Monday, July 29, 2013

International Food Resources

Now that we are getting settled in Calgary, my mission has been to learn more about our neighborhood and what it has to offer. This includes the best place to buy groceries for my family. Until this point, my goal has been to slowly evolve my kitchen into all organic products, or at least as much as possible.

Food shopping in a new country is always an adventure. I think I have had the assumption that since Canada shares such a major border with the U.S. that just about the same items would be available here as we are accustomed to. Oh, how so wrong I am. (Sad face.)

For starters, due to the location of Canada, fresh produce is harder to come by, and what you can purchase does not last as long as the produce we are used to buying in Texas. Combine that with the already-shortened counter life of organic produce and you pretty much have to eat everything within a couple days. OK, I can handle this.

Then there are the different stores. There is a familiar grocery chain, Safeway, but the selection severely varies in many categories. There are also many, many other smaller specialized chains, similar to a Trader Joe's size, where they can have great finds, but you certainly cannot find everything you need. For example, I tried a chain called Sobey's yesterday, and they don't sell black beans. BLACK BEANS. I thought these were a pretty basic pantry staple, but perhaps I am wrong.

The next choice when shopping the aisles are the brands. I am fine with trying new brands, but I am concerned that the primary U.S. brand I seem to see everywhere is Kraft. As you may or may not know, Kraft is currently infamous for the artificial coloring, hydrogenated oil additives, and GMO ingredients in their products. And a lot of this isn't even on their labels so you are none the wiser. So I am VERY hesitant when it comes to purchasing Kraft products.

The scariest part: the prices! I am not joking: yesterday my husband saw a gallon of organic skim milk for $13.00. THIRTEEN DOLLARS!!! Are you kidding me?!?! The sad thing is, the cheapest I have seen it so far here is $9.00 which is still outrageous. But unless I plan on taking care of our own dairy cow in our teeny backyard, we will be shelling out the nine bucks. Sigh.

At this point, we have been here a couple weeks, and I have tried three different grocery stores. My next adventure will be to an organic market called Market 17, and the Yelp reviews look promising. I am not giving up my healthy plans yet!

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