Edinburgh has seen a few zero waste, organic and ethical shops spring up in recent months.
None, however, are to the scale of the new Locavore on Dalry Road. It’s the fifth shop from this social enterprise, with three in Glasgow, one in Kirkintilloch.
Their first branch in the capital is their biggest to date, and also features an adjoining canteen, which will be opening in the spring and will focus on breakfast and brunch, with events like film screenings planned for the future.
As far as shopping is concerned, the big chain supermarkets will be quivering in their boots.
“Our real focus is being an everyday place where you can get your staples, but there’s really nice stuff and treats mixed in as well”, says Locavore’s managing director, Reuben Chesters.
The exciting gadgetry at this newly opened shop includes a Mossgiel Farm milk vending machine which, according to Chesters; “Saves thousands of bottles a year and helps us keep the price competitive for organic milk”. There’s also a device that allows you to make your own peanut butter, and a You + I kombucha vending machine.
They stock bread from social enterprise, Garvald Bakery, as well as Peelham Farm meat, eggs from Scotston Farm and loads of colourful veggies, including produce from Chapel Farm by North Berwick. When I visit, they’re unpacking and a member of staff is getting excited about the arrivals, which include yams, sprouts and chard.
Locavore already has a market garden in Glasgow, but they’ve just acquired Narrowboat Farm in Linlithgow, where they’ll produce some of the greenery that will be stocked here. “We’re going to grow lots of chillies there, lots of squash and salads”, says Chesters, who compares the Dalry neighbourhood to Glasgow’s Partick, where another of their shops is situated.
This produce is all organic, though they make exceptions for farms that are converting to the process. As Locavore is expanding, with a plan to open five more shops by 2023, they’re acquiring more buying clout and an ability to support farmers.
“The larger we get, the more we can do things we couldn’t do previously, like helping producers to transition to organic”, says Chesters. “There’s a farmer we helped put 25 acres in because he knew he could sell to us. The shop’s changing the way land’s managed in Scotland, which is pretty cool”.
Aside from the fresh produce, Locavore is full of dispensers, so you can fill your own packaging with shampoo, washing up liquid, or dry goods.
“It’s probably the biggest range in the country”, says Chesters.
At the back of the shop, once you’ve navigated the shelves of Bare Bones chocolate, herbal teas, and lovely ceramics from Douglas White pots, there’s popcorn, pasta, quinoa and rice of every variety. There are also fava beans, which are usually imported from Egypt but are an ingredient that will be featured in a pioneering new Locavore creation.
“That’s a new product development”, says Chesters. “Scottish grown fava beans in tomato sauce. They’ll be out in a month or two. That product shows what we want to achieve - trying to localise the production and the process, and reduce the environmental impact, including the transport associated”.
118-126 Dalry Road, Edinburgh, www.locavoretrading.org