In Food

Confessions of a Foodie

Posted by: on Nov 9, 2012 | 4 Comments

I have a confession: I went to Whole Foods. We have been managing pretty well over here as the growing season winds down and the farmers’ market has stopped operating regularly. We have a plethora of squash and pie pumpkins we bought at the last market, knowing they’d last. And we discovered the apple guy on Rt. 13 that brings apples over from Winchester, VA. We seek out the local goodies when we can. We are part of a flexible winter CSA. Additionally, my husband is experimenting with growing kale hydroponically on our deck, using an ebb and flow system. He painstakingly monitors the pH and applies organic nutrients. We also are trying to grow some lettuce, spinach, and kale in buckets on the deck. We are also fortunate enough to have friends who generously give us produce and eggs. So, we can get some fresh local produce most weeks. And when all else fails, we find ourselves in Food Lion or (heaven forbid) Walmart making the best choices we can.

But, a brand new Whole Foods opened in Virginia Beach. And we found ourselves driving an hour across the Bay to civilization. In our defense, we hadn’t been across the Bay in a while and we were actually going to get the whooping-cough vaccine before heading to Seattle next week. So, we just happened to reward ourselves by throwing in a visit to Whole Foods. Otherwise, we do try to manage without driving an hour and paying $17 in round-trip tolls.

The store was packed. We circled the lot for at least 10 minutes. Finally we found a couple of ladies to stalk (old school style like parking in the Virginia Tech lots). We followed them, like the creepers we are, to their car. And then we found ourselves sitting in our car waiting for them to leave while they ate their lunch (@%&#$#!). We were just about to get a little crazy when a second couple pulled out of a spot right in front of us. Having navigated the parking lot successfully, we made our way to the store entrance only to find they were completely out of shopping carts. Shoppers waited by the doors to take carts as others left or for the staff to fetch carts from the parking lot. If you can believe it, we STILL didn’t leave! Nope, we decided to grab our lunch from their prepared section first and then shop. As luck would have it, by the time we finished our soup and sushi there was a cart waiting for us.

Despite the massive crush of people, the crowd was well-behaved. People carefully navigated each other as well as the gorgeous stacks of fresh produce. No one seemed perturbed or in a rush. We even happily located the fresh produce sourced directly from our side of the bay. Whole Foods carries produce from Mattawoman Creek Farms, Quail Cove, and Pickett’s Harbor Farm from the Eastern Shore. On my next visit, I’ll have to check for Eastern Shore seafood and wine. However, I think I got the most excited about the 5lb bags of gigantic organic carrots. We juice a lot and use a lot of carrots. We can’t find 5lb bags of organic carrots on the Shore. We had been purchasing 20lbs of juicing carrots at a time from Quail Cove, but it’s not that feasible to keep 20lbs of carrots in an apartment-sized fridge and still have room for other food. I also found my first red quinoa since moving to the Shore (in bulk!). It’s the little things in life.

It was close to a religious experience, a health-nut’s Mecca! And I may start inventing reasons to drive across the Bay, just kidding. But in all seriousness, while I make an effort to source locally here on the Shore and I believe wholeheartedly in supporting my local farmers, it can be difficult as the season closes and if you are searching for specific items (5lbs bags of carrots; red quinoa, which they don’t grow here but rumor has it would grow well). My point is, be forgiving of yourself, have a little fun, and buy locally when you can. A little effort can go a long way.

P.S. Look at these eggs! You know they are good when they still have dirt on ’em!

Fresh farm eggs from our lovely friends

4 Comments

  1. Diane
    November 10, 2012

    Hi again, Hali, the next time you visit Whole Foods ask to speak to a manager (you obviously have the patience, considering your last visit) and inquire about what they do with their “discards” (past-date, too many for their shelves, produce a bit spotty) On the Cape Trader Joe’s gives generously of this to the food pantries, but I understand Whole Foods “corporate culture” mandates that things get thrown out. It is evidently less labor intensive just to chuck things rather than sort them for food pantry or other organization pickup. I’m not suggesting you boycott Whole Foods but at least put a word in. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hali
      November 12, 2012

      Have you seen the movie, Dive? It’s a great documentary on waste in the food system.

      Reply
  2. Beth
    November 10, 2012

    I wish we had access to the kind of food you do. Actually, we noticed that the “grow/eat locally” is just now starting to hit here in central MN and last season, lots of local farmers raised pumpkins and sold them beside the road. I wished we had a decent local farmer’s market, but we don’t. Not yet. Soon, I hope. Thanks for letting us share some of your observations on your experience at Whole Foods.

    Reply
    • Hali
      November 12, 2012

      Beth, I hope you will soon see some local food development in your area. Remember to support it when you do, whether it’s buying a pumpkin or kale from a neighbor. Also, start asking for it. Talk to your local government, planning commission, and even ask local restaurants and grocery stores to start carrying local food. Also, encourage others to do the same. The more demand, the more likely it will develop! Good luck. :)

      Reply

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