Months that end in "-ber" are the best months for eating mussels. I've bought mussels from WholeFoods, Capital Seafood Market on University Dr., and Harris Teeter. The best ones were from Capital Seafood Market. Almost all of them opened and they tasted fresh. WholeFoods is second best. Don't bother buying them from Teeter. Most of the ones I got didn't open. That means they were dead on arrival.
Mussels are a great starter course for a group or a meal for two. Store them in fridge and cook within a day of purchase. When you are ready to cook them, rinse the mussels well in cold water. Pull out any remaining beard which is dark green, fuzzy looking stuff.
In a large pot combine 2 cups of wine, 6 T butter, 1/2 chopped shallots, 1/2 t. dried thyme or 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf, 8 sprigs of parsley, pepper. Bring to a boil, then cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the alcohol burns off. Add the mussels to the pot and cover with a lid. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes or until the mussels open.
Serve the museels in a bowl and then pour the sauce over them. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with french bread.