Walnut Grove Market is the store brand of Longs Drug Store. Longs Drug Store is a chain of 500+ drug stores across Calfornia, Nevada, Arizona, and Hawaii. The name "Walnut Grove Market" probably comes from the company being headquartered in Walnut Creek, CA, a town that was historically known for its walnut groves.
Just last Fall, Longs Drug Store was purchased by CVS Caremark.
Longs Drug Stores doesn't make its own jerky. It's actually made by Jack Link's. Walnut Grove Market also offers jerky in a peppered, and teriyaki variety.
I note that the "Best By" date on this is Feb 2009, just a week away from this review.
Beef, water, sugar, vinegar, salt, maltodextrin, flavorings, monosodium glutamate, spice, sodium erythorbate, citric acid, sodium nitrite.
The tastes I pick up from the surface of these pieces is, well not much at all. In the chewing I can taste a bit of salt.
It's a pretty bland tasting jerky.
The dominant flavor of this jerky? I don't think there's any flavor that's strong enough to warrant as dominant. I've had several pieces of this jerky already, and I haven't been able to put my finger on anything that stands out in a measurable amount to represent this jerky. There isn't any dominant flavor.
Even the salt intensity is light, but I wouldn't call it a dominant flavor by any stretch.
There are no natural meat flavors to find in this. And as for that "best by" date being only a week away from this review, I don't find any turned, rank, or festering meat taste. But I do sense a slight bit of staleness.
I can sense a wee bit of sweet, but it's also very light and something I only pick up in the initial chews, but then it quickly fades away.
Overall, there really isn't any significant flavor to this.
These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces.
While the top of the package is labeled "Soft N' Tender!" it's not really soft nor tender. But then that may be due to this jerky nearing its expiration date. Otherwise, it's somewhere in between "soft and tender" and "dry and chewy". It tears apart with relative ease provided you're tearing off with your teeth, and the chewing is rather chewy.
The chewing texture is not totally meat like. Some pieces to do seem to have a fibrous quality, similar to that of a steak. But several others chew down into granules of meat rather than mesh together like the fibers of a real steak. Some pieces have a touch of elasticity where they bend, flex and resist chewing to a small degree.
As for clean eating, my fingers are picking up a fair amount of oil from these pieces. Otherwise, I'm not getting any bits of meat falling on to my lap or desk.
I did find some pieces with significant amounts of fat, but I did't find them with any kind of spoiled flavor. And nor do I find any pieces with gristle or tendon.
I paid $4.99 for this 3.7 ounce package at a Longs Drug Store in Lake Elsinore, CA. That works out to a price of $1.35 per ounce, putting this into the average price range.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at this price, it's a poor value. Assuming you're jerky snacker who wants some flavor to enjoy, you're just not going to get any in this. And for that matter, I get no snackability out of it. While it doesn't taste bad, it just leaves me with no reason to reach for more.
I'm giving this a fair rating.
Perhaps it's strongest point is that it doesn't taste bad. But then again, it's doesn't good either. It just doesn't taste.
Or put it another way, this is a jerky for chewing and not for tasting. And if you're going to judge it on chewing, then it's mediocre, with a texture somewhat meat-like, but also one that went through some kind of molecular change of constitution.
It reminds me of one of those alien invasion movies, where a creature from outer space takes up residence in someone's abdominal cavity and slowly turned his body translucent and rubbery. It has some look and resemblance of meat, but clearly doesn't chew like it.
Considering that I bought this package only a few days ago, and it's nearly approached its expiration date, Longs Drugs might want to stamp their packages "Jack Style". It might sell better.
My recommended beer to wash this down with, is an IPA.
Where to buy:
- At any Longs Drug Store