A love letter to Whole Foods Market
Dear Whole Foods Market,
I’ve loved you since I first walked through your doors in California in 1999. I loved your fresh flowers, your salad bar, your little individual to-go servings of crème brulee.
I’ve tracked you down from coast to coast: Texas, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Alabama, Colorado, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Virginia. I’ve shopped in your St. Paul, Minn., store so many times I feel like a regular.
Your Whole Foods Market Cookbook contains some of my favorite and most-prepared recipes. Your salad bar, deli, bakery, cheese counter, and bulk food section have gotten me through countless road trips and hiking adventures. Your produce section is consistently photo-worthy.
I once walked to one of your Chicago stores while I was in town for an editors’ conference. During the lunch break, other editors stayed within a block or two of the hotel for lunch. I put on my walking shoes and walked nearly a mile to your store on West Huron. It was worth it. Your salad bar, deli, and bakery greeted me with fresh, flavorful, healthy foods. I sat in the dining area near the window and watched the people walk by. I felt like a local.
I’ve likewise walked ridiculous distances to locate your stores in New Orleans and Boston. But it was all part of the adventure. Some would say I’m obsessed with you. A stalker. A groupie. A fanatic. I just say I’m an admirer.
You seem to understand that I’m a vegetarian (and sometimes vegan). You label all of your prepared foods so I know what’s in them. You even mark your deli items with “vegetarian” and “vegan” symbols.
You have great coffee. When you’re in a state that allows it, you always have a lovely selection of beer and wine. You have that “365” label that I can count on for a lower-priced item without sacrificing quality. You have those veggie chips that look like packing peanuts but taste so wonderful on a long car ride. You do the best pico de gallo.
I visited your new West Des Moines store yesterday. It was strange. I’ve always had to come to you, and now you’ve come to me. I hardly knew how to act. You’re in Iowa. I’ll be able to run to you for a quick kale salad or loaf of cranberry-walnut bread in less than an hour.
Welcome, welcome, welcome.