For a neighbourhood rich in soccer moms, health freaks and millennial hippies looking to work off climate change guilt (hi!), it's surprising that Kitsilano didn't already have a bulk-only, bring-your-own-container food store. I used to have to make the trek out to the Soap Dispensary or Nada to shop zero-waste. All my love to those stores, but carrying a tote bag full of mason jars on the bus isn't exactly ideal, and driving a car across the city in order to be eco-friendly kinda defeats the purpose.
But just over a week ago, The Source Bulk Foods moved in at Broadway and Stephens. The bulk food chain originated in Australia, where there are over 50 stores, and the Kits location is the second in North America (a Toronto store opened in June). And while the store has international roots, there's plenty of local goods to scoop up: think dried fruit from Chilliwack, honey from Langley, and Hoochy Booch on tap from right here in Vancouver. The store isn't sprawling, but the selection is—when I walked over this morning, I was almost paralyzed by choice.
There are hundreds of bins of foods, spices and baking staples. There's a wide selection of local honey, a bar for the aformentioned kombucha on tap, a shelf for loose tea and a wall of shampoos, soaps, laundry detergents, etc. The lovely gal at the counter also described one section as "chocolate covered everything." Nuts, fruit, coffee beans—you name it, they've covered it. There's also a machine that grinds nuts into nut butter before your eyes.
The store has paper bags you can use, but I brought my own jar—millennial hippie, remember—weighed it, and filled it with freeze-dried blueberries. I almost died when I saw the price (the register read $48) before the weight of the jar was subtracted (cue giant sigh of relief and eyeroll at my idiocy). They were $7.
Here's a look inside the store:
If you don't bring your own container, there's paper bags to use. But come on, bring your own container.
I've never seen dried goji berries before.
A dried pasta extravaganza.
All of the rice.
Olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, hemp oil and sesame oil.
These energy balls were almost completely sold out—they had 5 kinds on offer and there were only two left.
Two of the four kombucha taps serving Hoochy Booch.
The "chocolate covered everything" section.
The weigh station, so your dried blueberries do not cost $48.
Reusable bags, water bottles and lunchboxes are also for sale.
These mango slices with chilli and lemon are intriguing.
All the shampoo, conditioner, soap and detergent.