With just two cups of water and a three stalks of asparagus, Whole Foods has finally invented a product that not even people who shop at Whole Foods will buy.
Behold, a 473-ml bottle of "asparagus water" — only $5.99 US at the Whole Foods store in Brentwood, Calif., as of Monday morning.
Los Angeles-based magazine editor Marielle Wakim snapped a photo of the product, which contains only water and asparagus according to its list of ingredients, while shopping at her local Whole Foods market earlier this week.
"In between feeling up organic peaches and loading my cart with 365 brand peanut butter, I happened upon these in the refrigerated produce section," she later wrote on lamag.com. "Naturally I snapped a photo and shared it to both my Instagram and Facebook pages — because even as someone who lives in L.A. and experiences health food trends like kale soft-serve and Swole Cakes on the reg, this struck me as ridiculous."
Wakin's Instagram photo spread quickly across the web, spawning dozens of news stories, hundreds of Instagram comments, and thousands of tweets.
Whole Foods is selling bottles of water with asparagus stalks in it for $6. This is how Rome fell.— @EricMarten
If any of you ever catch me buying a $6 bottle of "asparagus water" at Whole Foods - or anywhere - you are free to punch me on sight.— @MarkSchofield
You could buy a knitting pattern for $6 that takes HOURS of labor to produce, or you could spend same $6 on a bottle of ASPARAGUS WATER.— @knitgrrl
I may be restless but at least I'm not buy-a-$6-bottle-of-whole-foods-asparagus-water restless.— @cloudypianos
While many were grossed out by the concept of drinking, as one Twitter user put it, "something that tastes as good as it makes your pee smell," even more people online took up issue with the product's price.
As Eater pointed out, Whole Foods sells entire bundles of asparagus for about $5. Tap water, on the other hand, is free. Was there something special about the process that made this "beverage" worth its price?
"It's water, and we sort of cut asparagus stalks down so they're shorter, and put them into the container," said an employee in the Brentwood store's produce department to Eater during a phone call Monday afternoon.
When asked why the product was created, he said "Well, it's...to drink. The nutrients from the asparagus do transfer into the water."
This, of course, set off a whole new thread of asparagus water(gate) mockery.
"We actually don't sell asparagus water in our stores," said Whole Foods' media relations specialist Liz Burkhart, noting that it had only been "carried briefly" at the Brentwood store.
"It was meant to be water with the essence of vegetables and/or mushrooms (similar to bone broth), which is typically made over a long period of time soaking in water," she said. "It was made incorrectly and has since been removed."
Those interested in trying asparagus water can still make their own, however, by putting three stalks of asparagus into some water.