My Whole Foods Shopping Trip!

With the holidays over and things back to normal, I decided today was the perfect day to try out Whole Foods. I could tell by my husband's face that he was not excited for me to embark on this organic journey, but I was happily surprised when he willingly stayed home with the kids.

I packed up all the organic coupons I had and headed for the city. As I neared the Whole Foods parking lot, I noticed all sorts of organic, consignment, and earth friendly stores. I was intrigued, and that's when I realized....OMG, I am a hippy!

My husband had been saying it for years, but not until I saw all those stores in one place and recognized my attachment to them was I finally willing to admit it. I finally saw what other people must see when they see me running out of our garden with mud on my face and hands excitedly rambling on about some new bug or plant I discovered. I really am one of those bearded wilderness guys that eats mushrooms right out of the ground..... I started wondering how many people I had told about my plans to seed shitake mushrooms near my oak trees this year...and tap our maples....and......

As hippy as my spirit may be, I bet I was the only thirty something mom pulling into Whole Foods with the Beastie Boys blaring through the speakers. There...I'm an original. :)

That being said, I was extremely impressed with Whole Foods. It was everything I wanted a grocery store to be, almost. As soon as I walked in, I grabbed the Whole Deal  (Thanks Susan) and looked through the deals and coupons. And then I stepped in to the best produce department ever! There was so much of it and so many varieties. It was all super expensive too. But it was organic and it all looked like high quality merchandise. On it's own, this would be enough to bring me to Whole Foods. Then there were endless cases of fresh meat and seafood. Loved it, though the site of all that animal flesh did make me feel a little woozy. All of the fresh items said where they came from. Such and such farm in Missouri, such and such farm in Illinois.... I liked that, but it didn't tell me a lot about "how" they were farmed and so I passed up many things just for lack of information.

I went to Whole Foods hoping to find a supplier of organic, humanely raised meat, dairy and eggs. Today I really wanted to find dairy and milk. I had researched a few brands and I'm currently reading Real Food: What to Eat and Why, so I felt I had a good idea of what I was looking for in eggs and milk. But Whole Foods had an enormous variety of eggs and milk. I don't know why but I expected to find milk as close to Raw as legally allowed and only found one brand that fit the bill. It was new to me and I hadn't had a chance to read up on it, so for $6+ per gallon, I decided to read a little more before I jumped in.

As a gourmet grocery store, Whole Foods was really cool. There were so many varieties of cheeses, olives, spreads, seafood, a whole vegan section, and pretty much everything else. It was awesome. But I became increasingly annoyed when I saw things I normally see at Target or our local grocery store that Whole Foods priced for 40-60% more. All of the Kashi, Annie's, Morningstar, Applegate, Organic Valley, Santa Cruz, Blue Horizon, and other organic brands I see regularly were consistently priced higher at Whole Foods. Even cat foods! I've been scoping out cat foods (ingredients and prices) for the last month and Whole Foods charged more for the same foods. My main mission was to buy humanely raised animal products, but since I couldn't find much specific farm or label information, I didn't buy a lot there.

Here's what I did buy:


1 package of whole wheat tortillas and a Steaz Iced tea. I had a free coupon for the tea, so my total was $1.69.

I had sincerely hoped Whole Foods could be my savior for all things organic or at least my transition to all local farm goods. But the distance and overall pricing means I probably won't go back. Well...maybe I'll go back in March when it's so dreary and I'm dreaming of gardening. I'll go back just to wander through the produce section. ;)

So far, my goal of eating humanely and organically has been extremely difficult with a very steep learning curve, but I'm not one to give up just because things get tough. I've called every local butcher, researched local CSAs, found a few local organic farmers, and have been checking out new stores and sections of old stores. Every one has a little piece of the answer, but there isn't one easy solution yet. I don't want to run all over town to get different parts from different farms, so I'm still on the lookout. It looks like our transition is going to come in bits and pieces. Hopefully this will also ease my husband into our new food spending.

