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The Choku Bai Jo Movement – Fresh, organic and locally produced

By Advertising Feature - 22 March 2012 25

One of the unpronounceable buzz words struggling past peoples lips over the last 4 years has been Choku Bai Jo. Choku Bai Jo means ‘Direct Selling Place’ in Japanese, and that is exactly what the Pentony Family sought to – and have achieved – since the first store opened in North Lyneham in February 2008. Their history does not begin there however as the family was integral to the conception of both Canberra Farmers Markets. As the family also own Gleann na Meala an ACO Certified Organic farm near the Village of Hall, they were always on the lookout for better ways of marketing and delivering their fresh produce directly to the community. Three years after opening the Lyneham Store, the Southside communities pleas were answered and the second outlet was opened in Curtin.

Choku Bai Jo works because it is something different from the other retailers. The charming yet rustic décor assists in highlighting the quality of the local produce which is delivered to each outlet through the week from the region’s best growers. Fresh organic produce is picked every day for the shop from Gleann na Meala providing the consumer the opportunity to buy and eat produce the day it was picked. Choku Bai Jo gets apples throughout the year from the Davidsons at Hillside orchard in Borenore NSW, Citrus from the Auddinos in Leeton, Stone fruit ffrom Laurie Xerri at Young, Heavy veg from The Vassellos at Mowbray Park and much more from other local growers and producers.

In addition to some of the regions larger producers it is common during fig season to see locally grown fruit from the backyards of customers on the shelves. This adds to the community feel of the stores and allows the shoppers to feel part of the growing Choku Bai Jo movement.!/pages/Choku-Bai-Jo/133568363366849


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25 Responses to
The Choku Bai Jo Movement – Fresh, organic and locally produced
MrPC 1:00 am 23 Mar 12

Three years ago I lived in Lyneham and made a point of buying F&V at CBJ. It always seemed to taste that bit more like real food. I’d go a tad overboard sometimes and while it wasn’t the cheapest, it was cheaper than fast food, and infinitely healthier.

Unfortunately I now live in Queanbeyan, which has precisely zero F&V stores or stands worth visiting. The one across from Aldi is pungent to the point of rotten when I visit on my weekend shopping, the one in City Link got shut down to make way for a K-Mart (and wasn’t that great) and the supermarket produce is bland and tasteless as you’d expect.

Memo: CBJ: Queanbeyan is ripe for the picking.

potatosalad 12:30 am 23 Mar 12

I definitely support what they are doing, and it’s conveniently close to me, but the few times I have been in there I have found much of the produce to be fairly average. I do believe that produce doesn’t need to be pretty to be of great quality, but the few things I did buy were neither pretty nor great quality. But they also seem to be sold out or nearly sold out of a lot of things too, so perhaps I am just going at all the wrong times. Some time I will try and get in there when things are fresh and crisp still.

cbjcurtin 10:15 pm 22 Mar 12

Hi, all I am one of the owners just to put that out there first.

Not everything we sell is Certified Organic, but every product displayed in our stores with a green sign or price tag is Certified Organic, please ask one of the staff if you need a certification number for any of these products.

We do sell fruit from Pialligo

We do sell apples and other produce from Lorindale at Hall

The owners also own Gleann na Meala, a Certified organic farm at Hall, produce is picked every morning and sold the same day.

On prices here are a few from instore today.

Certified Organic Lettuce, cos and butterhead $1.50/each

Certified Organic Pac Choi $1.80 per bunch

Unwaxed fresh apples and pears all $3.80/kg (these are not waxed seconds like you might find at other outlets)

Unwaxed Navel Oranges $1.80/kg

Premium Australian Cavandish Bananas, $2.80/kg

We stock local where possible, Organic were possible, and only ever Australian Grown.

