We are a small, local organic produce store located in East Vancouver. While our specialty is Japanese produce like daikon, burdock root, kabu (white turnips), etc., we carry lots of local seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Our goal is simple — to provide locally grown and organically grown produce to you. We work year round to make sure we get as much locally grown produce directly from farmers straight to you!
“Some 27 years ago, I filled up my minivan with organic daikon with leaves and headed out to the UBC neighbourhood. My first customers were tired of buying daikon with no flavour, or not being able to find daikon in general, and were looking for something that reminded them of the daikon they grew up on in Japan.
This was the first step I took in connecting our hardworking local organic farmers to the local Vancouver community. It wasn't a fancy operation, but it gave me a chance to be a voice for the farmers.
It was hard, physical work loading and unloading 25-30lb boxes in and out of my van as I set up in each area. Some days, I would rush back to pick up my kids from soccer or ballet before darting back to different Vancouver neighbourhoods. Yet, hearing people share how tasty their dinner was or how their kids happily ate all the vegetables for the first time was enough to keep me going.
Tama Organic Life Foods came to be.
Over the years, I've connected with many organic farmers from nearby Surrey, Langley, Richmond and Agassiz all the way to Vancouver Island, Williams Lake and to the Okanagan. I've been very fortunate to meet dedicated farmers who care so much for the food they grow. It was important for me to go to these farms to see what they do firsthand, truly getting to know those incredible farmers who cared not only for the produce they grew but also taking care of the grounds they were harvesting from.
I wanted everyone to taste the difference of food produced from organic farming, from biodynamic farms to small farmers who were still planting every seed by hand.
Eating organic foods is one thing, but understanding where our foods come from, who is growing them, and then having access to it was something I knew was a disconnect. I wanted as many people as possible to enjoy eating organic vegetables, and so my mission started.”
- Hiroko Sugiyama, owner of Tama Organic Life Foods
Our small store is now located in the Hastings Sunrise community where we continue to offer local, organic produce. We are still known for the local Daikon, burdock root, shiso, natto and other Japanese specialty foods. But we also carry fresh greens, fresh fruits and other staples including dry goods & oils!
Our network with local organic farmers has grown over the years and you will see many of these local farms highlighted at our store.
We even have vegan bento box style lunches, wraps and smoothies for you to enjoy. Where we can, we always try to feature local produce in our bento's.
Eating organic foods is not just our business, it is our lifestyle and health, our connection to nature and our way of caring for ourselves and the Earth.
The word “Tama” has several definitions in Japanese. It means sphere or globe – a circle. Our name comes from the idea of “oneness” and of being whole. We are connected to the food we eat, the soil that our food is grown in, and ultimately, to the Earth itself.
This “oneness” or wholeness is what we are trying to achieve at Tama by connecting farmers to people and people to farmers. It’s an idea that we strongly believe in.