I needed flour. I’d been buying two kilogram packages of Speerville flour from the Local Source, but it cost over $10 and I was through it within two weeks.
I needed a better option. In frustration I bought ten kilograms of Robin Hood Flour. It just wasn’t that good. My bread tasted off, my pizza stuck to the cookie sheet, I wasn’t happy.
For weeks whenever I ran into people and the subject of food came up I would ask them, “Do you know where I can buy really good flour in bulk?”
I’m a member of the North End running group that meets every Wednesday night at North End Brewery for an easy and fun six kilometer run. The first run of the month ends with a social, this time at the Lion’s Head Tavern.
I started chatting with Ben about food. I don’t know Ben or anyone’s last name. We got on the subject of frying, he has jars of cooking oil under his sink for whatever he needs. Whether it’s meat, fish, falafel he has got it covered.
It seemed like an opportune moment. I decided to ask him The Question, ‘Do you know where I can buy a lot of good flour?’
And finally I had a lead. The Grainery.
For those of you like me, ignorant of what The Grainery is, it is a non-profit cooperative that is 100% run by volunteer members.
They can say it better than I can:
The [Grainery] Co-op format promotes community involvement which allows prices to be kept low, so that people of all economic backgrounds have access to healthy organic food. In addition, we strive to reduce environmental degradation by purchasing items in bulk with minimal or compostable packaging and provide the opportunity to refill products where possible.
I went on their website, scrolled to the flour section and began ordering. White flour, whole-wheat flour, and cornmeal. Then I waited. And waited. For about a month I hummed and hawed over when my order would arrive. They order in bulk to lower costs, but only place an order once enough have come in from individual customers.
And then it finally did.
The Grainery is located on Agricola Street about two blocks north of The Commons. Tucked away in a tiny store front beside Hali Deli, it’s easy to miss. The volunteer staff are wonderful and eager to help; they even helped load the flour into my car.
The first thing I made that night when I got home was cornbread. I think the difference in between the Speerville cornmeal and the grocery store stuff was even more extreme than the flour. Speerville’s cornmeal was a totally different texture, size and colour than the stuff from Sobey’s.
If nothing else the taste has sold me. It tastes like corn. Rich in flavour and with a hearty texture I don’t think I can ever go back.