There's this little grocery store near my house. They're called Village Market. It's a family-run business and I've been constantly impressed with the changes I've seen over time. When they first opened a few years ago, they were off the bat impressive with just their produce alone. There was a nice variety to start with, including both local fare and hard-to-find tropical fruits. As time has gone on, not only have they created a dedicated organic produce section, but it keeps growing! So far they have stuff like: a variety of berries, carrots, mangos, celery, apples, pears, tomatoes, bananas, cucumbers, spinach, romaine, mushrooms, oranges...I'm sure there are several more I'm not thinking of.
The owner is this really friendly, accessible and super cool dude who seems to come from a European family (and their international variety of deli/shelved goods seems to reflect this) and he said that they are actually really committed to their organic producesection and its expansion, and he said one of the reasons that he's kind of "slow mover" with each new item he adds is because they spend a lot of time carefully choosing their OG suppliers. He said he's gotten to know a lot of the "pretenders" out there and wants to make sure that if it's labeled OG, then it is.
Not that Whole Foods is exactly up for the Grocer of the Year award (don't feel bad...they get a slam dunk in the special Corporate Monster Retailer Health Poser of the Year Award category), but I've been noticing that my little grocer has now surpassed WF's OG produce section. It seems every time I go to WF there is less and less and less I can get for myself. Their berries are usually convention (but sorta styled to look OG). Village market's organic mangos are cheaper than WF's conventional mangos by HALF! Their coconuts--same brand--are a dollar cheaper. They always have big, fat and super cheap avocados of my favorite kind. They have several varieties of affordable OG apples and pears.
Here's what seals the deal for them in my view: Not only do they have a constantly replenished reduced produce shelf, but the owner says they pride themselves on virtually no food waste! They use up everything they can in deli recipes and between that and the reduced shelf, they have pretty much only scraps at that point. And guess what they do with that? A lady down the street who runs a rabbit rescue comes by to pick the scraps up for her bunnies!
Yea local independent grocer!!
And if all of that isn't already cool enough, they have pretty much the same community employees they have since they've opened. They've become friends of mine and they all verify the commitment to diminishing food waste, that they get good hours and benefits, and that they are super happy and blessed to work there because they are treated with kindness and respect by the owner/managers. I see all of them joking around all the time.
They are pretty exclusively the only place I buy produce from. This is one place I can truly say that I'm proud isn't good for dives! = )
Anyone else have a place they are proud to patronize? These little heros deserve mention!