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Friday, 8 February 2013

H&W Produce: a vegan's fresh food paradise

I don't usually wax poetic about grocery stores.  Or any stores, for that matter.  But sometimes I visit a store that has the perfect mixture of great prices, friendly staff and organizational heart, that I feel like I have to stop and give them a bit of limelight (heeeheeee "lime"light is a pun, you will see why...)

H&W Produce is one of the best kept secrets in Edmonton... or at least the secret that was best kept from me!  I just found out about this fabulous chain of stores a few weeks ago, and have visited them twice in the interval. 

I am completely in love with this store. 

You have to understand first of all that as a vegan, I'm a perimeter shopper at most traditional grocery stores.  I stick to the outside walls to get the things I eat: the fresh foods.  I don't usually venture into the middle aisles unless it's to get some grains or legumes (and even those are usually coming out of bulk bins).  H&W Produce, being a store which is focused almost solely on fresh fruit and veg, is a total haven to me.  No obnoxious big-box to navigate (along with obnoxious big-box clientele), no meat counter to make my stomach turn, just a veritable vegetable paradise.  And that's not all!  Even better than getting to bypass all the items that are completely unnecessary to my diet are the surprisingly low prices.  While other specialty grocers in Edmonton tend to have higher prices than their mainstream grocery competitors, H&W Produce offers produce that is in almost all cases MUCH less costly and also in better condition (unlike Superstore, who apparently throw the produce off the truck...)

Case in point, MY SWAG:

I shall nom you all, in time.

This was my haul when I visited H&W on the westend this evening (via ETS, wanted to buy more but had to think of the bus).  I bought four pounds of navel oranges, a cantaloupe, three kiwis, four bananas, a pound of strawberries, a pint of cherry tomatoes, a field tomato, an avocado (rock hard, but all things in their time), a bundle of carrots and a lovely eggplant.  All completely mouthwatering in their appearance.  The total bill?  FIFTEEN DOLLARS.  This shocked me, as regular price at Safeway would only let you get the cherry tomatoes, strawberries and cantaloupe for about the same amount. 

On top of the quality and price, H&W has amazing variety.  They have several vegetables that you will not find at your Save-On-Foods (actually, ESPECIALLY at Save-On, they clearly have no imagination when it comes to their selection).  They had several items I had never heard of, as well as others that can be occasionally difficult to find, like jicama.

So, in conclusion, while I don't usually endorse stores I would like to do so with this one.  H&W Produce has several locations, which are well-placed on the different sides of the city.  There is probably one near you!  And if there is, I encourage you to visit.  If you love good veggies, you won't be disappointed.

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