By Saiba Haque, Food Deputy Editor
The Croft Magazine // As a busy third-year student scrambling to get a myriad of tasks done in every waking moment, whilst further managing a harsh budget, sometimes grocery shopping can become an afterthought. The convenience of finding everything in one place at a supermarket or grocery store starts to look very appealing. However, I’m here to tell you that it can be very easy to compartmentalise certain shopping habits whilst you are in Bristol, and to make the most out of local stores and produce.
There is a strangely common assumption that buying local will always be more expensive than buying from a commercial grocery store. Although, this concern still persists among many, supporting local businesses on a budget is not entirely impossible; especially in a city where there is so much of it! I find that when I balance shopping for certain ingredients like fruits and veg from local greengrocers with a few other ingredients from supermarkets, it works out surprisingly well. This way I make the most out of seasonal veg and fruit which are locally sourced, fresher/tastier than the ones in a commercial supermarket and create less packaging and excess food waste, as I don’t end up over-shopping and creating extra waste. The best part, these options are student and budget friendly. Here is my guide to some local greengrocers and stores that can supplement your usual supermarket grocery run with little to no extra effort.
Cotham Fruit and Veg: 24 Cotham Hill, Redland, Bristol, BS6 6LF
Since the aim is to supplement supermarket grocery shopping instead of fully replacing it, for many Cotham Fruit and Veg may be a perfect option. The location is very convenient as it’s immensely close to the big Sainsbury’s (Clifton Down Shopping Centre). With its convenient location and consistent stock of seasonal produce, it’s sure to be a winning option for many. There are also multiple cafés nearby, if you wanted a small break after shopping.
Reg the Veg: 6 Boyce's Avenue, Bristol, BS8 4AA
The family-run fruit and veg shop provides a 10% discount for students. They have deals for large fruit and veg boxes starting from £17.50, where they include many varieties of fruit and veg. Not only do they have a convenient location near a Tesco Express, for a supplementary shopping experience, they also have a home delivery system. Perfect for when the busy student-life gets in the way.
Local Garden: 136 Whiteladies Road, Bristol, BS8 2RS
An easy to reach greengrocer with a great variety of fruit and veg. They also deliver upon request and have cheap fruit and veg box options. They offer 10% discount if more than £10 is spent. The store holds a good selection of fresh and stored middle eastern food including baba ghanoush, humous, pulses and baklava.
Hugo’s: 73 North Street, Bristol, BS3 1ES
This store encapsulates the true essence of Bristol. Owner, Hugo, started off in the greengrocer business by initially working for Reg the Veg. He later started a crowdfunding for opening his own greengrocer with amazing quality, locally sourced produce. Along with their amazing collection of fruit and veg, they also have pantry items, deli meat, bread and cheese from local farms and much more to offer. Certainly well worth the visit. There are also a few commercial supermarkets nearby to help with supplementary shopping.
168 Oriental: 52 Park Street, Bristol, BS1 5JN and Nelson Street, Bristol, BS1 2BA
Although many items in this store are not locally sourced, I’d still say that it can count as a local business. More importantly, this store is amazing for supplementary shopping. The store consists of a huge variety of ingredients, condiments, snacks, spices, drinks, and frozen items from many parts of East Asia and South-East Asia. Often the Asian section in commercial grocery stores are not the most diverse, lacking in many ingredients and are marked up to be more expensive. Hence why I find this Asian grocery store to be a holy grail for supplementary shopping.
Stores like Scoop Wholefoods (Whiteladies Road), Harvest (Bishopston), and Zero Green (North Street), will allow you to shop for the optimum quantity of food from grocers to reduce food waste in the long run, especially with pantry items. You can bring your own jar/bag and refill to your desired measurement and only pay for that amount, making these stores waste free. Costs are also well managed as you tend only to get the amount you need.
The cost-of-living crisis has made it seem close to impossible to shop locally whilst simultaneously saving money. However, I hope this article can act as a reminder that there are some affordable and delicious options out there. It is still very possible to stick to a budget and support local businesses whilst practising supplementary shopping habits.
Featured image: Adam Liu
Do you have a favourite grocery store in Bristol? Let us know!