Whole Foods Market has officially opened its third and southernmost location in Monmouth County, with a spot in Wall (called the Spring Lake Wall location). Locals have been watching the progression of the location for quite some time and after getting a sneak peek, I can tell you the place will be well worth the wait.
Take one step inside and you’ll know that you’re at the Jersey Shore. Cool blues, driftwood signs, this Whole Foods Market places emphasis on the unique intersection of the ocean and agriculture, one of the many factors that keeps locals in this area loving their home turf. With over 39,000 square feet of space, the store is a little larger than the Marlboro location and slightly smaller than its Middletown counterpart, however it combines the same strict sourcing code those spots have become known for, featuring locally sourced seafood, produce, and flowers.
Working with Zone 7, which pulls from 60 to 70 farms in the Tri-State area, and Gotham Greens, a Brooklyn-based company that grows lettuces on rooftops, the produce department is a feast for the senses. As growing season commences, be on the lookout for Jersey asparagus and even Jersey tulips and orchids from farms down I-195.
Located in the back of the produce department is the seafood department. Working with one of our favorite oyster farmers, Forty North Oyster Farms, as well as fishers from the docks of Pt. Pleasant and Barnegat, there’s plenty of sustainable seafood to purchase. In addition, Whole Foods Market sources a lot of its cod and swordfish from its very own dock in Gloucester, Massachusetts. As our tour guide told us, “a lot of the seafood we’ll have available on Wednesday is still swimming today.”
An exciting addition to the seafood department, the first of its kind around here, is a poke (pronounced poh-kay) bar, a raw fish salad served with a combination of soy sauce, sesame oil, and myriad ingredients including jalapenos and wasabi. Add on a mignonette created by Chef James Avery of Heirloom Kitchen and it’s a seafood counter you’ll be happy to visit.
For meat lovers, this Whole Foods Market doesn’t leave much to be desired. You’ll find butchers breaking down full animals and grinding meats in full view of customers. There’s also a charcuterie counter right next to the cheese shop featuring Vincenza Pork Roll, a humanely raised pork, made without antibiotics or chemical hormones and without nitrates or nitrites—because you can’t be a true Jersey institution if you’re not offering a breakfast staple.
Add on aisles of goods including the inaugural launch of sauce from The Meatball Shop in NYC, Cape May Sea Salt Co, a bakery that creates custom cakes, house made bread, and sweets, and a true pizza oven emblazoned with “Wall” on it at the Italian counter—in my eyes the crowning glory of the store—and you’ve got an addition to the neighborhood that is every bit as Jersey as the people who live here.