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Brambles Market Courtenay, BC

© By CTC News Staff
  Brambles Market Courtenay, BC Brambles Market is bright, cheery and well stocked with meats and produce, plus baked and packaged goods. But there's no fulltime produce stylist working the floor, piling cherries into perfect pyramids. Nobody is pulling hot ciabatta from a wood-fired oven over in the corner. That's because co-owners James and Angeline Street are focused on more important things-like reinventing Canada's food distribution system. The store (in the city of Courtenay on Vancouver Island, BC), which opened late 2009, exclusively carries food that is grown, caught or reared in British Columbia. Big deal, right? After all, the province is world-renowned for its comestibles. But actually, it's much harder than it looks.
     "We have over 200 suppliers," says James Street. "And we have to manage each separately. It's not just a matter of pulling the catalogue open and ordering new stock."
     Indeed, the locavore phenomenon may be going mainstream across North America-as more of us focus on the benefits of closing the distance between farmer and plate-but the retail distribution system remains stuck in the past. So this former chef and retailer are together painstakingly creating a new one: "We are developing our own wholesaling system," Street explains.
     The result is a shop of treasures. Aside from handsome year-round produce, cheeses, coffee, chocolate and baked goods, on any given day the butcher case stocks 14 or so of 200 flavours of sausage-think fig and roasted garlic pork-that Street and his butcher, Daniel Day, make for the store. Brambles customers come to stock up their larders, but they get something out of the deal other than foodie glitz.
     "There is a face to all the products in here," he says. "When I look through my store, I see more than a list of SKUs."

Brambles Market; 244-A 4th Street, Courtenay, BC; tel. 250-334-8163 Monday to Saturday 9 am to 6 pm; closed Sundays and holidays.

Photo Credits
Courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission
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Courtenay, BC
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