Photo by Tashoma Lemard
Find organic food in Barcelona with our list of places selling all the essentials.
Anyone who has ever looked for fresh organic products in their local market or greengrocer’s shop in Barcelona might just rub their head in wonder on learning that Spain leads Europe in the amount of land that it organically farms, with a surface area of 1.7 million hectares. It’s hard to believe when you consider the relatively few shops in the city that sell organic fruit, vegetables and meat.
The contradiction is explained by the fact that the country is one of the leading exporters of organic produce in the world, and while the latest statistics from Spain’s Ministry of Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs (MARM) show a 10 percent growth in the number of organic producers, both in agriculture and livestock, most of the produce goes abroad.
Fortunately for organic-hungry shoppers out there, some of the produce does make it into shops in the city, often supplied by small farms and cooperatives in the region. Furthermore, box schemes are becoming more popular here, whereby orders for fruit and vegetables are made online or by phone and the boxed order is delivered to your door. There are also online companies selling organic meat.
Of course, Barcelona is still a long way off other big cities in countries such as Austria, Denmark and Germany in terms of both demand and availability of organic fresh food products, and the current economic situation can’t be helping to change this. However, a recent study carried out by MARM on the market for organic products in 2010 showed growth of nearly 12 percent in sales of organic goods compared to a loss of 0.9 percent for non-organic. In a nutshell, interest is there and growing all the time.
Our round-up of some of the places where you can currently buy fresh organic fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and bread in Barcelona includes small local shops, supermarkets, a market trader and online companies. Most also sell eggs, cheese, cold cuts and cured sausages. Do expect to pay more—Spain may be producing a lot but a small market, less demand, little competition and working with small farms keeps prices higher. Also bear in mind that the choice of fresh produce is more limited as a result of many shops trying to stick to selling produce from as close to home as possible for environmental reasons, and consequently this means that products stocked will depend on what’s in season.
Comestibles: Sant Carles 13, tel. 93 221 9581
With the feel of an old-fashioned delicatessen, thanks to its original tiles and old wooden fridge, this small shop is popular for its take-away ready-made organic meals but it also has a good range of fruit and vegetables and produce is locally sourced as much as possible. Fresh organic meat can be ordered in.
Baluard: Baluard 38-40 baixos, tel. 93 221 1208, www.baluardbarceloneta.com
Just next to Barceloneta market, this busy bakery offers several organic breads including wholewheat, spelt and baguettes.
Bio Space: València 186, tel. 93 453 1573, www.bioespacio.com
This large, spacious store has an excellent selection of fresh organic produce at surprisingly competitive prices. Formerly a family-run butcher’s, it became an organic supermarket in 2000. A fresh meat counter sells beef, goat, pork and chicken, and on Fridays a limited selection of fresh fish from organic farms is available.
Wokimarket: Ronda de la Universitat 20, tel. 93 302 5206,www.wokimarket.com
A concept store with a supermarket selling organic, Asian and Latin American products and four food zones serving organic Asian, sushi, pasta and pizza, and meat. It also includes a Baluard bakery (see above under ‘Barceloneta’) selling fresh organic breads. Its selection of fruit and vegetables is good if a bit pricey. The building itself is striking and was once the offices of Escofet, the architect company that has been manufacturing the renowned Barcelona paving stones since 1906.
There are three other stores in the city: in Gràcia (Astúries 22, tel. 93 292 0399), Barceloneta (Passeig Maritím 1, tel. 93 224 1251) and El Born (Carders 6, tel. 93 315 2795).
See page 38 for Tara Stevens’s review of Wokimarket.
Barcelona Reykjavik: Princesa 16, tel. 93 186 6336, www.barcelonareykjavik.com
Bakery with a daily selection of around 12 types of bread, the majority made with spelt (a traditional grain that is a species of wheat but easier to digest). The most popular bread is spelt with oats and mixed seeds (sesame, sunflower and pumpkin) but other speciality breads include Catalan wheat with sweet potato. Sweet and savoury snacks include gingerbread, pain au chocolate, pizzas and quiches.
All ingredients are organic and come from regional or national producers as much as possible. Bread can be bought by weight.
Shops also in Gràcia (Astúries 20, tel. 93 237 6918) and in Raval (Doctor Dou 12, tel. 93 302 0921).
Veritas: Via Laietana 28, tel. 93 268 8200, customer services: 902 667 789. www.veritas.es
This Catalan organic supermarket chain started up in 2002 and now has 22 stores, with 16 in Barcelona. It has a large selection of fruit and vegetables. Some stores have meat and fish counters, too, otherwise fresh meat can be found pre-packed in the chilled section.
Compared to other shops, Veritas can be more expensive, but the advantage is the wider selection of produce on offer. A loyalty reward scheme gives customers who spend a certain amount a discount on their next shop.
Shops throughout the city—call customer services (number above) to find your local branch.
Biocenter: Pintor Fortuny 24, tel. 93 302 3567
This small shop just off La Rambla has been in the business of vegetarian health food for 25 years and is run by the family that has the restaurant of the same name across the street. Its fruit and vegetables are a bit pricey and the selection is limited but it covers the basics and offers friendly personal service.
Bio Nyam: Travessera de Gràcia 315, tel. 93 476 5438, www.bionyam.com
This small local health and food shop opened two and a half years ago and owner Oriol Alonso is currently upgrading the website to incorporate an online shop. Its range of fruit and vegetables is good for the size of the shop and prices are kept competitively low. Organic chicken and beef is also available and can be ordered in. A loyalty-card scheme gives customers a 10 percent discount on their sixth shop.
Bio Mercat: Mercado de l’Abaceria Central, Stall 53,
Travessera de Gràcia 186, tel. 93 210 6019
Matching the size and choice of produce of any of its fellow fruit and vegetable market stall holders, Bio Mercat is doing a roaring trade. Everything is organic and owner Murad Mrabet, who started the business 15 years ago, tries to buy in as much locally and nationally grown produce as possible. It’s a mystery why other market traders in the city, especially in La Boqueria and Santa Caterina, haven’t followed suit.
Biosí: Ramon i Cajal 42, tel. 93 213 0971
This popular health and food shop in the heart of Gràcia has built up a loyal clientele during its five years in business. It has a good range of fresh organic fruit and vegetables, along with fresh organic meat, which can also be ordered in.
The following sites are worth checking out for online shopping for fruit and vegetable boxes and fresh meat.
www.hortadeleixample.es: Working with Catalan farms in Baix Llobregat, Penedès, Maresme and Bages, Horta de l’Eixample sells a full range of seasonal organic produce and delivers to your door. The company also has a small café-shop in Eixample at Nàpols 155 (tel. 93 265 1450) selling a small selection of fresh fruit and vegetables.
www.naturalcomolavidamisma.com: Another online organic box service selling produce sourced mainly from the company’s own farm in Moncayo in Saragossa. Boxes are competitively priced and customers can choose what produce they’d like included.
www.ecoviand.com: This company has an extensive range of organic meats in various cuts and smoked salmon. Eggs are also available. Orders can be made by email, telephone or online. Deliveries to Barcelona are made two days a week and there is no minimum order.