A pinch of just the right spice can send a dull dish into the stratosphere, but it's so hard to keep spices around the house, because they tend to go stale before you get to use them. FoodDabbler has a great tip: Buy whole spices, nutmeg pods, coriander seeds, and the like; store in your freezer; grind as needed.
The two best local sources for whole spices, FoodDabbler continues, are Penzeys, which sells packages in multiple sizes for the home or professional chef, and Formaggio Kitchen, which sells small packs only.
Penzeys Spices [North of Boston]
1293 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington
Formaggio Kitchen [Cambridge]
244 Huron Avenue, Cambridge
Discuss: Where do you buy your whole spices?