You would have thought they were giving away TV's at the pre-opening party at Whole Foods Market in Milford. A line snaked through the parking lot as people clamored to get a glimpse of this new glittering grocery mecca. The new location officially opened its doors today with their customary breaking of the bread ceremony, and I kid you not when I say that Milford residents have one more reason to smile when they wake up in the morning.
Unlike the Westport location, this Whole Foods Market was built from the ground up. While every Whole Foods Market has an acute awareness of their environmental impact as well as a dedication to the local and sustainable products they sell, it is the physical experience of this new store that makes me want to get a Milford zip code. This is why, despite the fact that Milford is not actually in "Fairfield County," I feel the need to sing its praise.
As somebody who does most of the food shopping for my family, I appreciate the little things that Whole Foods Market offers their customers. The space is well lit (with energy conserving LED lighting), boasts soaring ceilings, and throughout the store you will see beautiful reclaimed Douglas Fir salvaged from a MA factory. The aisles are wide, lined with 100% recycled materials, and visually pleasing posters tout the local farms whose produce lays glistening on the shelves. It is simply put…a little slice of food shopping heaven.
So enough about the building (I grew up in a family of architects). Let's talk food. WFM supports local companies, and you will find great local CT brands like Gelato Giuliana, Andrew's Honey, Ola Granola, and Twelve, a new non-alcoholic beverage made in Fairfield. There is a broad and wonderful array of local NY and CT grown produce, as well as Westport Aquaculture's local shellfish which you can find in the expansive Seafood Department. (Of course, all of their seafood is chosen based on adherence to strict standards for sustainability, and is shipped directly to the store for maximum freshness.)
This store features a large coffee bar, freshly made pizza, and an enormous selection of prepared foods (several times the size of Westport's menu). The Cheese Department has staff on hand to answer questions, and The Bakery has a wide sampling of wonderful looking goodies over which your child will salivate. I also appreciated the 83 person table seating area where tired shoppers can rest their weary legs or just meet a friend for lunch.
Whole Foods has made some concessions given the weakened economy introducing a new line of dips and hummus with small containers priced at only $1.99. They are also offering "Meal Deals" where you can choose an entree and two sides for a reduced price off of the regular combined cost.
They will be accepting all clear plastic bags for recycling as well as those #5 plastics that are not accepted in the town's centers. These include those handy takeout containers, selected yogurt containers, cutting boards and colanders. All surplus food gets donated to The Connecticut Food Bank, and whatever is not used there will be composted at New Milford Farm and returned to WFM to be sold as compost in the store.
The bottom line…This is a beautiful store that offers the organic, sustainable and local food shopper a place they can enjoy visiting. WFM does not sell anything with artificial preservatives, colorings, or trans fat, and they have a great selection of hard to find gluten-free and vegan items.
Personally, I've never seen a more enthusiastic staff. The employees look genuinely pleased to work there, and that speaks volumes.
Happy shopping Milford residents. Enjoy your new store.