Yesterday afternoon, I was lucky enough to attend an exclusive media preview tour of the new Whole Foods that’s coming to Albany!
As I mentioned before, I’ve been to different Whole Foods locations a couple of times, but never got the chance to really browse the store in its entirety and really see what it’s all about. Granted, the store wasn’t fully stocked yet when we were there yesterday, but I was able to learn quite a bit.
(Those of you who are Whole Foods veterans are probably going to find that this is no news to you. But for the others – especially locals who may not be too familiar with the store – I figured I’d share some of the knowledge I came away with yesterday!)
A good amount of the produce found in store is both organic and sourced from local and regional farms. They’re also big on food not going to waste so, for example, if you needed a butternut squash but only wanted half of one, they’ll cut it for you in store so you only have to pay for what you need. Everything can be fully customized.
Their meat department features real butchers in-house, allowing customers to custom order anything they desire — from roasts, to chops…even turduckens. Mmm hmmm.
All of their meats that are cut to order following the Global Animal Partnership’s 5-step welfare program, and are always free of antibiotics and added hormones.
And I think, quite possibly, one of the things that I’m most excited about is their 5 for $25 deal; pick any 5 items on the list below for just $25.00!
The one continuous theme that continued to remain throughout the store was local. Everywhere you turned, there were signs and tags for local items, coming from one of the 52 local vendors that were sourced just for this specific location.
Oh, and the cheese? Oh. My. Goodness.
Fun facts: They will open up anything in the store that you want to try and sample in-house before buying. They’ll custom cut any cheeses as well, so you’re only getting what you need. And all of the cheese stocked are rbST free with no antibiotics.
Unfortunately, the hot/cold bars weren’t yet stocked while we were there, which I’m sure is where I’ll easily be able to drop some cash monies when I visit once again.
The bakery was up and running though, and is also set to be featuring plenty of local, gluten-free vendors as well. All of their in-house bakery items are made without refined sugar, bleached flour, artificial colors, or preservatives.
The Albany location is going to be featuring a variety of cream pies, as well as homemade ice cream sandwiches. Ohhh, heck yes.
And in addition to the bakery, the Albany store also has a few more “specialty” offerings, including cheesesteaks, hearty salads, and pizzaaaaa.
While others in the group were looking around and asking various questions, I was just standing in the back, taking selfies with my pizza.
Finally, our tour concluded at my most anticipated spot…the juice bar!
I’ll tell ya…if produce didn’t cost so much (and take up so much space in my fridge) and I thought I’d actually use a juicer, I would totally drink juices like this every. single. day.
But, being a realist, I know that I’d probably use a juicer like, twice, and then be done with it. Sooo, for now, I’ll just have to get my fix at Whole Foods.
I got myself a “Green Passion” juice, which I *believe* was apple, kale, parsley, celery, spinach, and cucumber. So light, so refreshing, so freakin’ delicious.
We were all gifted a little goody bag on our way out, featuring a few products from local vendors (including one of my favorite local PB companies!)
I’m excited to head back when they’re officially open so I can do a little shopping…and yes, I think now that it’ll be worth braving the crowds.
To the Whole Foods vets…what are some of your must-haves? Anything you’d recommend to a newbie shopping there for the first time?