Explore Your Local Grocery Stores

Okay, so as much I love being environmentally friendly and supporting local business, I also have to look out for myself once and a while. One of the ways I do this is via my grocery shopping. I generally shop at No Frills and Food Basics to meet my budgetary needs. No Frills is the spot when there is bonus PC points to be earned. Food Basics is closer and has a better selection of international food so I typically go there. Chinatown is of course my stop for produce.

It’s not all about the savings and points, however. I find my No Frills offers an excellent selection of asian cuisine, but lacks frozen whole foods (fish fillets, shrimp, more). No Frills, for whatever reason, carries carrots in 3 formats (individual, bagged chilled, bagged shelf..Why? Give me Canadian carrots I can bag myself). Food Basics has excellent food from the further edges of Europe, along with amazing bulkier sales. A lot of the domestic brands have much to be desired though, and I’m not a big fan of their house brands.

It’s worth while to investigate all of your local grocery stores, and see who offers what. I’m going to checkout the metro nearby my house next week as a potential butcher, should I have guests over and want to make something more unique. If you put in a little extra legwork and shop flyers, you’ll save a lot of money over your lifetime.

To me, saving money and preventing food waste is worth it.

-Mike

Chinatown: Produce Paradise

I. Love. Chinatown. Everything from the shopping to the food is excellent. My favourite thing about Chinatown, is it’s cheap fruit and vegetable markets. Chinatown is the BEST place to buy fruits and vegetables in the city without relying on farmer’s markets. Do yourself a favour and try shopping here once, you’ll leave with bags of vegetables for less than $20. I’m always satisfied with my hauls.

A hidden benefit of shopping here, besides the price, is how local all of the produce is. Part of the reason the prices are so low here, is that all of the markets share a distribution system. Two or 3 stores can be serviced by one truck, which keeps transport costs low. One truck heads to the produce distribution centre and drops it all at a central location downtown.

These stores try to buy as much Ontario produce as possible, as a benefit to their bottom line. This means fresher local produce, grown in some of the best soil in the world. I regularly buy onions, carrots, potatoes and more from that were grown in my hometown. At typical grocers in the suburbs, you get California carrots, despite there being a a huge carrot farm 1k down the road. This to me, is absolutely insane and such a massive waste of resources. Buying local benefits the economy, and the buyer.

– Mike