Vegan and vegetarian grocery shopping in Wilmington, North Carolina is much easier than one might think. Coming from a major city in the vegan-friendly Pacific Northwest, I was concerned about the challenges I might face when attempting to find vegan and vegetarian groceries in a smaller Southern town. To my surprise, with just a bit of research I was able to find everything I need right here in Wilmington. From Vegenaise to Smart Dogs to Tofurkey, you can find everything you need without having to drive hours away for our nearest Whole Foods.
Here are a few of the best places in Wilmington to fill up your vegan or vegetarian kitchen with everything you need.
Tidal Creek Food Co-op
4406 Wrightsville Avenue – 910.799.2667
Hours: Monday through Saturday – 8am-8pm
Sunday – 9am-8pm
Tidal Creek is perhaps the most popular place in town for organic, all natural, vegan/vegetarian and healthy groceries. Dedicated to providing GMO- and hydrogenated oil-free products and focused on purchasing from small, local growers and ethically-minded companies, this is a great one-stop shop for just about all of your natural foods shopping – with lots of vegetarian and vegan options.
Tidal Creek has a great bulk foods section where you can stock up on beans, rice, flours, candy, nuts, snack foods, peanut butter and more and has a certified organic produce section. They also offer a salad bar, sandwiches and wraps for quick meals on the go with plenty of vegetarian and vegan items to choose from.
An added bonus with Tidal Creek is the opportunity to join the Co-op and support the community, while receiving discounts on special Owner Appreciation Days and an owner’s only savings shopping list.
Check out their website for a calendar of in-store classes and events and a wellness directory listing local practitioners and resources for everything from holistic healthcare providers to natural living products.
Lovey’s Natural Foods & Café
1319 Military Cutoff Road, Suite H (Landfall Shopping Center) – 910.509.0331
Hours: Monday through Friday – 9am-7pm
Saturday – 9am-6pm
Sunday – 11am-5pm
Aside from having a great market full of vegan and vegetarian grocery options, lots of options for buying pantry goods in bulk, a juice bar and a hot and cold food bar with café seating, Lovey’s website is a wonderful resource for everything from recipes to health information.
In a single visit to their website you can use a number of health calculators, research specific health conditions, learn about herbs and supplements and research alternative therapies. After determining your ideal weight, your body mass index, estimated calories burned and your target heart rate, you can also take a number of health assessments and get some great recipes with an entire section devoted to vegetarian dishes. There are several vegan options and the vegetarian recipes can be easily adapted to meet the needs of vegans as well.
While you are there, also check out their calendar for in-store events and classes.
The Fresh Market
1060 International Drive – 910.256.3524
Hours: Monday through Saturday – 9am-9pm
Sunday – 10am-8pm
The Fresh Market has a great produce section, but also offers many other options for the vegan or vegetarian panty, including specialty items, pastas and sauces, rice, beans, baking mixes, coffee and much more.
They also offer in-store classes and events and have tons of recipes on their website. While most of the recipes are not vegan, there are plenty of vegetarian options that can be customized for vegans as well.
Riverfront Farmer’s Market
North Water Street (on the Wilmington Riverfront)
Hours: Saturday 8am-12:30pm (April through December)
The Riverfront Farmer’s Market is a great place to find in-season vegetables and fruits, eggs and cheese (for the non-vegans), nuts, herbs, berries, jams and jellies and a number of other locally harvested items. Convenient parking is available (follow the signs) and this is a great way to spend a Saturday morning!
Now that natural living and vegan and/or vegetarian diets have become increasingly more popular, most larger chain stores are also stocking their shelves with more options. The following stores now carry many of the more common items that are vegan or vegetarian, with the added bonus of also carrying organics. Some of the items that can be found at these grocers include products by Lightlife, Boca burger, Smart Life and Morningstar.
Check out their websites for locations and hours of operation for the store nearest you.
For those items that you just can’t find at our local stores, online resources for vegans and vegetarians are plentiful and convenient. There are lots of options online and a simple search will provide pages of resources, but here are a few of the online stores I patronize to get you started:
Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe
The Vegetarian Site