Saturday, May 15, 2010

Local Announcement

Life in Oklahoma City may be getting easier.

Just this week Whole Foods Market confirmed that the chain would be opening it's first Oklahoma City store in late 2011.

Late 2011? I guess it takes a while to build a brand new store, but my family is going to be mighty hungry by then, so I hope they can put a rush on it.

It must be noted that Whole Foods has had some bad press lately. Particularly with their CEO, who seems to be about as flaky and nutty as some of that overpriced cereal they sell. But we food eating residents of Oklahoma City have gone so long without a decent grocery store, that I would let Atilla the Hun set up shop as long as he promised to provide some fresh vegetables and grass fed beef.

When it comes to grocery shopping, Oklahoma City is the worst. Walmart somehow cornered the market in this state and it has severely hurt our image along with our health. So yes, I will shop at Whole Foods, but will continue to purchase as many things as possible from local farmers markets.

Small, local farmers put their heart and soul into what they do and it definitely shows in this basket of greens purchased at my local market. I've never seen Romaine and Savoy so fresh. They were purchased twenty minutes after the market opened and I bought the last head of Romaine.

On to some really good news.
Forward Foods opened it's newest store on 5123 N. Western last week where the old Coco-Flow used to be. It's a great place to buy healthy gourmet food, spices, local produce and green cleaning products as well. I was thrilled to find unbleached muffin liners and parchment paper. It doesn't take much to make me happy. They also serve coffee, espresso, and tea, and my daughter said their coffee was better than Starbucks. Their cheese selection is their crowning glory, it alone makes it worth the trip. Very impressive. I almost forgot I was in Oklahoma.

I picked up some Brie for my daughter, the French girl at heart. Some Vermont summer sausage for my meat eating hubby. Spanish olives and hot peppers for my son who likes things a bit spicy. And then I went a little crazy and came home with a whole bag of goodies for myself: French bread, pita, dried organic beans, couscous, sea salt from Brittany, fresh herbs, and enough cumin to get me through the summer. I use a lot of cumin.

If you live in Oklahoma City, I encourage you to visit Forward Foods. Even if you are not a cook, they have a great selection of snacks and frozen foods. Also it would be a great place to buy a gift. My mind was spinning with ideas.

This goes without saying, but the opening of new, corporate retail stores can often hurt small, local businesses. And as much as I desire a Whole Foods, I worry about them putting Oklahoma City landmarks such as Kamps and Crescent out of business. These two stores have been a beacon of small town charm in a sea of impersonal, overcrowded superstores for decades. In today's corporate world, it is comforting to know there are still places like Crescent and Kamps and Forward Foods where the customers matter and the butcher stands behind the counter and wishes you a good day. It would be a tragedy to see any of these stores go away, although, I seriously doubt that will happen.

So, is Whole Foods coming to Oklahoma City a good thing or a bad thing? As much as I desire a better grocery store, there is something in me that wants to picket the big bad chain store ... that's out to destroy everything we hold dear.

What is your favorite grocery store? I would love to know.


Linda said...

That's exciting news for sure!! :) I'd love to have those options.

Unfortunately, we really have very limited options here in the middle of Illinois farmland. You would think there would be great farmers markets, but there's not locally. There is supposedly a pretty good one 1/2 an hour away on some Saturdays, but considering I have to get up at 5:30 every work day, there's no way I'm doing so on a Saturday, to drive back down to where I work, lol.

So alas, we shop our local IGA and we do travel the 1/2 hour to Champaign's Meijer for their great produce.

Elaine Warner said...

For those of us in the Edmond area -- I just discovered Epicurean Pantry on the northwest corner of Santa Fe and Danforth. In addition to olive oil, sauces and condiments, they have a great cheese selection and carry No Name Ranch beef and bison. Also, Avalon delivers there a couple of times a week -- just call ahead.

Michelle said...

Linda -
I don't blame you for not wanting to wake up early on Saturdays. I always intend on going to the farmers market as soon as they open, but usually sleep in and make it there about 10 AM. It's not easy.

Elaine -
Thanks for the tip. I've heard of this place but keep forgetting to go there. Will have to check it out -- had no idea I could pick up beef and seafood there too. Thanks!