Where do you grocery shop? Most of the time, we believe that a supermarket or a superstore is going to offer us the most variety because of its size. The truth of the matter is that the best places to shop are small stores in your own neighbourhood (or others when out exploring) run by locals who care about good food, and a good food system. Luckily, in Toronto, there are many health food stores, boutiques, specialty shops (think Kensington Market), and mini “general stores” popping up everywhere.
Today, I had the good fortune to visit Raise The Root Organic Market while there was an artisanal pop-up happening. In this small space, Amy, the owner, packs in what seems to be everything your kitchen needs – from organic produce, to pantry staples, from desserts to cleaning products. Although many of these items can also be found at larger stores, they don’t always get seen by us because they get drowned out by all of the other options. If you are trying to make better choices and trying to eat well, shopping at a place like Raise The Root will have you taking home only the goods.
We had already been shopping at the Farmers’ Market yesterday, and still have fresh food in our garden, so we didn’t purchase any produce, but it all looked beautiful, especially their basket of avocados. I love avocados.
At the pop-up market at the back of the store, there were a few great local vegan brands sampling and selling their products. I suggest that you try all of them! Wood and Water Foods makes delicious “tre nuht cheez” – sharp and smoky cheddar, maple pecan cheez balls, and chocolate candy cane cheezcakes (I devoured a huge part of the one we bought just a few minutes ago and it’s fueling this post!). I promise you will love these (unless you have a nut allergy, of course!) – the texture and flavour of all of their products are worth every single bite. Nona Vegan cashew sauces and Good Food for Good are created and owned by two of the kindest women who work so hard to bring these products to fruition, and they are worth trying just for that! Pleasantville Creamery was also on-site, and although they have one cashew product, they are otherwise nut-free, choosing to use a lot of hemp in their products, making it super healthy and safe for people allergic to nuts – this is great news for our family, especially for my sister. Their raw, organic, and vegan ice cream, especially the Richie Rich, is awesmazing. They also make a cultured mozzarella that melts beautifully on pizza, although we are going to try it on a lasagna to see how it fares! Today, I also bought a wedge of their cheddar, which is crazy good. Even if you eat cheese, try these, as it’s a whole different category of amazing food. I also bought New Moon Kitchen‘s nut-free, vegan, limited edition salted chocolate cookies which essentially melt in your mouth, or they did in mine!
I definitely recommend that you check out Raise The Root Organic Market, as well as the small, healthy stores in your neighbourhood. They might not always have what’s on your list, but try shopping for whatever looks best in a store, and then making your meal (or dessert) out of it, it’s how you find the best things to buy!
You can see what my mom and I bought at Raise The Root here.