By Analiese Paik
Well, it’s about time. How many years have we watched the site adjacent to Home Depot that once was home to the Handy & Harman metals-processing factory being remediated and negotiated over in preparation for the construction of a Whole Foods Market? I think my son was in the toddler truck phase because we’d park and watch the huge vacuums on the back of hazardous waste management trucks suck up the contaminated ground water to clean it up off site. He’s now reading The Hardy Boys.
Let’s shake off the wait with a party. Pack your $10 coupon flyer and head over on Friday, June 3, for the opening day festivities which begin at 8:30 am with a bread breaking ceremony. Be sure to make your way to the Cooking Fairfield department located smack in the middle of the bulk aisle at 11:30 or 5:00 for cooking demos with James Beard Award-winning chef, restaurateur, and founder and CEO of Wholesome Wave, Michel Nischan. At both 1:00 and 6:15 Nischan will be signing his latest cookbook, Sustainably Delicious, which includes seasonal recipes from and inspired by his restaurant, the Dressing Room, in Westport.
Today I was treated, along with many others from the local media, to lunch from the Whole Foods food truck and an insider’s tour of the store. There are many wonderful surprises here that will delight you. I call them my Top 10 Reasons to Love Whole Foods Market Fairfield. Here they are:
1) 5% of opening day sales benefit Michel’s Nischan’s Wholesome Wave foundation, an organization succeeding in making fresh fruit and vegetables both accessible and affordable to underserved populations throughout the nation. This is a fantastic opportunity to give generously which costs you nothing.
2) Three full-time food educators dedicated to teaching shoppers about healthy eating: Cooking Coach Michelle Ryan, located in the bulk aisle at the Cooking Fairfield in-store cooking department, the first of its kind in the area; Healthy Eating Specialist Jill McKinnesss located across from Cooking Fairfield in the bulk aisle, who is dedicated to helping guide shoppers with special dietary needs to appropriate products; and Culinary Demo Specialist Jeffrey Sherman who will be stationed throughout the store demonstrating a wide variety of products and holding adult and children’s cooking classes.
3) The first Whole Foods Market in the Northeast to have partnered with Amanda Hesser’s social media food hub, Food 52, to “create online resources for people to get back in the kitchen cooking” according to Hesser. Hesser spoke at today’s event about the rich online experience available to registered users on the Food 52 site her team built for the Whole Foods Market Fairifeld community, http://fairfield.wholefoodsmarketcooking.com, which goes live on Friday morning. Users will be able to continue to interact with Cooking Coach Michelle Ryan, but they’ll also have the opportunity to dialog and share recipes and food intelligence with others. Every two weeks Whole Foods Market Fairfield will hold a recipe contest on the site, and winners will receive gift certificates or win store merchandise.
4) More bulk items than any other store (think varieties of rice and beans you’ve never heard of, but taste great).
5) Fresh mozzarella made in-store from Hudson Valley milk curd each Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
6) Farmstand Fishery, an outdoor fish market that cuts your seafood to order.
7) Local (tri-state area) and sustainably raised meat, poultry, and seafood. Meat carries a 5 Step Animal Welfare Rating seal from the Global Animal Partnership and wild seafood carries a green, yellow or red sustainability rating created by partners Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium.
8) The Whole Foods Market food truck which will be making regular and pop-up stops in town, including the Greenfield Hill farmers’ market, where they will demo recipes made with food from farm vendors.
9) An upcoming farm-to-table prepared foods program (details TBA).
10) Did I mention the free adult and kids’ cooking classes? Okay, how about the vegan salad bar?
Big Bonus: All 365 Everyday Value products are GMO free and many other products carry the Non-GMO Project Verified seal, the sole organization providing independent verification of testing of GM contamination in products in the U.S. and Canada.
The Whole Foods Market food truck, to my knowledge the first food truck in Fairfield County, will be offering tastings and vending in Fairfield until mid-June, then will make its way to other Whole Foods Markets and the neighborhoods they serve in Fairfield County. Follow our Tweets for the food truck’s daily locations (@GreenFoodGal) around town, including the Greenfield Hill Farmers’ Market on Hillside Road.
Amanda Hesser will hold a signing of her latest book, The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century, on June 11 while Cooking Coach Michelle Ryan demonstrates a recipe from the cookbook. Be sure to pick up June and July in-store event calendars on opening day so you can mark your calendar.
Whole Foods Market Fairfield will open its doors to the community on Friday, June 3, 2011 at 8:30 am. Located at 350 Grasmere Avenue, this will be the grocer’s 8th store in Connecticut. To celebrate opening day, Whole Foods Market will offer storewide tastings, vendor sampling, special sale items, cooking demonstrations, gift bags and more. Read the full press release.