By DANIELLE MILLER
I was held hostage while attempting to buy organic fruit.
I say attempt because I never actually purchased any fruit or anything else for that matter. The police were on the scene so I knew help was near. However, the other hostages were wild. As I pushed and shoved and excused myself towards the door I could hear, “Where does she think she’s going?” It was terrifying.
Of course, I am talking about the grand opening of the Whole Foods Market in Mishawaka. The grand opening on April 10 was so packed that there was a police officer directing traffic in the parking lot, and inside the people were packed in like a mosh pit— a mosh pit of Granger moms and hipsters and retirees buying kale-based guacamole.
I was excited Whole Foods was coming to this area because I am not native to Indiana and being a life-long vegetarian and local food advocate, I was disappointed by the lack of organic food options available here. I mean, it’s not like there are any farms or famersmarkets around (sarcasm). Honestly, the local agriculture is a hidden gem. It is always present but not glamorized— that is where markets like Whole Foods come in.
I do not see this as a negative. The fact that Whole Foods was as packed as Wal-Mart on Black Friday with $100 X-Box game systems tells me that there is a need for this type of store in our community.
Grape Road really is the crown jewel of retail in Michiana and it was not complete without certain stores that are generally seen in larger cities. Could this mean we are continuing to grow as a city? That is good news in this economy.
The Whole Foods in my hometown hosted events that connected the community such as raising money for local charities or fun events like kiss a fish for a free lobster tail. They are eco-friendly, offering plugs in the parking lot for electric cars, and socially conscious in operating the Whole Planet Foundation that aims to empower the poor in other countries. Overall, they appear to be a socially conscious company that has ethical standards and make shopping fun.
Some feel places like Whole Foods Market is a threat to local co-ops or farmers markets. However, they can also be seen as squeezing into the market between the co-ops and farmers markets and larger stores like Martins and Meijer. They each have their niche in the market.
So as I was perusing the 2 for $5 organic strawberries between bodies and grocery carts, I was able to see that like the other store I knew, they had some good deals on local, fresh food. Not every item is a great deal but comparative shopping is imperative.
I swam through the sea of people to the lunch buffet and, with my mouth watering, searched through the choices. I was hit by the same moral conflict I always have when choosing a meal. Do I choose based on local, organic, health, heirloom, vegan or whole food considerations? I looked from Jamaican stir fry with coconut milk to the lines at the check-out and made my decision. Del Taco.