An Adventure in Groceries - Checking out the local Whole Foods market

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Natural Food Stores in Raleigh

Whole Foods Market

If you're looking for a new grocery shopping experience, check out these great green grocers! Here is the first installment on Raleigh area natural food shopping: where to go, what kinds of goodies you'll find, and what brought these markets into being.

Whole Foods. What do you think of when you hear someone talk about a Whole Foods market? It made me think of Santa Cruz with the hippy lifestyles, all organic foods and well, I just didn't think it was for me. Man, was I wrong. I walked in the door and my opinion changed so fast I couldn't believe it!

Whether you're relocating to the Raleigh/Triangle area, or have lived here for quite some time, you may be as unaware of all the shopping choices as I was.  

Here is some history of the store and what made me like it so much.

Whole Foods Raleigh relocating information

Whole Foods started in Austin, Texas in 1980 with just one store and 19 employees and met with immediate success.

The company was tested when less than a year after opening a flood wiped out all inventory and equipment with no insurance to rebuild with.  In a telling show of loyalty, customers and neighbors came to help, and Whole Foods was able to reopen less than a month later.

Whole Foods has a motto of Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet.

Whole foods - meaning using high quality, high flavor, naturally preserved food from local and world vendors.

            Whole people - finding the best employees, with a passion for food and respect for others, to help ensure customer satisfaction.

            Whole planet - while helping support organic farming and protecting the environment, Whole Foods also sponsors neighborhood events, supports food banks and contributes at least five percent of net profits to not-for-profit organizations. Also, Whole Foods helps local producers that are struggling with their Local Producer Loan Program by putting aside $10 million annually for low-interest loans to help those in need.

In 2007, Whole Food's was named #5 in the Forbes list of 100 best companies to work for and has been in the top 50 for the last 7 years. Now with more than 265 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, Whole Foods can be found in 37 states.  Fortunately for us North Carolinians, there's 4 locations right in the Raleigh area: in Cary, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh, NC.

Now, if you are still wondering what makes Whole Foods so great, here is what I found when I went to visit the Cary, NC location.

Whole Foods bulk grocery organicWhen I first walked in the store, I thought it wasn't much different from most grocery stores. Produce was the first department I came do and everything was stacked in bins on cold cases on the wall looking fresh and yummy.

And then I realized, that's where the similarities stopped. With more than 100 choices of organic fruit to choose from, including more rare fruit such as passion fruit and ugly fruit there's more to sample here than in any grocery store I've been in.

To the right of the produce dept was a wall of bulk bins full of grains, nuts and other goodies to buy by the pound.


I was thinking this is great for those of us whom aren't sure if we like a particular food and would like to have just a taste before investing too much into a new food. 

Whole Foods - meat counter organic fresh foodAfter chatting with someone else, I realized this is also a fantastic way to cut down on food packaging like cardboard and plastic - just fill up your own reusable Tupperware containers!

Next I came to the seafood department. Everything looked so fresh! I didn't linger too long as a class tour was going through and I didn't want to interrupt.

As I walked along the back wall, I came upon the meat department. Now in most stores, customers walk to the self-serve meat counter, grab a prepackaged steak and go. At Whole Foods, everything can be custom cut and packed to order.

Also, since the meat here is raised without added hormones and antibiotics, there's no wondering what else might be in the meat, besides, well, meat. For those who like to be adventurous, Whole Foods also offers choices of duck, rabbit, veal, ostrich and buffalo.

Whole Foods Raleigh Chapel Hill winesMaking a special dish that needs some kind of rare cheese you've never heard of?

Look no farther, in Whole Foods' specialty department, they offer one of the largest cheese selections in the Raleigh Triangle including raw milk chedders, spreads, imports and organic choices.

Need some wine to go with all of that cheese?

Don't forget to check out the huge wine section on the way to the checkout counter.



Whole Foods Raleigh Cary Chapel Hill BakeryDon't forget about the bakery. Wow! Fresh bread, pastries, cakes, cookies, scones, Whole Foods has it all.

And, the best part is, they are all handcrafted with natural ingredients. None of that bleached flour, artificial flavoring or preservatives used here.

My very favorite part of the store was the salad bar and hot bar. If you're on the go and only have a couple of minutes to grab breakfast or lunch, then if for no other reason, Whole Foods is the place for you.

With more than 60 items in the salad bar and 24 hot dishes there is something for everyone. Fresh fruit, vegetables, mixed salads, green salad fixings, meat dishes, vegetarian and vegan dishes, they have it all. The salad and hot bar are open from 7:30am to 9:00pm everyday.

Whole Foods Cary Raleigh Chapel Hill hot barIf you aren't able to get out much, but would still like to shop at Whole Foods, contact your local store and see if they are one of the locations that can offer home delivery.

