There’s an Alfie’s No Frills on 4th and Fir, a Whole Foods at the corner of 4th and Vine, and a couple Safeways and IGAs scattered throughout the neighbourhood. If you’re not in the market (bad joke?) for a neon yellow afternoon, a 15-minute line up, or a $65 bag of groceries, it may seem like you’re out of luck. But guess what? There is a happy medium.
Sprinkled throughout Kitsilano are dozens of small produce stores and minimarts that are convenient for more than just grabbing a carton of milk in the morning. Stocked up with everything from oranges to paper towels to bacon, snacks, and herbs, these hidden gems will give you bang for your buck minus the hassle plus the smile of your friendly neighbourhood grocer. That’s the kind of math we like.
Here are some of our favourite produce stands and convenience stores around Kitsilano, from the Burrard Bridge to Broadway. Note: we haven’t yet shopped the new Spud.ca Kitsilano storefront Be Fresh Local Market. When we do, we’ll let you know our thoughts.
1) Cypress Market, 1st Avenue and Cypress Street
Any of you living North of 4th Avenue and East of Yew Street has probably popped into this cute little corner store to desperately grab last minute coffee filters or to pick up some cream cheese on your way home from Siegel’s. But consider making this store your standard stop when stocking your cupboards. They’ve got everything you need (except maybe in the meat department – it’s worth making a trip up to Jackson’s for that) at decent prices. The best part is the friendly service, and the cute little salad bar that isn’t half bad if you need a quick serving of crisp veggies to go with dinner.
Cypress Market, 1900 W. 1st Avenue, 604-738-8612
2) Kits Food Market, Yew Street and York Street
This is THE place in the neighbourhood to buy fresh flowers. Overflowing with a selection of bright and beautiful plants and bouquets, the price tags are refreshing as well. Potted orchids, indoor trees, wrapped sunflowers – they’ve got it all for every occasion. And inside, they have a selection of everything from ice cream treats to juice to crackers, so that when you’re treating yourself to some flowers, you can replenish your groceries, too. It’s spots like this one that make our neighbourhood so special.
Kits Food Market, 1575 Yew St., 604-731-1441
3) Apple Farm Market, 4th Avenue and Vine Street
Our personal favourite when it comes to minimart grocery shopping, Apple Farm Market packs a surprising amount of product onto its shelves. There’s fresh produce (with great prices on blueberries, green grapes, papayas, and the rest), staples like pasta and olive oil, a modest dairy selection, and tons of treats like nuts and chips. The service is fast, helpful, and friendly, and the store is organized according to common sense (is it just us, or do most convenience stores have a layout that is beyond comprehensible?). Next time you’re heading to Safeway, we recommend taking a gander across the street first to see if this spot has what you’re looking for, because we have a feeling it will be fresher and more affordable than anything in the supermarket.
Apple Farm Market, 2344 W. 4th Ave., 604-732-6856
4) Young Brothers Produce, West Broadway and Balaclava Street
Now, this store isn’t exactly renowned for it’s customer service. In fact, not only do the employees fail to provide friendly hellos and goodbyes, but also they have a tendency to actually reprimand customers for handling produce in . . . well, in a way that they don’t want you to handle produce. (God forbid you should move some grapes out of the bag you’re purchasing and into another bag.) BUT there is a reason why this market has subsisted for decades. The food is fresh and the prices are the cheapest that you’ll find. We’ve been known to walk out of there with two large bags stuffed to the brim with fruits and veggies for under $20. So put your head down and keep out of their way, and you’ll leave happy with an abundance of greens for tons of tasty meals, with your wallet barely feeling the impact.
Young Brothers Produce, 3151 W. Broadway, 604-732-7088
5) Greens, West Broadway and Maple Street
We wanted to keep this list to those smaller produce stands and convenience stores that your eyes tend to skim over when walking down the street, but we just have to give a shout out to Greens. Working hard for the past five years to provide local, organic, sustainable food for Kitsilano, this store is all about driving the prices down on those high-quality, ethically-minded foods that tend to be unaffordable. With absolutely everything you need, you can get all your shopping done for the week while feeling good about supporting a local business and putting only the finest food into your body. We love this store.
Greens Organic + Natural Market, 1978 W. Broadway, 604-568-3079, www.greensmarket.ca
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Last modified: September 25, 2015