(Maryland– May 10, 2011) – Whole Foods Market® (NASDAQ: WFMI), the leading natural and organic foods supermarket and America’s first national certified organic grocer, announces the launch of a partnership with Maryland’s Department of Agriculture (MDA) for MARYLAND’S PICK program.  Launching at select Maryland Whole Food Market stores including Annapolis, Mount Washington, Rockville and Silver Spring, the $25 weekly subscription plan allows shopper to procure seasonal food from Maryland farmers including sweet cherries, blueberries, asparagus, cabbage and more.  Each bag will contain between six and ten varieties of freshly picked produce.  The program officially kicks off in May.

Each week rotating partner farms, with the aid of MDA, will offer members a fresh variety of produce according to the season and what is available for harvest.  According to the MDA Marketing, 78% of Marylanders say they prefer Maryland produce making MARYLAND’S PICK a great option for the community.  Members will be alerted via email about the arrival of their local produce along with information about the farmer, cooking tips and recipes.  On Fridays, during regular business hours the bags can be retrieved in the produce department.  Keeping it environmentally savvy and friendly, all items will be placed in a MDA’s MARYLAND’S BEST reusable bag. 

Whole Food Market’s MARYLAND’S PICK represents a great partnership with Maryland’s Department of Agriculture.  Making it clear and easy for customers, it drives home the message about the importance and benefits of buying local.   “It’s a great opportunity to work with the Maryland Department of Agriculture to create a program that truly supports farm families,” said Matt Ray Whole Foods Market Produce Coordinator.  “Members commitment to the program guarantees they’ll receive fruits and vegetables picked fresh for them and their family all season long.” 

All MARYLAND’S PICK members are encouraged to shop for additional and supplemental produce at their Whole Foods Market store.  By joining the program, both the members and farmers benefit; local produce is better all around.  Buying local allows members to reinvest the community and prepare food that is rich with nutrients and loaded with flavor because It was picked within the last day. Further, members have access to unique, local produce that may not be offered in Whole Foods Market’s regular produce section. 

Mark Powell, Maryland Department of Agriculture Chief of Marketing and Agriculture Development, notes “Buying locally is a key to ensuring a smart, green and growing future for Maryland families. It preserves farmland, protects the environment, keeps our money in Maryland, and provides fresh, nutritious food for a healthy diet.”

For more information on the MARYLAND’S PICK program, please contact Defausha Hampton at Defausha@organicworkspr.com.