The Mustard Seed 460 York Boulevard

Yellow is this summer’s hottest colour:
Five reflections on the Mustard Seed Co-Op

By Ciara McCann

1. Variety turns people into adventurous shoppers. When one walks through the doors of the Mustard Seed Co-op, the senses are immediately stimulated by the colours and the smells of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables that aren’t always available in an average grocery store. On my first visit last week, my eyes were immediately drawn to big bunches of purple radishes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen purple radishes so I knew they had to be mine. When I took them home and enjoyed them, the flavour was just as intense as the colour — spicy and earthy with a refreshing crunch – the way a radish should taste. When I scanned the aisles I also came upon edible followers, garlic scapes and zucchini blossoms. For those who want to step outside of their comfort zone, the Mustard Seed has a kitchen where they hold workshops on how to cook with these strange and beautiful foods.

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2. Buying local is easy. Another item I knew I couldn’t resist were the local strawberries. My summer wouldn’t be the same without treating my taste buds to juicy, sweet Ontario strawberries, especially on a hot day. They’re nature’s candy. The best part is, you don’t have to travel outside Hamilton to get your hands on some. The Mustard Seed is centrally located at 460 York Boulevard, so it’s easy for a young patron to cycle over from a downtown apartment or for a family of four to jump in their car and arrive in five or 10 minutes. Another perk — there’s plenty of parking available. If you’re an after-work shopper like me, you’ll also enjoy the Mustard Seed’s hours — 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday to Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

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3. Prices are fair. For those who regularly seek out the best quality food at Fortinos and other major stores, why not buy great quality food while supporting local farmers and suppliers? My final bill was $50 for all the items listed below, which gave my husband and I a couple of dinners and some snacks — including some all natural Pacific Whiting snacks for my cat (who goes wild for them, by the way). Those who choose to become a member by investing in a $100 share also get a 2 per cent savings on all items, in addition to other great perks. However, as much as I loved my first Mustard Seed experience, I wasn’t sold on being a member yet. I need to make a couple more shopping trips to decide if it’s worth it, especially when I enjoy my Fortinos shopping routine and I’m a sucker for President’s Choice products.

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4. Yes, there’s mustard at The Mustard Seed, and so much more. Did you know G.S. Dunn Mustard Mill on 80 Park Street North in downtown Hamilton, is the world’s largest dry mustard miller and is the inspiration for Hamilton’s late, Mustard Festival?

The Mustard Seed lives up to its name, and Hamilton history, by offering multiple brands and styles of mustard including Caplansky’s Hot and Horseradishy Mustard. Caplansky’s is a popular Food Truck and deli that rose to fame on the Dragon’s Den television series. You can also find an array of beverages, bulk foods, meats and cheeses, preserves and even cleaning products.


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5. A true sense of community. The Mustard Seed officially opened its doors this past June and already they boast more than 1,600 members. When I saw the freshly chalk-written number of members on the wall, I could tell that being a member means more than just the shopping perks — it’s about the pride in supporting your community and a new way of thinking about how you shop.

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Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.


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