Whole Foods came to my town, what is worth the $$$
I have never lived near a Whole Foods, but one just opened in our town. When visiting WF when I am out of town, so much of what I buy seems like an experimental splurge, what are your regular buys and what do you find really worth making a trip to WF for? (since we couldn't afford to make this our only grocery store.) We have a Trader Joes, Kroger and other local grocery stores.
I'll second the 365 brand items in many products. They are usually well priced for the quality.
The sausage in the butcher's case it very good. In Seattle most are usually around $5.99 a pound which is not bad for a good sausage and the variety is good.
In Seattle they have Whole Foods Happy Hours that sometimes have some good prices on food that you can buy and eat in store. They usually have the HH menus posted on the website.
Watch the flyer--often items actually 'go' cheaper than regular stores. AND make sure you check-out their weeknight specials.
--Fresh bread--usually there is one loaf on sale for $2.99 which is great for 'baked-that-morning-at-3am' FRESH bread
--Pitas, especially the small ones are good and cheap
--Nutbutter--especially if they have a machine where you can grind it on the spot
--Gelato bar.. if your store has one
--Local small-company goods.. ie. granolas, salsas, specialty items, etc.
--Prepared foods--such as the tofu dishes, cold salads with edamame, etc.
--WHOLE WHEAT PASTRY FLOUR. This is the first thing I ever purchased at WHF, and it is the only place I can find it.. so indeed!
--Cake for mini-Birthday celebration.. $9.99 for a small circle cake is pretty good--without artifical colorings and such
--Hot bar--sometimes I just treat myself, even though it is expensive
ALSO, if you want to sample anything, they crack it open for you--on the spot; do not hesitate to ask them.
Graber olives (canned) - rich, buttery, nutty, expensive ~$7/can
Field Roast grain sausage links (in the refrigerated alterna-food section)
Cheese selection - they will let you taste; also many smaller packaged cuts to try a few at home
Crusty delicious breads
Beer selection -- some occasional rarities
Bulk-bin sproutables: adzukis, mungs, lentils, raw peanuts
WF rules for organic. I buy most of my organic produce and organic staples like beans, grains, sugar, etc. at WF because they are often cheaper and offer more organic selection than TJs, local, or Kroger stores. They also often have great deals on the "natural" shampoo and conditioner that I buy. Stay on top of their weekly ads, there are some genuinely good buys in there most of the time.