So Whole Foods and Wild Oats are merging.....This has created controversy in Santa Fe where Wild Oats customers are not pleased. In today's New Mexican, they were described as "stunned and dismayed". One shopper denigrated Whole Foods as the "Wal-Mart of natural groceries"; another described them as part of the "big box thing taking over this town". Still another did not want to shop at Whole Foods because it's where "the disposable-income people shop, look good, and flirt."
When I lived in Cambridge I shopped at Whole Foods pretty regularly. It had lots of great products, and you could get things there (like fresh-squeezed tangerine juice or out-of-season raspberries) that just weren't available anyplace else. But I have to say I liked it better when it was Bread and Circus, and local.
Here in Santa Fe, I've become a Trader Joe's fan, where the prices are much better.
But none of these places can hold a candle to Idylwilde Farms in Acton, Massachusetts, where I shopped for years, and would still shop today--except it's a bit of a drive from New Mexico. Even when I lived in Cambridge (25 miles from Acton), I used to shop there every 8 weeks or so--it was like an addiction! Those of us who shopped there on weekends used to say it was like going to church--that we worshipped at Idylwilde on Sunday mornings. They ground their own coffee beans and juiced their own oranges and baked their own baguettes on site--what delicious smells! Fresh flowers from their own greenhouses, perfect produce, an incredible choice of cheeses, imported foods, and their own farm-grown food in season--it's hard to do it justice on paper.