It was only when I started eating healthier and searching out products that are organic, minimally processed and free from refined sugar, dairy and gluten, did I realise how little large supermarket chains cater for the type of customer I had become. I often found myself wandering around supermarket aisles searching for suitable products and slowly realising that there was very little on sale in these large stores that met my requirements. Instead I began to rely on small local shops and producers for my weekly shop. I bought my vegetables at the local farmers' market and looked to health food stores and independent shops for products such as nut butters, spelt pasta and organic herbal teas. This was the first time I had really shopped in this manner and the first time I gained an appreciation for the importance of local and independent food producers and retailers. While supermarkets are improving in terms of their product range, it is certain small independent retailers that are leading the way. One such store is The Little Green Grocer, which I have recently started to visit.
The Little Green Grocer is located in Kilkenny city centre and describes itself as a natural food market. It sells a wide range of artisan and health foods. If you are on the search for a particular ingredient, it's highly likely you will find it here. The Little Green Grocer is run by sisters Sarah and Eleanor Duggan. Eleanor is a nutritional therapist so there is no shortage of expertise behind the shop.
In terms of produce on sale here, the pictures speak for themselves. I visit alot of these types of shops and sometimes I am amazed by how little products are actually stocked and for sale. Very often the shops are beautifully designed with a focus on minimalism and with shelves that are quite bare with very few products available for purchase. This is most definitely not the case in the Little Green Grocer. The shelves and fridges are packed with lots of different products from organic wines to artisan oils and vinegars to dairy and gluten alternatives.
The range of products include herbal teas, organic coffees, artisan oils and vinegars, nuts and seeds, nut butters, pestos and tapenades, organic spices, organic wines, fermented products, organic fruit and vegetables, artisan chocolate, cheeses and cold meats, natural skincare and environmentally friendly cleaning products.
The Little Green Grocer will appeal to anyone who has an interest in food, but it is a particularly good resource for anyone who has diet sensitive issues or is following a particular diet, stocking a range of dairy and gluten alternatives as well as fermented products.
You might not usually think of popping into your local green grocer to pick up some moisturiser and shampoo, but think again. The Little Green Grocer stocks a range of natural skincare products including the Dublin Herbalist and Kinvara brands. So if you are in the market for skincare that isn't over perfumed and loaded with parabans, check out the ranges available here. I should say that both these brands are Irish made.
The take out coffee and tea menu is pretty impressive especially when you notice that organic milk is used in all the coffees that contain milk.
The Little Green Grocer stocks flowers from a local flower grower called Soah. They are so beautiful and smell divine. I have picked up flowers from this grower in the past and they last for ages. They are a perfect gift (to self even) when you want something a little different than the usual supermarket flowers. It is also quite nice to know that by buying these flowers you are supporting a local producer and that they have been grown a couple of miles out the road and not a few thousand kilometres away.
In fact for anyone looking for a gift with a little difference, a hamper of beautiful produce from the Little Green Grocer would make any foodie or aspiring foodie very happy indeed.
The Little Green Grocer is open 9am to 6pm Monday to Saturday. I would highly recommend a visit.
P.S. I am told they do awesome lunch options, but have yet to try them for myself.
6 The Little Green Grocer, Parliament Street, Kilkenny