Last week while I perused the aisles at Sara's Market & Bakery in Richardson, Zaid Bayan, one of the owner's son, excitedly directed me towards one of their most popular items in the store: sunflower seeds.
Sara's is a cornucopia of unique items from the Middle East, plus it has a great old-school butcher shop, wonderful produce and massive pita bakery. The shelves are packed with imports and specialty goods, but Bayan said that when it comes to the sunflowers seeds, which take up an end cap plus additional shelf space, customers have been known to get in arguments when the stock is low. Seems that when there are only three bags left, some feel no one person should take them all.
Tadim sunflower seeds are imported from Turkey, where they are processed in a facility in Tuzla, on the outskirts of Istanbul. As you can see from the picture below, the seeds are a smidge longer, narrower and lighter in color than the popular David seeds and the like. And while the flavor is pretty much the same (salt and flour are the only ingredients besides the seeds), the texture of the shell is a bit softer.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to conduct some marketing research at a baseball tournament where sunflower shells littered every inch of ground. Bags bulged out of pockets and at least half the parents and coaches chewed and spat to quell their frayed nerves. Flavors ran the gamut: jalapeno, dill, Buffalo wing and bacon to name a few.
In small increments, Tadim seeds were tested on stinky people whose sustenance for the weekend had primarily relied on either sunflower seeds or the concession stand. In all, the taste test was a great success. There were requests from the dugout for more and a bit of bartering for the remainder of the bag.
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Most important ... with Tadim seeds, the boys went 3 and 0 on Sunday and won the tournament. Maybe the shoppers at Sara's know something we don't.