It was a veritable block party - the block, of course, being the parking lot of the former Rouse HQ building along Little Patuxent Parkway, which now houses the Whole Foods and, on the lower level, the upcoming Haven on the Lake spa.
We were treated to all sorts of delicacies, showcasing the best of what the new store will offer; sustainably harvested seafood, roasted local corn, fresh heirloom tomato salad with cantaloupe, even fresh shucked oysters.
The event also highlighted some local companies - I love that Whole Foods, a huge national chain, makes the effort to bring in products from local vendors. We tried several flavors of Capital Kombucha - kombucha is a fermented tea touted for its health benefits due to it being packed with probiotics, amino acids, and electrolytes. I particularly enjoyed the Cherry Blossom flavor (I'm a sucker for floral food products).
|Sous Chef modeling berry baskets|
We also got to go on a tour of the new store. Sous Chef served as my photog while I jotted down some notes. The 40,000 square foot space is like a lovely combination of Roots Market and Wegman's. It's not nearly the size of the Wegman's down the road, but like the Snowden River Parkway behemoth, it has an expansive prepared food section and café - the seating has a beautiful view of Lake Kittamaqundi (I was hoping they'd set it up that way!). They also have a vegetarian café, and the head baker is apparently a whiz at "veganizing" almost any baked good - good news for the veggie-lovers in Howard County.
The bulk food options seem endless; nuts, grains, even different specialty salts. There is even a bulk frozen vegetable area - an experiment that I'm hoping takes off! The food education section is also housed back in the bulk foods area - inspired by the Genius Bar at Apple stores, "Cooking Coaches" will be on hand constantly to offer advice on cooking methods, preparation ideas, and demonstrating the use of handy tools and gadgets (yes, folks, you can buy a Vitamix here).
Look for the
The Whole Body section offers pretty much any health or beauty item you may desire; it even features a health and beauty bar, with aestheticians who can help you make custom blends of bath scrubs and other beauty products. The event outside had a booth showcasing some of these customizable items, including DIY lip gloss and lemon-poppy seed salt scrub (it smelled just like a muffin!)
For shoppers who own electric cars, the store has a few charging stations right outside; plug in, shop, and go! I'm really happy to see these things springing up all over the County.
The whole store was designed using reclaimed/recycled wood and recycled tile - visible in the communal seating and café bar seating, the artisanal pizza oven, and various other decor.
Always a sucker for sweets (when will I learn?!), when the tour guide mentioned homemade gelato cakes, I almost passed out; the gleaming end-cap glass case was calling out to me like Voldemort luring Harry Potter into battle. I think I even caught the ever health-conscious Sous Chef drooling a bit at that sight.
|Are you drooling yet?|