PALM DESERT, Calif. -

Whole Foods Market will hold a vendor fair for suppliers and members of the public today ahead of its Palm Desert store opening on Sept. 24.

The event, which starts at 11 a.m. at the JW Marriott Desert Springs resort, is an opportunity for small businesses to pitch their products to Whole Foods. Members of the public can sample items and meet suppliers and future employees of the Palm Desert store.

``We are always seeking new and innovative products that will delight our customers and support our local economy,'' said Kimberly Albright, who works for Whole Foods in Los Angeles County. ``This is an opportunity to find those special, unique items that will make the new Whole Foods Market Palm Desert a true reflection of the diverse needs of this community.''

Suppliers who want to pitch to Whole Foods must have a product free of artificial preservatives, colors, flavors or fragrances, hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup or nitrites, and meat or poultry must not contain added hormones or antibiotics.

Quality standards are listed at www.wholefoodsmarket.com. Businesses that want to pitch a product should send reservations to sp.pmd.marketing@wholefoods.com. Members of the public should RSVP to RSVP@goldpr.com.

Whole Foods, which started in Austin, Texas, in 1980, is an organic grocery store with about 380 locations in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The Palm Desert store will be the company's first in the Coachella Valley.