Pattern Play + Whole Foods Tour

Disclosure: I was invited by Whole Foods Market on a tour of the newly remodeled store in Brentwood, MO. I was provided various food samples during the tour and a Pacha Soap bar and Mineral Fusion Nail Polish to take home with me. All views expressed are my own.

A couple weekends ago, I had the opportunity to take a little group tour of the newly renovated Whole Foods in my area.  I loved seeing the new signage, wider aisles, and updated fixtures and features.  I also learned a lot more about Whole Foods and the products they offer which apply to more than just my location, so I thought it would be fun to share!

This is what I wore for the occasion...

Outfit Details

Blue buffalo check vest [exact under $15, more buffalo plaid goodness]
Leaf print ponte sweatshirt [similar under $15]
Black chain bib necklace [exact in black/hematite]
Kendra Scott Palmer earrings [exact c/o]
Coach green metallic cross body [exact]
Cobalt blue pointed croc leather flats [options, steal option]

And on to the tour!
One thing that Whole Foods emphasizes is allowing you, the customer, to make their own buying decisions based on the level of conciousness in the production of produce.  They have a clear 'grading system' explaining what orange, yellow, and green mean, and denote each item accordingly.  I especially appreciate this since the FDA has recently decided that GMO foods do not need to be labeled.  While I'm not a diehard health nut, I do like to be aware of what I'm putting in my body, and think the FDA should make that possible.

They also had an awesome selection of in-store cold-pressed juices.  We went on our tour in the evening, and you can see how popular they are by the empty shelves :)  We got to sample the green one, and it was deliciously sweet with just a touch of that healthy green taste.

They also overhauled their seafood counter and prepackaged section.  The refrigerators are now much more efficient, and there are SO many more options.  We also chatted about the expertise of the fish mongers at the seafood counter.  They are all super knowledgeable about the correct fish for every application, how to prepare it, and love to share that information with you.  While I do love to cook, fish has always intimidated me because it's so easy to mess it up.  A quick chat with their staff about exactly how to cook the precise piece of fish I buy is the perfect cooking confidence boost

We also got to sample one of their smoked salmons.  They served in on a very light cracker with a flavorful dill mustard.  SO good.  I bought the same salmon after our tour and plan to recreate it as an appetizer during the holidays with family.

Their meat counter follows the same principle as the produce, allowing you to make an informed decision about what level of consciousness you'd like to support.  Rather than colors, it's a 1-5+ scale, clearly explained behind the meat counter.  The butchers are again, tremendously savvy and can answer all your preparation and cooking questions, and prepare you whatever specially cut meat you might want.

They also have a fantastic selection of ready seasoned and prepared burgers and meats, and a huge selection of delicious sausages.  All their meat in the entire store is nitrate and nitrite free, even the common culprits like bacon, deli meat, and sausages!  I bought some of the habanero green chile chicken sausages we had the opportunity to sample, as well as the maple blueberry pork breakfast sausages that came highly recommended from the butchers on staff.  I loved both, the husband was a little wary of the blueberry maple sausages (mind you, his favorite breakfast sausage is the microwave Jimmy Dean ones, ha!) but he has already requested the chicken sausages again.

Oh my, their cheese counter!  I love cheese, and their selection is incredible!

I love that every cheese has a detailed description, and if that's not enough, the cheese mongers are always available.  They can provide expertise on pairing cheeses, creating a well rounded cheese plate, or offer opinions based on what you look for in a cheese.  Next time I'm making a cheese plate, I will definitely be paying them a visit.

While I'm not a coffee drinker, I thought their selection of in-house roasted coffees seemed pretty impressive.  I loved the touch of noting who roasted it and when.

Do I even need words for their bakery section?  I think those beauties speak for themselves, and I can personally vouch for the deliciousness of nearly everything in that case, because I can't go to Whole Foods without impulse buying a little tart or other sweet treat.  I also learned that their bakery can customize anything, and decorate cakes to your specifications.  Perfect for the next birthday cake you need.  They also don't have artificial colors in anything, which is fantastic.  We got to try their red velvet cupcake, and it had the traditional deep red color and chocolatey flavor, but was colored with beats.  You'd never know!

The selection of ready to eat foods had grown too.  You can request a sample of anything before you buy it- score!  That gives me a lot more confidence in picking up a dinner portion for the husband and myself.

They also noted some new labeling- the 'Health Starts Here' stamp denotes the food is plant-strong, nutrient dense, only contain healthy fats, and are made of whole foods.  I also appreciate that the signage includes ingredients- again emphasizing the opportunity for the consumer to make a fully informed decision.

Oh my salad bar.  Whole Foods has always had a fantastic salad bar, but they really outdid themselves.  They now have three, one featuring hot season items, and it all looks so delicious!  Not only is the salad bar a great place to grab a quick healthy meal, it's also a perfect way to buy some ready prepped veggies in small quantities.  All the veggies are the perfect size for a stir fry, and that way you can buy exactly what you need, all chopped and ready to go, and not end up with waste when you have two stalks of celery that go unused.

I love the concept of their Sandwich bar, and I bought some of their deli meat and can vouch that it is SO good.  The employee recommended the smoked turkey, and I am hooked.  I've always been a loyal Boar's Head deli meat consumer, but I gotta say, theirs was even better.  I will certainly be a repeat deli customer.

The burger bar is another new feature at our location, and we got to sample a burger and their sweet potato tots.  Both were SO good, I could happily subsist on those tots the rest of my life, and sweet potatoes are healthy right? ;)  All their burgers are only $10 and come with a side, which is an awesome deal especially given the quality of beef and array of gourmet toppings

Last but not least, we went to their overhauled 'Whole Body' section.  They have a much expanded supplement section, including a big refrigerated case for probiotics.

They had some really cute gift sets, and a newsletter featuring a ton of fantastic beauty DIY holiday gift ideas.  So if you're in need of any last minute gifts, definitely check out your local Whole Food's Whole Body section.

Love all the packaging.  They also have very clear signage about what's local and what's the 'best of the best'.

We each got to pick a Pacha Soap and Mineral Fusion nail polish as a thank you for participating.  It was fun that we all ended up with a different scent.

I also learned that their beauty department has a fantastic return policy- if you go home and use it and aren't satisfied, you can return it for your money back.  That gives me so much more confidence trying new things!
Thanks so much for hanging in a long post!  
I'd love to hear if you learned anything new about Whole Foods, or what's your favorite thing about Whole Foods!

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