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Sneak Peek at Whole Foods of Albany!

by Courtney on June 17, 2014

Yesterday afternoon, I was lucky enough to attend an exclusive media preview tour of the new Whole Foods that’s coming to Albany!

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The store will be open Mon-Sun from 8am – 10pm.

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!)

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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 turduckensMmm hmmm.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Oh, and the cheese? Oh. My. Goodness.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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While others in the group were looking around and asking various questions, I was just standing in the back, taking selfies with my pizza.

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Finally, our tour concluded at my most anticipated spot…the juice bar!

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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.

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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. ;)

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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.

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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!)

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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?

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shel@PeachyPalate June 17, 2014 at 9:58 am

I would LOVE a WholeFoods in this country let alone near me! That pizza does look incredible, I’d have been doing the same!

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2 Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat June 17, 2014 at 10:04 am

Basically, Whole Foods sounds amazing! I’ve only been to the store one time. I love the fact that everything is fully customizable and that you can try out certain things before you make a purchase. They really do cater to their customers! Bottom line, I need to get to Whole Foods again despite the fact that it’s a bit of a drive to get there.
Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat recently posted..19 Weeks – A Rough One

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3 Linz @ Itz Linz June 17, 2014 at 10:07 am

AMAZING! there is a new whole foods opening up in st louis that’s much closer to my house than the other two – itz going to be awesome!
Linz @ Itz Linz recently posted..Breastfeeding Support Group

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4 Em @ Love A Latte June 17, 2014 at 10:10 am

That’s so exciting! At least we have Wegmans here, but I really want to try Whole Foods sometime. Maybe one will come to Syracuse!
Em @ Love A Latte recently posted..Pregnancy Journey – 32 Weeks

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5 Lindsay & Tim @ Fit with Farrar June 17, 2014 at 10:31 am

We’re at our local Whole Foods once a week and hands down, the meat department is what makes it worth it! You cannot find better! Enjoy!

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6 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries June 17, 2014 at 10:47 am

So fun! If I had the wallet to shop at Whole Foods all the time, I’d probably be there every week. It’s such a fun store and has pretty much everything I’d ever want to eat. I limit it to once every 1-2 months for some fun extra stuff like nut butters, cheeses, and bars. The bulk bins are fun too!
Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries recently posted..More of Your Questions Answered Re: HA

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7 Tierney June 17, 2014 at 10:54 am

We love Whole Foods! The two best things (other than the cheese samples of course) are the meat department (OMG such good sausages and premade burgers) and the hot/cold bar. I could live off of the hot/cold bar!

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8 Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie June 17, 2014 at 10:58 am

We are getting a Whole Foods this fall, and I am so excited! I’ve never been to one before!
Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie recently posted..Weekend Confessions

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9 Claire June 17, 2014 at 11:04 am

The iced pumpkin cookies are a definite must. I also love the jalepeno Mac and cheese that is sometimes on the hot food bar. And if your store carries Purely Elizabeth granola, don’t pass it up! It is slightly pricey, but it’s so so good- and it’s free of refined sugars! I have a Whole Foods in my college town but not at home so I’m missing it right now!

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10 Brynn June 17, 2014 at 11:26 am

How exciting you were able to get a preview! I love WF, especially the hit and cold bars.
Brynn recently posted..Sparkling Raspberry Lemonade

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11 Traci June 17, 2014 at 11:29 am

Exciting! I love basically everything at WF. Since you already know about the hot/cold bars (THE best), here are some other finds I’ve been loving there lately: hard-to-find bars, especially from The Good Bean (made of chicpeas but so good), WF brand hummus, peanut butter you can grind in-house, and the bulk bins. I also love the WF brand wasabi rice crackers and the sandwiches at the deli counter.

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12 Brittany June 17, 2014 at 11:37 am

The salad bar for sure is #1. I really hope for your sake that they carry the no oil tahini dressing at the salad bar. Its ungodly amazing. And the vegan dumplings are beyond.
Brittany recently posted..I’m not a failure… yet

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13 Krystina June 17, 2014 at 11:43 am

My husband and I are pretty much obsessed with Whole Foods. I could eat their salad bar everyday! And we are lucky enough to have a Whole Foods right around the corner from us that is like no other. There is a sports bar inside that has 12 rotating taps and another bar inside with 6 more taps. They always have the best craft beers! And there is a wine bar upstairs that allows you to put money on a card and just pick your wine and serve yourself. I’m borderline embarrassed with how many times we go there a week. ;)

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14 Courtney June 17, 2014 at 11:45 am

Holy CRAP! Are you serious?!? What Whole Foods do you go to?! That sounds like an absolute dream!!

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15 Krystina June 17, 2014 at 11:47 am

It’s in Fairfax, VA. So if you ever find yourself down this way, make sure to check it out!

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16 megan June 17, 2014 at 10:15 pm

YES.. I go to this one in Fairfax all the time.. amazing :)

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17 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles June 17, 2014 at 11:48 am

On one hand, I wish that Canada had more than like, the 4 Whole Foods that it has, but on the other if I had one near me I’d spend waaaay too much time (and money) there. I’ve only done the hot/salad bar twice, but I really liked it!
Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted..White Chocolate and Blueberry Cookies.

