North Raleigh Whole Foods Sneak Preview Tour
Disclaimer: Upon re-reading this post, it sounds like a love letter to Whole Foods/like I work for them. I don’t. They did not compensate me in any way, I’m just a girl who likes squash and squash purveyors.
It’s no secret that I am crazy excited for the new North Raleigh Whole Foods Market to open! Officially opening Wednesday, March 16, at 9AM, this Whole Foods store is located at 8710 Six Forks Road at the “Market at Colonnade” shopping center.
I have been following this store’s construction on its Facebook and Twitter accounts, where I was able to register for a sneak preview tour this weekend. Touring a grocery store may not sound like a thrilling Sunday afternoon to most people, but I couldn’t wait to see all the vegan offerings this store will have for my tummy. Plus, our tour guide, Wendy, started off by saying we would be “eating our way through the store,” tasting free samples from virtually every department. And we got goody bags at the end.
Too soon to have veggies on display, the produce section wasn’t stocked yet. But it was huge! And we got free samples from the made-to-order guacamole and salsa bar. Mmmmm….
Next, our tour guide told us that 85% of the garden section, located at the entrance and front of the store, comes from farms and gardens that are located within two hours of the store. I love that they are supporting local agriculture, and it means that the plants and local produce are fresher and less traumatized in shipping.
We also checked out the “Health Starts Here” Demo Station, which provides cooking information from a nutrition specialist. This Whole Foods will have hands-on demonstrations, cooking classes, and a supper club. I’ve never participated in these learning activities at other Whole Foods, but if you have, leave a comment and tell me what you thought.
The store was built keeping greener practices in mind, which is so nice to hear since I will be spending my money in it. An 11,400 gallon cistern collects rainwater from the roof that is then used to water the grounds and garden center. That water is also treated and dyed blue (to differentiate from potable water) for use in the restrooms. LED lights, recycled signage, doors in the frozen foods department, skylights, and biodiesel trucks are also being used by this store. A lot of the green materials used in the construction process are highlighted in an art project called the Green Wall above the cheese section.
All in all, I’m glad to have this grocery option so close to my apartment. Maybe I will be singing a different tune later, when I realize I’m broke from spending all my money on mock crab cakes and vegan cookies in the pre-made foods section.
If you are in Raleigh and you’re looking for obscure vegan ingredients and meat alternatives, I suggest you first go to Harmony Farms, a small mom and pop store near Crabtree Mall. They are so knowledgeable and health conscious, and it’s always good to support your local business. But if you can’t find what you need there, now you can get your Daiya and Tofutti Cuties at Whole Foods. Even though it’s a huge national chain, from everything I’ve heard it’s one with good business practices that will hopefully get involved in the community and partner with some great vendors and local NPOs in the future.
Welcome to the hood, Whole Foods!
PS – As part of my goody bag, I got some gourmet dog treats… anyone have a deserving pup that would gobble them up?