I’ll be the first to admit that Coles and Woolworths (and other such SUPER-market grocery stores) can be a convenient shopping destination. With numerous locations spread across Australia usually only a short drive away and stocked with a consistent large array of products likely to have everything you will need, where can you go wrong. But, while it can certainly be appealing at times, it is important to not forget about your local businesses. There are numerous benefits that come from shopping at your local fruit and veg markets, local butchers and bakers.
Here’s a few that I think are worth considering:
- Local produce has usually not travelled many miles to reach your destination. As a result the produce will be fresher and of better quality.
- You will shop by what is in season. Produce in season is usually cheaper and of better quality. It will also contribute to you consuming a more varied diet which is a key component of healthy eating under the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
- You will be supporting your local business which is important for promoting a sense of community and strengthening the economic base of your community. You will support the uniqueness of the community and help to create more local jobs.
- You will likely have a fabulous and personal customer experience from many of these local businesses who will go out of their way to make sure your shopping experience is a pleasant one. They often take the time to get to know their regular customers and know their products well, able to assist with anything you may need.
- You will teach and expose your kids to the complexity of the food system, and respecting where their food comes from.
- You will reduce the environmental impact i.e. locally owned business (especially that source locally grown produce) have a smaller carbon footprint than larger supermarket chains, their produce requires less transport and tend to be less sprawling reducing habitat loss, pollution and congestion.
- Competition in the small-business marketplace ensures innovation and lower prices over the long-term. Local businesses cater to the individual and community within which they live, thus allowing a greater diversity of products to be available to you.
Here are a few of my favourite local shops in Port Macquarie:
- Ken Little Quality Fruit and Vegetable. Located on Munster’s Street offers a great range of fresh fruit and veg. The customer service is the best I have experienced — never wait more than a minute or two in line (despite being constantly busy), staff always willing to assist if something is not available in eye-sight or if something needs to be packaged or cut to customer preference, assists the customer with taking their groceries to the car and provides stamps for the kids.
- Munster Street Bakery, butcher and general store located in the same location as Ken’s are also great local businesses ensuring you can get what you need from one brilliant little local shopping complex.
- Growers Market. Fruit and vegetable market offering fresh produce and a unique selection of local products such as jams, sauces, pastas, muesli, dried fruits and sweets which can make great little presents. Located on Gordon Street with plenty of parking.
- Burkhardt’s Bakery. Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh bread! Located on Short Street, it offers a diverse range of breads and sweets including a healthy range of rye, spelt and sourdough breads. Great friendly customer service and the apple crumble is simply delicious.
- Weekly Port Macquarie Farmers Market. These run Tuesdays from 3-6 pm at Port Central. The location is convenient and there’s a great variety of stalls to wonder though, including a nice selection of organic produce.