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Whole Foods Market Cooking

April 12, 2011 • 78 Comments

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We're thrilled to announce the launch of a new project with Whole Foods Market. Somehow, we've managed to keep it under wraps for months -- till now.

Whole Foods Market Cooking

Last summer's eight weeks of Whole Foods-sponsored contests? That mysterious bulk bin challenge? The Whole Foods Market Customers popping up with questions in Foodpickle? All are examples of the growing partnership between food52 and Whole Foods Market -- a company that shares our ethos of celebrating home cooks, supporting local producers, and always stocking our larders and crisper drawers with delicious, high quality ingredients.

Now, Whole Foods is taking a bold step in getting back to cooking -- we feel this movement is vital to the way Americans eat and we know you do too.

Today, we're launching Whole Foods Market Cooking online -- a pilot project starting in Rockville, MD (but we hope to grow and might well be coming to your local community soon!) in conjunction with the debut of a cool new Cooking Department in the Rockville store.

In the store, you'll find a cooking coach on duty and iPads featuring an app we designed (see below) -- with vetted recipes and access to Foodpickle so shoppers can get prompt answers to food and cooking questions via text and email -- plus bulk bins stocked with an unprecedented selection of beans, grains, rices, salts, oils, and other staples.

iPad app 

And online, you'll find recipes from the Whole Foods Market and food52 communities, recipe contests (with prizes, of course!), real-time food Q&A powered by Foodpickle, and original blog posts on seasonal ingredients, cooking techniques, local producers, and in-store events and specials.

What this also means is that when you're a finalist on food52, your recipes will be seen (and cooked!) by more and more home cooks -- everywhere Whole Foods Market Cooking goes, both in stores and online. Pretty cool, huh?

So we hope you'll all go check out the new site and show them how it's done. Share your recipes, add your two cents on posts and pickles, and let us know what you think!

foodpickle iPad app  iPad app

Comments (78)

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about 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks, everyone, for your comments -- and concerns, too. We've addressed both in a new blog post that explains in greater detail how the partnership came together and what it all means. Here's the link: http://www.food52.com/blog...

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about 3 years ago elbows

This is unsettling. I'll admit I'm spoiled, being from Iowa City where we have several well-stocked co-ops and farmers' markets to shop at and not a single Whole Foods in the state, but I still do shop there when I can and I have to say that this feels wrong, this feels like selling out. Granted, I think supporting Whole Foods in improving their bulk bin (and hopefully herb) selection is a great idea. But I worry that in partnering with a large corporation we may be moving away from a small community of avid cooks and toward a group that can easily be sourced for information to serve the business interests of Whole Foods.

Mcs

about 3 years ago mcs3000

Congrats! Here's to more people cooking and discovering food52. I know I'm inspired every day by food52'ers.

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about 3 years ago dymnyno

When WF opened in Napa, they did so with every rock star chef and vintner in the area. Since then they have actually decreased their floor size and products. (exception: prepared items like salads and soups) We are lucky enough to have fabulous local produce that all our local groceries carry(and more of it). When the Maui WF opened everyone flocked to it...then went back to Mana Foods in Paia.(except for the prepared foods) They do generate a lot of online enthusiasm and I applaud the partnership with food52. It will be fun!

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about 3 years ago dymnyno

What I really meant to say is that each WF ends up getting tweeked according to the needs/wants of the community it is in. There are at least five WF within a 40 mile radius of me and I am amazed at how different each one is. I can't complain about prices because I shop there by my own decision. I also like that the store personnel all seem happy with their jobs!

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about 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I applaud Whole Foods Market for supporting food52 and our interesting, vibrant community. ;o)

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about 3 years ago thirschfeld

While I am a firm believer in everyones right to open and free discourse I am at a lose at some of these comments. In my neck of the woods there is such a thing as courtesy and it goes something like this, when someone has a success you should whole heartedly congratulate them and if you can't do that it is proper etiquette to keep you pie hole shut. This is a moment to be celebrated by the folks who work hard at food52 who made a good and sound business decision I am sure will help them to succeed in a very competitive market. Is it impossible for some of you to be happy for them and if you can't just zip it.

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about 3 years ago TiggyBee

Well said. I concur.

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about 3 years ago lastnightsdinner

Agreed.

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about 3 years ago phyllis

Indeed!!!

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about 3 years ago beyondcelery

Yes, indeed.

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about 3 years ago Panfusine

woah...blunt but well said thirschfeld..this is certainly not the forum to rain on food52's parade (which, if I may add, all of us are a happy enthusiastic part of!!)

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about 3 years ago Corkage

Well said thirschfeld!! I say good for food52 and everyone that works so hard!

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about 3 years ago phyllis

No matter which company Food52 chooses to partner/work with, there will be people who find fault. Let's just congratulate, participate if we choose, and hope that food52.com stays a nice, friendly, helpful community.

Me

about 3 years ago esgray

Ugh. Whole Foods is elitist, overpriced, and troubling.

I've avoided shopping there ever since this:
http://online.wsj.com/article...