For groceries this week, I am going to pick up some grass fed beef at Target ($5.99/lb) and wing it from our pantry until I get a better idea. :)

14 comments:

LatteLaura said...

Ha, ha, around our house our nickname for Whole Foods is "Whole Paycheck!" We live four minutes away from it and I can get a few good deals, but you are right, most of their stuff is PRICEY! Good luck on your journey to eat more organic!

Camille said...

I'm on the path to organic eating as well! I love Whole Foods, but yes, you have to be very careful what you get there! I can't find where you are located, but I order in bulk from Azure Standard -- you can check their website to see if there is a drop near you. Most of their items will tell you exactly where they are from and how they are produced. The prices are terrific. Good luck!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

Sometimes they have great coupon! I got a free chicken!

Jennifer said...

I feel the same way about Whole Foods. Have you checked out the Eat Wild website? YOu can find locally raised, organic, grass fed meats there. I have found that by buying my meats in bulk through local farmers that the price comes down considerably and I have all the meats I could need right in my freezer. that way I am not running all over the place each week to get what I need. WE too are trying to eat more natural and organic. Good luck!

Jenny said...

Do you have a Trader Joe's nearby? They have really reasonably priced organic food. I shop at Whole Foods some...not much though. It's just too expensive. But I have to agree with you-the produce section is just amazing!!! Good luck with you mission to eat organically and locally!

Candi said...

My favorite thing about Whole Foods is when you are able to taste the produce and cheese and meats. But I agree their prices are scary, but seasonally they have good prices.

Sarah Kay said...

I too am trying to go the organic food route in 2010. I just went to Whole Foods today for almost the first time. I have to say, I think the regular grocery stores are catching on to this whole organic movement! I didn't find much different from my regular haunts. Phew! I guess I can stay away.

Good luck with the Eat From Your Pantry Challenge. I'll see you around there!

AshleyOhio said...

fresh market is great too. They have these amazing veggie chips, usually when you walk in! Oh so delish

Steph said...

Oh, my heart goes out to you. My son is allergic to dairy & we HAVE to buy certain items at Whole FOods. IT is quite shocking to walk into the store & realize, just how much I can't justify buying. I bought 8 coconut milk yogurts for him last week, with 4.00 in coupons & still paid 15.00 for 8 yogurts!!!! WHat is wrong with this picture???? The good thing, is that many of their foods are becoming mainstreamed. I found agave nectar at Costco for super cheap (same brand & everything). I have also been able to find almond milk at my fruit market for less & they run specials on it all the time. So, check around, some things are available in the regular grocery store/fruit markets. You will need to start watching the sales & price match for a whole different set of groceries, but deals can be find. Good Luck!!!

Frugal in Florida said...

Hehe...I cringed when my hair guy gave my rocker boy a hair cut recently, he made a comment that I'm just a hippie at heart. YIKES! But he's right. How percpective on his part :)

Whole Foods is on my DO NOT SHOP list. Sorry. We have one close by. Jammed packed, all the time, expensive as all get out and shoot, I can get organic stuff at Publix if that's what I'm shooting for.

Tracie said...

I have been wanting to eat more organic and safer and healthier foods, but the price issue is really big for us. I have been inside Whole Foods one time, and I have to agree with you about their prices....insane!!!!

Here is to healthy eating....one way or another!

Mrs. B said...

We make a 2 hour drive to Whole foods once a month and pick up raw milk and grass fed beef on the way. I personally think it's much cheaper than my local grocery stores. If you buy what's in season it's super cheap! I love that store just wish there was one closer!

April said...

do you have a costco near you? ours has increasingly more organic foods available at much more reasonable prices than the grocery store.

Angela said...

Thank you April! We do have a Costco nearby. I don't have a membership but it would be worth visiting and seeing if the membership makes sense. Thanks for the great tip!

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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate all your tips, advice, and well wishes!

Angela

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