Since you’re reading a food blog you probably already know all about Whole Foods, and their commitment, but you may not know how cool the new one is in Franklin, Tennessee. Before I tell you, please mark your calendar for the big grand opening on Wednesday, May 18th, They will be serving a free breakfast from 7:30 – 9:00 and then store officially opens.
Whole Foods generously opened it doors to a group of food bloggers Sunday niight for a special tour geared to bloggers. So with with iPhones and cameras in hand, we got to come together and do what we love, sample and hear about food.
I am already a big fan and shop at least weekly at the Green Hills location, even if it’s a 25 minute drive. The new location, however, is a five minute drive, and in my same zip code, but that is not the only reason I’m smiling.
The tour reinforced some of the reasons I love Whole Foods and then threw some fun surprises out that will not only satisfy the foodie, or the “healthie” or the “tree lover,” but they have even thought of the person who likes to eat, but can’t cook.
There will be a very large variety of fresh product, including local and organic. There will be a section for your babies (WHOLE BABY) and your pets (WHOLE BUDDY), and your body (WHOLE BODY). And, there will be lots of customer service.
Special Weekly Event: The Tuesday Franklin Farmer’s Market
A very special event will occur every Tuesday afternoon in the parking lot. The Franklin Farmer’s Market will meet from 3:30 – 6:00. This shows you how much Whole Foods respects your town and your farmer.
Cool Salvaged Fixtures Giving Tribute to Franklin’s History
You will find a part of the area’s history throughout the store, from fixtures, to pictures, to antique window panes hung in the store.
Beans and Rice
Aside from over 60 kinds of rice (if I heard right), this is the largest variety of rice and beans I’ve ever seen at a grocery store. Whole Foods will carry several standard beans, but you may not have heard of these extra gourmet varieties. They are a bit pricey, and not your every day bean, but I know I’ll have to find out just how good they are.
Over 63 spices are available by the teaspoon. Israeli Couscous made one of my fellow bloggers jump for joy. Look how gorgeous it is.
The Cheese Department
Not only do they have a great selection (including local cheeses such as Kenny’s and Noble Springs, they know what they are doing and will help you. Ask for a custom-sized wedge or five for your next party. How cool to work somewhere where your face is also art.
Parmigiano Reggiano, the KING OF CHEESE -It was suggested that for your next cheese plate, drizzle honey over this cheese and don’t even worry about crackers. We got to sample and you know how fussy I am about Italian cheese. This will wipe out anything you thought you knew about parmesan cheese. Never ever buy that pre-grated again. And, please make sure to bring to room temperature before using, or serving. The rind need not be thrown away. Toss in your soup while cooking for extra flavor (to be removed before serving).
The ANDI Score
Whole Foods stands for exactly what it says. Whole foods, nutrient dense, sold to the public with the lowest amount of harmful additives possible, delivering fresh, nutrient dense, deliciousness. Everything they do is formulated from a holistic approach. It needs to be good for you, good for the animals and good for the earth. A triple win. To help you sort out the mystery of nutrition, look for the ANDI score, which means Aggregate Nutrient Density Index.
Grass Fed Beef
By now, you may already know that the optimal choice of beef is grass fed. It might be pricier, but it’s better to eat this less frequently or in smaller portions than to indulge in corn fed. And, it’s much more flavorful.
Whole Foods commitment to meat is demonstrated by their 5-step animal welfare rating. Meat is attributed a number scale from 1 – 5, according to the conditions the animals are raised in. The highest score of 5 means the animals are raised at animal centered environment and processed on the same farm. The have the same dedication and commitment to providing sustainable seafood.
Prepared Foods, Hot Bars, Trail Mix, Pizza, Sushi and Bakery
If your family has different tastes and moods, you can get sushi and take out pizza at the same place, or get creative and make your own trail mix. We had an opportunity to sample freshly made sushi made with brown rice and the Sonoma chicken salad which I usually eat once a week at least. It’s the one with red grapes and walnuts.
Don’t Forget the BEER!
Do You Know What a Growler is?
I didn’t until last night. It’s a glass jug for carrying out beer. You can purchase your own growler and just return to the store to fill it with either two choices of local Yazoo Brewing Company or any of the other rotating on-tap varieties. At the end of our tour, we were treated to beer and a beautiful cheese platter. Tennessee law does not (yet) allow wine to be sold in the grocery store, so beer will become a bigger star than usual, and yes, it’s great paired with cheese.
Various cheeses, marcona almonds, sour cherry spread.
I could go on and on, but you must see for yourself when you visit. Look for local brands and support them. They will carry many products of local food and coffee artisans.
And, for great VALUE, try their own house brand of product that has the 365. These are the real bargains for pantry staples. Their 365 olive oil has won many taste tests and competitions. They aren’t going to put their name on a product that doesn’t serve you well.
Food Blogger Friends
The best part of the night for me personally was meeting Shannalee (she’s on left, me on the right) from one of my favorite blogs, Food Loves Writing. We started corresponding over a year ago. Back in December I got to meet her adorable Nashville boyfriend (who is now her lucky fiance). Ever since she moved here, we’ve been trying to meet, and finally last night we did. I look forward to this new friendship and eating some great food together.
A Special Thank you to Beth of Eat Drink Smile for arranging the event for the Nashville Food Bloggers. Beth is great at shouting out what is about to happen in Nashville, so I highly recommend a visit to her blog.
And, thank you to Michael Martin who led our tour, provided amazing information and the whole team from Whole Foods, the beer, the cheese, and the goodie bags. I’ll see you at the grand opening.