This is a bit long, but I'd really like some opinions at the end of this on all of your thoughts about organic produce.
So I finally went into the Whole Foods Market in Yorkville…
Hmm… My first impression of this place, is that it is really cute. It reminds me of the grocery store that Joe and I shopped at while staying in an apartment in Paris, France. Aside from the appearance of the grocery store (being lower than ground level, and with an abundance of cheeses and deli products), I couldn’t quite put my finger on why this store invoked the Paris grocery shopping memories… Until I looked at the prices of everything!
Here is what I purchased:
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 lemons
- 2 oranges
- 2 bosc pears
- 1 small bottle of “Happy Planet” smoothie
- 1 carton of pomegranate cherry juice
- about 1/2 cup of blueberry yogurt covered raisins
And… Well, that’s all. And my total bill came to a few cents over $19. No, I’m not kidding…
Normally, my instincts would have been to look at the cashier, laugh, and say “are you kidding me?”, and walk out of the store. But after hearing so many people talking about this place, and seeing at least 20 people walking around with their groceries in a “Whole Foods” bag every day, I wanted to give this whole “trying something new” thing the full 100% (all $19 of it).
I do have to admit, that the produce
looked pristine in comparison to our regular grocery store. (Sobeys. It’s even a little pricey there, but it’s right across the street from out building, so we shop there and use the savings on gas money to go towards the extra costs of their food. Ah, convenience. I will miss that once we move to Milton!) The produce was in smaller quantities, but I could not find a single bruise or finger nail marking on ANYTHING. (And yes, I search obsessively for that sort of thing!) I haven’t eaten the oranges or the pears yet, but after adding 1/2 of a lemon thinly sliced to my bottle of water, I must say that it tastes great. Very fresh, and sweet. The lemons were also all a deep and bright yellow, and very large, so would be perfect for baking… However, I could have searched a little harder at Sobey’s and found lemons that were just as good, for 1/2 of the price…
Maybe this is because it’s a seasonal thing, but the whole “supporting local farmers”
thing that they vow to do isn’t apparent when walking through the isles. The majority of the produce was from the United States. Organic? Sure. But definitely not local. Unfortunately, we can’t grow all produce all year-long or anything, so it’s hard to “keep it local”.
To be honest, I know organic
is supposed to be better for you, and for the environment… But when you take into account all of the fuels burnt into the atmosphere when these companies are transporting the “organic goods” from other countries, isn’t this just as bad for us? Whether you’re getting it from the food short-term, or in the air long-term, you can’t really win with this either way you look at it.
One item that I normally buy at Sobeys is Almond Breeze almond milk. (I love that stuff!) It was on sale at Whole Foods, priced at 2 for $4. Not bad. But that was the only item I found that was lower in price than any other store. EVERY item I looked at was at least
$0.25 – $0.50 more expensive than what I’m used to paying.
located just outside of the entrance is really
cute. The prices aren’t that
bad either. They have a bakery, coffee-house and a gelato stand. I tried the double pistachio gelato, and I was impressed. I love that stuff, so I’ll definitely be visiting that café again if I’m ever in the area… It was a couple of dollars for one scoop, but I don’t mind items like that being somewhat overpriced as it helps with portion control.
Will I shop at Whole Foods Market again? Not likely. As cute as it is inside of the store, the prices are just too high. I would end up spending all of my budgeted “food money” for the month on one week’s worth of groceries.
My final impression of the Whole Foods Market is not as positive as I would like it to be. Walking out of there with my large brown bag filled with over priced produce, I couldn’t help thinking how silly it was to have spent that much money on just a few things. I told myself all the way home, that no matter what I will make sure not one of those items gets wasted.
Maybe it’s just because I’m a little bit cheap, but the feeling that I get from that grocery store is that the crowd encouraged to shop there are “elite” organic food eaters, who feel that in order to get better quality food you have to pay more money. Not to judge them at all or anything, but I think I’ll just stick to my moderately priced food, and wait patiently for the local farmer’s markets to open this spring.
What do any of YOU think about Whole Foods? What about organic produce? Do you think it's worth it, or is there not the right balance when purchasing organic produce from places far away from home that require pollution-causing transportation? What about buying local in the spring/summer/fall?