At 8 weeks and counting, you’d think we’d have the basics figured out. After all, for most of us, if we don’t have a dog, grocery shopping is the only reason to leave the house. And maybe because purchasing essentials is the only reason we’re leaving the house, interacting with others has become kind of terrifying.
Headlines such as “Why shopping for groceries is no longer fun” or “We’ll never shop for groceries the same way again” make it clear that a meandering stroll through the aisles is now a thing of the past. There is no lingering, no reading labels, no picking out the non-bruised apples. You need to get in there (after standing for 45 minutes in line), get your stuff, and get out as fast as possible.
Chalk one up for all the folks who whined and complained advocated for more local produce in supermarkets. It seems the big chains have been listening.
One July 28th, Loblaws rolled out a programme called Ontario Grown – Picked at its Peak in which they are featuring special displays at Loblaws, Zehrs, Fortinos, Valu-Mart and Your Independent Grocer stores in Ontario that focus on local produce.
Loblaw works closely with farmers in maintaining high standards of excellence to ensure consumers get the freshest and most flavourful fruits and vegetables possible. “Ontario Grown – Picked at its Peak” produce program will have a positive impact on local economies and help revive and support Ontario’s family farms. Loblaws Companies is committed to this relationship – to consumers and to farmers!
Today we’re looking at the organic options in the higher-end grocery stores in my ‘hood. And the options really appear to be all about location. In Parkdale proper, even the prepackaged organic items can be hit or miss, but once I headed over to Roncesvalles Avenue where the supermarkets face stiff competition from a plethora of greengrocers, the organic options were overwhelming.
With 300 products in the PC Organics line, I’m not about to list them all, and I’m going to go with the assumption that the Dufferin Mall No Frills offers a good cross-section of the prepared organic products. Instead, at Loblaws I concentrated on the produce section where there was, indeed, a decent amount of organic options to choose from. Organic strawberries were posted as being $5.99 compared to $4.99 for conventional and that price must have been attractive to customers as there were no organic strawberries left when I was there.
Of the organic cabbage, beets, radish, kale and carrots, all were imported. Pineapples, grapes and pears were also sold bagged, so there was no picking and choosing. Organic onions and sweet potatoes were sold in bags only, which might make the conventional versions of those items more of an option for anyone who needed only one or two of each. There was a decent selection of loose organic fruit, however, with mangoes, oranges, pears, lemons, avocado and kiwi all represented, as well as 5 varieties of organic apples.
A few months back I read something in one of the newspaper food columns about how relatively easy it was to get organic produce at local supermarkets. The article specifically mentioned the No Frills in Dufferin Mall, and it left me scratching my head. See, I shop at that No Frills and I can’t really recall seeing a whole lot of organic produce there.
This provoked the desire to start exploring. Maybe there were hidden gems in my local shops that I wasn’t even aware of. So over the past few weeks, I’ve been wandering the supermarkets of the west end of downtown to see exactly what there was out there in terms of organics.
You’ll notice that I stuck to supermarkets and chain grocery stores, as this is where most people shop. My own grocery shopping excursions take me regularly to St. Lawrence and Kensington Markets, Whole Foods and Pusateri’s, as well as a variety of farmer’s markets, shops in ethnic neighbourhoods and small health food stores, in addition to frequenting the stores listed below.
In my travels for this article, I looked for specific items such as milk and soy milk, eggs, produce and prepared foods.