The last time I visited the Cape, in the works was a Whole Foods– the first on the Cape. I’ve been watching my Cape friends’ Facebook pages with excitement as everyone geared up for the opening this past spring!
Growing up on the Cape, you get used to doing a lot of shopping “off-Cape.” Every end of August while I was growing up in the 80s and 90s, there was at least one day where you took a trip off-Cape to go clothes shopping for the new school year, for more variety and cheaper prices. Such trips would often include a stop to a really cool restaurant that we didn’t have on Cape, like uh, Olive Garden. At least I wasn’t looking forward to a trip to McDonalds, like friends from Martha’s Vineyard, right?
Fast forward a number of years and we got our own Olive Garden; chain stores take over, ending the need for off Cape back to school shopping; and the Cape starts to look like the rest of suburbia. Except there’s light gray (mostly fake) clapboard on all of our buildings.
But vegan food shopping was one of those things that I still frequently did off-Cape. I worked part of the time off-Cape, and I did live on the dreaded “other side of the bridge” in Buzzards Bay my last three years on the Cape, so that made those trips not so bad. It still would have been nice to do all my shopping on the Cape without breaking the bank, though.
Yeah, you’re laughing that I’m suggesting that I’m about to suggest shopping at a Whole Foods on the Cape would help one not break the bank, but when it comes to vegan convenience foods, it’s true. And some of the prices on the Cape are better than they are here in NY, so there’s that. Plus Whole Foods has vegan products that are exclusive to their store.
In my last few years on the Cape we did get a Trader Joe’s, and there are a few independently owned or small chain natural foods stores, but different stores are better for different things. You want cheap tofu or tempeh? You can’t beat Trader Joe’s. You want to buy beans and spices in bulk for cheap? You might do a little better at the small store. You want to buy Daiya? Whole Foods is your man. I mean, store for the best price, most of the time.
For your eating-in or take out needs, Whole Foods in Hyannis also has a smoothie bar with a number of vegan offerings, a prepared foods section with vegan hot dogs and a vegan pizza (with a cashew sauce instead of Daiya, no less), in addition to the salad bar.
This is one of the smallest Whole Foods stores that I’ve ever seen, if not the smallest. It’s housed in a building that was originally a Border’s Books, if that gives you an idea of the size. Despite that, they seem to be really focusing on what they can bring to the Cape that’s different than their competitors. Sure, they have nice produce, but the produce department is pretty small. I was surprised that some of their packages greens are coming from New York- not exactly local. Go to a farmer’s market for those. Not a ton of supplements- you want those, go to one of the smaller stores like Cape Cod Natural Foods. But if you want Earth Balance Mac & Cheese? This is where you belong!
Not pictured: Tofurkey pockets I bought here because I can’t find them in Westchester. How do you like that?
Personally, I love that there’s now a Whole Foods on the Cape. I don’t want it to displace the smaller natural foods stores throughout the Cape, but I hope that WF and the smaller stores can coexist. Because that would be awesome.
I guess all this talk of travel to Cape Cod is a little trip down memory lane, too. Hope you’re enjoying!