I went to the media preview of the Irvine location of Whole Foods to take a sneak peek at what this new location has to offer. This location is the 41st store to open in Southern California. A distinguishing feature for this particular store is The Irv, a casual bar-restaurant which offers seasonal menu items. At The Irv, customers can feast on mouth-watering small plates, flat breads, salads, and entrées. Additionally, customers can select from one of 24 beer taps and assortment of wines and cocktails to quench their thirst. Although other Whole Foods also have a casual restaurant, none have the gigantic bicycle wheels spelling OC.
Whole Foods is known for it’s selection of produce, especially organic fruits and vegetables. This location is no different. Most of the produce are locally sourced. I asked our tour guide to define local. By their definition, local is anywhere that is about a six hour drive away.
In addition to produce, Whole Foods features many local merchants. From soap to beer to fitness attire, Whole Foods offers hundreds of products made right here in California. I absolutely love their commitment to the local community.
As we continued our tour of the store, we learned about the process through which Whole Foods acquires meat. All beef, chicken, and pork sold at Whole Foods are rated using the Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare rating system. All meat come from animals that were not given antibiotics or growth hormones. Seafood is delivered fresh six days a week and sourced locally when possible. As part of their customer service, experienced butchers can cut and size meat upon request and the seafood department sells salad, ceviche, and poke made fresh daily.
One of my favorite sections of this location is the bulk section. The Irvine location has a pretty good size bulk section filled with essential pantry items. There are bins and bins of grains, flours, nuts, spices, legumes, and treats. I was like a kid in a candy store when I saw it.
Another thing Whole Foods is known for is carrying specialized items. As someone who is sensitive to lactose, I was in glee when I saw this refrigerated section. So much so that I took a picture of it. Milk alternatives were huge at Expo West this year. There were so many exhibitors with non-dairy milk products beyond soy and almond. Whole Foods also has shelf-stable options available. I now know where to get my milk alternative products.
The Irvine location has an expansive offering of prepared foods perfect for busy families and professionals. There are several rows of grab-and-go salads, sandwiches, wraps, soup, and entrées. Made daily are scratch bread, pizza, sushi, custom sandwiches and meals-on-the-go. The frozen section has 47 doors and two bunkers filled with a variety of entrées and desserts. If cooking is not your thing, it’s easy to find something to eat at Whole Foods.
Similar to other locations, the Whole Foods at Los Olivos Marketplace puts on events for the community. Below is a list of events for April.
Whole Foods Market Irvine April events
- Sunday, April 10, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., KIND Bar Takeover
- Saturday, April 16, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Mini Facials in Whole Body Department
- Sunday, April 17, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Whole Kids Club Presents: Build your own seed starter
- Wednesday, April 20, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Paint & Sip at Whole Foods Market Irvine
- Saturday, April 23, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., DIY Avocado Face Mask Tutorial
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.