All summer long, food mavens Jackie Durnford and Sandra Lackie have been foraging through the countryside surrounding Creemore, Ont., the picturesque village northwest of Toronto, looking for local suppliers for their new business venture. Creemore's 100-Mile Store, set to open in a Victorian storefront in late August, will carry only the best meat, cheese, eggs, produce and baked goods found within a 100-mile radius of the community of about 1,500 people.
"We're hoping to get people to change their shopping patterns," Durnford says. Instead of buying their food in the city and bringing it up to the country, she and Lackie want the area's many weekend residents to reverse the process by buying quality local goods and taking them back to the city with them.
The store will also have an online component so that Toronto customers can pre-order baskets of fresh, seasonal fare and pick them up when they arrive at their weekend residences.
So far, the two women have sourced about 20 producers, including sheep's milk cheeses from Monforte Dairy in Millbank, naturally raised chicken, beef and lamb from Blueridge Meats in Collingwood, fresh fruits and vegetables from growers in the villages of Lavender and Glen Huron, Berkshire pork from Dingo Farms outside Bradford, sourdough breads from Michael Stadtlander's Eigensinn Farm and organic turkey from the village of Duntroon. Durnford expects the store will eventually carry goods from about 40 different local growers and producers.
"You're not going to walk into our store and see things you'd find in the supermarket," says Durnford. "We're really looking for unique products and good local food. We think it's the way of the future."
Creemore's 100-Mile Store will be open year-round on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays beginning Aug. 28 at 176 Mill St. in Creemore, Ont. For more information, call 705-444-3828.