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Whole Foods Market Opens Wednesday in Wexford Square

Store offers organic foods, sustainable seafood and a Brew & Brau.

Ladies: Whole Foods is going to offer you and your man a whole new shopping experience.

Sure, there's the organic foods, dry-aged beef, humane treatment of animals, sustainably sourced seafood.

But here's the secret to shopping with your man: There's a pub!

The newest Whole Foods Market's grand opening is at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday) in Wexford Square at 10576 Perry Highway. But first, there's the Whole Foods Market traditional bread-breaking ceremony, a unique twist on a ribbon cutting.

Tastings, live music, cooking programs, tours and more are planned for opening day.

Workers at the 34,000-square-foot store gave tours Monday to the media and members of the public, many of whom had reserved a spot via the market's Facebook and Twitter promotions. 

Fred Noble, regional coffee buyer for the chain, said he got a kick out of what he saw at the recent grand opening for a store near Philadelphia—about 15 dads lined up at the bar in the Brew & Brau while their significant others shopped.

Eventually, he saw the women showing up at the door of the Brew & Brau trying to coax their husbands into leaving.

Now that's a unique shopping experience.

The tavern-style Brew & Brau is an organic coffee bar and pub that serves fresh-brewed coffee, eight local beers on tap, wine, cider and pub food.

"We're the only organic coffee bar in town," said Noble.

Whole Foods Market bills itself as the world's leading natural and organic food supermarket and America's first national certified organic grocer.

Tour guides stationed throughout the store explained the market's offerings

Whole Trade signs in the store basically mean the same thing as Fair Trade when it comes to worker standards and social justice, one guide said. In addition, the Whole Trade designation also guarantees environmental standards were met.

When produce and floral products are advertised as "local," it means they came from within 200 miles of the store, the guide explained.

"The new customized store blends together all the advantages of a farmer's and specialty market, grocer, old-fashioned butcher, nutritionist, fishmonger, bakery and skilled chef—all under one roof along with some exclusive unrivaled amenities," a Whole Foods press release states.

Guide Willie Gipson explained that Whole Foods has a new cooking program that has been introduced at three of its stores; within a year all Whole Foods stores will have it.

He pointed out the L-shaped shelves where certain items can be bought in bulk—oil, vinegar, honey, syrup, red beans, rice, sea salt, nuts, seeds, flour and more.

The store also sells gluten-free items that are clearly marked with signs.

The new "Cooking Wexford" department and program will combine designated workspaces, cookbooks, cooking tools, demonstrations, and "themed, seasonal menus to engage, inspire and educate shoppers about the joys of cooking," the press release states.

Whole Foods also is aiming for a 100 percent sustainable seafood department. On a wall sign behind the seafood cases is an explanation that "wild-caught seafood (is) ranked by our honored partner, Blue Ocean Institute."

The green designation denotes "relatively abundant" seafood, which is caught by fishing methods that cause little damage. A yellow sign means "moderate abundance" and that some problems exist with the abundance or fishing method used to capture the seafood.

During the tour of the meat department—with its fresh-cut beef, dry-aged beef and five-step animal welfare rating—the Tomahawk steak was mentioned.

A guide who identified himself as Jared said the two-inch-thick steak "looks like something Fred Flintstone would eat."

Moving back toward the front of the store and the Brew & Brau, guide Angel Collins pointed out where shoppers will be able to purchase ready-made food—rotisserie chickens, hot soup, an organic salad bar, in-house roasted deli meats.

Guide Kate Harbin introduced "the sin department" where coffees, teas, chocolates beer, wine and cheeses are sold.

As fresh pizza was pulled from an oven, the guides also noted the different flavors of pasta for sale.

Pastries, organic breads and made-from-scratch cakes were next.

A Steel City Ketchup Cake will be a unique offering at the Wexford store. It is made from Heinz organic ketchup and tastes like gingerbread or spice cake, according to the guides.

The tour ended up at the Brew & Brau.

"Everything on draft and all the wine by the glass is local," said Christine Meredith, regional wine and beer buyer. 

If you're looking for a truly unique way of brewing a drink, drop by Whole Foods Market from noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesday. Bike Pittsburgh will use human pedal power and bicycle-powered blenders to make smoothies for shoppers to sample.

 

Disclaimer: Although I imply that women have to drag their husbands/boyfriends/significant others out to a grocery store, please note that my husband does all the grocery shopping at our house ... and I am forever grateful.

 

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Becky Brindle May 02, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Now there's a Whole Foods in the city and the North Hills. Next, I hope, it will come to the South Hills!

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