Vancouver, Canada - General information about organic food
I just moved to Vancouver, Canada and i'd like to know the cheapest options to shop for healthy organic food. I've been told the main options are CSA (community supported agriculture) where they pay to join to support farmers and in turn get a box of fresh vegetables every week. Another option is the organic retail shops (maybe a bit pricey but I live in Coquitlam (suburb) so maybe there is a shop nearby? I don't know. Also there are farmers markets however many shut down passed October. Unless i can find a winter market i may need to find other sources. An idea that really appeals to me is driving around the fraser valley looking for road signs (i.e fresh eggs, vegetables) and buying direct from the residents (backyard chickens, etc..). However i don't know how common this is near Vancouver. In Australia, it was based on the honour system, boxes of eggs and a suggested donation box. What do you think?
I have been a member of a CSA, which is my preference; it enables one to obtain local produce. Once autumn comes about, you will most probably be limited to delicious root vegetables. I advise you get connected with a Biodynamic Farm.
There is also Trader Joes; if I'm not mistaken, there are a few TJs across the border, in and around Portland.
I joined the FarmCity Harvest Box program (CSA) this year and have been really pleased with the quality and variety of the produce we've received so far. http://www.farmcity.coop/
Not sure what we'll do for the winter though.
You might find this website a good starting point for buying direct from farm stands, etc.
Not much for farm sales/honour boxes as they're known here close to the city in the Interior, the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island they're much more common.
Most farmers here don't do organic though-not certified anyway it's widely thought of as a scam-and is IMNSHO.
Several supermarkets sell organic produce, meats and dry goods. Save On Foods & Thrifty Foods both come to mind. There are definitely suburban locations of those chains. You could spend a lot of time (and fuel!) driving around looking for roadside produce stands.
Another option is to carefully order from a food delivery service, such as SPUD or Dairyland Home Service (Saputo).
I usually include the time/fuel cost in calculating the price of food.