It's no secret...I've previously declared my undying love for Trader Joe's. I drive 30 minutes each way to shop there (but I do combine trips and go every 10 days or so when I have other business in the area.) I love just about everything about them. There is only one area (OK, maybe 2 if you count the amazing cheese counter) in which I wish they were more like Whole Foods. That is that Whole Foods carries local products. I'm talking Connecticut & New England cheeses, meats, produce, seafood, etc.
The first time I noticed local products there was when I spied the fantastic Ashlawn Farms coffee from Lyme, CT. The yelp you might have heard in the coffee aisle - that was me! I had only ever had their coffee straight from the farm where they roast their own beans which I've enjoyed on every trip to the gorgeous farmer's market they host on weekends in season. (I've been known to go back for a 2nd cup of coffee - it's that good!) The 2nd time was when I found the Re-Snack It reusable snack bags for my little one. Those too are from a Connecticut company.
It turns out that Whole Foods has something they've dubbed the "Foraging Program" where they have "foragers" in their New England stores who seek out local products to carry. They even put out a newsletter to tell buyers what local products they're featuring or have recently added. The latest issue had CT-made Carol Monnerat Artisan Truffles on the cover....mmmm....and inside was black currant juice from Preston, CT and pesto from Bear Pond Pestos of Glastonbury!
Other Connecticut producers they're carrying (according to the website):
Aleia's Gluten Free Bakery (Old Saybrook)
Griffin Farmstead (East Granby)
Ironwood Farms (Canton)
Liuzzi Cheeses (North Haven)
Old Maid's Farm (South Glastonbury)
Rose's Berry Farm (South Glastonbury)
Sheldon Farm (Eastford)
The Farmer's Cow (Lebanon)
Thomas Hooker Brewery (Bloomfield)
Tokeneke Fine Foods (Black Rock)
Wave Hill Breads (Wilton)
I have a feeling there are more to be found in-store, and they have a long list of New England products that we can feel good about buying. So as happy as I am that I can get a good French cheese, I'm just as thrilled that I can buy The Farmer's Cow Lemonade (you HAVE to try it this summer!) there as well.
As much as I am feeling the love for Whole Foods right now, I can't afford to buy all of my groceries there. The prices are just too high, but if I shop the values (and there are plenty to be found) make my $ go further by buying the most necessary organics and maybe even use their coupons, I can happily support a company who supports local farmers. That's GREEN!