First Look: The Green Grocer in the Victoria Public Market

It’s safe to say that the Victoria Public Market has achieved its goal: to house a year-round marketplace where various grassroots businesses provide local and ethically sourced foods. With the welcome addition of The Grocer, you can now purchase fresh produce and other household products seven days a week. The current store hours are: 8:00am – 6:30pm Monday to Saturday and 9:00am – 5:00pm Sundays.

The wash station

The wash station

Since The Grocer opened its doors on April 25th staff have been working hard to ensure quality, healthy staples will meet the demands of market shoppers.

“We’re trying to strike a balance between the everyday items with as many local products and produce. As close to home as possible is the incentive,” says manager Linda Freethy,

They’ve made it a point to clearly label where produce is from, and whether it’s organic, non-sprayed, or conventionally grown. The main goal, says Freethy, is to support local farmers, to decrease their carbon footprint, and to increase sustainable food sourcing—all big tasks in the grocery market business A fine balance and the ability to cater to a wide range of customer needs is required; where one shopper might prefer Monkey Butter at $9-10 a jar, another might be happy with Adams All Natural at $5. Finding this middle ground between products is the biggest challenge, says Linda. The trick, she suggests, is to provide enough range within a certain price point while not demeaning the quality of a particular product.

When their first order arrived, the only packaged and non-Canadian product was Boylans Soda. But to keep that kind of sourcing is tough; to have an entirely Canadian grocery store means bye-bye bananas and avocadoes. And if we want all organic all the time, it isn’t going to come from down the road. Freethy suggests, however, that the more people demand that their organic produce comes from a local source, the more likely it is that local farmers might respond to and meet these demands. After all, current studies show that over 60% of BC consumers purchase organic foods on a weekly basis. However, as it stands, imported foods will continue to find their way into stores as long as those demands remain.

The Grocer’s main drive is to support local, and when they do buy from over seas to do their best by supporting locally owned farms. “We want people to see we care and that we’re paying attention,” says Freethy, “Quality is crucial.”

That’s why The Kitchen, as the staff calls it, where all produce is washed and quality checked, is in clear view from the front of the store. The decision to make the wash station transparent to the public was integral to the store’s mission statement: honest, local and ethical. All produce is priced in the zeros too. You won’t see $1.99 a pound here. We all know it’s really $2.00. That penny doesn’t count anymore.


The Grocer is conscientious when it comes to waste as well. What doesn’t get sold is fed to local pigs and chickens. They also offer $2 and $4 Citrus Spritzers (paper bags of lemons, limes, and oranges, great for smoothies and fresh juices) and Saucy Bags (mixed veggies perfect for soups and sauces) for the “less than perfect” produce that still tastes great but might have a few blemishes.

So, next time you’re downtown in Victoria, be sure to take a walk through the Hudson Market. You’ll find everything you need for the freshest, tastiest meal all under one roof. It’s one stop shopping at its best.

The Grocer at the Hudson
Address: #6 1701 Douglas Street, Victoria BC
Phone: 778-433-3430
Twitter: @hudsongrocer
Facebook: The Grocer At The Hudson

Written By:

Holly Brooke is a true B.C. gal. Having lived on the west coast most of her life, except for several years in the Kootenay's where she canoed and fished and lived in a tipi, she's very much at home outdoors and in the kitchen. ...

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