August 4, 2015

On sale at Whole Foods: 16 ounces of water with 3 stalks of asparagus in it, labeled "Asparagus Water" and priced at $5.99.

"[A] gentleman in the produce department who did not want to give his name... explained that the product was new, 'We've had them on the shelf for the last few days.'"
When asked how the item is made, he said, "It's water, and we sort of cut asparagus stalks down so they're shorter, and put them into the container." When Eater asked what it was for, there was a long pause before he said, "Well, it's... to drink." He elaborated, "The nutrients from the asparagus do transfer into the water."
Later, Whole Foods' Senior Media Relations Specialist Liz Burkhart made a statement asserting that item was carried in only one store (in California) and that the store was making it wrong: "It was meant to be water with the essence of vegetables and/or mushrooms to be used as broth (similar to a bone broth), which are typically made over a long period of time soaking in water."

The photograph at the link looks like something some anti-Whole-Foods prankster made. It would be funny as a joke. It's even funnier knowing it was actually, seriously made and put on the shelf for sale.

And by the way, Whole Foods sells homeopathic stuff, which is based on a much stupider idea than "The nutrients from the asparagus do transfer into the water." Wake me up when they walk that back.

72 comments:

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I speak only for myself when I say that I'd be willing to give it a try if they'd make the claim that drinking it will get me all the way through the night without having to get out of bed three times to take a piss.

Anonymous said...

Eric, it probably wouldn't end having to get up three times a night.

Worse, your piss would smell like asparagus.

madAsHell said...

Six bucks??...and my urine smells funny.

I tell you, it's a War-On-Women!!!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

If it's not Organic Asparagus Water then I ain't buyin' it!


And it better be non-GMO asparagus, too.

madAsHell said...

"Have you seen the price of arugula at Whole Foods?"

Would I be wrong to think that only rubes shop at Whole Foods?

Ignorance is Bliss said...


And it better be Fair-Trade, non-GMO, Organic Asparagus Water.

traditionalguy said...

The placebo effect works best when water is 6
Dollars a glass. The human mind is all powerful.

The Bergall said...

Well I'm sold. BTW, is it gluten free?

Coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MadisonMan said...

Did anyone actually buy it?

SteveR said...

Science is hard, economics is simple. People are intellectually unwilling to adapt to a modern understanding so they fall to the carnival barkers.

Sebastian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sebastian said...

"And it better be Fair-Trade, non-GMO, Organic Asparagus Water."

Now that's unfair. The science on fair trade, GM food, and organic produce is settled.

Unknown said...

And, don't get me started, but it's probably super-germy. All our fruits and veggies are picked by field workers with no access to toilets, who work hard all day long--use your imagination as to whether they are able to keep their hands germ-free. Not a big deal IF: 1) they don't have cholera or any of the other relatively-few super-harmful pathogens we're not vaccinated against, AND 2) visible filth is sprayed off on the conveyor belts, lowering the pathogen concentrations to levels our guts can handle. A few germs never hurt anyone. HOWEVER, put that visibly-clean but undoubtedly mildly contaminated vegetable in water (chopping it a bit to ensure germ spread and more surface area), and let it sit at room temperature or even in a cooled display (I have no idea how Whole Paycheck shelves and displays this stuff), and after about 24 hours of exponentially-increasing microbe reproduction you might possibly not want to be drinking that concoction . . .

David Begley said...

Whole Foods just reported a terrible quarter. Stock hammered.

Prices too high and regular grocery stores are invading the organic space.

Shop HyVee in Madison.

Birches said...

Never saw the need to use this acronym until right now: smh

Scott said...

Whole Foods markets are widely regarded by social justice warriors as being evil. They are headquartered in Texas, and all things from Texas are evil. And the founder and present co-CEO, John Mackey, is libertarian and against labor unions, and as such is probably not a Democrat.

If asparagus water was in a non-chain food store or at a Costco, it would be considered merely stupid. But since it was seen at a Whole Foods market, it is a naked and brazen attempt to rip off unsuspecting consumers and to exploit asparagus.

Bob Boyd said...

Its gettin' real in the Whole Foods parking lot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UFc1pr2yUU

Unknown said...

As for homeopathy--I just realized something. How much do you want to bet that the greenies who are pushing toilet-to-tap drinking water (nothing at all wrong with that--just filter and irradiate it enough and it's perfectly fine) include morons who think that homeopathic water molecules "remember" the 10X10X10X10X10X10X10X10 or whatever it is dilution, dilution so extreme that, statistically, not one molecule of the homeopathic substance remains--anyway, oughtn't they also to believe that the toilet-to-tap water "remembers" what IT used to be mixed with?

