(Darien, CT– May, 2010) – Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFMI), the world’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket and America’s first national certified organic grocer, will open the doors to its Darien, Connecticut store on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 9:00 am. Conveniently located just off exit 11 on I-95 at 150 Ledge Road, this is the Company’s 297th store and will open in time to serve area shoppers for the summer.  To celebrate the opening, Whole Foods Market will hold a special sneak preview event complete with tastings and giveaways for the public on Monday, May 17th, 2010, from 5–8 p.m. Entry to the event is $10 with all proceeds benefiting Person-to-Person, a Darien-based non-profit that provides a support system to hundreds of low-income families and individuals in local and surrounding communities.

Fitting into this quintessential coastal Connecticut town, the new store boasts elegant and graceful architecture that was inspired by the look and feel of the community. Following their ongoing commitment to the environment, Whole Foods Market: Darien features stone and reclaimed wood sourced locally in Connecticut. Additionally, the Darien store will feature two car recharging stations in designated parking spaces near the entrance of the store to serve and facilitate eco-minded customers.

At more than 50,000 square-feet, the new Darien location has brought approximately 235 new jobs to Southern Connecticut. Within its aisles, Whole Foods Market offers hundreds of local products including a second-to-none produce section featuring the freshest seasonal fruits and vegetables as well as fresh-from-the-tap Kombucha tea, made-to-order juices in the department’s juice bar, and a new assortment of house-made fruit smoothies.  

In line with the company’s increased focus on healthy eating, the new store will include a Healthy Eating Center staffed by an in-store specialist who will host a variety of classes, demos and educational programs to assist interested shoppers in leading a healthier lifestyle. 

An extensive prepared foods section will provide plenty of everyday favorites for meals on the go, including a variety of entrée salads and hot soups, fresh baked pizza and paninis, sushi and Vietnamese Phở bar, serving up a variety of traditional Vietnamese noodle and miso options chock full of fresh cut herbs and spices. An assortment of hot and cold bar options will be available showcasing Indian and Vegan/Vegetarian Asian fare along with a collection of raw and no-oil choices. Just in time for beach season, the store’s prepared foods department will also feature a full-service barbeque bar where diners can pack their tote with fresh-off-the-grill BBQ chicken, pulled pork, a variety of chicken wings, pepper jack macaroni and cheese and more. 

“We were passionate about designing a store for Darien and area communities that would surpass expectations,” said Megan Neisser, store team leader for Whole Foods Market Darien. “In addition to offering our customers a wide selection of delicious, all natural and organic foods, we are pleased to offer a new group of customers a convenient, one-stop shopping experience.”

From ready-made meals to quality pantry staples from the Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value™ and 365 Organic Everyday Value™ lines, the new Darien location will provide shoppers with high quality products at cost-conscious prices. The indulgent bakery department will offer customers baked goods for all hosting and dining needs, including fresh-baked breads and muffins, cakes, pies and pretzels and a variety of gluten-free options.  In line with Whole Foods Market’s commitment to strict animal welfare quality standards, the meat department will provide shoppers the highest quality meat free of antibiotics and added hormones, including locally sourced options from farms in the northeast. The seafood department will offer guaranteed fresh seafood that is bought directly, handled correctly and delivered quickly including a variety of local oysters and clams from Westport Aquaculture.   Dedicated to pampering and caring for the body, the Whole Body department will be lined with luxurious personal care and beauty items made from the best natural and organic ingredients along with nutritional supplements, herbal remedies and top-of-the-line baby care items.

Those interested in attending the sneak preview event on Monday, May 17, 2010, 5 – 8 p.m., please visit http://darien.wholefoodsmarketevents.com/ to RSVP. Or, contact Ivy Goldberg, 646-300-6686 or events@organicworkspr.com.