Fresh Fruit and Cheese Plate and a Whole Foods Market Opening
It's not often that I enjoy any perks of being a food blogger other than the occasional comment or thank you from a reader. It was never my intention in writing this blog- no dreams of a cookbook deal or huge sponsored giveaways. I simply wanted a place to share a few favorite recipes and ramblings about my life and family. In fact, this is the first and (probably) only time I've been invited to take part in an event solely because I write in this little space of mine. I never imagined I would be sought out for such a thing nor that I would accept. But when I received an invitation to attend the Friends and Family event for the Grand Opening of the newest Whole Foods Market to open in my neck of the woods, I was tickled at the thought. And because I believe in the philosophy of the store, I decided it could be a unique opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes peek at what goes into the makings of a Whole Foods. Yes, please. I accept gladly.
It was a packed house the evening of the event. The food served was what you would expect- fresh, flavorful and beautiful both to the eye as well as to the palate. I was struck by the amount of locally grown produce and meats and the amount of time put into understanding the local shoppers. It is truly a store made for the folks of Ventura County- we take pride in our farms and expect to see the local fruits and veggies on the store shelves where we shop. So imagine how happy I was to wander through the produce section on opening night to find McGrath Farm organic strawberries and dragon beans grown up the road in Fillmore. It was almost overwhelming, and judging by the excitement in the building that night (and the packed house on opening day) this store was eagerly anticipated and much appreciated by the community. I must admit, it was really quite a thrill to be in on it from the beginning.
The most unique aspect of the store is probably also my favorite part of the space (okay, maybe second to the bakery with its enormous amount of store baked goodies)- a bar nestled into the front of the store and fashioned out of an Airstream RV. Seriously. A real RV turned into a bar. I couldn't get over how fun and funky it was. So very Southern California Coast. I've never been in a grocery store with a bar, let alone one in such a smile-inducing setting outfitted with local wines and 24 craft beers on tap (many of them from nearby artisan producers). Clearly, the Bar Rincon is bound to be a destination all on it's own, especially if it continues serving up selections like the Hitching Post Pinot Noir and Telegraph Los Padres Ale that I sampled at the Friends and Family event.
I went back to the store on the opening day with the thought that I would pick up something unique to the Whole Foods Market and create a dish from that ingredient. But when I got to the store, I just couldn't choose one great item- there were simply too many things that caught my eye. So instead, I decided to snatch up a few of the most local and seasonal fruits as well as interesting cheeses that represent the variety of offerings in the Market's cheese shop (helped along by the extremely knowledgeable staff behind the counter). Together they made a wonderful appetizer/snack for my visiting parents, my husband and myself. Without breaking the bank, either. Now, if I had only thought to grab that bottle of pinot nior to go along with it. Oh well, next time...
My Whole Foods Market Fresh Fruit and Cheese Plate Includes:
Organic California black mission figs
Organic Santa Cruz Berry Farm strawberries
Point Reyes Toma farmstead cheese
Naked Goat raw milk cheese
Verdant grass fed blue cheese
Topanga raw sage honeycomb
I wish I had also grabbed:
Hitching Post Pinot Noir
thinly sliced prosciutto cotto and finnochiona salami
Disclaimer: While this is a sponsored post for Whole Foods Market Oxnard, all opinions expressed are solely my own.