Monday, August 25, 2014

Tales of Two Tastings! Whole Foods Asheville and Asheville wine & food-(T stands for Tuesday)

Robyn's Phood Philosophy 
The short version
Eat whole foods, simply prepared as fresh as possible.
Love animals, don't knowingly eat them.
Do no harm.
Eat when hungry.
Give back as much or more than you take in.

This weekend was food centric even for Asheville.

Whole Foods
Friday found me invited to the Press sneak peak at the New Whole Foods Asheville across front he Mall.

This recycled shipping container cum food truck is 
parked in the parking lot and serving lunch and dinner till the store opens on Tuesday.
Vegan Alert- they cook the animal products and veggies on the same grill.

I found folks waiting around outside for a tour for the general public and decided to tag along on that tour instead to see what WF had to say to consumers.
 Jayne our tour guide was professional and told a good company story.
You can scroll around and see what I thought was most interesting.
Honestly, if you have seen one Whole Foods you have seen them all.

Decent bulk area

Lots of soap.
Concierge shopping- that might be useful if you need that sort of thing.

The tastings were very lame- some mini cupcakes that had no taste- a cracker-their 365 brand with peanut butter- and a chip with some salsa on it.

Purified water machine.

The speciality area- not much you couldn't find at Ingles.

I asked Janye about their policy on separating animal products from veggie in the prepared foods and since that wasn't part of her talk she invited me to a chat with Nick, the regional prepared food manager.
Nick was a nice guy and said they do what they can. When possible he will chose to prepare, why he called vegetable options rather than protein. That's nice.

Nice- yes Whole Foods looks nice.

I find when a new store opens there are lots of happy employees and best intentions.
They do have a more open policy than when they took over Greenlife on using local providers, and they have foundations to give money to various causes.
I'm sure all of that is on their website, and you can look it up.

I probably will not shop there, unless there is some compelling reason or a specific product.
We have lots of other options in the Asheville area, and I know who the grocer and farmers are and where the money goes.

The press was being wined and dined in the upstairs bar and cafe- I passed.

I'll stop here, as I am trying to be nice.

Asheville food & wine
Saturday, I was gifted with two tickets to the Asheville wine & food festival by man about town and food critic Stu Helm.
I highly recommend you check out his blog and FB page, if you enjoy food, witty, often hilarious writing, and other fun Ashevillian antics.
I admire Stu's lack of driving and drinking lifestyle, haven fallen myself to the former and not big on the latter.
I love his reviews because, he tells it like it is, I mostly agree with him! and I often LOL -truly -huge belly laughs and you need a good abs workout after all this eating.

If you are offend by four letter words- get over it! Stu uses fuck, shit, hell and damn as nouns, verbs, adjectives and dangling participles and if it bothers you just ignore them.
I bet you go to the movies. Do you keep your eyes closed and put your fingers in your ears?

Any hooley(as Stu would say)
I met my daughter and after getting shuffled around a few tables at the entrance to the Civic Center(what is it called now?) we waded into a sea of people already dangerously swaying and wielding glass weapons- wine glasses!
There were 150 some vendors and it seemed most of them were alcoholic .

Why does anyone build event spaces like this? The upper tier was verging on dangerous and it was difficult and messy to get the vendors.
The downstairs is a bit more spacious and still a very uninviting space and very difficult to get good photos.
Forgive me in advance for the crummy photos.
Our fav vendors:
 These folks have heart and do so much for the community
 Blue Blaze- delicious unsweetened sodas( not covered by phood philosophy!)
 Support this non-profit- they are growing our children's healthy food awareness.
Crackers from Black Mountain
 Second best tasting hummus in the world, 1st in ingredients and mission- every batch is sacred-
and they gave me a whole Lima Bean to take home!!
 Best booth visuals and Best water urns.
Only booth rating two photos!
 Food fight
We didn't stay not really being interested in what happened to a pile of dead bunnies.
We had a good time, aside from the crush of the crowd, tasted a lot of interesting food, met a lot of great folks and learned a few things.
Thanks Stu.

If you want to see what other folks around the world are thinking about, food related, do pop over, give Mr Linky some love and with drink in hand enjoy your visiting.

The plan is to do more food writing on Tuesdays, so now that you know where we are don't be a stranger!

Comments and Questions always welcomed.


  1. I'm so glad you tell it like it is. I've always been suspicious of reviews that say ONLY nice things about a product. I've found there has to be at least ONE thing I wasn't fond of when I reviewed something, so I really enjoyed this.

