October 18, 2009

The Food, The Whole Food, and Nothing But The Food

Whole%20Foods%20Interbay-1.JPGMost all the neighborhood farmers markets have closed up shop for the season, with many vendors wondering if it's worth the trouble. Seattle Weekly's Jonathan Kauffman got some of his facts mixed up, but he was right on the money about the precipitous decline in both traffic and revenues. The newly independent Queen Anne Farmers Market, for example, where Cornichon worked almost every Thursday afternoon this summer (selling Sorrentino's fresh pasta), saw less than half the sales volume of previous seasons.

Don't blame it all on the recession, though. New supermarkets are capitalizing on the locavore mania, even as long-established chains like Safeway are touting lower prices (by putting its cashiers in garish banana-yellow shirts, for heaven's sake). Whole Foods, often called Whole Paycheck, is fighting on both fronts, with its 365 line of "everyday" items (including coffee and canned goods), and locally sourced specialty foods like Procopio gelato. The newest Whole Foods, at Interbay, though barely three miles from its two-year-old Westlake store, gives Fremont, Ballard and Magnolia families easier access. There's a new magazine, the whole deal, to compete with Metropolitan Markets glossy giveaways.

One wonders where it will all end, this competition for food dollars. With junk on our plates, masquerading as dinner? Or will we rise to the opportunity and renounce the false gods of cheap garbage? It depends on how hungry you are, and how desperate.

Posted by Ronald Holden at October 18, 2009 9:00 AM | TrackBack

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