Whole Foods Market Lynnwood tour
Disclosure: I attended this event as a guest of Curator PR. This is not a sponsored post.
I’m a slow grocery shopper. I browse the aisles for discounts, read the nutrition labels, convert measurements to metric, and compare brands. AmazonFresh delivers our non-perishable staples, and we’re lucky to live within walking distance to Melrose Market and Pike Place Market.
Whole Foods Westlake is my local supermarket and we’re there several times a week for vegetables, fruits and incidentals. Whole Foods has a reputation for being expensive (hence the moniker ‘Whole Paycheque’) but it is a greengrocer, butcher, baker, deli and purveyor of specialty goods all in one that is both of quality and convenient.
Located near Alderwood Mall just off I-5 exit 181B, the first Whole Foods in Snohomish County is opening this Thursday 15 March in Lynnwood.
My tour was scheduled on Friday at 9am and it was a surprisingly quick half hour drive to Lynnwood. The 33,000 square feet standalone store clad in Douglas-fir wood was a beacon on a bleak day.
Decorated in pastel colours throughout, the store was brightly lit and bustling with staff training and shelf stocking.
We breakfasted on muesli bars from the bakery.
A tray of berry muffins.
Of the 150 employees, fifty per cent currently work for Whole Foods so it’s a one to one training ratio. Founded in 1980 in Texas, Whole Foods is a natural food store. It stocks many organic products but it’s not certified organic. It has since expanded to Britain and Canada, and they’re considering sites in Alaska, Tacoma and West Seattle.
Denise Breyley is the Local Forager for the Pacific Northwest and I covet her job! She described it as being a ‘matchmaker’, sourcing products from local farmers and producers. There are seven recipients (Firefly Kitchens is one) of the Local Producer Loan Program in the Pacific Northwest. The money is for new equipment purchase, organic certification and other capital investments.
Mt Townsend Creamery is another beneficiary of the Local Producers Loan Program. These wheels of Trufflestack and Cirrus are from the first batch made with loan money.
The produce section is next where we sampled Sumo Citrus. A hybrid of Japanese Satsuma and Californian oranges, the citrus fruit is plump, seedless and bursting with sunshine.
Whole Foods Lynnwood will open with at least thirty items in the produce section, will increase to more than one hundred in the first month of trading and peaks at seventy per cent in summer.
Sold by weight, acrylic containers dispensed bulk cereals, dried fruits, flour, grains, lentils, nuts, rice, seeds and snacks. Buying in bulk is value for money and eliminates waste in packaging.
In the bulk section is the cooking department. The wooden counter will have computers for cooking resources, and the area will feature ingredients and local authors, Amy Pennington will be the first on 16 March.
The cheese department is in the back left corner. Patrons can sample all the cheeses, and they maintain a database of your purchases for your reference. You can buy shredded cheese by weight. There are also thirty varieties of olives for scooping.
A lime sign above the seafood department encouraged us to ‘bring some local flavour home for dinner’. Each fish and crustacean is tagged with information and staff can assist with sustainability questions.
Whole Foods own Select Fish, a processing facility, for quality control. They partnered with Monterey Bay Aquarium to rate by fishery and Whole Foods does not sell red rated or non-rated seafood. A non-affiliated third party audits farmed aquaculture annually for feed and water quality, and environmental impact. Whole Foods targets three per cent wastage or spoiled seafood which is composted.
A set of clocks indicated what time the beef was minced. The meat department is a full service butchery. Whole Foods applies Global Animal Partnership‘s five-step animal welfare rating system for all meats. A fridge was marked dry aged beef, done in-house for a minimum fourteen days.
The Whole Body department has a swap program where you can bring in two conventional products to exchange for private label equivalents.
My favourite, ice creams and frozen desserts!
Refrigerators with doors and energy efficient LED lights were installed for milk and juices.
Deli, sandwiches, taqueria, and greens, beans and grains will cater for lunches and dinners. FareStart students supply the packed salads. There is an organic salad bar in the prepared foods department, and rotating themed hot bars (Thai, Mexican, Indian and comfort food). The intention is for it to be a ‘one stop shop’ for meals.
The espresso bar serves Allegro Coffee.
And they have soft serve machines with a toppings selection!
The tour concluded with brownies and cookies from the bakery.
All the staff spoke with genuine passion about what they do. There is much excitement to be ‘part of the Lynnwood community’.
Whole Foods Lynnwood opens this Thursday 15 March with a bread breaking ceremony at 8am.