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about 3 years ago fuhsi

Do you realize that Whole Foods routinely overcharges at the checkout, especially towards the end of a quarter, and they have been called out for this practice on other food websites? 15-35 cents here and there, okay- that could be an error in the system, but 2.50 and upward, or double-scanning of an item- that's egregious!

PS- I've saved receipts from the last bad round of overcharges, in the Christmas-New Year's week of 2010. Since then I've been shopping there less, and using Fresh Direct.



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about 3 years ago skooj

I will continue to read and learn from food52 and its brilliant contributors, but I, too, am saddened at this partnership. I am very surprised that you do not know how many local producers do disappear from the shelves once a Whole Foods becomes dominant in a community. Their locally sourced organic farms are usually one of the big agri-giant farms in California. A thoughtful shopper would do well to educate themselves about this company and all their practices. They are far from virtuous.

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about 3 years ago Whats4Dinner

I regularly shop at my Whole Foods here in San Mateo. I've actually been to the one in Rockville as well (very charming). Ideally, a "joint" project would also include sales on the item highlighted. For instance, "Your best recipe using ricotta cheese." Whole Foods ACROSS THE COUNTRY would offer sales on ricotta cheese. Is this not logical?

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about 3 years ago Burnt Offerings

I think that's a logical and brilliant idea. And highlight their winning recipes in their national newsletters. Wegman's does a similar thing by promoting recipes and discounting the products needed to make them. They could only control that on their 365 brands.

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

This might be a total coincidence, but it did seem like items that were on sale at my local WF here in Honolulu last summer were in some cases the very same ingredient for the weekly summer contest (I'm specifically remembering cherries, summer squash).

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about 3 years ago Bob Y

Somehow, I'm saddened by all of this.

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about 3 years ago CarolinaEpicurean

Ditto

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about 3 years ago beyondcelery

So cool! Grats!

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about 3 years ago Sodium Girl

This is amazing! Congrats, ladies!

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about 3 years ago CarolinaEpicurean

I am excited for your new adventures! Although, regarding WFMs supporting local producers, well, they let us down in Asheville. WFMs came in and bought out Greenlife. The name remains the same but WFM products are everywhere. I went to buy my favorite local smoked salmon sausage and it was no where to be found. "We no longer carry it," they said, along with many other favorite local items. Bigger isn't always better. I hope you can maintain the warm fuzzy feeling of Food52 as it grows. Make a list of what is important to you and your members. Stand your ground. Best wishes.

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

I am a supporter of buying local and living sustainably and am wary of big corporations coming into town and shutting down little mom and pop stores. I will say though, that I have been very impressed by my local WF (Honolulu, HI) in their support of local producers - from small farms (including my CSA) to small businesses owned by friends and colleagues. This may not be the norm with WF, but I did want to give a shout out to them for helping to keep Hawaii eating local and buying locally made products.

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about 3 years ago TiggyBee

I always do my best to buy local and the best option in my area is WFM. Having said that, I'm super disappointed that they sell frozen *organic* veggies imported from China. I still shop there, but maybe they need to pick their game up a little. I live in a big city and surprisingly, the options get smaller.

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about 3 years ago oohsadetlo

Are Whole Foods employees allowed to be apart of the contests? Had no idea the Dallas store was apart of this by the way..awesome idea!

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about 3 years ago CatherineTornow

Hi oohsadetlo. I don't think there is a Dallas partnership right now. I was simply offering to do everything in my power to make it so. Here's hoping!

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about 3 years ago thirschfeld

During the winter months its it my go to store and I must say it is the only store to shop. The veggies are always great and the selection is always top notch. Not only that, the kids love to go there because everyone knows them and they have cookie club, i.e. free cookie for the kiddos, what more do you need. This is a great idea and glad to see this. Congratulations!

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

I love the keiki (kids) club too! Although here you have a choice of a banana, apple or fruit strip.

Stringio

about 3 years ago testkitchenette

Nothing short of amazing!!!

Catherinejagers

about 3 years ago CatherineTornow

Congratulations! What a fantastic partnership. Consider this my official offer to help the union of Food52 and Whole Foods Dallas.

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about 3 years ago Panfusine

I'd even have settled for being the proverbial (unsquished) bug on your windshield to have hitched a ride there!!

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about 3 years ago Rivka

This is awesome. Props to the whole Food52 team for thinking outside the box and expanding all of our cooking horizons in the meantime. Congrats!

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about 3 years ago TiggyBee

I'm on board I love food52 and am so grateful for the expanse!!!

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about 3 years ago TiggyBee

oops...period missing in my enthusiasm!

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about 3 years ago healthierkitchen

Somehow, my car headed itself over to the new WF in Rockville, MD this am - was not planning to go for the Grand Opening as I am not a crowd person. But so glad I did! Bumped right into some special food 52 guests there (!!) and got to explore the amazing bulk area. Not to shill for WF but it is the most extensive in this area: volcano rice(!), bamboo rice, grain grinding station, nut butter grinding station, exotic spices, unusual dried fruits, etc. And ipads that link to the WF recipe site as well as food52. I can definitely see Amanda and Merrill's touch in the template! it seems like it will be a very exciting collaboration and as others have said, a great new time suck.

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about 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Color me green with envy.

