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Whole Foods Market


hungry_moose
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Considering all of the conventional products sold at Whole Food Markets, I have been wondering what the name of the market really means. . . . .

Good question, and whether we like the shop, or the organization, whether we hate it, or like myself, we simply regard it as another source good for certain foods, is irrelevant to the question. For the record I shop there regularly, but have learned to simply bypass many of the aisles. My daughter buys more food there in the hope of reducing the additives in her son's diet. I've found the help friendly, but as Mimi notes, not terribly informed. I most often shop at the Fourteenth Street store in Manhattan, and as it's across the street from the Union Square greenmarket, I don't think about buying fish. It's not going to be as fresh as at the greenmarket fishmonger or as inexpensive as in Chinatown,

As much as anything else, I suspect the kind of thinking that assumed consumers would finish "whole" as "wholesome" in their minds.

I agree with this assessment, Bux. That said, in the past I've had some pretty uninformed help at Citarella's, especially since their expansion started...

to say nothing of their prices....easily 30% higher than almost anywhere else (except maybe D & D). I've not bought a single item of produce at WF yet, not necessarily because of the prices, but with a greenmarket and C'town as options, I just haven't. The stuff sure looks beautiful, though, and when I might need one of 6 varieties of peppers or 10 varieties of mushrooms, why not? I also bypass lots of aisles, but for things like whole grains, breads, certain canned items, pastas, etc. imo it trumps the competition. And to be perfectly honest, the fact that it is within walking distance surely has something to do with it - I mean, if Fairway or Zabar's was in Union Square, that's where I'd be going. But they're not, so...

And as far as meat - I've got Jeffrey in the Essex St. Market. Good guy and knows his stuff!

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I just figured that the name "Whole Foods" related to the fact that this is the term that's been used in England/Europe for decades when referring to organic, whole grain, healthier foods, usually vegetarian, without preservatives. This style of eating was mainstream over there years before it became prevalent in the US, and this seems to tie in to their tag line "World's Leading Natural and Organic Foods Supermarket"

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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I think the implication and connotation of "whole" was probably more important than any "real" meaning.

I agree. I'm sure the company (especially the marketing department that thought it up) doesn't care what, exactly, the consumer thinks "whole" means, as long as there is a positive connotation.

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  • 9 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I went and checked out the new Whole Foods today... lots of great finds! Fresh marshmallows in the bakery, a well-stocked olive bar, piles of good chocolates, and a machine that makes fresh peanut butter or almond butter right before your eyes. Plus free samples all over the place.

There are three sit down mini-cafes in the store, including one that had American comfort classics and one that had Asian food (sushi, tempura, etc.). The most interesting one, though, was way in the back by the fish counter -- it has a menu of fish and steaks, but they also have this cool service where they'll grill to order anything that you buy at the fish counter.

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^We tried out the fish grilling counter yesterday for lunch, and struck up a conversation with the head of the seafood department. They are still obviously working out some kinks (service was slow, fish was over-cooked), but their regular offerings (burgers, fish and chips, etc.) look decent. There's no charge for grilling the fish you purchase at the fish counter, only 50 cents extra if you want any of their marinades, or $2.99 extra for a side of pasta and vegetables. The guy asked us how the fish was after we had eaten, and I mentioned it was a bit overdone and he treated us to lunch. Very nice.

Overall, the Whole Foods is set up quite similar to the Whole Foods in North Van (Canada)--the prepared stuff, pizza, and Asian counter on the left side of the store, food aisles in the center, and produce on the right side. I thought their pizzas looked particularly tasty. The prepared food also looked like it was of good quality, and I liked how they were selling many local products/goods like Theo chocolates, Le Fournil pastries, Mighty-O Donuts, Macrina and Grand Central bread, etc. Great selection of cheeses, though no raw milk Epoisses (can't fault me for dreaming).

