Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sneak Peek Tour

I know what you're thinking. A photo of a Whole Foods? Big deal. There are Whole Foods every where, and it's just a grocery store for smug people who like organic food and tofu. Well, you're right, but that's not the point. The point is that this Whole Foods is different. This Whole Foods just happens to be brand new and located less than a mile from my house in Wilmington, North Carolina. Can I get an OMG?

When we first found out we were moving to Wilmington, I searched to see if the city had a Whole Foods. It did not, but recent news articles said one was coming in the spring. Since I have never lived anywhere that had a Whole Foods, only visiting the stores when I was traveling in bigger cities, like a grocery store mecca, I was understandably excited. And when we arrived in North Carolina and I saw the sign outside the building that said "May 2012," I got more excited. And when May arrived, and the store was offering preview tours for five bucks (all of which would go to charity) before the big grand opening this Wednesday, I immediately signed up. 

(You might be wondering, at this point, what the big deal is about a new grocery store. Nathan did as well, and looked at me like I was crazy when I told him about the tour I would be paying for. "Why can't you just wait an extra two days and go to the store when it's opened?" he said. There are two people in this world: those who eat to live, and those who live to eat. I will let you guess which camps Nathan and I fall into. Also, after living in the vegetarian wasteland of East Texas for seven years, I think I've earned the right to be excited about my very own Whole Foods. I love you, Nacogdoches, but we both know it's true.)

Our enthusiastic tour guide.

Luckily, my friend Erica also loves food, so yesterday at 1:12PM we showed up at the Whole Foods and got in line for our tour. And friends: I was in heaven. 

Bulk food galore!

The bulk food section was impressive. Best of all, you can bring in your own bags and jars from home, have them weighed at customer service, and then refill them. At check out, the cashier will deduct your starting weight from the final total. Brilliant!

Rows and rows of delicious, good for you treats!

The grand opening is tomorrow and I plan to attend the free breakfast and the bread breaking (in lieu of ribbon cutting). During our tour, employees were actually still putting the finishing touches on everything, and it was neat to see the store in stages, half finished and slowly filling up with amazing produce and products. 

New Belgium beers - IN CANS!

I had a hard time deciding which part of the store I was most excited about - the beer and wine section, the bakery, or the prepared foods. Good think I have two+ years to try them all. 

Oh, I will.

Cucumber avocado sushi samples. Don't mind if I do.

In each department, we were treated to free samples. Pineapple and blueberries in the produce section, crackers in the grocery aisle, sushi in prepared foods. It was all delicious. (I skipped the meat and seafood, naturally.)

Quality standards.

Every tour should end with cupcakes and goodie bags.

At the end of the tour, we were each given a goodie bag. Mine contained a bag of whole wheat pasta, a jar of roasted vegetable tomato sauce, a big can of crushed tomatoes, a granola bar, and a bag of animal crackers. Three guesses as to what we're having for dinner tonight. Also, the contents of that goodie bag was definitely worth more than five dollars, so I now I feel both charitable AND thrifty.

Thanks, Whole Foods! I can't wait to give you all my money!

Whole Foods Market did not sponsor or ask me to write this and probably thinks I'm a little bit weird for devoting a whole blog post to them. Good thing I'm okay with that.