Verily, the last 30 days have been days of plenty! In addition to the bounty of Thanksgiving, we Daeguites have been blessed by the appeareance of not one but two brand new local/organic/whole food shops: Biche in Hwangggeumdong opened on October 30th, and WooriCoop in Bokhyeondong opened on November 23rd. I've yet to stop by the latter, though it's practically right outside my front door. I'm friends with the folks behind Biche, though, so I popped by a few weeks ago to see how everything is going.
I stopped by to get a little tour from Park Gyeong-ho, whom I met almost nine months ago while staffing the first Daegu Bike Festival of 2011. Gyeong-ho graduated from Daegu's own Kyungpook National University not too long ago and has since been working with other members of the Movement for a Cleaner, Greener Daegu (맑고푸른대구21, I don't think they have an official English name) to put together an enterprise dedicated to several facets of healthy, Earth-friendly living.
The first floor of Biche fairly standard, as far as health-food markets go. They specialize on providing consumers with healthy whole foods, safe processed ones, and other household items that have minimal impacts on the environment. They source all of their fresh meat and produce from the local Andong Farmers' Cooperative, and sell noodles, cereals, bread, and snacks made from Korean wheat.
Here are Biche's Health Principles:
- Serving healthy and delicious fruits in vegetables in accordance with the seasons and nature's providence is our first priority .
- All animals that provide us with meat and eggs are healthy and rasied without antibiotics or growth supplements.
- All processed foods are free of harmful chemical additives.
- By developing a local food system, we support the unity of rural farmers and urban consumers.
- All household goods (detergents, makeup, cookware, etc) are free of environmentally-disruptive hormones.
I asked Manager Park if there's anything special he wanted me to convey to foreigners here in Daegu. He replied that he's happy to know there are foreigners here interested in eating healthy and doing what's right for the environment, and regrets that he can't offer a wider range of English services. He also asks that we understand that slightly higher prices reflect significantly higher quality and fair pay for farmers, not excessive profits for those running the business. Finally, he wanted everyone to know that there's a good reason organic produce doesn't last quite as long as conventional stuff: in addition to pesticides and fertilizers, many crops are treated with chemicals that slow down the decay process. If your potatoes aren't sprouting eyes after a week or two, you should be worried about what they've been treated with. Eating fresh, healthy, whole food may cost a bit more in terms of money and attention, but it's worth it for the quality of food and the knowledge that you're doing something good for the environment with every bite.
Here are some of the goodies:
Organic jams, vegetarian-friendly meat substitutes, beef and dairy from grass-fed cows, organic olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and, unpictured, a wide selection of organic grains, beans, sauces, eggs, fruits, vegetables, snacks, and household products.
The second floor, which is still under construction, will eventually become a restaurant serving Korean, vegetarian, and fusion cuisine made from whole, organic, local ingredients. The third floor houses a "Health and Culture" center, which is available for group meals, meetings, and events, while the fourth floor will be home to a "Healing through Heat" Center, operated by author Pyo Byeong-gwan, who was diagnosed with liver cancer 35 years ago and credits his survival - and even subsequent flourishing - to eating healthy and letting his body take care of the rest. The name of the store comes from Mr. Pyo's experiences with the restorative effects of fasting.
Biche is located behind the Hwangeum-dong Taewan Honors Apartments about 1.5km south of the Suseong-gu Office subway station and 2km southwest of Mancheon subway station. The closest bus stop is Dongdo Middle School (동도중학교), which is served by the 349, 414, 427, 449, 순환3, and 수성1 buses. They're open daily from 10AM to 10PM. No membership is necessary to shop there, but if you sign up for one, it costs 10k won/month and you get a 10% discount on everything you buy.
If you live in the area or are hungry for some good eats, pop by sometime! I'm sure you'll get warm welcome.
Manager Park (Back row, right) with two employees.
Still quite where Biche is? Visit the Green Guide to Daegu and zoom in on Suseong-gu. Or, find another organic shop closer to you. There are a tone!
대구광역시 수성구 황금동 132-5번지