North Vancouver -- green grocer/vegetable store
We just moved to Lynn Valley (from Richmond) and are looking for a good green grocer/vegetable store.
I have only discovered Kin's and generally I am not much of a fan of Kin;s.
I'm willing to drive, preferably on this side of the water.
Nourish - New and fairly small, but he's done a good job at setting the shop up. The produce is minimal, but he does get a lot of the staples and the odd interesting bit in. It's definitely small though, so you might not find everything you need there.
Queensdale - An assortment of natural products, but not exactly "green" in my mind. The produce selection is decent, but the organics tend to be of lower quality in my experience. I've had a lot of bad experiences with their produce quality, but on the upside, they've got a decent meat section with good pricing and most of the guys behind the counter are happy to cut whatever I want.
Whole Foods - It's WFM. It's big and pretty and the produce is nice. But it's WFM and that means I try to minimize how much I shop there. The store sure is pretty though.
I am also under whelmed by the produce on the north shore. I am a Lynn Valley resident and start at one end of the mall and pick up what I think is best.
If I have the time or need specialty foods I will head over town to the following:
A number of locations but the original at East Hastings and Nanaimo is a good place to start. The shopping area is a good one to walk to check out the various, mostly Italian, food shops.
Red Apple market
4170 E Hastings. They have their own Parking Lot. Good prices.
4300 Block E Hastings. Municipal parking lot behind, next to Safeway. A little rustic but some good prices.
2200 block Commercial drive. Some interesting bulk items.
A grocery store at commercial Drive and Gravely.
There are a number of delis and specialty stores in this area. Worth a walk if you have the time.
1465 Kootenay. Not much in the way of produce but everything else Italian. My candy store of food. Veal always available. Cheese, bread, pastas, oils......
1465 Kootenay St, Vancouver, BC V5K, CA
Lonsdale Quay has a decent amount of groceries. Essentially a much smaller version of Granville Island. I remember seeing a farmers market there one weekend, as well as a farmers market by Ambleside on weekends. I have had good experiences at Queensdale for produce in the past although their organics arent quite up to par. DO check out one of their sandwiches available over the deli counter. $4.99 gets you a nice sized lunch with any of the meats displayed.
Lonsdale Quay is great for specialty items but I wouldn't say that the prices are super reasonable. For every day produce, a smaller green grocer is the way to go. In addition to Highland Produce, Edgemont Village has a second one right on the corner of Queens/Highland, can't remember the name but it's great too.
I tend to agree about the lack of well-priced, decent produce on the North Shore. Whole Foods is probably best for quality and selection but you pay a price for that. I was in the small produce shop at Parkgate Mall recently and was impressed with selection and service but also pricing. This store has been up and down over the years but the current operators appear to have a commitment to excellent product.
T&T is certainly worth considering. I live on the east side of the North Shore and actually have not been in the West Van T&T. I used to shop at the 1st Avenue store in East Vancouver and enjoyed their produce.
I was in the Parkgate Village produce shop (close to Seymour Parkway) again today and thought the prices were about 1/3 lower than the nearby Safeway. Yellow onions for example, excellent quality at 39 cents a pound. Safeway was 79 and the chain store was claiming this was a reduction from 99 cents. Mushrooms lower by a lot as well and I bought fresh spinach of perfect quality at the independent, which is called Parkgate Farm Market. Present operators have been there for a year or a bit more.
re: Georgia Strait
Produce wholesalers offer Kins good prices on items that have limited shelf life remaining. If you are one of the suppliers (BC Hothouse for example) or an importer looking at too much of a product in the warehouse, you'd offer it to Kins at a good price. Kins have a number of stores and they are busy so they can move a lot of product. It works well for the consumer if you can use the produce quickly but you might not get the shelf life you expect. Another situation may be that a shipment contains inferior produce on arrival. For example, citrus or watermelon may have defects that are only apparent through testing a high proportion of fruits. A wholesaler might discount suspect products to an operator such as Kins. Consumer gets a better price but the quality might be less than optimal. Whole Foods put quality ahead of price and they do a lot of QC to ensure hidden defects don't slip through to the customer.
I'll buy from Kins if I can accurately assess quality and I'm going to use the item without delay. However, if I'm buying when quality matters most, I'll pay the higher prices at WF because of higher certainty that quality will be satisfactory.