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about 3 years ago Sadassa_Ulna

DID YOU SAY GRAIN GRINDING STATION? I WANT TO GO TO THERE . . .

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about 3 years ago Lizthechef

If we compete on the new site, is this still food52 or it is a WF contest??

Miglore

about 3 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Senior Editor of Food52

Contests on Whole Foods Market Cooking are separate from food52's contests and run on a slightly different schedule -- be sure to check the deadlines on the site: http://rockville.wholefoodsmarketcooking...

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about 3 years ago Lizthechef

So, Kristen, in other words, food52 is totally separate from this new site? I'm still puzzling as to what connection there is for those of us who have competed in contests with food52 in the past Is there a link with food52 from this new WF site?

Miglore

about 3 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Senior Editor of Food52

Yes, new contests running on Cooking are totally separate from food52's weekly contests. However, lots of vetted recipes (including contest finalists) from food52 will appear in the search results on the site (hint: try searching "cucumber"). Basically, food52 is the same as always, but we worked together with Whole Foods to build something new for their local communities (with the Rockville store as the pilot project). Hope that makes it more clear!

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

What if we want to enter a recipe that is already vetted from food52 and on the WF site - do we go ahead and re-submit it?

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about 3 years ago Oui, Chef

I love it, and will be looking forward to its launch at my local Whole Foods! Congrats to you all on another exciting venture....can't wait to see what else you have up your sleeves. - S

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Wow! Congrats A&M and Food52! So very exciting...our first highly anticipated WF opened a few years ago and somehow I always end up there, just like I always end up here. Cheers! Can't wait to see how this relationship evolves.

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about 3 years ago nannydeb

Cool!

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about 3 years ago Waverly

Congratulations to FOOD52! You all do such a fantastic job with everything. I am happy for you all!

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about 3 years ago LYKLauren

So awesome!! Can't wait till it hits SD WF! :)

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about 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congratulations! What a wonderful opportunity! (I was wondering why all of a sudden foodpickle was inundated with Whole Foods user questions.) Looking forward to seeing how it all rolls out.

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about 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I just looked at the new site. I am in such trouble...........

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about 3 years ago Burnt Offerings

I hear you drbabs! Time suck alert!

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Definitely not going to help me get my family out the door in the morning (meaning right now), but so exciting!

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about 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

I think the threat of my husband installing a timer on the computer will soon become a reality. :)

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

My thoughts exactly....just what I need, another site to obsess over!

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about 3 years ago EatArt

congrats! marriage made in FoodHeaven!

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about 3 years ago wssmom

TOTALLY awesome!!!

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about 3 years ago Helen's All Night Diner

This is so awesome! Congratulations everyone! Can't wait to have this in MA & NH.

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about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Wow!!! I can't think of anything else to say, but Wow!!!

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about 3 years ago freshandfoodie

Fantastic partnership! Can't wait to see how it evolves.

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about 3 years ago GossipGal

Sign me up! I want to be a cooking coach at the Whole in Hingham!

Me

about 3 years ago adashofbitters

R.E.M. was wrong. You should go back to Rockville.

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about 3 years ago Midge

Exciting stuff! We've got a new WF opening in Boston, your next stop?;)

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about 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Brilliant! Cannot wait to see this rolled out nationwide and especially (somewhat selfishly) to a store near me. I had a sneaking suspicion, by the way, from the bulk bin project that you had something new and interesting up your sleeves, relating to WFM. Congrats on this truly impressive accomplishment!! ;o)

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about 3 years ago phyllis

Very exciting. Congratulations. I hope you come to NJ Whole Foods stores soon!!

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about 3 years ago Happyolks

This is so cool! Can't wait to see how this relationship develops!

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about 3 years ago Bevi

Excellent!!

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about 3 years ago Panfusine

for confirmed lazybones like myself..If we want to add recipes to the whole foods site, is there a way that we could just 'transfer' them to the whole foods site from our food52 page since the formats are identical?

Miglore

about 3 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Senior Editor of Food52

We don't, but good news for lazybones -- since the formats are the same, copying and pasting over from food52 is really quick.

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about 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Cool beans! Well done, A&M and Wholefoods.

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about 3 years ago debbiek

Wow, mazel tov! Very exciting!

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about 3 years ago Panfusine

congratulations Amanda & Merill! wonderful progression to the next level for food52
I guess the thrill of it will really sink in when the project expands to the local Whole foods store here in Princeton NJ..

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about 3 years ago CalcuttaChow

This is fantastic! Congratulations!

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about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

This is indeed a wonderful expansion of your vision and your mission. Very, very nice job.

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about 3 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Just fabulous, A&M! It's thrilling to watch how you are growing and expanding, yet keeping your original plan (home cooks' recipes) in focus. Big Congratulations from someone fortunately enough to live just a few miles from the Rockville store.

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about 3 years ago Burnt Offerings

Ditto what Cathy says. This may be worth a special trip down the road - how soon till come up I-95 to Baltimore?

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about 3 years ago healthierkitchen

How exciting! The Rockville Whole Foods is brand new, opening today(!) and will be my local WF store. I will have to check this out!