Edited by Ling (log)
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We visited the new Whole Foods yesterday (extremely convenient for us to reach on the #8 bus), which was not busy at all on a rainy morning. I was most impressed by the spectacular pastry/confectionery department--desserts, many marked "baked in house," that are a step above what I've seen at other WF stores (at least in appearance; I haven't tasted any yet), and a gorgeous chocolates section, an array of Theo (as Lorna mentioned, and much easier for me to get to than Fremont!), but also many other chocolatiers and patissiers. Several unfamiliar company names that I am curious to try. While people have been mentioning the focus on prepared foods to the exclusion of groceries, my quick glance around didn't reveal anything crucial missing. I picked up a box of my favorite 365 sourdough crackers on the way out.

Hungry Monkey May 2009
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5 pounds of cashews to bring home and make cashew butter.

And they were bordering on rancid when I got them home.

Not at all edible.

Wish I'd smelled that before I purchased them.

All went down the disposal.

Considering my cost, and the drive back to complain, it's a total loss. I won't bother, I just won't ever go back.

These people are slipping.

Do or die, they can now do it without my patronage.

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I was most impressed by the spectacular pastry/confectionery department--desserts, many marked "baked in house," that are a step above what I've seen at other WF stores (at least in appearance; I haven't tasted any yet)

I agree, though I haven't sampled their pastries yet, either. Their croissants look pretty good, though--dare I say even better than the Le Fournil ones in the same bakery case.

I went back to Whole Foods today to pick up some La Brea sourdough, and they had even more samples out than earlier in the week. Brownies, gelato (yes, they have a gelato counter), meatloaf, sausages, Fran's chocolates, cheeses, fruit, chips and guacamole, organic vegetable stir-fry--it was almost enough for lunch! :raz:

I also noticed huge freezers full of ice-cream...I haven't seen a selection like this since, well, ever. They even have pomegranate sorbet, rosewater ice-cream and various goat milk ice-creams.

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I was most impressed by the spectacular pastry/confectionery department--desserts, many marked "baked in house," that are a step above what I've seen at other WF stores (at least in appearance; I haven't tasted any yet),

The Morning Roll and the Pecan Sticky Bun. Yum!

Born Free, Now Expensive

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  • 2 weeks later...
I haven't sampled their pastries yet, either. Their croissants look pretty good

It's been my experience that the pastries look WAY better than they taste. My experience has only been the Roosevelt store and it's been a while since I tried any, so if things are better at So. Lk Union, let me know.

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Hi All,

My first post after lurking for nearly a month now, I adore Whole Foods and have the exquisite fortune to work within walking distance of the 'mother ship' (5th and Lamar, Austin, Texas). I am quite fond of their house brand (365), everything I've tried so far has been of great quality. I also really love the bakery breads, the Seeduction rolls, (whole grain with sesame, poppy, flax...) are divine with soup.

I guess I'm quite spoiled and haven't been to a Whole Foods in any other cities...

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gallery_11181_3123_52066.jpg

When cooked following the guidance on the package, it achieves a texture that heretofore I have only ever experienced in Italy. And...

gallery_11181_3491_85673.jpg

... which is one of the greatest things I've ever used. (Amazon.com also sells it, and for a lot less, I believe.)

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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We traveled to Kansas City for a family reunion for Thanksgiving, arriving Wednesday evening. We were participating in a house exchange, and 12 family members would all be sharing a house for the long weekend. In an attempt to make the holiday a little more relaxing, we decided to order a pre-cooked turkey from Whole Foods, and just make all the sides. This way, no one would have to spend hours attending to a giant bird in a strange oven - and we could all collaborate on the fun part - making the sides.

So, our 12.5 pound bird spent 1.5 hours in the oven, warming and browning. And I cannot tell a lie - it might have been one of the best turkeys I have ever eaten. It wasn't inexpensive but it was worth every penny.

Robin Tyler McWaters

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So, our 12.5 pound bird spent 1.5 hours in the oven

So? My 16-pound bird, starting raw, spent 2 hours in the oven. (Perhaps if I hadn't brined it, it would have taken 2.5 hours.)

