Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Local Grocers are Awesome!

Since moving to this fine city of Ottawa, I’ve been frequenting the various grocery stores and gourmet shops in my neighbourhood. I’ve found the usual chain grocers, independent gourmet stores and specialty shops and although I’ve yet to explore them all, the search so far has been fun and, shall I say, fruitful.

After a few trips to the big chain stores, I was really hoping to find a small grocer where the produce was fresher and there were more healthy options and organic products. Lo and behold, I found The Herb and Spice Shop. I have yet to fully explore this store, but on my most recent trip I was not only met by friendly staff, but I was also greeted by a variety of organic products and fabulous fruit and vegetables!

A family business owned and operated since 1973, The Herb & Spice Shop seems to have struck a balance between local and organic, and delicious and exotic. As I strolled through the aisles, carefully dodging the yuppie couples and health-conscious shoppers, I felt a bit like I was in a Whole Foods, with the socially-conscious brands and pretty produce. Might this have been what the early Whole Foods Market stores looked like before they mushroomed into the corporate giants they are today?

Even though it’s a small store, they don’t skimp on variety. Yes, there are a lot of non-local products, but at least they provide detailed labels so shoppers can make informed choices. I love that you can buy organic dairy, free range farm-fresh eggs, local produce, Rideau rye bread and dragonfruit all in the same place!

The aisles are also stocked with all kinds of gourmet, organic and specialty products – everything from salsas and salad dressings to olive oils and fair trade coffee.

I was impressed to see so many different types of honey, where you can usually only get one or two brands in the conventional grocery stores. They even have a small bulk section and a special spice area.

I look forward to returning to the Herb and Spice and continuing to try more of their fresh food and organic products. Thanks to the staff for allowing me to snap photos! Remember to support your local grocer :)


  1. I love those drawers for the herbs and spices! Wish I could visit.

  2. I guess I should come to Ottawa for my food shopping as it is closer than TO. I am currently in Kingston (originally from the US) because my husband is in Med School here. It's a small city and hard to source some ingredients.
    I love going to food markets "just for fun." :)

  3. They also have great samosas and lactose free cheese. Yay for the Herb & Spice!

  4. Glad to know I'm not the only one who considers grocery shopping fun! I'd take it over clothes shopping anyday! I'll have to check out those samosas next time, and also get started on stocking up on spices! Thanks for the comments, guys!

  5. beautiful pictures heather! I almost did not recognize it... great to discover it from someone else's eyes!