Local products from across New England and an innovative program that turns food waste into energy are just some of the distinguishing features of the new 44,760-square-foot Whole Foods Market set to open at 50 Climax Road in Avon, Conn., on Sept. 1. The new location’s unique assortment was hand-picked by Whole Foods Market North Atlantic’s Local Forager Holly Long.
“I’ve had a blast foraging for our Avon store opening,” said Long, noting that the new Whole Foods Market will offer more than 900 local products from more than 150 local suppliers.
“We’ve found some amazing hyperlocal producers right in Connecticut that we’ll be sharing with customers such as GIV Coffee out of Canton,” she added. “They source fair trade coffee beans from responsible farmers who offer their employees fair wages. GIV also gives proceeds from each bag they sell to further the mission.”
The Avon store will offer an array of organic, conventional, local and Sourced for Good produce, plus eco-certified apples and peaches grown on family farms.
“I’m really excited about our eco-certified apples and peaches that we’ll be offering in our produce department at the Avon store,” said Long, who is also the forager for Whole Foods’ recently openedPortsmouth, N.H., location. “We work with three multi-generational family farms right here in Connecticut: Roger’s Orchards, Blue Hills Orchards and Lyman’s Orchards. Eco-certified fruits offer customers a way to support farmers right here in the Northeast, and in this case directly in Connecticut.”
Prepared Foods, Meat and Seafood
A prepared foods section with hot and cold food bars, ready-to-eat soups, premium charcuterie and rotisserie chickens is also in-store for shoppers. The new Avon store will launch a Whole Foods’ exclusive Whirlpool Tangy Peach BBQ sauce, a collaboration between The Backyard Food Co. of Rhode Island and Night Shift Brewing from Everett, Mass. The sauce will be sold by the jar on store shelves and featured in recipes in the prepared foods and meat departments.
The full-service butcher will cut steaks to order or debone poultry. The department includes housemade pork and chicken sausages, seasoned and marinated beef, kabobs, burgers and more, as well as local fresh pork cuts from Overbrook Farm.
A full-service seafood counter features grilled shrimp charcuteries, salmon burgers and marinated and stuffed fillets, as well as local Blue Point oysters and Smoked Atlantic Salmon from Ducktrap River of Maine. All offerings are either sustainable wild-caught or Responsibly Farmed, Whole Foods Market said.
Pride of the Pantry
Whole Foods is counting on the trend of consumers cooking at home during the pandemic to continue. The Avon store will offer a variety of products meant to make home cooked meals easier and more flavorful.
“Another local supplier I’m excited about is Moromi and their artisan seasoning sauces out of Mystic, Conn.,” Long said. “Bob Florence, owner of Moromi, makes incredibly flavorful sauces, including a fermented cayenne hot sauce, a shoyu sauce, a rye soy sauce and a chili moromi sauce. If you’re a true foodie, these are all must-haves to flavor some amazing meals.
The specialty department at the Avon store is focused on celebrating cheesemakers, artisan producers, accoutrements and specialty foods such as chocolate, Long said. The cheese department is overseen by an in-store American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional who can offer recommendations and assist with the creation of custom boards.
Local specialty options throughout the store include Camembert and ice cream from Arethusa Farm as well as potato gnocchi from Nuovo Pasta and pesto from Bear Pond Farm. Grocery products from local creators include honey from Hilltop Apiaries, a variety of maple syrups from Maple Craft Foods, and premium pumpkin seeds from SuperSeedz.
Whole Foods Avon store will also feature an extensive selection of nearly 400 beers, including local options such as Run Wild Non-Alcoholic IPA from Athletic Brewing Co., Church Pool Kolsch from Brewery Legitimus, and Dog & Boats Double IPA from Beer’d Brewing Co.
“I’m also beyond excited about a collaboration I worked on with One Mighty Mill and the team at Night Shift Brewing,” Long said. “One Mighty Mill uses stone mills to mill local organic wheat that they use in their products. When they make bagels, part of the wheatberry isn’t used and we had been searching together for a way to upcycle those grains. We found Night Shift Brewing and worked with their head brewers who tested and perfected a delicious Kolsch-style beer that was appropriately coined One Mighty Beer. It will be exclusive to Whole Foods Market and Night Shift.”
In addition to emphasizing locally sourced products, the new Whole Foods also shares the company’s commitment to the environment. A commitment, Long said, exemplified through the store’s Grind2Energy program.
“Food waste is ground on-site using a customized, industrial-strength foodservice grinder. It is converted into energy-rich slurry and is transported to an anaerobic digestion facility where methane is extracted for energy production,” Long explained. “The remaining biosolids becomes nutrient-rich fertilizer."
Whole Foods Market’s recently opened 41,436-square-foot store, located at 1600 Woodbury Ave. in Portsmouth, marks the Austin-based grocer’s first store on New Hampshire’s seacoast. Like all Whole Foods locations, the new store emphasizes local, which in Portsmouth means everything from oysters to fresh pasta and sauces and produce from nearby farms.
The Portsmouth store’s full-service seafood counter features fresh seafood, in-house seasoned and marinated shrimp and salmon burgers, as well as an extensive variety of frozen seafood options with all offerings either sustainable wild-caught or responsibly farmed. Local offerings include more than 20 varieties of oysters from Fat Dog Shellfish Co.
In the Fromagerie, shoppers will find a large variety of cheeses overseen by an in-store cheesemonger who can offer information and recommendations for any occasion, as well as create custom boards. Cheeses can be paired with items from the specialty foods section, which features local products such as flatbread crackers made with upcycled grains from Brewers Crackers and charcuterie from Vermont Salumi.