Noel Simpson is a journeyman chef with his Red Seal. He manages restaurants and has his own restaurant catering business.
Noel sees the biggest positive of the Co-op as being that it will provide the freshest ingredients as well as food traceability. “When you come to the Co-op, you will have an entire grocery store that is local. You’ll be able to see where your product is coming from. Typically, we are used to having produce come in from the U.S., by the time it’s picked, put into the warehouse, and shipped up to Canada, it’s already got a seven-day lag time. So, when you lose those seven days, as opposed to something that’s fresh, you’re definitely expanding its shelf-life and quality. Not only that, we’re talking to the producers and they’re telling us what they’re putting into their soil and what they’re putting onto their product. So, I can relay to the customer that this product was produced locally, it’s organic, this is how they’ve treated it, this is how it was harvested, and so on. It’s local. The producers are our friends – we see them in the coffee shops, we see them in the store. They have been my customers for years, so we already have that connection, and we tend to buy from people that we’re comfortable with. We know them. When you know who you’re buying from, that inspires a lot more confidence when you’re purchasing.”