Bulk foods [General]

2010 Sep 7
Hi all,

I'm hoping that you can offer a newcomer to Ottawa some advice. So far, I've been delighted with the grocery options in Ottawa, especially the farmer's market in the Glebe and the shops around the ByWard Market. I'm still looking, though, for a good place to buy grains, beans, nuts, and dried fruit in bulk. I cook a lot of beans and grains (or at least I try to!) and I usually make my own granola, but I've been taken aback at the prices I've seen so far for things like almonds, dried cherries, etc. The recent threads on pine nuts and beluga lentils have given me ideas for places to look, but I'd welcome any other thoughts that you might have. I live near the ByWard Market and would love to find something wihtin walking distance or a short drive. I'm near both a Metro and a Loblaws, but neither one has a bulk section.

Here are the places on my radar; please feel free to add or to comment on them:
- Market Organics. They seem to have a great selection, especially for obscure flours and grains, but it's pricey for basics, it seems.
- Bulk Barn. I haven't been yet. Is it worth a special trip? I found a few comments on the internet to the effect that there aren't great savings to be had, so I would appreciate hearing your thoughts.
- Costco. I don't have a membership and don't have much space for storage in my kitchen, so I'm unlikely to buy truly massive bags of anything, unfortuately.
- Herb and Spice on Wellington or Bank. How do these stores compare to Market Organics?

Thanks in advance!

2010 Sep 7
Get together with some others and set up a buying club for Mountain Path. www.mountainpath.com . This is precisely the sort of thing they specialize in. And they are the suppliers for most of the natural foods stores around, so you can get the same stuff WAY cheaper.

Here is an article I wrote about buying clubs


2010 Sep 7
cumberlander Welcome to centretown! In terms of buying bulk foods in centretown Market Organics and Herb and Spice on Bank are pretty well my go-to places. I find the prices at Market Organics are a little higher than Herb but I have been pleased with the products at both places. I do prefer the dried herbs at Market Organics however - they are more flavourful than the dry herbs at Herb and Spice.

On your way to Herb and Spice you will pass by a store called Grace Ottawa and they sell foods that cater to African, Asian, and Carribean cuisine: Grace Ottawa .

If you go to the Lansdowne farmers market there is a health food store just up Bank called Kardish and they have a variety of items sold in bulk.

If you head west along Somerset then Wellington I would recommend Shiraz Shiraz Grocery Store for their assortment of nuts and Al Jazeerah Al Jazeerah for grains, legumes, etc.

If you are interested in shopping on Main Street in Old Ottawa East there is a health food store called Wheatberry. They also sell a variety of items sold in bulk. (There is also a farmers market across the street on the grounds of St. Paul University which is open on Saturday mornings. Many vendors that go to Lansdowne on Sunday have stalls at the Main Street farmers market on Saturday mornings.)

There is also Al-Kalaa Mini Market Al-Kalaa Mini Marketon Kirkwood (near Byron I think?) which also carries an assortment of legumes, grains, etc.

Going further west there is Rainbow Foods on Richmond Road Rainbow Foods. They sell bulk items, supplements, canned goods, and pretty well anything you could possibly be looking for. Definitely worth a visit IMO.

If you head out to the east end I can recommend the Mid East Food Centre on St. Laurent boulevard Mid-East Food Centre.

2010 Sep 7
Bulk food buying will save you $ but I highly recommend bringing home your bulk food buys and putting them in jars with (very!) tight sealing lids or keeping in the freezer. I have always been very careful about grains but this year the moths (and their unmentionable larvae :( yuck) got into some dried fruit and it was not pleasant...Package them when you bring them home ..sigh

2010 Sep 8
Thank you for the great suggestions (and the moth warning!). The idea of a buying club is intriguing, so I'll think about that. And thank you, Pasta Lover, especially for the suggestion of Grace. I think that I stumbled into the store when I was looking for an apartment in the spring and wanted to check out the grocery options on Bank Street - now that I know the name, I will definitely return.

2010 Oct 3
If you'd like any tips on setting up a buying club, I would be happy to share our informal buying club's FAQ. ;) Buying club's are well worth the minimal effort!

2010 Oct 3
Wheat berry is good, but super expensive.
For buying preserved and candied ginger I am paying 5x more than other places for the same thing and same quality (and same brand).
I do still buy some stuff at Wheatberry,but mostly fresh items.

I have heard the website www.nutsonline.com is quite good.

also www.well.ca they are a drugstore,but they sell a lot of natural grains and prices seem ok.

Bulk Barn is ok and they have a coupon on their website for $3 off $10 good till oct 7.

I was at the carlingwood store and looking at the dried fruits and there were a few fruit flies there..so maybe watch what store you go to.
The south keys one seemed a bit better...