Sunday, May 15, 2011

iCoop Natural Dream

Those of you who live in Chilgok are more blessed than you know. In addition to being largely free from the dirt and noise of other parts of the city close to downtown, there are actually a fair number of eco-friendly establishments. This website has already covered one restaurant,Porin Shabu Shabu, and one store specializing in local, organic produce, The Farmer's Market.

As if that weren't enough, there's also this place:

Welcome to iCoop Natural Dream - here's their official blurb:

"Your ethical consumption makes the world a beautiful place. We offer you Korean grain and organic produce, along with environmentally friendly foods and household items. We also support farmers in the third world through fair trade coffee, sugar, and cacao. We are working together with hour neighbors to protect the environment."

Sounds good, right? Just like the Farmer's Market down the street, Natural Dream produce and products are all certified organic, pesticiide-free, or low-pesticide, and are either locally made or procured through free trade.

Here you see: Natural Dream's selection of seasonal, organic vegetables, along with Korean pastes and seasonings, and sauces.

And a wide range of grains, noodles and snacks, teas, beauty products, household cleaners and detergents, and local, seasonal fruit - including bananas from Jeju!

What separates Natural Dream from the rest, though, is

A bakery with a selection of treats, made daily from Korean flour and free-range(ish) eggs, and

A butcher shop trading in meat from domestically raised, naturally fed livestock. There's also a refrigerator filled with various environmentally friendly milks and milk products, though, unfortunately, not much in the way of cheese.

Everything at iCoop comes with two prices: one for members, and one for plain folk. You don't need a membership to shop there (which is fortunate, since last time I checked foreigners weren't eligible, though it's possible to do it through a Korean friend) but if you sign up, you receive a discount of about twenty percent (it varies from product to product). The sign-up fee is 30k and costs 15k a month, so you have to spend about 75k a month there to make it worth it. Not too hard if you live with a friend, are willing to make Natural Dream your primary source for eats, or if you habitually consume at least two pastries a day; but even if you decide not to be a member, the prices are reasonable, particularly considering the peace of mind the products themselves bring.

Easy to find but hard to explain, Natural Dream is about 3 minutes south of CGV or 5 minutes west of the Primus theather, sitting just across from the back (north) entrance of Yeongnam Neovil apartments. For those who know where the Farmer's Market is, you can start there, walk along the river towards HomePlus and CGV, then turn right at the first big 4-way intersection. Cross the street and Natural Dream will be on your left in just a minute or two.

Or, look at the google map.

iCoop Natural Dream
대구광역시 북구 동천동 907-7 자연 드림 (연남 네오빌 아파트 후문 맞은 편)
Hours: Daily, 9AM-10PM

Happy shopping! Visit enough and chat them up and they may just make you an honorary member, without any of the pesky complications! But don't tell them you heard it here...