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Whole Foods Market Cooking Launch

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Whole Foods Market Cooking Department

Last week, we gave you a quick taste of our partnership with Whole Foods Market. And now, we'd like to tell you how it all came together and where it may go -- and not to worry, food52 is not changing and your recipes are staying right here!

We are working with Whole Foods Market because they believe, like we do, that the only way to sustainably change our food system is to get people to cook. They've been thinking a lot about how their stores have created so many good prepared foods that they've nudged their shoppers too far from the kitchen, and too far from their mission. They want to change this, and they have a revolutionary plan in the works, to be piloted in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Whole Foods Market came to us because getting people to cook requires community, and that's what we -- and especially you -- do well. They asked us if we could build sites for them that would encourage cooking and community around their stores. Naturally, we said yes. 

Whole Foods Market plans to redesign some of their stores to create what we think is an extraordinary Cooking Department, as you'll see in the slideshow below. This department will live in the "bulk" section, where they will make a bold statement for a retailer: that cooking with grains, beans, and rices is just as important as cooking with fresh vegetables. In this spacious new bulk section, they'll feature a much broader variety of grains, beans, and rices -- things like rattlesnake beans and forbidden rice -- that were out of most people's reach, simply because they weren't available in stores.

Additionally, they plan to bring a cooking coach into some of their stores, to be there to answer questions, provide recipes, and give people one-on-one cooking advice. The cooking coach will work among jars of dried mushrooms, grain mills, loose spices and herbs, and vats of homemade vinegars, oils, and syrups for filling re-usable jars. Also in the stores will be an iPad app that we built, offering up recipes, a glossary, and our Foodpickle real-time Q&A.

Their plan makes great sense to us. So for the past 6 months, we worked with Whole Foods Market to create their first website, for Rockville, Maryland, one of the first stores to unveil the Cooking Department. Over the next few months, we'll be launching another 30 to 50 sites for stores (and clusters of stores) around the country.

Whole Foods Market Cooking

Meanwhile, food52 will be where it's always been. Right here. A few things to keep in mind:

• While you may see some food52 recipes featured over on the Whole Foods Market Cooking sites, all of your recipes remain in our database. The food52 recipes that you see in the Whole Foods Market Cooking recipe search link back through to food52. We see this as an opportunity to give greater exposure to our community of excellent and knowledgeable cooks.

• The recipe contests on Whole Foods Market will be independent of ours, and theirs will run regionally.

Foodpickle appears on the Whole Foods Market Cooking site and on the iPad app but all of that content lives here.

We've built something special here at food52, and it's natural to want to protect it. But if we really all believe in the mission to get more people in the kitchen, then sharing our knowledge is the way to go. We love what Whole Foods Market is doing, and it's going to take passionate and informed cooks like you to make their communities thrive. There are lots of creative contests and events in the works, and there's a chance for you to get to know other cooks in your area. And most importantly, when you need to take a break from all the butter, sugar, and booze over here, you can always head over there for some restorative grains and greens.

Now that we've finished up most of the work to get this partnership off the ground, we're turning our attention back to food52, where we have exciting changes in the works.

Stay tuned -- and here's to more people cooking!

- Amanda & Merrill

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