Making the organic commitment
Back in 2008, Darren Grant opened the first branch of The Organic Supermarket in the Dublin seaside suburb of Blackrock. It’s unlikely that this former Global Senior Manager at Dell planned his new venture to coincide with a global recession but, timing challenges notwithstanding, his business has now expanded to include branches in Malahide and Rathgar.
The Rathgar branch, which is the company’s flagship store, holds true to The Organic Supermarket’s commitment to sourcing and selling excellent organic goods and local organics where possible. It’s stocked with stalwarts such as Doves Farm organic flours and organic wines, which share the shelves with local food stars such as Mossfield Organic Farm dairy products, Coolanowle Organic Farm meats and Tartine Organic Bakery. The fresh fruit and vegetables are sourced from suppliers like Christy Stapleton in Kiltegan, Co Wicklow.
The store is also home to The Organic Kitchen. Under the steerage of head chef Julien Thion, the team create ready meals and freshly baked goods for in store and online. From the online store, a large Veg Box Subscription costs ¤25 per week. There are also smoothie and juicing boxes, as well as the option to buy organic and eco-friendly household products and pantry goods.
You can order a Tartine Bakery bread subscription or 500g pots of organic ginger and beetroot soup (¤4.25) and spicy Indian dhal (¤5.95). The online shop delivers to all 32 counties in Ireland, though some of The Organic Kitchen products are limited to Dublin and same day delivery only.
Organic is often perceived as more expensive but that’s not the experience with a speedy lunch from The Organic Kitchen, which matches the prices of other delis. The New Delhi (¤5.50) is a tasty Coronation-style chicken sandwich, made with organic chicken. Practically all of the ingredients in the sandwiches are organic, though some uch as sea salt, are marked as non-organic where applicable.
A half-filled small salad box comes to ¤2.95 in weight. There are about 10 salads in the salad bar, a mix of potato and pasta salads, quinoa and shredded vegetable salads. A flat white (¤2.50), made with Village Dairy organic milk and McCabe’s organic coffee, is well made and served in a 100 per cent compostable cup. The trick is for the customer to remember to throw the cup and its compostable lid into a compost as opposed to a recycling bin.
“I can’t decide which cake is my favourite,” says the team member making my coffee. “I love the banana bread... but I think the vegan carrot cake is the best.” The vegan carrot cake is ¤2.95 for a generous square and it’s a triumph in dairy-free baking, particularly the icing which has the lightness of a sugary meringue mix with none of the egg.
On the company’s website, a case is made for why shoppers might choose organic. The lack of additives, pesticides and GM are noted, as well as animal and environmental welfare. The prices at The Organic Supermarket can’t compete with budget supermarkets, but no small independent businesses can. Though the worthwhile argument over whether it’s better to shop local rather than organic rages on, if you have the ability to spend a little bit more, with all the associated benefits to your health and the environment that your shopping choices can bring, The Organic Supermarket make that choice an easy one.