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    • @Denise, you are right that it was probably a problem just in this particular store. I've been going to it sporatically for the last two years and for some reason it just doesn't feel friendly. There is a beautiful Whole Foods in Laguna Niguel that I could walk to when I lived there. This store had everything and tons of kitchens with eating areas, too. Another favorite is the one in Manhattan Beach and I went there weekly, even though there was an older, smaller WF within walking distance when I lived in Redondo. The lighting in the Manhattan Beach store was always set perfectly; not too bright. And I've been several times to the original store in Austin, which is really a great store. The store in Mill Valley is my all-time favorite. I lived there for 7 years and it is also a small store, but it really had a community feeling. I met so many friends there! It was impossible to find a place to park and we had endless conversations about strategies. And in Santa Fe, they have two stores across the street from each other. It's really strange! Okay, now you know my "whole" life, lol.

    • Oh, Denise, I meant to add that I love to hear you are supporting the farm stands. It's the only place to find any good tasting tomatoes! I designed/packaged this book for the Santa Fe Farmers Market with the photographer a few years back. Was a blast!

    • That had to have been fun!

      Funny, the farm stand I visited a couple of days ago didn't have any tomatos but they did have one of my favorites, pickling cukes. I did get some great heirloom tomatos at Whole Foods today (at the Prime price...). Just ate one, and it was wonderful. I will be happy when the farm stand has local tomatos though.

    • I can't believe how hard it is to find good tasting tomatoes (or carrots, for that matter) in the North Dallas area where I live now, unless I happen to get to the farm stand very early on market day! The expensive heirlooms at Sprouts and Whole Foods are tasteless this year. I've tried nearly every organic and non-organic brand of all varieties and am disappointed. They are picked too early and shipped too far in most cases. I hope to be able to grow my own next year! Being from Califorina I am very critical, lol. Everything grows magically there :-). But honestly, now, I bite into an organic carrot and it is completely tasteless. I yearn for the days when I could pick one out of the ground, rinse it off and bite into heaven.

    • Fascinating, Jain. I can never buy anything anywhere without wondering what the ingredients to success of the business are. It’s just a deep curiosity for me.

      I keep going back to Trader Joe’s because of certain items they carry that no other store has — like their Chipotle bean dip and Midnight Black 100% dark chocolate. I always notice how packed they are and how cool and unique the atmosphere is.

      So I just asked Google what makes them tick and Trader Joe’s themselves explained. They don’t sell online, they don’t collect data on you, they don’t deliver, the main marketing expense is letting you sample the food in the store, they don’t try and grow too fast. Love those values.