Okay, I had thought about writing a post about my experience of finally shopping at Whole Foods, then decided against it, then changed my mind again. So here goes. I don’t remember where I first heard about Whole Foods but it was most likely while looking at pictures on Oh No They Didn’t! of celebrities doing their grocery shopping (don’t judge me, I swear I have a life). First off, I’ve always been kind of fascinated by American grocery stores. When I was little and the Canadian dollar was really high my parents would load my brother and I into the car and we would head across the border to do a big grocery shopping trip in the states. I was (and still am) amazed at how much more variety the American grocery stores have. You can go into one of those stores and find 50 types of mustard! Or 30 kinds of peanut butter! Anyway, the exotic appeal of an American grocery store combined with the fact that it was supposed to be some kind of paradise filled with organic foods was proving to be really tempting so I decided to finally visit the Whole Foods store in Toronto (there is only one).
First I had to go into an area of town that always leaves me feeling a little bit uncomfortable. I had to go to Yorkville aka rich people central. Heck, just to get to WF I had to walk down a strip that includes Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Prada…you get the idea. I am still convinced that if I were a smaller size then I would be able to cultivate a better sense of style. But right now I am stuck in larger clothing and I often wear what’s comfortable so there I was walking around Yorkville in yoga pants. Anyway, I eventually found the place and it was hidden inside a high-end shopping centre.
My original plan for going to Whole Foods was to get some ingredients to make some butter chicken. Technically I should be able to make butter chicken from scratch but I still can barely cook Indian food so I wanted to just buy a jar of sauce, some chicken breasts and naan. I was disappointed almost immediately. The brands that they had for the butter chicken sauce weren’t exclusively organic and yet they didn’t carry much variety. I decided to look at the chicken and see what was available. They had just over a pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts for…twenty one dollars!!
Okay, don’t get me wrong. I know that organic food costs a lot. I’ve often heard people refer to Whole Foods as Whole Paycheck. But $21 for chicken?! That was when I decided that I had had enough. I ended up purchasing only a container of Liberte mediterranean yogurt and a package of garlic flavoured naan (which didn’t even have the same shape or texture as real naan).
Now here comes the funny part. Obviously the yogurt that I bought was something that I could have purchased in almost any grocery store. But once I went back to my usual neighbourhood grocery store I started to notice that they carry a ton of organic products. I used to assume that smaller grocery stores would have the least variety but somehow this family run business manages to offer a big variety of organic (and often local) products. And as for meat, well I stopped in at the nearby organic butcher shop to see how much they charge for boneless skinless chicken breasts. $10.99 a pound. It’s still on the pricey side but that’s way better.
So after all that, I definitely will not be going back to Whole Foods. For one thing, it had a really creepy vibe, like it was a cult and everyone wanted me to become a part of it so that they could tell me how great my life would be from now on (just like fitness clubs). Second of all, it was out of the way. But most importantly, all the good stuff that I wanted is already in my neighbourhood! So as always, I’ll be supporting the local mom and pop joints instead of the corporations with questionable intentions.