We couldn’t go to Austin without visiting the Mecca for Foodies, Whole Foods. In 2005, the grocery store that changed the way America shops, built a new 80,000 square food flagship emporium on the outskirts of downtown Austin designed to show off everything that Whole Foods stands for.
Whole Foods did as much as anybody to bring natural foods movement into mainstream. Often called Whole Paycheck because of the cost of the food, it’s claim to fame is that it made Organic foods popular and Health Nuts happy.
Whole Foods, started in 1980 in Austin, then a small city known to some as not being “really Texas.” According to a recent article in New Yorker Magazine, “Austin in the 1970s was a cheap and groovy little town.” Nothing like the rest of Texas.
Funny about that. Many shoppers in the 280 stores spread around the country are surprised that Whole Foods started in Austin rather than Berkley, Boston or Oregon, parts of the country known for aging hippies and free thinking.
The store in Austin is dazzling. Actually it is much more than a store. The parking was underground with an escalator style ramp for transporting grocery carts. Kids twirled around on ice skates on the roof. It looked to me like people came there just to eat; there are so many sites with in the store to grab a bite.
I’m wondering if these folks believe what some people say, “You’re not just buying food, you are buying an identity.” Granola crunching, health food nut? Elitist? Supporter of Fair Trade coffee growers? I don’t know but I do know the store and the food presented in it is a work of art….and much of it healthy.
We meandered around the store filled with huge displays of olives, cheeses, pastries, meats and fish and produce galore. We tasted wine and marveled at the massive walk in beer cooler.
We ogled the large quantities of gorgeous produce, artistically presented although I read in a blog after the visit that those displays are artificially plumped up with stuffing underneath them. The blogger described this as a “Wonderbra for produce.”
I didn’t care. It was visually stunning.
But it does make you wonder what else is fake.
I wasn’t able to take photos of the incredible produce because as I was shooting the shot shown below, an employee came up and said, “Photography isn’t allowed.” Too bad. The produce was artistic and interesting.
Oh well. We bought some goodies and headed on our way. Lots to see and do in Austin, Texas.