And that was time that I got to spend doing art projects with my nieces instead of fussing with a unwieldy, large, naked bird. I clearly could have baked a turkey, but I chose to minimize the cooking time on this particular occasion.

This is a thread about finds at Whole Foods - if you look, most of the "finds" are convenience products. For me, that pre-cooked turkey was a convenience product that I am glad I found at Whole Foods.

Robin Tyler McWaters

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  • 2 weeks later...

The WF here in Raleigh, North Carolina is super. One of the items I buy the most of is the 1 pound box of spinach for only $6.99. It is almost always super fresh, and the plastic box it comes in keeps it fresh in the fridge for at least one week, if not more. Spinach is one of my favorite super foods for super salads. Also, you can find one of my family's favorite cheeses, that I can no longer find in Raleigh anywhere else...and that is the Norwegian "Getost," which means "goat cheese." Oh that wonderful rich, creamy texture and full flavor! It is the color of brick, but there is no other cheese like it that you will ever taste!

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  • 9 months later...

Over in the New York forum, Fat Guy has started a topic devoted to tracking what is and isn't available and/or happening at Fairway, the legendary grocer. (Click here for that topic.) Since I live in a much smaller city, it'd be a lonely project documenting, say, the changes at our wonderful East Side Marketplace.

But I'm also a regular shopper at both of the Whole Foods markets in Providence, and I've gotten to know a bit about their selection and services. Their butcher is my go-to butcher -- they are the only place to get Niman and Coleman pork in town, for example -- and when farmers' markets aren't in operation, we buy most of our produce there.

There are many topics in eG Forums that discuss other aspects of Whole Foods, such as CEO John Mackey's adventures on the internet, WF's foray into farmers' markets, and the Michael Pollan/Mackey exchange that resulted from Pollan's comments in Omnivore's Dilemma. This topic is devoted to what's on (or off) the shelves at Whole Foods, nationally and locally.

Here's a start. At our WFs their 365 olive oils have been replaced with a few different ones. There's still a generic, which we've been using regularly, and there's also a snappier Spanish oil. No indication on the labels as to what olives are used, unfortunately.

I'd also be interested to know how much flexibility butchers have to do special orders and the like at your local WF. I've brokered a few deals for Niman pork bellies and sausage casings, but it's extremely variable, even with the same butchers. On other days, asking for the rib eye on the bottom brings annoyed sighs.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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  • 2 weeks later...

As a counterpoint to the "Grocery store pet peeves" topic, I offer a small, but pleasant experience, with one of our local Whole Foods (the one on Hampden, for fellow Denverites)... I was in around 5 this evening, when it was fairly crowded, and just as I was signing my credit card slip I realized that I had forgotten to remove my milk from my cart. I handed it to the clerk (with a full line of people behind me, rolling their eyes and thinking, at least in my mind, well *this* is going to take a while) saying "I'm sorry, but I forgot this, can you put it back for me?" (I was trying not to make a scene and take more than my allotted time in the check-out line). She handed it back to me with a smile and said, go ahead, consider this one a sample and gave it to me for free. Now I'm not advocating this as a practice to get discounts on your groceries, but it was definitely a small incident of customer service that had me walking out of the store smiling and in just a little better of a mood when I came in--and honestly, isn't that what we want from a shopping experience? :smile:

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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I've had similar experiences, and get credit instantly on any purchases I deem lousy for whatever reason.

Still wondering if other WF customers have tried to place special butcher requests. I am currently in the midst of trying to arrange for a 50 lb purchase of pork bellies. Fingers crossed.

Also, have other folks noticed that their WF is carrying less conventional produce? It used to be that most items were both conventional and organic, but now there's less and less of the conventional. It's too bad for me (and ultimately them), because I'll forgo an absurdly expensive organic scallion to get a bunch for less at an Asian market.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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