AUSTIN, TX (July 29, 2011) ­– Hans “Grizz” Van Der Enden of Dallas, Texas won the coveted title of “Best Butcher” beating ten other finalists in the Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM)

Best Butcher Competition

at the 2011 Amstel Light Meatopia at New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The first ever

Best Butcher Competition

kicked off in May at Whole Foods Market stores across the country with more than 300 butchers participating. After many weeks of regional competitions among top butchers at Whole Foods Market stores across the country, the finalists met at the 2011 Amstel Light Meatopia on July 23 for the final stage of competition featuring two preliminary rounds with the top two finalists from each round advancing to the final competition. Finalists were charged with demonstrating creativity, knife skills, efficiency and merchandising in front of thousands of meat enthusiasts from all over the country.

With more than 25 years of experience as a butcher and 19 years at Whole Foods Market, the winner Van Der Enden earned a custom designed cleaver trophy along with an all expense trip to Iceland to be part of that country’s festive fall lamb round-up event, réttir. The annual tradition includes farmers riding high into the mountains to collect their lambs and culminates in a celebration with singing, dancing and customary delicacies. The lamb is then sold exclusively at Whole Foods Market and will be available from September through November in selected stores. 

“It’s such a great honor to be recognized as the 2011 ‘Best Butcher’ among hundreds of master butchers in stores across the country,” said Van Der Enden. “This competition truly salutes all of our in-house butchers and demonstrates that the art of butchery is alive and well at Whole Foods Market.”

Writer and Meatopia founder Josh Ozersky was master of ceremonies and judges included

Pat Lafrieda Sr. of Pat La Frieda Meat Purveyors, Brian Sapp of White Oak Pastures, Edmund Lamacchia and Theo Weening from Whole Foods Market. The other three butchers in the final round included Gil Baxter “Moon” from Sebastopol, Calif., Larry Mola “Badda Boom Badda Bing” from Annapolis, Md., and Joe Malito “Joey Meat Hooks” from Bellingham, Massachusetts. Miyun Park, executive director of Global Animal Partnership, was also on hand to recognize the more than 1,500 farms and ranches providing Whole Foods Market’s U.S. locations with products that have received 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating certification.

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About Whole Foods Market®

Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market (, NASDAQ: WFM) is the leading natural and organic food retailer. As America’s first national certified organic grocer, Whole Foods Market was named “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store” by Health magazine. The company’s motto “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet”™ captures its mission to ensure customer satisfaction and health, Team Member excellence and happiness, enhanced shareholder value, community support and environmental improvement. Thanks to the company’s nearly 60,000 Team Members, Whole Foods Market has been ranked as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America by FORTUNE magazine for 14 consecutive years. In fiscal year 2010, the company had sales of more than $9 billion and currently has more than 300 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.