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18 Leigha @ Minougirl June 17, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Oh my GOSH, this is so cool!!! I’ve never been to Whole Foods.. the nearest one is 4 hours away! So all of this was new to me! I need to move, ha
Leigha @ Minougirl recently posted..Single Serve Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Bake

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19 Kristen @ Vitamin K Girl June 17, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Aw man, your Whole Foods has a juice/coffee bar? Yours is so much better than my Whole Foods! I mean, we do have pretty much all the other stuff you mentioned, but I guess you can see where my priorities lie;)
Kristen @ Vitamin K Girl recently posted..Wedding Recap: Planning a Wedding in Italy

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20 Allie @ Running on Peanut Butter June 17, 2014 at 12:28 pm

hahahah just standing in the back taking selfies with my pizza. LOVE IT!! I wish we had a Whole Foods in my area… until then, I will just live vicariously through you! I’m with you on the juicing thing. I feel like for time and convenience, buying a juice is the way to go!

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21 Nikki @ grab your kicks June 17, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Man I wish we had a whole foods around here. I love that they use local products and you can try before you buy!! At least we have pretty good farmers markets.
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22 Lauren @ Focused To Be Fit June 17, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Oh how I wish I had a WF in my city. The closest one is 45 minutes away – boo! Probably saves me money, though. I love it there!
Lauren @ Focused To Be Fit recently posted..Fort Lauderdale – June 2014 – Part 1

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23 Rachel @ Blonde with a Chanse June 17, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Thank you so much for posting this! I have never been to a whole foods store, but I would really like to go :) Hopefully I will get one in my area soon.
Rachel @ Blonde with a Chanse recently posted..How I Trained for My First Half Marathon

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24 Polly @ Tasty Food Project June 17, 2014 at 2:46 pm

I love Whole Foods and think that’s awesome that you got to attend a preview! I like their deli section. It can be a little pricey but their food is so good!
Polly @ Tasty Food Project recently posted..Pineapple Curry Fried Quinoa

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25 Kate @ Kate Lives Healthy June 17, 2014 at 7:39 pm

I love Whole Foods and would love to go to a store preview! I am lucky enough to live quite close to a store. I find the bulk section offers great bargains. The hot/deli bar is great and don’t forget that they are happy to give you samples of any of the salads or items before you buy. Their monthly deal circular offers great coupons. I signed up for the email coupons and they will send you store specific and email subscriber only coupons as well. Great ways to save a bit of money….so you can treat yourself at the juice bar! :)
Kate @ Kate Lives Healthy recently posted..New York City Recap

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26 Nancy June 17, 2014 at 8:03 pm

I’m also a Whole Foods (and Trader Joe’s newbie) – I had NO idea they did this “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.”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Brilliant.
Nancy recently posted..Fitness recap: Ten K’s, yoga and bouldering

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27 Emily @ Life on Food June 17, 2014 at 8:04 pm

I love whole foods. I really enjoy the local flare at each one. I am super jealous that you have a bulk bin pasta area. Wish my local one had something like that.

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28 Gabrielle June 17, 2014 at 8:27 pm

I’ve only been to one whole foods and it was when I was in London, UK. I didn’t have much time so I browsed super quickly but knew I could have stayed there for hours! I remember grabbing a juice there too and it was awesome! We have no whole foods here in Quebec but I’m going to Virginia Beach in July and I already looked where was the closest WF haha I’m pathetic but I’m spoil excited to go!

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29 Kelly June 17, 2014 at 9:19 pm

I’m SOOOO excited it opens tomorrow!! I’ve missed Whole Foods! And I’m glad to see some local favorites in there :-)
Kelly recently posted..Random Thoughts on Life, Love, and Drunk People

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30 Shelly June 18, 2014 at 1:00 am

Nice! I love whole foods!!

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31 Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health June 18, 2014 at 11:19 am

Wow, that location looks so nice! The one by me is lacking a little, especially in the pizza department. I guess California can’t compare to New York when it comes to pizza!! ;)
Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health recently posted..East Maui: Red Sand Beach and The Seven Sacred Pools

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32 Holly June 18, 2014 at 6:00 pm

I love living in Austin Tx!! We have three Whole Foods alone!! (Plus sprouts, natural grocers, and trader joes). The headquarters downtown is huge and glorious! If you are ever down here, you have to visit! We love Topo Chico (imported Mexican mineral water), grind yourself nutter butters, Zing bars (dark chocolate coconut), chicken tortilla soup at the soup bar, their meats for sure, Jessicas gluten free almond cherry granola, desert pepper salsas and bean dips, juice bar, love bean fudge (lovebeanfudge.com), the bakery, and the list goes on!! :-)

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33 Amy June 19, 2014 at 12:06 am

The make your own nut butter station!! My husband and I will go just for that :) the honey roasted PB is my fave.

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34 lauren June 25, 2014 at 10:56 am

My favorite things to buy are produce (it’s awesome), organic chicken and grass fed ground beef – 3+lbs and you save 50 cents a pound. I also buy nuts, bulk stuff sometimes, gf pasta , their ice cream (rbgh free), dairy…I get a lot of staples. I appreciate all the organic and gmo free options.
I go regularly and shop the perimeter, which is comparable to stop & shop for me, but it is easy to go nuts, so you need to go in there with a plan.

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