Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Now, finally, I know where my beef was born!

My little corner of the world is all abuzz this week, excited about the opening of yet another grocery store. Whole Foods Market is bringing its all-natural vibe, eco-friendly philosophy and stunningly high prices to our neighborhood and we’re all darned excited.

In fact, the lovely Miss Wendy and I got an inside peek on Monday. We joined with a couple dozen other folks and took a tour of the market – all shiny and new – as workers were putting the finishing touches on the place. That’s right, you heard me correctly, we toured the new market; even paid a few bucks for the opportunity. Hey, I was bored with nothing else to do!

I don’t think Disney need worry. Once you’ve glanced at a row of veggies or aisle filled with canned beans, and listened to the marketing patter of corporate toads, there’s little reason to take the tour a second time.

If you buy the company line, Whole Foods is only marginally interested in making a profit. What corporate honchos really want is to create a business that provides healthy grub that is harvested in an eco-friendly fashion – local produce, organic and tasty; free-range fowl, and beef that is so fresh you can almost hear it moo!

Such was the piffle eagerly offered up by all the clerks who shared a bit about the market and how the company’s philosophy, philanthropic efforts and customer care are changing the world. Overstated? “We can trace back every bit of beef we sell to the farm where it was raised and slaughtered,” one meat manager told us. I imagine if asked, he could also provide the names and family trees for the critters recently diced and sliced into hamburger and steaks, now resting comfortably in the market’s meat locker.

Okay, I’ll clamp down on the snark for a moment and readily agree that Whole Foods sells some interesting and tasty goods – I particularly like its selection of fish, aged cheeses and artisan breads. They also feature some creative and innovative ideas that cater to individual tastes and quirks.

Want a six-pack of beer, but different brands; your own special mix of peanut butter; a full meal, cooked and ready to serve? Whole Foods can make all this happen and, well, lots of other stuff. Now I’m starting to sound like I’ve swallowed the Kool-Aid too. Enough!

The grand opening is today and I imagine hundreds of my neighbors will make their way to the store. Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see what the foodie business in this area will look like down the road. Right now, within a two-mile radius of the new Whole Foods, there's a Traders Joe’s, Fresh Market, two Publix super markets and two Krogers. I say, let the games begin and bon app├ętit!

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