the 10 oz container. I'd absolutely purchase again, and I'll be on the lookout for other flavors in this lineup.

I give this hummus 8 out of 10 stars.

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