By Seth Daniel
Adult Education and a health conscious supermarket have shaken hands recently, and the result is a partnership that looks to endure.
Last month, the Boston Center for Adult Education (BCAE) in the Back Bay partnered with area Whole Foods Supermarkets in the Ink Block and in Charlestown to bring innovative, food-oriented events into the two stores as a means of educating customers about the BCAE and bringing something interesting into the store.
“The BCAE is more than 80 years old and some people still don’t know what we are, so we decided to try to find ways to take our show on the road,” said Tom Formicola of BCAE. “We found an enthusiastic partner in Whole Foods. It sounded like a good marriage…It’s really been a good fit between Whole Foods and the BCAE because Whole Foods shoppers are enthusiastic about their food and live in the city and we offer a lot of great classes about food and living in the city.”
The first “Meet the BCAE’ event took place in the South End Whole Foods on July 12, where Genevieve Forde talked about Superfoods.
On Aug. 17, the South End store will feature ‘Uncommon Cheese and Condiment Pairings’ with Adam Centamore.
The pop-up events are usually located in a small area of the store near the products that are being showcased.
“It’s evolving but going pretty well,” said Chuck Olivieri, a marketer for Whole Foods. “It’s hard because you don’t have a lot of space. We didn’t think it would work for them to do a whole class here. I asked them if they could do some demonstrations or portions of a class and they came up with these pop-up events that promote their classes. We have one more scheduled and if we can figure out how to do it with less space, maybe we can continue on with some at the Symphony and Charles River Plaza locations.”
At the seaweed event in Charlestown on July 19, Chef Kelly interacted with customers and created a lively, fresh salad using zucchini noodles and chopped seaweed (also called Wakame).
“Seaweed can be soaked for five minutes and then just used,” she said. “It’s high in calcium, iron, folate, and vitamins A, C and K. It’s also good for helping with the thyroid…When you have all these raw ingredients, you actually get full faster. When you eat cooked foods, it takes you a while longer for your stomach to catch up. So, with raw foods like seaweed, you do get full faster, believe it or not.”
That was news to many of the customers on hand, who took in the information from Kelly, who also teaches classes at the BCAE.
“These have gone really well and we like the partnership,” said Formicola. “I imagine we will be continuing them and bringing these to every Whole Foods in Boston.”