What started in 1999 as a $1-a-month members food co-op has grown into a group delivering economical, fresh produce year-round to agencies with food programs in the Regent Park area as well as running a busy outdoor market every Wednesday from April till the snow flies.
The group decides what they’d like to buy each week — “It’s basic produce,” says Marilyn Dombrowski. “Seasonal too, like strawberries,” Jim Leonard adds.
Then Doug Rice does the early morning shopping for deals at the Ontario Food Terminal. “Our benchmark is the No Frills store,” he explains. “It has to be cheaper. We check their prices every week. We’ve got to be careful about their loss leaders.”
They pair up into teams of two to work 90-minute shifts. Last year Marie Corriveau worked the cash with Dombrowski, Henry Welch wrote up the bills and did the packing with Mary Webb, and Leonard worked with Rice.
Construction cut into business last year — “Sometimes it was d-e-a-d, dead,” Leonard laughs — but this year they’re moving in front of 415 Gerrard “right in the middle of everything,” according to Dombrowski.
Webb is sure their regulars will follow them. People come from St. Jamestown and from the west end to shop there. “One lady buys oranges every week,” she says.