    I remember going to a Whole Foods in CA one year. It was larger than Trader Joes but not geared to the consumer. We have neither Whole Foods or Trader Joes in KS that I know of, and I've never heard of the other store you mentioned (Ingles). And we have NO options like you have, with real vegetarian or vegan choices. In fact, I bet most Kansans don't even know how to spell vegan (grin). "This is wheat and beef country and don't let anyone tell you otherwise," our governor would say.

    Is that basil in your glass and rosemary next to it? I adore where you placed your souvenir from the tasting. It's perfect for T this week. And thanks for taking us to the tasting. I so enjoyed it.

    BTW, I thought you had to write your own poem to be linked at your site. I'll be glad to add it, if not.

  2. love those jars, would like some in my cupboard. We dont have whole foods here but I have been to a store in Arizona USA
    Bridget #3

  3. What a fascinating post Robyn. We don't have anything like those nice food shops around here. Well not in walking distance anyway, and the closest (26miles) isn't financially viable to travel to considering the goods generally cost more than average anyways. Why is it that 'health' foods always cost more than processed!? Really hacks me off. Your Stu Helm sounds like fine enterntainment. :o)

  4. Great post Robin, I really enjoyed reading your honest opinion, even if you were trying to be nice. It was refreshing. Please don't ever change!

    I come from meat and grain country, LOVE my wine and probably would have fallen off my chair laughing at Stu Helm. I will check out his blog.
    I DO try to eat a little healthier these days.......grin. I live in a very large agricultural area of CA, know many of the farmers and always try to eat THEIR fruit, nuts and veggies on open market days. They go well with the meat on the table....LOL

    I've heard of Whole Foods, but have never been to one. I usually hit Larsen's Health Foods when looking for something in particular, but find many of the regular grocery stores now carry the raw seeds, grains and powdered protein I usually eat.

    Again, this was a great post
    Happy T-day

  5. Hello and Happy T Day! What a review you gave us, thank you. I've never been to a Whole Store before so was interesting to read about it. Have a great week.

  6. Interesting Foodie post. Whole Foods is opening a store within walking distance from us and I'm quite happy about that. Currently we only have a little corner store unless we want to get in the car and drive. I've visited other WF stores in the area and liked them. I usually buy from smaller independent shops - produce shop, pasta shop, cheese shop, etc. Occasionally a trip to a regular supermarket is required and WF will work for that. Nothing beats locally grown though if you can get it.


  7. HEllo and Happy T Day!!! I enjoyed the tour you gave us! My daughter shops at Whole Foods out here in i'm a Walmart shopper always have been always will be and a meat each their own i say...... Hugs! deb

  8. sounds like some very interesting places, vendors, foods etc. I'm really perplexed about the grilling meats along with vegetarian offerings??? The hummus sounds really good. Love your sweet photo to end the post. Happy T day!

  9. We have both Whole Foods and Trader Joe's here. I don't often go to Whole's a little too pricey for me. Your second trip sounds more up my alley. Food and wine...yes please. :)

  10. Hi Robyn, well I really learned a lot from your post about Whole Foods. I will admit, I find them to be kind of on the pricier side as well. But, I'm glad you now know all of the behind the scenes scoop!

  11. Enjoyed your photos of the food & wine show...those sheets with the quotes painted on them in the Slow Food booth are so cool! Happy T day!

  12. For some reason Asheville doesn't really seem to "need" a WFoods.
    When we visited we really enjoyed the food coop and so many small specialty shops
    but I guess they see $$$ possibilities and that is what they are all about.
    WF is one of our regular store stops here in Northern VA but another all organic market called MOM's is our first choice and Trader Joe's helps fill in the gaps...other than farmer's markets which end soon there aren't many small business opportunities in this metropolitan area.
    The Food & Wine fair looked like fun!
    Happy T Day

  13. We have a Whole Foods close to me, but the only time I go there is when we run out of Peets coffee lol. It seems prices at WF are higher, and we do have a lot of farmers' market opportunities here. I look forward to more food posts :) Happy T Tuesday!

  14. Robyn I enjoyed reading your review here. I've only been to Trader Joes and not to Whole Foods. I have heard that it is expensive. I too prefer local farmer's markets. A stroll around their stalls itself makes me feel good.
    Have a great week

  15. We don't have a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods up here in Fargo. This was interesting to hear a review where you told the good, bad, and the ugly. ;) Happy T-Day! :)


I love comments,constructive criticism, suggestions and RAK.