Alexander said...

When will our government take a stand against saturating our food supply in dihydrogen-monoxide. I expect this sort of thing from an evil corporation like WalMart, but not from a good corporation like Whole Foods!

Big Mike said...

I prefer Buffalo Grass Vodka myself.

Chef Mojo said...

Professional chef reaction: ROFLMAO!!!

There really *is* a sucker born every minute!

Dave in Tucson said...

> It's water

PT Barnum would be pround

Meade said...


"Wake me up when they walk that back"

Okay. I have some special magical water I'll pour on your head. $17.99/oz. That should wake you up!

Achilles said...

You cater to the needs of your clientele. Most of the people that shop there don't vaccinate their kids and vote democrat. They don't have the brightest customers so this makes sense.

Meade said...

Stir fried compost. Organic. It's what's for dinner!

Peter said...

"Whole Foods sells homeopathic stuff, which is based on ... the principle that science has the whole dose-response thing backwards.

But to be fair, Amazon and Wal-Mart also sell plenty of homeopathic remedies.

FDA has invited input:

http://news.sciencemag.org/health/2015/04/fda-takes-new-look-homeopathy

Scott said...

Same folks who choose to live in Madison as "kept" men.

Your blog is as ugly as your cheap shots.

Unknown said...

Whole Foods is the largest purveyor of quack medicine in the United States.

Freeman Hunt said...

Just slap a new label on it: "Value Meal - Diet."

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

The whole bottled water thing is bullshit. This is just more bullshitty than most.

In 1999 I spoke at the National Soft Drink Association convention in New Orleans. The keynote speaker was a Coke VP.

He told how a couple of execs and he were on a trip and stopped in a Starbucks (don't get me started on them!!!) for some coffee flavored beverage.

They got to talking about the business model, how they took a nickle's worth of commodity, tarted it up, and sold it for $2.95.

One of the execs joked that they should take all the expensive stuff out of Coke like sugar, flavoring, CO2 and just sell the bottle with the water for the same price. According to the VP, that was a Eureka moment when they all looked at each other and realized that it was no joke.

From that Dasani was born and 150 million suckers a day spending waaaaaay too much on a product that they can get for free from their tap. The same place Dasani and most other bottled water comes from.

In the C stores here Dasani still sells for the same price as a bottle of Coke.

John Henry

Unknown said...

It's the convenience of the (most likely non-carcinogenic but no one knows for sure) bottle, plus the status-symbolness, which Coke has had down pat for a looong time. For example, Ted Cruz or whoever the hell it was (Rubio?) looked douche-y drinking from a plastic bottle of water during whatever thing it was (State of the Union response?) BUT, if he had drunk from a refillable aluminum bottle-shaped canteen (Nalgene is one brand), he would have looked not only douche-y, but poseur-ish, not to mention if he had used a Sierra Club tin drinking pan, which is really all you need to carry. Water fountains are getting to be like public pay phones, though--scarce, because no demand, because idiots carry water, and so the death spiral of another public convenience begins . . .

fivewheels said...

I have to believe it was indeed a joke, by a mischievous employee. Having been caught, they just can't admit that without insulting their more foolish customers.

When I lived next door to a Whole Foods, I did shop there for certain items. I like the house-brand cane sugar ginger ale for cocktails, and it's cheap.

Bricap said...

Whole Paycheck sucks. I think the only item we ever buy there regularly is Callebaut chocolate for when my wife does her baking, and even that's barely worth the trip there.

tim maguire said...

I wonder how many they sold. More than none, I'm betting.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I've never set foot in a Whole Foods, and I know next to nothing about it. The name strikes me as kind of dumb. As opposed to what, Partial Foods?

Anyway, Roger Sterling once said something like: "Genius in advertising? You want to know what's genius in advertising? Ninety-nine cents. That's genius in advertising. [pregnant pause] Somebody thought of that."

Virgil Hilts said...

It just takes a few viral stories like this and everyone starts associating Whole Foods with ripoff. Just like all the young ones who now associate McDonald's with creepy out of control ugly clown. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ob0GbuUr8wc

Smilin' Jack said...

And by the way, Whole Foods sells homeopathic stuff, which is based on a much stupider idea than "The nutrients from the asparagus do transfer into the water." Wake me up when they walk that back.

Nearly all groceries and drugstores have whole aisles of this shit now. The rising tide of stupid sinks all boats.