The Logo is a pac choi

cheers for the feed back, hope you al have a great weekend

Chip 10:01 pm 22 Mar 12

I haven’t been there for a while as it’s been a bumper season in our garden – but they impress me with
good honest produce at prices which gave small farmers a decent return. Huge farms with highly mechanised operations and goodness knows what sprays, etc. can put cheaper stuff to market than the small local guys who do lots by hand and with a deal more care.
As a local gardener with occasional excess, I have sometimes taken fresh picked stuff to Choku Bai Jo and they have given me a really fair price and sold it with a very modest mark-up. If I can keep the cockatoos away I’ll see if they want some sweet corn next week. If so it will be on a dinner table the same day that I pick it. The majors will never do that!
The best option for the planet is to grow your own if you have some space and inclination but farmers markets and places like Choku Bai Jo run a close second. Daylight to third. Good luck to them.

toriness 8:12 pm 22 Mar 12

i get all my fruit and vege from choku – the quality (taste and longevity) compared to IGA and woollies/coles is a thousand times better. i also love other amazing locally sourced quality products like caramelised balsamic vinegar and olive oil. it may or may not be more expensive (i haven’t done direct price comparisons) than the supermarket – but even if it is, given the significant difference in quality, i think it’s absolutely worth going there. i cannot recommend it more highly!!!

Ben_Dover 6:15 pm 22 Mar 12

EvanJames said :

It’s an Organic Pear.

That would be brown and yellow.

madamcholet 6:10 pm 22 Mar 12

I visited some of the sites listed as organic producers – not many had websites listed – and only one actually said that they are in the process of seeking certification. They say on the Choku Bai Jo website that everything in the shop with a green label is certified organic. Unless the producers are not particularly selling that aspect of their product, then I didn’t see a huge amount of evidence that they are certified organic.

I used to go to the fruit and veg shop in Griffith until the owner demonstrated to me that she had no concept of what food safety was apart form saying that “nasty chemicals” were not used on their products. With these types of direct to the consumer outlets I don’t see much evidence of quality control – not all pesticides are synthetic and therefore some can be used in organic set-ups. Do the owners of these outlets and farmers markets ask when the product was last treated with any chemical or organic matter? What are their quality assurance processes around cleaning the produce after harvest etc etc.

I have nothing against the organic movement or places such as this outlet, and I admit to purchasing my meat from the organic butchers at Griffith and Fyshwick, however I don’t do it because I beleve that chemicals are nasty.

EvanJames 5:44 pm 22 Mar 12

Mysteryman said :

Not sure what the green squiggle on the logo is…?

It’s an Organic Pear.

Deref 4:29 pm 22 Mar 12

It’s fantastic! The freshness and quality of the in-season stuff at their Lyneham store makes you realise what crap the stuff you get from the supermarkets is. And it’s certainly not generally more expensive than the supermarket stuff – and often significantly cheaper.

I love apples that haven’t been coated with wax – I won’t buy those. And I love the fact that, when I buy from Choku Bai Jo or the Farmers Market, the farmer gets most of the money.

jsm2090 4:29 pm 22 Mar 12

Sure, some things cost more than the supermarkets, but the quality is much better, and it’s a lot cheaper than say Wiffens or Ziggys. I went crazy when Choku had 500g of blackberries for $8.

Merle 4:18 pm 22 Mar 12

What they’re not mentioning is the absurd prices. I’m willing to pay a little more to support local farmers, but not five times the supermarket price. A very small bag of snow peas (as in literally five or six) cost me $3.

pajs 4:18 pm 22 Mar 12

Or you could get local apples from Hall:

Russ 4:11 pm 22 Mar 12

“Choku Bai Jo gets apples throughout the year from the Davidsons at Hillside orchard in Borenore NSW”

Since the apple season is from February to June, in order to get “apples throughout the year” they must be getting fruit that’s been through controlled atmosphere storage, which one doesn’t really associate with “farm fresh” or “organic”. Nothing wrong with that, it’s what all the supermarkets do, which is why nobody knows when the apple season is.

If people want proper, tree-ripened apples, pretty much the only place you can get them is Pialligo, and that’s only during season (ie. now). Other apple regions like Batlow have farm-gate stalls, but that’s a bit of a drive.

Lazy I 2:05 pm 22 Mar 12

The charming yet rustic décor assists in highlighting the quality of the local produce…


Mysteryman 1:36 pm 22 Mar 12

Sounds like an interesting idea. I’d like to check it out sometime.

Not sure what the green squiggle on the logo is…?

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