On first impression, Flannerys looks like any other independent grocery store with a fresh fruit and vegetable section, a butcher and shelves stacked with goods. But then you spot the clear Perspex beehive in the middle of the store, and the free-range "rescued" bees flying in and out of their home via a tube attached to the ceiling. They're taking the "bee super highway", says Scott Charters, to pollinate the flowers in the area.
For the past 30 years, Flannerys has been Queensland's alternative grocery store and health hub, selling seasonal, organic and natural products. Now, for the first time, a Flannerys has opened in Sydney, in Mona Vale.
Flannerys sells over 10,000 organic and wholefood products, including organic meat sourced from Brookvale Meats and vegan-friendly, paraben-free cosmetics. There's also a Grab 'n' Go fresh meals section with more than 50 rotating choices, such as salmon and lasagne.
"If you could imagine how your grandparents shopped 45 years ago, they shopped in smaller, independent-owned businesses buying what they simply called 'food', not organic food, because back then we didn't use pesticides or hormones," says Charters, CEO and the managing director of The Natural Grocery Company (which owns and operates Flannerys). "Shopping, in my mind, should be about going back to how that was."
That means you're unlikely to see fruit and vegetables sold out of season. "We try and move with the season," Charters explains. "For example, apples don't grow on trees for 52 weeks of the year; it's just Mother Nature; so we'll have big chunks of the year where we won't have apples. If you see stone fruits with us, it means it's in season."
There are on-site naturopaths offering free private 15-minute consultations to guide shoppers on wholefood eating and what to buy. The cafe sells "healthy fast-snacking" foods, such as Cocowhip, acai bowls and super lattes with ingredients including beetroot, turmeric and cocoa.
While the Mona Vale store is its first entry into NSW, Charters says there are plans to rebrand three existing stores in the Sutherland Shire owned and operated by The Natural Grocery Company to Flannerys in coming months.
Flannery's Organic and Wholefood Market
12-14 Park Street, Mona Vale
(02) 9190 8060
Mon to Sat 7am-7pm
Mon to Sat 7am-4pm
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