Michael K said...

Jeeez ! It was California, you guys !

This is the state that keeps electing Jerry Brown. What do you expect ?

And Barbara Boxer !

Ans Nancy Pelosi.

Of course they are all from the Bay Area.

Roy Jacobsen said...

You know the saying, "The lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math?"

I'm thinking that there's something analogous going on here.

MadisonMan said...

Whole Paycheck sucks

Their tonic water is excellent.

Laslo Spatula said...

At bar I often dip my cock into a girl's tequila or whiskey.

It is up to them to determine how much they want to pay me.

A lot of times it is paid in 'trade'.


I have 200-Proof Laslo Cock.


I am Laslo.

Skeptical Voter said...

I boiled up a pot of Rancho Gordo Indian Woman beans this morning. Wonder if I can bottle the "bean water" and become a wholesale supplier to Whole Foods. The nutrients transfer better in hot water. Betcha Laslo doesn't want to stir that pot!

Carol said...

The whole bottled water thing is bullshit.

No, it's not. If you live in a place where the tap water tastes shitty like Texas, or is downright dangerous like Mexico, it's great to be able to buy it bottled. Also it's easy to carry around in your car, or store in the house for emergencies.

It used to be handy to carry on board flights until they made that impossible. I haven't flown since '07 so maybe they've eased up on that restriction.

Carol said...

gee I didn't mean to go all neg on Texas ...

Terry said...

It's a good thing that the jars are sealed! That way you know some other shopper didn't just take swig from one of them!
If they were unsealed, an unscrupulous consumer could bring an empty water bottle into the store, open a jar of asparagus water, fill his or her empty bottle from it, and then replace the water in the jar from a drinking fountain.

Skeptical Voter said...

Hey get off California! 8 days ago I was passing through the Detroit airport on my way home. It was hot. Once I got past the TSA kabuki theatre, I went to the newsstand/convenience store to buy a bottle of water. Just plain old Sparkletts or Arrowhead (available in California airports would have been fine). 80 percent of the bottled water available for sale was "flavored"--it was clear, but it was supposed to taste like raspberries or strawberries or whatever. Yecch. But there was some water that was not "flavored". It did say "electrolytes" on the front of the bottle. Well it wasn't a fruit bomb so I bought it (at $4 a bottle---but then they were all $4 a bottle).

Well I drank it, and it did taste kind of strange. Strange wasn't the half of it. It had been dosed with bicarbonate of soda. That's right--the "electrolytes" were baking soda. Drop a box of Arm & Hammer baking soda in 1,000 gallons of water, bottle it up, and there you've got your $4 bottle of "electrolytes".

Whole Paycheck would be proud of that scam--especially since I concluded halfway through that the water was undrinkable. We've got fruits and nuts here in California, but you Michiganders are getting " silly goosed" in Detroit.

Terry said...

I think the next beverage to hit the shelves at Whole Foods will be homeopathic rhinoceros urine. It's got that Africa/endangered species vibe, and without a doubt it is sustainable. The fact that it comes from rhinos will let you jack up the price much higher than, say, homeopathic dog urine.
"Yeah, I only keep rhino urine in my fridge these days. It helps to breakdown the lactic acids after I go jogging, or work out at the gym. It costs a little more than goat urine, but I've noticed my recovery time is faster. But don't go out in the sun after you drink some. It makes your skin more sensitive to UV."

pm317 said...

I like Whole Foods. Its founder is a Republican and a vegetarian. The store carries a lot of vegetarian products, including vegetarian Parmesan, and I like.

William said...

A Whole Foods recently opened in my neighborhood. Perhaps I've been desensitized by shopping at Zabar's, but it wasn't jaw droppingly expensive. Some of the bakery products were reasonably priced and of good quality. Some products were overpriced, but not absurdly so......There were a lot of fashionable looking people in the store. Some people prefer to be overcharged. It's a guarantee of freshness.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"No, it's not. If you live in a place where the tap water tastes shitty like Texas"

Or anywhere in the Southwest.

Michael K said...

"or is downright dangerous like Mexico, "

I remember getting up early one morning in a Mexican hotel (when I still went there) and watched them filling the bottled water out of the tap. Beer is safer in Mexico, even for brushing teeth. How do you think tea got popular in England in the 1850s?

cubanbob said...

Why is everyone complaining? I for one love living in a country so rich it's fools can afford this.

cubanbob said...

Michael K said...

