Edmonton Butchers & Greengrocers (moved from Canada board)
It looks like HB and I will be moving to Edmonton in July, and we were wondering about the availability of butchers and greengrocers in the area. Currently we buy almost no meat, fruit and veg in supermarkets and hope to continue this in Edmonton. Does anyone have any recommendations? We will be living in the southwest but are willing to travel.
I don't really know whythe rest of you Edmontonians don't know aboutt he plethora of butcher option in the city, but hey are there. Personally, my favourite is Beverly Meats. They're reasonably priced with an abundance of local meats as well as some specialties that are imported. It's a German-Canadian shop as well, so many little biscuits,snacks, and candies can be found there. It's over in Beverly on 40th street and 118th. And if you're out that way there's three other butchers on 118th in that general area. I haven't checked them out, but there's also a couple butchers on for road just south of the yellowhead.
As for veggies, there's a downtown farmer's market and the strathcona farmer's market, as well as a Beverly farmer's market. Some of the vendors you can actually go and visit and see their farms and buy their produce during the week. Peas on Earth is a good example of this. Planet Organic is pretty good, but by no means is it even mostly local.
Hope that helps.
I wish we could have a happy medium: large, convenient grocery stores selling local produce. I think Save-on and Safeway are very gradually heading that way, with some increased focus on where the produce comes from. The Strathcona Farmer's market is wonderful, but the selection tends to skew towards the organic or artisanal, and the distribution channel is, let's face it, extremely inefficient, which makes the food extremely expensive. I don't know of many families who could afford to do much of their shopping there, beyond picking up some "special" items each week.
Why can't we leverage the large distribution networks and volume discounts of the major stores but still carry local produce?
A delayed reply to your question. I only discovered this site today. Camerons on 142nd St is the best that I have found so far. Other than this I have a friend who trawls around various etnic markets, Russian, Thai etc etc in the city. It is a fact that supermarket meat, veg and fish is crap. Being landlocked the choice of fish anywhere is limited. Unless one eats the prawns, catfish etc that supposedly come from the far east , hopefully not China. Fishmongers do not survive in Canada.
Most houswives today can't cook anyway so the cheaper cuts of meat are not available. Wanted some oxtail for a stew recently, they have it but at $12.95/kg!
There is not one supermarket that could hold a candle to the Tesco, outside of Horsham.
As for Farmers Markets, it's fresh but you pay. $5.00 for 11ozs of near runner beans.
Good luck anyway!
Unfortunately, what you have described is usually the norm in places like Edmonton. The Safeways, Sobeys and Superstores dominate the local food industry.
Most meat does come pre-wrapped with fewer and fewer meat cutters never mind butchers on hand.
Check that the meat is local? Advise what farm it came from? Not likely. Maybe the continent...Australia, Brazil, Argentina.
Fewer and fewer independent family operated butchers exist. Although it is a gross generalization I think most Canadians are habituated to supermarket buyings as opposed to the the green grocer, butcher, baker, fishmonger, etc.. It is and was more my English, Irish and Scotish friends who would have been more likely to strike up a relationship with a butcher and make special visits to get certain cuts or products.
I used to use Acme Meat Market on 76 Avenue and 95 Street but have not been there for a number of years.
I have heard good things about the Lebanese and Halal butchers up on 134th Avenue. I think there are two or three in that area.
Before they were bought out by Sunterra I often went to Colonial in Lendrum Shopping Centre on the southside. Since it became Sunterra I go less often but I do recognize some of the same faces so perhaps they would be willing to do something extra.
Even though you live toward downtown, I think you will have better luck at their Lendrum location than Commerce Court which seems more retail in nature. Not sure how much cutting/butchering they actually do.
Other than that you might want to try an independent IGA like Andy's Valleyview on 142 Street or the Bateman's on 99 Street just south of 89th Avenue. They are more likely to converse with you and again go the extra mile vis-a-vis customer service.
re: Bob Mac
Yes the Sunterra downtown is geared towards serving the lunch-time downtown office worker crowd. If you want to shop for groceries, go to the Lendrum location.
Another possibility is trying Chinatown for a butcher as they will usually cut stuff up, clean fish, etc. if you ask. Lucky 97 has a butcher section and possibly the 99 st grocery does too (haven't been in there yet but their old location did). My only reservation about Lucky 97 is that the store itself doesn't look nice and clean, although they have a big selection of Asian foods. I belive T&T in West Edmonton Mall also has a butcher section, although their seafood area is much bigger.
But based on what I've seen lately, a Halal butcher may be your best bet for quality and selection of cuts.
