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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.

Another talking point is the hours the stores are open, 2pm to 7pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. The 2pm start during the week allows the fresh produce to be picked in the morning. It also allows parents to stop in on their way to, or returning from the daily school run. Added with the late closing of 7pm, Choku Bai Jo allows others to stop in after a long day at work; helping to minimise car trips and stressful shopping experiences.!/pages/Choku-Bai-Jo/133568363366849


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25 Responses to
The Choku Bai Jo Movement – Fresh, organic and locally produced
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cbjcurtin 2:18 pm 04 Apr 12

Iceberg lettuce picked today in Picton NSW $2/each or 2 for $3.50.

CBJ will be closed all Easter Weekend, drive safely everyone

poetix 4:32 pm 03 Apr 12

I like shopping here. It smells nice, and I can ride my bike for that added ‘god I’m being good’ feeling. Smugness and carrots in the one trip. Priceless.

pepmeup 3:49 pm 03 Apr 12

Merle said :

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.

Merle we get our snow peas form Choku Bai jo all the time, either you need to learn how to count or you should look up the word literally.

We shop at the curtin shop and find it great

GardeningGirl 3:45 pm 02 Apr 12

Lazy I said :

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


madamcholet said :

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.

potatosalad said :

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.

I’d pay a reasonable amount more and travel further for local produce, and if it’s organic as well that’s even better (which I accept might not look like the waxed supermarket version). So like potatosalad I too support the idea of what places like that are doing. But speaking generally (I emphasise I’m not talking about specifically this store) in practice my impression has been of walking into cliquey grotty little places with not much to offer and sometimes not very good product knowledge or hygiene standards.
I went to this North Lyneham store once and I too found it nearly sold out so perhaps I was there at the wrong time, but the distance (for me) and the “charming yet rustic décor” didn’t make me want to plan a special trip to try again. Calling it a “movement” doesn’t help either. But perhaps if I’m in the area of Lyneham or Curtin I’ll take another look.

EvanJames 2:33 pm 02 Apr 12

Caractacus Potts said :

Presumably they’d be those locally produced bananas.

Heh. Pretty-much what I was thinking!

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