Local & sustainable grocery shopping in Hamilton

Sarah Lopes Sadafi
January 13, 2022
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

C/O Strathcona Market

Strathcona Market opens up following Mustard Seed Co+op closure

As convenient as Fortino’s and Food Basics may be for your Tuesday grocery run, the big-box grocery stores aren’t the only available options when it comes to stocking your fridge. The newly opened Strathcona Market, located on York Blvd., is a new one-stop-shop for local food and produce just a bus ride away from Mac campus.

MRKTBOX, the company behind Strathcona Market, opened their first physical space at Dundurn Market in West Hamilton in 2018. Only six months ago, they opened Ottawa Market on Ottawa Street, now followed by the new opening of Strathcona Market. 

After the closing of The Mustard Seed Co+op in August 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Strathcona Market emerged in its spot at 460 York Blvd. to carry on the Mustard Seed’s legacy of ethically sourced local foods. Given the existing infrastructure and functionality of the space, the transition was a natural step to fill the gap left in the Hamilton community.

“It was very disappointing to hear that the Mustard Seed was closing because they were a pioneer in the local food community, creating a space for properly curated goods . . . There was clearly a loss in terms of the community and their feedback on social media, so it was an opportunity we were given that we also couldn’t pass up,” said Mackenzie Brown, Head of Produce and Communications Manager at Strathcona Market.

The new space at Strathcona Market has allowed MRKTBOX to expand their operations through much needed square footage, a new shipping and receiving center and a parking lot at the market.

Brown described the Strathcona Market as similar to a farmer’s market, operating every day, year-round. The new space functions as both a grocery store and cafe space — a hub for local produce and food.

“Strathcona Market is a multidimensional business that aims to support and uplift the local community by being a central point for local vendors, farmers and otherwise known creators in the city. We want to highlight and celebrate the sort of local food industry and almost create more food security within Hamilton and the greater area. It's hard to actually create a local food stable community unless you have businesses like ours,” explained Brown.

"Strathcona Market is a multidimensional business that aims to support and uplift the local community by being a central point for local vendors, farmers and otherwise known creators in the city."

Mackenzie Brown, Head of Produce and Communications Manager at Strathcona Market

The foods sold at Strathcona Market are sourced with an attention to local, organic and ethically produced products. All local foods come from farmers and businesses within 100 kilometers of the Hamilton area, though sourcing can be variable depending on the in-season produce available.

In the market, the kitchen team can be found manning the in-house cafe to create fresh salads, sandwiches, coffee and more using a selection of local produce.

“You can also see a lot of Hamilton all in one spot. We have butchers from Ottawa Street, which is all the way on the East End. We have local farmers growing in the Hamilton area that sell their goods here in the summer. You can buy fresh bread from three local bakeries that are all in Hamilton. Just coming to Strathcona Market, you're getting your morning coffee and getting all the groceries that you need for the week. You're actually supporting half a dozen to over a dozen local businesses with one purchase,” said Brown.

"Just coming to Strathcona Market, you're getting your morning coffee and getting all the groceries that you need for the week. You're actually supporting half a dozen to over a dozen local businesses with one purchase."

Mackenzie Brown, Head of Produce and Communications Manager at Strathcona Market

For those unable to visit Strathcona Market’s physical space, MRKTBOX has grocery delivery services available, delivered to your doorstep. Market Boxes can be customized weekly with a new assortment of local and organic produce and artisan items for a convenient way to shop local.

For students, a visit to Strathcona Market means not only a way to get out and explore Hamilton, but also to support and give back to the local community.

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