Whole Foods buyers around the country work regionally with local producers to stock the very products (from New York State milk to Brooklyn pickles) we so often laud in our pages, and sometimes even provide assistance to smaller artisanal makers just getting their feet inside the grocery store doors. And in their produce department, they’ll label the local stuff they’ve procured.
During Eat Drink Local Week, which begins on Friday, they’ll be going one further by tasking each city store’s Culinary Demo Specialist to produce a dish using as many of our Seven Ingredients of the Week as possible. Between Friday and June 30, check the prepared foods department at each New York City Whole Foods for dishes like fresh fish filets with Strawberry-Rhubarb Glaze (that’s two of the seven ingredients right there, all of whom we’ll be lauding as the week progresses).
Also in honor of Eat Drink Local Week, each Whole Foods will be partnering with Organic Valley on a special Foursquare promotion. Check-in at any NYC store between June 24 and June 30 and you can score a coupon for free New York state organic milk.
Speaking of local initiatives, tomorrow between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. at Whole Foods Market on the Bowery (at the corner of Houston Street) four Whole Foods butchers from the region will be judged on their professional skills, including, we’re told: “workmanship, visual appeal, cleanliness and knife-handling skills, trim specification and other techniques.”
Two of the judges are Pat LaFrieda, who runs a famous eponymous family butcher shop in the Meatpacking District, and the food writer Josh Ozersky, whose specialty is covering meat. (He wrote an excellent Edible Manhattan profile of LaFrieda last year.) The winner gets to advance to the butchery competition at Meatopia on July 23rd at Brooklyn Bridge Park. That’s the once-a-year festival put on by Ozersky himself (it started out as his annual birthday party) where chefs from around the country cook some of the country’s tastiest proteins in the great New York City outdoors. This year’s includes a national best butcher competition sponsored by none other than Whole Foods.