Strum's Deli and Meats is a little hole-in-the-wall butcher shop on Westfield Road in Holyoke. Lynnafred and I visited it last week when, after months of having driven by the place and saying "Hey we oughta stop in there sometime," sometime finally arrived.
It's a decent store, much bigger on the inside than it looks from the small storefront. They've got quite a variety of cuts available, and they do some sausage making as well. I'll write more about the store in coming weeks - I want to go there again and sample some of the other stuff they offer - but today I'm going to tell you about their kielbasa.
Strum's kielbasa is very good. The spice blend is traditional and not too salty, and the smoke is well-balanced and not overpowering. The pork they use is high-quality without gristly bits being evident. It's a bit less fatty than I'm used to, which makes for a dryer sausage, but being a little leaner didn't detract from the flavor or enjoyability of the kielbasa - and it made it somewhat easier to grill without huge uncontrollable flareups.
Seriously, if the only kielbasa you've ever had is the crap packaged by Hillshire Farm, you owe it to yourself to find a good, small-label kielbasa, and preferably one that's made practically in your backyard (like Strum's if you live in Holyoke, or Janik if you live a little south of there in Enfield.) You'll be blown away by how awesome the local stuff is, and you'll wonder why you put up with that mass-marketed garbage for so long.