WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (October 26, 2005). Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFMI)®, the world's leading natural and organic supermarket and America's first national certified organic grocer, opened in West Hartford today. The new store at 50 Raymond Road (just off Farmington Avenue in downtown West Hartford) is the 178th Whole Foods Market store.

  On Monday night, Whole Foods Market hosted a benefit for the Knox Parks Foundation, a local organization committed to improve the beauty of Greater Hartford and increase the awareness and appreciation of horticulture. Party attendees sampled many delicious creations by Whole Foods Market chefs, as well as many from the top chefs of Central Connecticut. Door donations were matched by Whole Foods Market raising a total of $47,620 for the local organization.

“Taking care of your community is a core value at Whole Foods Market. We pride ourselves on being a responsible and trustworthy partner in each and every community we're a part of. The Knox Parks Foundation provides a great service to the Hartford community and we are proud to help them reach its fundraising goals,” said Tom Neal, store team leader for the West Hartford location.

Just as at all Whole Foods Market stores, shoppers can select groceries with confidence at the West Hartford location knowing that Whole Foods Market takes pride in being highly selective about all of the goods it sells. Every item must meet the company's strict quality standards to ensure all are free of all artificial additives, sweeteners, colors, flavors, preservatives and hydrogenated oils.

Spanning more than 40,000 square feet, the new Whole Foods Market store is designed with a vibrant, airy feel as large windows bathe the produce and grocery departments in sunlight. Within the expansive natural meat and poultry departments, a wide selection of all natural and organic offerings is available. Meats will be aged on-site. Knowledgeable fishmongers ready to recommend the fresh catches of the day greet shoppers in the large seafood department, where fresh fish packed on ice, a lobster tank and cases for smoked seafood, Dungeness crabs and shellfish and the freshest seafood will be on display.

In both the seafood and meat departments, “Ready to Cook” kits will be offered. “Ready to Cook” is a product line where the meat or seafood is packaged with marinades or other seasonings. Popular “Ready to Cook” selections include one with enough peeled and deveined shrimp and scallops to serve two, plus herb paste for cooking and remoulade for dipping.

For shoppers looking for restaurant-quality prepared foods, Whole Foods Market offers an extensive selection of freshly made healthful foods. Two salad bars, a hot bar specializing in Italian and other international cuisine, six varieties of soup, and another six types of chili and seafood chowder will be created and stocked daily. There will also be a comfort food station for favorites like macaroni and cheese and a selection of roasts ready to be carved on the spot. A large rotisserie for chicken and other meats, as well as stations for sushi, pizza and pre-packed sandwiches round out the prepared foods offerings at the new West Hartford location.

The bakery will be destination on to itself, as it will offer an in-house baked apple fritters, donuts and muffins. Many varieties of focaccia will also be freshly baked and sold, including one variety with goat cheese, roasted peppers and spinach. Fourteen different flavors of organic bread will be made in-house, as well. Shoppers with special dietary needs will also find the bakery department suited for them as vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free items will be available.

But satisfying a sweet tooth will also be easily accomplished with a wide range of chocolate and confections at Candy Island. Shoppers will find treats with vast selections of brittle and fudge to caramels, handmade truffles and decadent imported candies. A chocolate enrobing fountain will envelope virtually everything under the sun in dark chocolate.

Whole Body™ at Whole Foods Market will offer a large selection of luxurious natural body care items and cosmetics, as well as a broad selection of high-quality nutritional supplements and vitamins. Customers will be able to enjoy a make-up station where they will be able to test selected products and take home samples. All products at Whole Body are made with the highest quality natural ingredients and are free of harsh chemicals and unnecessary fillers.

Upon checkout, four express and seven regular registers will help shoppers get them on their way, but if they decide to enjoy their freshly prepared food purchases or just linger to people watch, there is a bright and sunny 80-seat café.

“What was once a mundane chore of shopping for groceries has become the celebrated event. Not only are we here to serve shoppers with a tremendous selection of purely delicious, all natural foods, we look forward to entertaining and delighting shoppers every step through Whole Foods Market,” said Neal. “With our commitment to customer service, free tastings and ongoing cooking demos, everyone will leave the new Whole Foods Market with a smile on their face and a bag of healthful food for themselves and their family.”Whole Foods Market is a uniquely mission-driven company and one of the company's core values is to be an active community citizen. It donates five percent of profits annually to a variety of non-profit organizations in addition to hosting quarterly five-percent days, where the store donates five percent of a day's sales to a local non-profit organization.

  Contact: Fred Shank Fred.Shank@wholefoods.com 917.691.5412 (mobile)