Natural Food Stores
EARTH’S GENERAL STORE
- 10843 82nd Avenue, Edmonton
- (780) 428-8899
- Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5:30pm; Thursdays open until 8pm; Sundays noon to 5:30pm
- Cash, Debit, CC
“To Offer Information And Products To Help People Reduce Their Environmental And Social Impact.”
Earth’s General Store typifies the kind of store one would expect from someone who has been a social activist for most of his life, as the owner/manager Michael Kalmanovitch has. He is an activist first and foremost; the store is merely an extension, or perhaps more accurately, a conduit for his activism. It is reflected in what he sells, and what he promotes through the store. It is also reflected in Earth’s mandate.
Earth’s opened on September 3rd, 1991, and was set up to be a “soapbox”, a place where people from all walks of life could experience, and hopefully learn of alternatives in products and lifestyle choices seldom available in Alberta, and specifically Edmonton. It is a store that caters not only to those who are already adherents of a like-minded philosophy, but it also avails itself to those who are not(yet) convinced or aware, but are willing to explore alternative views and products.
To this end Michael and his store Manager, Deborah Robb present many choices of goods within the store and, as the name of the store attests, the selection covers a wide range of products that is traditional in “general store” concepts. It has everything from environmentally friendly and socially conscious clothing, to recycled paper products and stationary items, personal hygiene products, including reusable cotton menstrual pads. The extremely popular and critically acclaimed apparel company, NoSweat, is available here, as Earth’s is the exclusive retailer for them in Edmonton, possibly in Alberta. They are actively engaged in promoting a variety of social justice issues, the principal one being of course ‘sweat shops’, but through their company a number of vegan products are produced and sold, distributed by people and outlets such as Earth’s.
Cleaning compounds, where one can bring their own containers to fill and refill, figure prominently, with a good selection to choose from, all earth conscious and bio-degradable. Foods are available, as is an excellent selection of vegan and organic chocolate and chocolate bars, along with a variety of gift ideas, such as candles, aromatherapy scents and essential oils and diffusers, accessories and so much more. They even sell low-impact lights, for reduced energy consumption, and worm composting kits!
As well there is a large selection of alternative magazines that promote various lifestyles, political agendas and environmental perspectives, ranging from energy-saving homes to social and societal responsibility…. In fact, Earth’s General Store is home to a somewhat extensive collection of literature that comprises the Vegetarians Of Alberta’s library, a unique concept that allows members of VOA to access and borrow books on Animal Rights, etc. This partnership between Earth’s and the VOA has been going for over 6 years, and it has seen itself becoming a way for people to further their knowledge in all things necessary in sustaining a cleaner environment, more animal friendly, and so on. Add to this, the huge array of books, covering all sorts of topics, from environmental to vegetarian/vegan, to social activism, and more, and it becomes obvious that this is one seriously well thought out store.
In the past two years, Michael has been busily readying Earth’s for its next project, the grinding and packaging of Fair Trade Certified, Organic Certified coffees, possibly the largest selection in Canada. The launch has proven to be quite successful, and they now supply coffee to some dining establishments.
Both Deborah, who originally hailed from Calgary, and Michael are very knowledgeable in all issues relating to vegetarianism as well as environmental. They can point anyone into various directions for the best vegetarian restaurants in Edmonton, including the ones that share residence on Whyte Avenue with them, including Café Mosaic virtually next door to them. The vast majority of the products they sell are animal friendly, although they do have some compounds that contain things such as honey. They believe fervently that change can occur, one consumer at a time, and they have been witness to this, having been involved for many years in raising the public’s consciousness.
Earth’s General Store is a busy looking store, in a comfortably warm and cozy way. One feels good walking in and browsing at Earth’s. Items not available at Earth’s can often be ordered in, just as items available there can be shipped out for customers not residing in Edmonton. Items are constantly being added to this busy store as well; an extremely popular initiative that had started with an idea before becoming a book and now a movement of sorts, is the Laptop Lunch, dedicated to promoting healthy lunchtime meals and reducing waste at the same time. Earth’s is currently the only Canadian distributor for this line of books, containers and such, including a book dedicated to using the concept while promoting veganism, the Vegan Lunch Box by Jennifer McCann.
It is not surprising to hear that their renown has reached well beyond Edmonton, with people from places such as Victoria, British Columbia being aware of Earth’s existence. This occurs by word of mouth, as well as through the various activist circles out there, and on the internet.
