By Claudie Benjamin

Uptown Whole Foods at 2421 Broadway (251 West 89th Street) is not a branch of the Whole Foods owned by Amazon. It has its own identity; one it’s always had through a succession of owners. It’s almost entirely organic. And, that’s a comfortable characteristic for these times when urban dwellers are more than ever into farm fresh and label reading. A huge, colorful variety characterizes this market with the lush vegetable and fruity scent of fresh-pressed juice filling the aisles and shelves of edibles including nuts and ice cream, snacks with kelp chips and other once-rare, healthful munching options, dairy products, and frozen organic açaí berries, chunks of mango and various berries ready for juicing at home. There are many varieties of oatmeal for those looking for cholesterol-lowering foods, and popcorn for calorie-wise snacking along with frozen Indian favorites. And, with Thanksgiving on the way, there are columns of cans of organic pumpkin purée ready for the efforts of home bakers.

Something is going very right in this store where the very international staff is warm and friendly and ready to assist. The team has found its way to Broadway from the Philippines, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Bangladesh, and Nepal,

Working at this market has been a meaningful source of support for Delfina Moody, (left, in image) one of the managers. Originally from the Philippines, she has been working at the store since she began as a cashier in 1988. She lives in upper Manhattan with her husband who is retired. Their son, graduating from Vassar this year, hopes to become a psychiatrist.

Ingrid Patricia Chez (right, in image) is a fairly recent addition to the managerial staff. Originally from the Dominican Republic, earlier in her career, she worked managing real estate remotely. Now she seems to enjoy the daily interactions with staff and customers. “We’re not nutritionists or doctors but we try to help people out,” she says, explaining that some customers know exactly what they want to buy. Others appreciate advice when looking for the most healthful options to achieve their nutritional goals. She points out that deliveries are free to addresses ten blocks up and downtown from the market.

Customers have been coming in for years both for fresh pressed juice and for organic hot meals. The most popular juice is made with organic green vegetables, apples, lemons and Kale. Delfina’s job also takes her into the kitchen where she prepares fresh soups and a rotating variety of hot meals- organic all the way!

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