Needless to say, I was amazed by all that Whole Foods has to offer and I will defiantly be back to shop again.

The prices are very competitive with other supermarkets, and with the freshness of everything as well as the support that Whole Foods' gives to the environment its no wonder that they market themselves as the world's leading retailer of natural and organic foods. 

Check out their site at to find out more.

Next time you need to grocery shop, stop in at your local Raleigh, Cary, Durham or Chapel Hill Whole Foods Market and check them out!  I've included a handy map, just in case. 

  • Cary:                102B New Waverly Place, NC 27517
  • Raleigh:            3540 Wade Ave, Raleigh NC 27607
  • Chapel Hill:       81 South Elliot Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
  • Durham:           621 Broad Street, Durham NC 27705


View Larger Map




New to the Raleigh area?  Considering relocation to the Triangle region?  Here are some other Raleigh relocation topics you may find interesting:

Local government jobs in Raleigh


Shopping in the Raleigh Area - What Kind of Shopping Is There?

Triangle Area Market Reports - How's The Real Estate Market in Raleigh?

Raleigh Relocation Package - All About the Raleigh Area!

Which Part of the Triangle is Cheapest to Live? Property Tax Rates

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Linda Schulte
Keller Williams - Alpharetta, GA

Penny,  I enjoyed reading your post on Whole Foods Market!  My husband, Steve, is the Bakery Coordinator for the South Region, which includes North Carolina, so thank you for your endorsement!  Whole Foods is a great company, dedicated to quality, all-natural foods and a positive environment for customers and team members!

Linda Schulte, Keller Williams North Atlanta, Alpharetta GA

Feb 13, 2008 10:28 AM #1
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info
I'm looking forward to Whole Foods coming to our island soon.  Although we already have some very good health food stores.  Competition is good.
Feb 15, 2008 06:37 AM #2
Brian Block
RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President - McLean, VA
Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate
Penny, Whole Foods is fantastic!  I'm fortunate to live within 15 minutes of two great Whole Foods Markets.  Walking through the store in itself is a sensory delight.
Feb 16, 2008 12:37 AM #3
Stanton Homes
Stanton Homes - New Home Builder, with thousands of floor plans and almost unlimited customization available! - Raleigh, NC
Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina

Libby - I'm amazed that we have four Whole Foods locations in the Raleigh area.  It looks like there are an average of 5 stores per state right now in the states that even have Whole Foods.  Maybe another one will come soon...

Linda - I'm glad that I went in, and I know now that I'll be back.  I look forward to completing the next part of this series.  There are some great local stores, as well as Trader Joes, that offer the same benefits. 

Feb 16, 2008 11:49 PM #5
Candy Henthorne
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate
Penny - I really like Whole Foods market. It seems you can find about anything you are looking for there. 
Feb 17, 2008 04:14 PM #6
Jeff&Grace Safrin
F.C.Tucker 1st Team Real Estate - Valparaiso, IN

Great presentation Penny and I like how you inserted the google map - ( I can't get it to upload to AR correctly for me LOL) and how you put other related links in your posting!



Feb 18, 2008 04:05 AM #7
Stanton Homes
Stanton Homes - New Home Builder, with thousands of floor plans and almost unlimited customization available! - Raleigh, NC
Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina

Grace - I'll contact you and try to help you get a map set up. 

Candy - I'm glad I finally checked it out.  I can't wait to try Trader Joe's next - that's another place I've heard good things about, but haven't actually been in!  One opened in Cary not too long ago, so that's next on my list.

Feb 18, 2008 10:39 PM #8
Jeff&Grace Safrin
F.C.Tucker 1st Team Real Estate - Valparaiso, IN

Wanted to come back and thank you for the directions on how to insert the google map - I will attempt it again soon - I appreciate your help Penny!



Feb 19, 2008 01:14 PM #9
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON


This is one of the most beautiful and thorough blogs I've ever read here at AR and now you've got me wishing so much that Whole Foods existed here in my area too.....I'd become a regular shopper there for sure after reading this.

Wonderful pictures! 



Feb 19, 2008 01:58 PM #10

As much as i love the whole foods concept and the store policies...i would love it if they take steps to reduce waste, plastic bags (produce and groceries) evne the blk sale and encourage better customer choices like bringing their own containers or pouches for purchase

Jun 06, 2010 06:42 AM #11
Stanton Homes
Stanton Homes - New Home Builder, with thousands of floor plans and almost unlimited customization available! - Raleigh, NC
Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina

Sudha - I agree, lots and lots of packaging.  We all need to keep doing what we can to change our habits.

Jun 06, 2010 11:41 PM #12
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