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Field Trip: Whole Foods brings Local and Organic options to our doorstep

Posted Dec 18 2008 7:31pm

We joined a Mothering & Play Group with some local moms (lots of our friends). On Fridays, we take the kiddos on field trips. Last Friday we went on an educational tour of Whole Foods Market, a national all-natural food chain. We have one a mile from our house and we wanted to explore what they had in the way of affordable healthy foods. The kids couldn't wait to get inside!

Admittedly, the coolest thing about our tour was the SAMPLES we were served in every department of the store. We started off with fresh, locally-grown, organic raspberries. Meilani was a big fan! The produce at Whole Foods is a mix of locally-grown conventional stuff and all-organic. They are very intentional about where they buy produce from and presenting the best quality to customers for maximum taste. This section in particular is pristine and inviting with all the colors of the fruits and vegetables.

One cool fact we found out is the bananas at Whole Foods are from Earth University in Costa Rica. I was really excited about this because I visited Earth University during my semester in Costa Rica in college. It's a cutting-edge place where they are reaching out doing community development and growing and selling fruit. They reach out to women particularly and help them build small businesses through a microloan program subsidized by their organic banana production. Pretty cool!

Next stop: the seafood department. Our guide let the kids touch a real crab and we oohed and ahhed over the prepared salmon cakes and homemade clam chowder. Then on to the Meat department to hear about all the range-free and hormone free beef, lamb, pork and poultry. The guy did joke about the prices telling us that some people call Whole Foods the "whole paycheck" store. That might not be entirely true if you know where the bargains are but you will pay a pretty penny for this high-quality meat.

After sampling soy milk, cheese and artisan olives, we ventured into the "prepared foods" section of Whole Foods. This is a healthy food mecca for people who don't like to cook. They have everything from freshly-prepared sushi to deli sandwiches. They served up slices of pizza made in their special brick oven for our tour group of little ones. Bon appetit!

We also went to the bakery with all its impressive fancy cakes and cream puffs. We sampled organic cookies. We also learned about Whole Foods open package policy. Because they have so many unique and special products, shoppers can ask any clerk to open a package and give them a taste. Unbelievable! We ended up in the cosmetic department (my fave) with all their paraben-free lotions and make-up. I scored some sparkly eye shadow and nail polish. We also went home with free samples of Barney Butter (almond butter) and organic soaps. Whole Foods wholly spoiled us!

Journey note:
We go to Whole Foods now about twice a month for specialty produce items, inexpensive staples (especially their coupon deals or 365 brand) and baking supplies (all kinds of natural sweeteners and whole grain flours). We love the prepared food section but we only can afford it if we have a special gift certificate. Looking for a great lunch date? Check out Whole Foods cafe area. They serve up awesome homemade soups and breads daily.
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