Monday, April 4, 2011

Store Review: The Foodist Market

Update:  A sign went up last week (second last week of May 2011) announcing that the store was closing. 

A new market opened up to the east of Queen and Pape to supply the local area with organic and local produce where available.  The sign on the door reminds me that they are currently doing a soft opening but that does not scare me off. 

This store is another in a line of curated food stores where cold cuts and various vegetables are wrapped in plastic.  The current produce selection is hydroponic and local or shipped from foreign lands but organic.  It seems perverse that "better" food requires more oil in the form of plastics and shipping in return for a reduction of pesticides and some fertilizers.

This makes me question the whole labelling and certification of "Organics".  It would be nice to trade that label for a better assurance of local farmers who do all the right things but do not have the time, money or the inclination to get the certification.  I hope that more shops will take that into consideration.  I am willing to accept the word of a good stockist.

Since this is a new store, maybe some of the museum quality of the spacious goods are due to the soft opening or seasonality.  I wonder what will happen when local produce is abundant and the shelves will be too small.  It is a funny business of stocking local and organic; it seems that you are resigned to apples, potatoes, beets and foreign supplied goods in the winter while in the summer there is not enough space for all that is in season.  The winter options could be supplemented with local preserves and canned organics, as long as these are sold by summer.  This natural cycle is the one that grandparents would be familar rather than the 24/365 cycle of cardboard flavoured fruits and vegetables of today.

Another issue with the shop is the tight areas for the shelving for non produce items.  It was quite difficult to get into the U shaped cubbies and be able to view all the goods for sale.  With so much room in the shop, a little more care could and should be taken to allow buyers to see the items.  All in all, this shop reminds me of so many ethnic shops along the Danforth that act like a bridge to another culture with select items from Italy, China, the Caribbean, Greece or some other country but updated to take account of the new urban conscience.

When asked, the owner stated that she just wanted to open a place for organic produce that wasn`t Loblaws or PriceChopper.  While these comments discount the nearby Rowe Farms and the summer market at Withrow Park, it is mainly true.  The store stocks some of the best that can be found at St. Lawrence Market at similarly virtuous prices.  Kozliks mustard and Pingue cold cuts can be found here along with other familiar products.  There is much to recommend this place but with new places such as Sausage Partners cropping up, will this place be able to compete?  I hope for its success but will keep my eye on it over its first summer to see the answers to the questions this shop raises.

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