I moved to Edmonton from England a month ago. I'm really puzzled by the way meat is sold here. In England I used a local butcher's shop. I could check that the meat was local, in fact the butcher could tell me which farm it had come from. It was hung properly and if I wanted a cut that wasn't on the counter he could just cut me something from a carcass.
All meat here seems to be plasti-wrapped, which is really nasty, and there is very little choice of cuts.
I'm living near Downtown. Where do I go to get real meat, or do I have to become a vegetarian?
My local IGA (Andy's IGA on 142 street) has a butcher behind the pre-wrapped meats counter who will gladly carve you a custom cut of meat and can usually tell you where it comes from. They used to do special orders as well, but I'm not sure if they do anymore. They'd be about 10-15 minutes away by car, depending on where you live downtown. Hope that helps.
For Fruit and Veg there is also home delivery from Farm Fresh organics. http://www.freshorganics.ca/ They deliver every thursday in Edmonton. We have been getting it for over a year. They quality is excellent but as they try to be as local as possible you will only get seasonal vegetables and no exotic fruit etc. But we have been very happy with it and they have an Okanagan fruit basket in July which we are eagerly anticipating.
Too bad about Ital Canadian meats. But that's okay, since I've pretty much converted to Spulombo's sausages - available at the major grocery stores. (http://www.spolumbos.com)
I almost forgot, but Sunworks farms (http://www.sunworksfarm.com ) also brings in their federally inspected organic meats into the Strathcona's farmers market.
You can reserve a great free range organic turkey or whatnot for special occasions. (of course you have to get there early on weekends to actually pick out which one you want)
I'd also recommend the Strathcona farmers' market, and there's also one downtown at 104 STR during the weekends during the summer.
Also, you might want to drop by Planet Organic - pricier, but good selection for more organic fruit and veggies.
For a butcher you might want to try Ital Canadian meats downtown, or there's another one in Whitemud Crossing that I've heard good things about.
Don, I am not certain but I think the owner of Ital Canadian has closed up shop. I just drove by it after picking up supplies at "Spinelli's" but could tell if it is opened or not.
I have been to Cobs bakery which relatively recently opened in some of the space formerly occupied by Urban Fare and it was quite good. They are immediately beside DeLuxe the upper scale [?] burger spot operated by the LaChance folks who own Century Grill and Luxe Steak House downtown [used to be called Chance].
A sign indicated that Cameron Meats is to open a shop at the other end of the complex across from Doug Hicks' wine store.
Well, there is H&W Produce at 9261 34th Ave for fruits and veg, at very excellent prices. It is busy, esp on weekends. I like going there but have ended up spending more money than I had planned at the Indian movie store next door.
There is a sign that the Italian Centre is opening up close to Southgate.
What about grocery stores do you wish to avoid - is the question more about finding the best fresh meat and produce, or maybe knowing where it is coming from?
Yes, it is more an issue of quality, especially with the meat - we tend to avoid the pre-cut, prepackaged meat in grocery stores that comes from God knows where. For fruit and veg, we try to buy local produce whenever possible (though we obviously don't stick by this in the winter!), and our experience in Toronto has been that supermarkets sell tasteless trucked-in stuff all year round, even when local produce is available. The fact that food from sources other than supermarkets also tends to be cheaper is an added bonus!
Thanks for the ideas so far, any others are appreciated!
re: Anne T
Try Sunterra. http://www.sunterramarket.com/ I've never had a problem with special requests at their meat counter. The closest one to you would be the Lendrum location, 58 Ave and 111 St. (There is a pretty good wine store in the same strip mall called Cristalls). Grocery stores such as Save On and IGA/Sobey's are getting smarter about buying more local products as well, but if there is a place that consistently has really good produce, I have yet to find it. Even the old Debaji's had less than prime stuff at times. The Strathcona market is fun to visit but extremely expensive.
Welcome to the neighborhood.
I will be interested in what you find because quite frankly I am at a loss to recommend a green grocer.
Now that the most recent effort by Debaji's appears to be stalled...several others went bankrupt..I cannot think of another apart from supermarkets.
Many years ago I shopped at Acme Butcher, Queen City and Colonial [before it was bought out by Sunterra] but now I tend to make do with Sobeys or smaller grocery stores like Andy's IGA in Valleyview or the Batemans on 99th Street.
I will be interested in reading any suggestions you get.
re: Bob Mac
The other placee that folks should know about is Smokin Iron Farms on 50th street. They are THE palce to get fresh, free range turkey or goose for Thanksgiving or Christmas and locally raised lamb,
Also about 10 blocks away is Victoria Sausage which does all its own smoking. Their smoked pork chops are great and so it the triple smoked bacon.