This post marks the launch of a new feature of the Perspectives from King & Ottawa blog. We’re launching a new links page known as The Essential Kitchener. But as you may have come to expect, it’s not any old links page.

What you’ll find here are links to the best that Kitchener has to offer though best is interpreted broadly and unconventionally at times. Many of the sites that will be listed are hidden gems that deserve to be better known while others are big, bold and well-known. Taken together, they will guide your experience to making the most of living in Kitchener.

One site at a time will be featured in a blog post and then added to The Essential Kitchener page. Over time, I hope feature will become a go to resource for the essential Kitchener.

The premier entry into King & Ottawa’s Essential Kitchener is:

Bailey’s Local Foods

Right off the bat, an unconventional choice! You may be thinking, “What’s this Waterloo-based service doing on a list of what’s essential to living in Kitchener at all, let alone be the first entry?” But I can assure you Bailey’s Local Foods has become essential to my family’s life in Kitchener even if we have to travel over the border to get it. Besides, while the list will almost exclusively feature Kitchener-based services, organizations and businesses, we’re one community. Right?

[Editorial note: Look for more to come on that in the fall!]

Ok, enough of the blah, blah blah.

What makes Bailey’s Local Foods essential?

I’ll come right out and just say it. I’m a locavore! In fact, we’re a family of locavores! Our apologies to Peter Shawn Taylor who doesn’t believe in the local food movement (Download his column. Read a response).

After watching the 100 Mile Challenge series on TV, we decided that we needed to increase the percentage of local food in our diet. After exploring other options that all have a place in our food system, we decided to try Bailey’s. We’ve loved it since day 1 and there’s been no looking back.

Here’s why:

  • We’re eating better and healthier.
  • They make it easy to eat local by being a one-stop source for products that otherwise would require extensive, prohibitive travel to get on a regular basis.
  • The food tastes great! We’ve especially noticed a difference in the meat.
  • We like that we can order what we want and when we want it (assuming its available).
  • The wide variety of food includes not only local fruit and vegetables but meat, baking, preserves, eggs, cheese, prepared foods–even peanuts!
  • Many organic choices are available but the products are not exclusively organic. We often have a choice between an organic and traditional choice. We’re not ready to go 100% organic but we do appreciate those products when we do. The traditional choices are often as minimally sprayed as possible.
  • We can order from Bailey’s year round. Weekly during the peak season and monthly over the winter.
  • We make fewer trips to conventional grocery stores. In peak season our trips tend to be more for specific needs than to get our weekly groceries. As a result, we’re able to avoid the temptation of convenience foods and other less healthy options that are found in plenty at conventional grocery stores and inevitably find a way into our diet.
  • We may be paying more for some products but the price is worth it and I suspect our overall food budget is down.
  • The cost to get involved is minimal. After paying the membership fee, what you spend is totally up to you.
  • There’s a real sense of community! Bailey’s brings people together and creates new opportunities for people to make healthy choices. Our community is stronger as a result.

Take a look at Bailey’s website to learn more but here’s a quick overview of how it works. Once a week in peak season, you can order from a lists of products that are available. On the Friday (normally), you go to a church hall to pick up and pay for your order. You can walk around and pull your own order together or for a price, they’ll have it prepared for you.

On that note, it’s time for me to go get this week’s order! No matter what works for you, I encourage you to become a locavore too!

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