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Jun 6, 2008 08:03 AM

Bad Seafood at Woburn Whole Foods

Does anyone else have this experience? Three times in the past 2 months we have arrived home (less than 10 minutes away) and had dodgy seafood from the counter at Whole Foods in Woburn. Once it was scallops, once it was trout, and last night it was "wild harvested shrimp". Shame on us for not demanding to smell what was being sold to us at the counter, but we don't have to do it at our other trusted seafood locations.

I should not admit that we reluctantly and lazily overcooked and ate the first two, but the shrimp are going back directly to the General Manager along with a chat - they smelled awful, were generally mushy, and the legs were falling off most of them.

We very, very rarely have this problem at Fresh Pond, River St. or the new Medford location (in fact, we got a beautifully fresh whole snapper there recently and grilled it upon the counter guy's recommendation.

Are we just unlucky? Should we write off this location for seafood as we currently intend to? Does anyone have some praise and hope to offer for it? It's our closest fishmonger aside from the once-amazing, now just OK Carey's Catch...

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  1. I got a bunch of dodgy oranges at the Cambridgeport Whole Foods last week. Should have known something was up when I saw that the price was actually reasonable.

    If I were king, prosecuting the price gouging this place engages in would be my first order. If you can tell me, for example, why Barilla pasta is $1.49 a box at every other market and $1.89 at Whole Foods, I will send you a check for the difference.

    Another example - Newman's Limeade - $2.50 - $2.99 at Whole Foods - as low as $1.50 at Market Basket, normally $1.99 at most other places.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Bob Dobalina

      Bought seafood at Fresh Pond a few times and it was fine. The new Medford store is closer to me, but I haven't purchased seafood there yet.

      I bought a couple of tomatoes at Fresh Pond (conventional), paying more than in a "regular" supermarket and they started going moldy in a day. Ones I buy at the regular supermarket have been good for a week. Considering the volume they do at the FP WF that is surprising.

      As far as price-gouging: Amy's Organic Pizza at WF: about $8. At "regular" supermarkets about $5.50.

      1. re: Bob Dobalina

        Kashi bars $4.49 a box. Target $2.89 or almost always on sale for 2 for $5

        1. re: Bob Dobalina

          If you can tell me, for example, why Barilla pasta is $1.49 a box at every other market and $1.89 at Whole Foods, I will send you a check for the difference.
          Because they can. :-)

          1. re: Bob Dobalina

            I asked the Bedford WF manager why Amy's broccoli pot pies were $1.50 cheaper at MB than WF. He said MB bought more of them and other products (not just the Amy's line) handled by that food distributor so MB can negotiate better wholesale prices.

            It sounds plausible but $1.50 difference is huge.

            1. re: three of us

              I asked the manager at the Brookline Stop and Shop why Edie's Fat-free ice-cream is $5.49 there, and $2.99 at the Framingham S&S...She said it came from a different distribution center....You can find these differences everywhere.
              WF, OTOH, actually sells Domino Sugar (4 lb. canister)for less than the restaurant supply place I go to; go figure!

              1. re: three of us

                My BS detector is jumping...I think LindaWhit has it right on the money.

            2. No matter where I buy fish from (WF included), I always ask to smell it before they wrap it up........just too easy to get stuff on/over the line!

              1. I've pretty much given up on Whole Foods. The Hingham one is probably the worst. The first thing you smell is the seafood department when you walk in, not an appetizing experience. The produce you have to use the day you buy it or it's done. Often they have outdated items on the shelves. It seems that Hingham is the last stop for items before they are thrown out.

                1. I visited a Whole foods (Fresh Pond) fish department for the first time because there are no fish markets in my town and I have been extremely frustrated at the quality/freshness of the fish at our local Shaw's and other markets. Well except for an increase in selection and a huge increase in prices, I did not see any quality difference between Whole Foods that I visited and Shaws - they got the same slimey, dull looking farmed salmon as everyone else. For the price that WF charges, you may as well go to a proper fish monger.

                  And a good tip for those buying shrimp - never buy them from the counter - you have no idea how long they have been sitting unfrozen. Its my understanding that all shrimp - except local Maine shrimp in the right season - are frozen before they get to our local stores, so you might as well buy the 2 lb. frozen bags from the freezer for exactly the same price per lb. as the stuff at the fish counter. If you don't need 2 lbs, just toss the leftovers in the freezer for another time - most of the bags are resealable and they only take a few minutes to defrost under running water

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: LStaff

                    Actually at the Bedford WF they sell loose frozen shrimp.

                    1. re: cassis

                      ALso sell loose frozen shrimp at the Woburn store- 9.99 pound- cant remember the size, though.

                  2. I'm surprised - I've gotten seafood many times in Woburn and never had an issue - although usually it's fish I buy and not shellfish. I usually go to Fresh Pond and have never had issues there, either. While I'm not sold on everything WFM has to offer and agree w/a lot of the criticism here - I think some of the pricing issues have to do w/volume of product moved thru the WFMs . . . for instance, someone was pointing out to me recently that items like Stonyfield Farms yogurt are cheaper at WF than at Shaw's. So I think it just depends.