The Whole Food Review
Published September 21, 2011 at 3:52 am
Grocery stores come in all shapes and sizes, from the bargain bin to the healthy and organic. Wholefoods is nothing but spectacular and comes closest to creating that special “experience” for their customers that leaves you yearning to come back for more. Mississauga is the new home to the successful North American supermarket chain, Wholefoods, which opened its doors to Mississaugians on August 10th, 2011. It is centrally located on the North East corner of Square One on Rathburn Rd. and Square One Drive at 155 Square One Drive. It is the newest store in Ontario with other locations in Oakville and Toronto. Starting out in Austin, Texas, Wholefoods is boasted as the world’s leader in natural and organic foods with over 300 stores in North America and the UK.
The distinctive experience you have is kind of hard to explain without actually visiting the store for yourself. When you first walk into the store you are greeted with a fresh array of produce, with vibrant colors and smells of succulent organic strawberries and glistening cherries. Your senses come alive as you take in a world of food that seems so familiar but also so foreign. As you pick up a box of strawberries you notice its bright red colour, a colour you’ve never seen on strawberries before, mostly because you are used to non-organic (or “conventional” as they call non-organic) strawberries they sell for a lot cheaper in other grocery store chains. You think to yourself, “Oh, that’s what a strawberry is suppose to look like,” as you wander through the rest of the produce section getting lost among your senses of fresh vegetables and perfectly almost neurotically stacked fruits, almost fearful that you are going to collapse the whole pyramid. You make your way toward the back where fresh meats and fish are displayed like pieces of art that seem almost a shame to eat. You are greeted by the most knowledgeable fish- monger or butcher, who seem as if they fished or hunted these animals themselves. It is obvious they take pride in their work and provide you with the best cuts of meat, but it definitely comes at a premium cost.
As you make your way through aisle upon aisle of unique selections of foods from foreign places you can only dream of visiting; Morocco, China, Fiji, India, Malaysia, France, etc., you can pick up items you have never seen before; acai juice, quinoa, couscous, Himalayan goji berries, Indian curries, and kale chips. You might feel a little overcome by the vast selection of foods and realize how uncultured you are! Although, you want to try these new and exciting things, you pick up a pack of Kale chips priced at $7.99 a pack and you realize that “new and exciting” comes at a cost. If anything, I highly recommended perusing the aisles and getting an idea of what foods and cultures of the world are being offered, and possibly, if you are feeling adventurous enough and if it was on sale, pick up a couple of things and experiment at home. Of course, if you need any help, flag down any one of the eclectic array of friendly employees, from the archetypal hipster type to those that remind you of your mom, who are either giving out enticing samples or those that are stocking the shelves. Either way, as you will find out they are incredibly knowledgeable and offer quick pointers and recommendations.
After shopping through the aisles you make your way to the bakery and cheese boutique located in the back, which beautifully displays loaves of bread and wheels of cheese with various samples to satisfy any cheese lover to their heart’s delight. You then discover the “piece de resistance…” a cookie corner full of homemade cookies from around the world; biscotti, shortbreads, macaroons, fortune cookies, etc., priced at $14.99 a pound. I cleverly picked up a bag full of delicious macaroons for dessert, which are light as air, thus costing a measly $2. Lastly, you finish at their cold and hot food buffet, where you can pick up tonight’s dinner or drop in for a healthy lunch if you are in the area. Priced per 200g, you pick up food containers and fill them with healthy options such as mixed greens with eggs, sprouts, carrots and tofu or at the hot table where you can pick up teriyaki chicken wings, lamb curry, mashed sweet potatoes, or jerk chicken. Shopping in this section takes some finesse and expertise, trying to balance what you want to eat without breaking the budget. I would say skip out on the heavy carbs such as mashed potatoes or macaroni salad because at $2.19 per 200g, you will undoubtedly rack up a hefty bill, but rather save room for lighter proteins where you get better bang for your buck! I filled a “to go” container of chicken wings, fried chicken and tofu, and it cost a mere $10 that fed about three people. I would say that is smart shopping!
Wholefoods unquestionably aims to create a unique experience that no other grocery store can provide. You can easily say that this store is too expensive or “If I shop here, I will be broke in no time,” but I say to those naysayers that you are paying for quality not quantity, while learning a few things along the way. Instead of scoffing off the store all together, venture into the store for the cultural experience and try things you have never tried before, awaken your culinary senses and open your mind to a new lifestyle of healthy and organic eating. I think as a society we are so used to shopping for bargain basement deals consisting of low quality products with the primary focus on filling our gullets with processed boxed foods to satisfy the our carnal cravings. It takes a store like this to retrain our brains and taste buds to foods that are whole and nutritious. Shopping at Wholefoods definitely takes some experience and restraint; I would definitely not buy all my groceries here but instead pick up a few select items that I have never tried and keep an eye out for things on sale. Overall, I would like to welcome Wholefoods as the newest edition in Mississauga and would 100% recommend anyone to take the Wholefoods Experience.