Baldor Specialty Foods and Whole Foods Market announced a collaboration that will make the company’s selection of unique culinary items available to home cooks for the first time through an in-store, digital kiosk called The Baldor Forager, which will launch exclusively on July 26 in coordination with the grand opening of Whole Food Market Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY.
When The Baldor Forager launches, it will satisfy the growing demand for wild mushrooms, heirloom produce and other items that were once the secret of the metro area’s top chefs. The Baldor Forager’s digital interface will encourage exploration, discovery and a retail experience focused on customization. Shoppers will be able to place their orders conveniently at The Baldor Forager kiosk and return for in-store pick-up in a day or two on average.
The Baldor Forager is tailor-made for an era when retailers must compete for the business of an increasingly sophisticated customer. Despite surging interest, specialty ingredients are rarely available through brick-and-mortar retailers. The inaccessibility of these items is reflected in search results, where two of the terms most commonly associated with a wide array of specialty ingredients are “where to buy” and “substitute.”
Baldor will curate items based on uniqueness, seasonality and popularity with celebrated restaurants like Estela and Daniel. At launch, offerings will include fresh, water-grown wasabi root, white strawberries and an unusual variety of lavender-hued mushroom from France called a Bluefoot.
“High-quality, specialty produce has always been the core of our business,” TJ Murphy, Baldor chief executive officer, said in a press release. “We’re really passionate about the items available through The Baldor Forager and can’t wait to share them with a new audience.”
“At Whole Foods Markets, we’re all about constantly improving the customer experience,” Tony Rajaram, Whole Foods Northeast produce coordinator, said in the release. “We know our customers want to try new, special and exotic ingredients; however, it has been a challenge for us to stock fresh, unique produce items that are very fragile and have a short shelf-life. Now, our customers have the ability to order these items and have it delivered to the store, retaining the integrity of the product. The Forager is going to let us accomplish this simply and efficiently through our in-store kiosk.”
The new Whole Foods store will also feature Gotham Greens Ugly Greens, greens and herbs that are slightly imperfect on the outside and perfectly delicious on the inside. To help further reduce food waste, the store will be introducing an Imperfect Produce program, offering customers the opportunity to purchase select cosmetically challenged produce at a lower price.