Whole Foods 365 Opened in Downtown Brooklyn And It’s Actually Cheaper Than You Think

There are few things I love in this world more than a good supermarket. One of my favorite ways to de-stress after a hectic day is to stroll through the neatly stacked displays, alone and anonymous, feeling thankful to be present in this moment in culinary history. Five kinds of extra sharp cheddar, pre-spiralized butternut squash noodles, Root Beer Float flavored Chips Ahoy – what a time to be alive!

In this blog, I’ve previously written impassioned announcements of the arrival of Trader Joe’s and Wegmans outposts in New York City locations:

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Actual photo of me excited about Wegmans

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Non actual photo of me excited about Trader Joe’s

Adding to my collection of real and poorly edited images with markets, join me in triumphantly welcoming Whole Foods 365 to Downtown Brooklyn!

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Whole Foods 365 opened this past Wednesday in the bottom floor of 300 Ashland, one of the myriad of luxury high-rises in the area. The budget-friendly store is a smaller version of its big brother, Whole Paycheck. But is it actually easier on your wallet?

I compared the prices of staple items here to my normal grocery store, the Stop and Shop at Atlantic Terminal, five minutes away from 365. Much to my surprise, 365 is beating Stop and Shop in pricing for nearly every item. See below for a detailed breakdown:

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In addition to being cheaper, 365 is downright classy. Here’s a photo tour of the new digs:

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The store has a lot of Fort Greene signage, despite arguably being located in Downtown Brooklyn

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The upstairs section has several fast casual food stalls and this tablet-heavy self-serve alcohol situation

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Don’t forget about Amazon!

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Descending into market madness

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One of the workers I spoke with said the avocados were the best deal in the store. Can’t argue.

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SEND PRE-SPIRALIZED NOODZ

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Lest you think you’ll only find kale and quinoa, behold a mighty impressive selection of tall boys.

Saige C., who lives in East Flatbush but works in the area, struck up a conversation as I devoured a quick dinner from the hot bar.  When I asked her how she felt about the store, her feelings were mixed.

“I’m proud of the jobs the new store is creating,” said Saige, “but I think their use of Fort Greene all around the store is unnecessary. We’re in Downtown Brooklyn, which is already pretty gentrified. They should stop trying to make Fort Greene part of their brand.”

But if your sustainable seafood doesn’t come from a neighborhood with tree-lined, brownstone speckled streets, is it even worth buying?

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Urban Agriculture From Seed to Tart – Growing Basil Indoors at Square Roots

In two weeks, I start my first classes in NYU’s Masters of Food Studies program (true). I’ve got my backpack (true – I already own this), notebook (someone buy this for me), and pens (can I have this too?). I’ve done my summer reading (true) and I’ve sourced the most sustainable, artisanal, local, and organic apples to bring to my teachers (false – I’m not THAT big of a nerd).

Today I visited Square Roots, an urban agriculture incubator in Brooklyn founded in part by Kimbal Musk, Elon Musk’s brother. Square Roots has an office in the old Pfizer building at 630 Flushing Ave in Bushwick, home to many of your favorite artisan NYC food brands like McClure’s Pickles, People’s Pops, Cinnamon Snail, Joe’s Pizza, and the list goes on…

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Can you find Maple? (RIP )

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Josh and his farm

The bulk of Square Roots’ operation takes place in the parking lot inside large shipping containers that house indoor vertical hydroponic farms. Myself and another volunteer met up with Josh Aliber, one of the 10 entrepreneurs currently in an intense year-long entrepreneurship program with Square Roots. We helped him harvest, package, and plant new basil crops.

Fun facts about indoor vertical farming:

  • You can control everything about the climate of an indoor farm including temperature, humidity, and lighting, so the produce is extremely high quality and farmers aren’t at the will of the weather gods for earning their livelihood.
  • This method of farming uses a lot less water, but still uses a lot of electricity. Since it’s a relatively young technology, there’s a lot of room to grow in efficiency and automation. We harvested the basil plants, removed the leaves from the stems, packaged, and seeded new plants by hand.
  • It takes about 7 weeks from seed to harvest for a basil plant grown this way, which is less time than a traditional outdoor farm.
  • A lot of the advancements in hydroponic farming thus far have come from one of the early adopters of the technology: the marijuana industry. Thanks dude bros!

So what do you do with all this super high quality basil? Josh sells it direct to local grocery stores and restaurants. What did I do? I made the most beautiful fucking tart and sprinkled fresh basil all over it like a dog on their favorite fire hydrant:

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This tart was made with heirloom tomatoes and cipollini onions from the farmers market, fresh mozzarella from BKLYN Larder, and genovese sweet basil from Josh’s 8/23 harvest. I HAVE REACHED PEAK BROOKLYN. (Recipe adapted from Taming of the Spoon.)

Learn more about Square Roots here: Kimbal Musk — Elon’s brother — just opened a shipping container farm compound in New York City