"or is downright dangerous like Mexico, "

I remember getting up early one morning in a Mexican hotel (when I still went there) and watched them filling the bottled water out of the tap. Beer is safer in Mexico, even for brushing teeth. How do you think tea got popular in England in the 1850s?

8/4/15, 7:35 PM

Back in the 70's and early 80's I used to travel a lot to Spain and there were plenty of scandals involving mineral water (still water). Since I had to drink water I would always get some relatively well know brand of sparkling water. It appeared to be safe enough. Whenever I travel I always order sparkling water. Its a lot harder to monkey with for the hotel or restaurant.

David said...

This is California. There's a water shortage. Shortages cause higher prices.

See, the market works.

tpceltus said...

Give the guy a break. He was asked a question he probably didn't know the answer to, maybe didn't have anyone nearby to ask, and punted. A natural human reaction, and now he's made the poster boy for Whole Foods.

Terry said...

I would wait for a two-for-one sale on those things or maybe a Groupon. You wanna get as much value as you can, these days.

Birches said...

Bakery items at Whole Foods are worth their price. Until a French bakery opened down the street, WF was our go to destination for baguettes--although I admit feeling like I had to take a shower afterwards to wash off all the smug.

David said...

Meanwhile, Hilary Clinton is about to flutter off into history, her story nearing an end.

PBandJ_LeDouanier said...

The parking system at the downtown Austin store's garage is worth whatever they want to charge for water. I've been to one other Whole Foods with a garage, but that store didn't have the Austin system where parking spaces know if they're full or available. Every spot has a green light when it's available, but they have a red light when they're full. You don't need to waste time going down aisles that are totally full.

Anywho, I look forward to using that garage in October. F1.

Laslo Spatula said...

Whole Foods carries an Aura Cacia Organic Rosehip Oil that Scarlett Johansson particularly adores; she loves me to rub it into the skin of her back and buttocks before we have anal sex.

A few weeks ago I was sensuously rubbing the oil onto her supple skin, preceding anal sex, when I noticed a mole that I could not recall seeing before. I did not want to unduly scare her, so we had anal sex, and in the morning over orange juice I casually mentioned that she should have the mole checked out.

It turns out it was cancerous, and was able to be removed before it spread.

So not only have I had anal sex with Scarlett Johansson, but because of anal sex I have saved her Life.

I feel pretty good about that.

I am Laslo.

Donald Douglas said...

"Wake me up when they walk that back..."

Heh.

Terry said...

Laslo-
The only thing that I have noticed about Scarlett Johansson is that she is really short. She is like a hobbit, for God's sake.

Laura said...

Well if ya gotta be stalked, a nice soft asparagus is the way to go.

What's the go-to store for a nice, refrigerated cucumber? And how many has Laslo certified organic? A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, but if you want it warm, cukes wear out faster and in a food desert, all you can get is Skittles at 2 a.m. And sometimes you get rained on, unless you're in California and trying to farm.

Late night rain in San Fran probably isn't.

Choey said...

Just remember that "Evian" spelled backwards is "naive".

sojerofgod said...

Osmosis anyone? The kid at Whole Foods is correct. some of the chemicals in the aspergrass will seep into the water. How much and exactly what are of course, a mystery -without detailed chemical analysis.
you could also put a rock of Arsenic in a bottle of water to the same effect. or a drop of Mercury would be interesting..(A sovereign cure for syphilis in 1800!)
If you could get rich selling a pet rock, would you do it?

walter said...

That's pretty observant Laslo..considering the pain you were enduring.

mikee said...

Hope the product was pastuerized. Likely not, as it was made at the store, per the article.

If not pasteurized, after a day sitting on a shelf at room temperature the asparagus water was also sure to be diarrhea water, full of whatever bacteria was on the asparagus.

Which might be a selling point to some of the Whole Foods crowd, I'd need to ask Laslo.

kcom said...

"And it better be Fair-Trade, non-GMO, Organic Asparagus Water"

And if it didn't give affirmative consent to be "harvested" then we've got a much bigger problem. Where is Senator Gillibrand when you need her? Rolling Stone, are you out there?

walter said...

Which aisle is the bong water in?

Anonymous said...

".... If you live in a place where the tap water tastes shitty like Texas, or is downright dangerous like Mexico, it's great to be able to buy it bottled."

Some years ago a Mexican beer company ran a TV commercial in the US featuring some up-scale Mescans sitting around talking about their recent trip to the Estados Unidos.

One of them says, "It's great country. You can even drink the water. But... don't go near their beer!"