Earth’s General Store is definitely a wealth of information and veg-friendly products, well worth the visit. Visit their website at www.earthsgeneralstore.com
- 7200 156th Street, Edmonton
- (780) 443-8063
- Hours: Monday through Thursday, 10am to 4pm; Friday, 10am to 2pm (call ahead) With advance notice, dinner reservations
- Cash, Debit, CC
- Catering and Take-out
Imagine if you will, ordering meatloaf and chicken pot pies, beef and mushroom pies, shepherd’s pie, bobotie, and a huge variety of dishes you had previously avoided feasting on due to the blood letting involved in their ‘creation’. Imagine a place where you can order kosher, vegetarian and, in many cases vegan, variations on these dishes, and you will have conjured up The Planet Pareve Café, located in the Jewish Community Centre. It is the brainchild of Daniella Drisdell, and has been open since January 2005, providing an invaluable service to both the Jewish and the vegetarian communities as well as excellent meals on order, and a small café that serves meals on a daily basis.
The word ‘Pareve’ is defined in Hebrew as “neutral food”, that are neither meat or dairy, where meats refer largely to mammals and fowl; fish are an accepted part of the diet though shellfish isn’t. In the case of the Planet Pareve all of the foods prepared and served here are vegetarian except for the ones that are comprised of fish, which are few in comparison. As far as menu items that mention ’cheese’ or other dairy-like words, they are all soy based, non-dairy versions. There is egg usage in certain dishes though, so it isn’t entirely vegan as far as the vegetarian selections go; Daniella does her best to accommodate her customers with respect to special dietary requirements however, so with advance notice many of the dishes can be adapted.
Planet Pareve is a small location with three major functions to it. As a café it provides a daily selection of soups, sandwiches, a quiche of the day, salads and a daily special, along with fresh bakied goods such as scones, muffins, breads and more. Soups available from time to time include Borscht, Mulligatawny, Vegetable Wild Rice, Spicy Chili Bean and Lentil, all vegan. The soup comes with fresh baked nine grain bread, or if one chooses they can have a salad or sandwich with it. Salads include a Roasted Eggplant Salad, Garden with a creamy dill dressing, Couscous, served with an herb vinaigrette, an Asian Salad and a Bean Salad. Quiches vary daily, but could be a Mushroom, Spinach, or a Tomato Herb Quiche.
For sandwiches, all served on Daniella’s nine grain bread, there is the Egg Sandwich, ‘Cheese’, as well as the ‘Cold Cuts’ sandwiches, both of these soy based. Daily specials vary, but they can include a Tofu and Vegetable Curry, or Mujadra, a rice and lentil casserole which also has fried onions, all cooked with cumin and coriander, for a hearty and savory repast.
They will also have available fresh scones and muffins as well as cinnamon buns and more, for the light eater, as accompaniment to coffee and conversation.
For people dropping in to pick up a readymade dinner Daniella has an extensive selection of meals she chooses from preparing some on a daily basis, as well as preparing custom orders for dishes she may not necessarily have on the go for that day. For any custom orders people are asked to order sufficiently in advance so as to ensure they are ready. From her listings one finds a huge choice of dishes, including Pates and Dips-baba ghanouj, humus, tahini, lentil pate, etc, Phyllo Appetizers-Moroccan Cigar, Samosas, Chik’n Chutney, a variety of Quiches, Savoury Pies-Chik’n Pot Pie, Beef and Mushroom, Veggie Pot Pie and a Spicy Mex Pie, Egyptian Specialties-Ful Medamas, Stuffed Vine Leaves, Megadarra, and more, Entrees-Lasagna, Mousaka, Meatloaf, Bobotie, Chik’n Curry, Enchiladas, to mention but a small sample of options. As accompaniments Daniella makes her own chutneys and salsas, as well as a variety of pickles.
Desserts figure prominently at Planet Pareve, with the home baked goodness of fruit pies and cream pies, a variety of cakes, cookies and bars, as well tarts, biscotti and more.
Daniella does a lot of catering, for different kinds of functions, be they meetings, weddings, funerals or luncheons; she can advise people as to requirements, meeting special needs such as gluten free diets and more, The menu selections form a base from where she works, though she can accommodate many tastes as well, as witnessed by the variety of cultures represented here. Daniella has been exposed to Middle Eastern cuisine through her own heritage, and that of her husband, and has lived in Montreal as well; working in different places too exposed her to various manners of food preparation while also inspiring her to create dishes while also adapting others.
In time, one will hopefully see Planet Parave establish its own world, where it be a provider of an ambience, a sanctuary befitting its foods and its creator, Daniella.