Last week, I had the really neat opportunity to visit Whole Foods Market in Lynnfield (conveniently located a short 5 minute drive from my office!) and tour their rooftop garden, as well as speak with Green City Growers regarding how the garden came to life.
First off, if you’ve never been to this Whole Foods Market in Lynnfield, I suggest trying to get there because it’s a beautiful store! Plus, you can use it as an excuse for shopping and lunch at the MarketStreet Lynnfield shops since they are all in the same spot. It’s one of my favorite WF stores around (that, and the new one in the South End because that’s also gorgeous, but I’m pretty sure they don’t have a rooftop garden!) because not only does it have a huge produce section, but they also sell beer and wine in store 😉
I had heard that there was a rooftop garden at the store, but until getting a chance to actually see it, I had no idea how big it was and how much produce it produced! Here are some stats that we learned from the Green City Growers contact during our visit:
- Green City Growers is an organic farming company and they work with, businesses, schools and at people’s homes all over New England. Whole Foods in Lynnfield is the largest rootop farm in New England and requires 16-20 hours a week in maintenance
- The space is 17K square feet, which is huge!
- A lot of work was done years in advance of the build out of the store in order to create a building structurally sound enough to hold the weight of the garden on it.
- It’s a green roofing system which has insulation and storm water run off benefits.
- 324 TONS of soil was crained in to get the rooftop garden started.
- 4000 pounds of fresh produce is being produced this season, and they are finally (after a few years) figuring out what people want grown and want to buy. There are 20 produce varietals growing right now, making sure to keep their supply unique, but still things people want to buy.
- 2 tons of produce a year is sold right in the store (SO COOL!)
- Virtually zero goes to waste- all of the “grade B” produce (things that drop off the plant, stems, etc.) are brought to the prepared foods area or smoothie bar to be used there.
- There are bees up there, too, which are used to pollinate
Isn’t that so cool?! It’s just one of the many reasons why I love shopping at Whole Foods – there are thousands of organic options right at your fingertips, and locally grown organics is just icing on the cake (or organic veggie 😉 ). While it may cost a little more to buy and eat organically, the benefits of eating this way far outway the costs for us in our home. Granted, we don’t buy everything organic, but for fruits, veggies, meats, eggs, etc. we try to stick to organic, grass fed and local if we can.
Big thank you to Whole Foods for inviting me in!! Also, a big thanks to the other vendors who participated in the event and provided goodies for us to take home:
Questions for you: What is your favorite grocery store? Do you try to buy organic? If so, what are your primary organic buys? Do you try to buy locally?