It would be an unfair to lump the The Beet together with the hefty entourage of organic shops appearing around the city. Instead, The Beet should be heralded as setting a new standard for fair-trade, organic cafes and shops.
The store embraces every shade of greenness, from 100% biodegradable take-away cutlery and packaging, to environmentally friendly furniture made from, among other materials, sunflower seed husks and recycled paper. The majority of the produce, including grains, cheese, butter and household cleaners, are sold in bulk in order to reduce packaging.
The store has only just opened and locals are already crowding the shop. I was tipped off by Rebas Cafe who told me that I had to check it out, because although I had seen the signs for The Beet before, the entrance is a little misleading.
The Beet shares its front entrance with a TD Canada Trust ATM. To get to the store, you have to walk into the tiny ATM foyer. Only then do you see the store through the glass doors to your left where the bank would normally be (and was) for years.
The Beet functions as both a cafe and a store. The cafe serves a wide variety of organic, fair-trade coffees and teas, juices and smoothies as well as organic and nutritious meals suitable for people "with a wide variety of dietary limitations, from vegans to those with gluten allergies," as explained on their website.
The store provides a wide variety of produce, breads, dairy, grains, tea... the list goes on and on. The Beet also makes shopping local easy with a massive island of local and seasonal produce featured in middle of the store.
Friendly staff I encountered were also more than happy to share their knowledge on nutrition and products sold throughout the store.
If all that wasn't enough, this summer, plans are underway to open a licensed patio serving organic beers and wine.