Grocery Tour Series for Vegans: Ellwood Thompson’s

Since we have begun to re-open in Virginia, at least for now, I will go ahead and continue on with my grocery tour for vegans series. This week, I’m taking you to one of Richmond’s locally owned organic grocers.

My younger daughter is always up for an adventure, so before our visit, we took a drive down Monument Avenue to soak in a bit of history in the making. We weren’t disappointed, and were quite moved by the experience. It’s one thing to see pictures on the news. It’s quite another to go and see things in person, to feel the energy of the area, and to see others experience the same.

The Lee monument. This statue and the surrounding land is controlled by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Our governor has declared his intention to have it removed. There is currently an injunction by a federal judge to halt this action temporarily. I have literally run past this statue hundreds of times on training runs in the city.
Another view of the statue with the RVA unity sign created by local artist Jake Van Yahres.
Lots of people were posing for pictures!
There were memorials all around the base of the Lee statue for Black lives taken by police or by hate crimes. This one for Ahmaud Arbery is significant to me as a runner. I will never ever again take it for granted that I can run any street I want without fear of harassment because of the color of my skin. I have thought about him every run since I found out about his life and death.
Memorial for George Floyd.
J E B Stuart statue.
Stonewall Jackson statue at Monument and Arthur Ashe Blvd. This is another one I have literally run past hundreds of times. I would always say the only time I’m happy to see Stonewall Jackson is on a run, because that means I’m almost done! This one is about a mile from the Sports Backers stadium, which is home base for the Richmond Marathon training teams. This was taken waiting at the stop light from our car.

Now back to our tour.

When my husband and I first became interested in cleaning up our diet and buying organic, Ellwood Thompson’s was one of the only stores in town to reliably purchase quality, organic food.  Since 1989, Richmond has been lucky to have this store in our community!

I realized that I neglected to take a photo of the storefront, so you get the bag instead!

Located in Carytown, it’s still a pioneer in our market for sustainably and locally sourced goods, even with so many other stores in the RVA market. What keeps Ellwood Thompson’s relevant is its real connection to local farmers and makers, extra services like health coaching, and its community events. It is through one of their programs that I found my functional medicine chiropractor! But they still carry all of the familiar organic brands of middle aisle and frozen foods, plus some specialty items you can’t find elsewhere. Basically, if you need something weird, organic, or vegan, you can typically find it here. And if you want a good, quick meal, their hot bar and juice bars are wonderful. Admittedly, I don’t shop here often, mainly because it is quite a distance from my home. But if I’m spending time in Carytown, I typically stop in for some vegan treats!

ET’s Juice Bar

What are my recommended must-haves from Ellwood Thompson’s?

  • Vegan baked goods
    • So many varieties. So much deliciousness! I never leave the store without at least a cupcake. This week’s choice? Vegan Samoas cupcake.
This is the samoas cupcake. It was delicious!
One of their baked goods cases. About half of these items are vegan.
Another case, this one of grab and go goodies, most made in house. I almost brought home a vegan strawberry rhubarb pie! Again, many vegan items in this case.
  • Supplements/Personal care items
    • If you need to tweak your regimen, they have experts who can help.
    • They carry a wide variety of goods, including locally made products.
  • Bulk foods.
    • They have a rather extensive selection. You are encouraged to bring your own containers under normal circumstances.
    • Included in their bulk foods selections: BAKER’S YEAST!!! There is a sign in their baked goods aisle indicating as such, so I had to go back and check! So if you are in need, now you know a place to get it!
One third of the bulk items.
Another third of the bulk items.
If you’ve been on the hunt for yeast, they have it in bulk here!
  • Local produce
    • If true sustainability is something that you value, this is your place.
Produce section. You can see the start of the bulk foods at the back of this section.
  • Prepared foods
    • All of their in-house prepped meals I’ve tried are delicious! Lots of vegan choices here, including those from the hot bar and packed to go. I almost picked up their vegan Carolina style BBQ.
    • Note that their hot bar is closed at this time due to the pandemic, but they do have a cafeteria style line for hot foods open at certain times of day.
  • Craft beers, wine
    • They have a generous selection, including single serve beers, so you can try a variety.
    • Hard kombucha is included here. They have several varieties.
    • Non-alcoholic varieties are also included here. If you are cutting back on your intake, but still love craft beer, they have a large selection of regionally sourced choices.
Craft Beer!
Wine section. Note the emphasis on locally made wine and ciders! There is typically an expert in this area who can direct you to vegan choices.
  • Vegan cheese
    • They have all of the national brands as well as locally and regionally made “cheeses” here, including Rooted Delights brand.
Vegan Cheese!

If you’re in the RVA and have never been to Ellwood Thompson’s, you should check it out! Lots to do in Carytown, too, once the City of Richmond moves into phase II next week.

Not from the RVA? You may still have a local organic market in your area if you live in a larger metro area. These independent groceries are worth checking out and supporting!

Have you shopped at Ellwood Thompson’s? What are some of your favorite purchases here? I’d love to hear about it! As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.

Published by annecreates

I am a physical therapist, wife, mom, runner, artist, and vegan. I'm passionate about helping others find wellness, speaking about the human experience, and in fighting for social justice. Assistant Coach for the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team. Current ambassador for: Boco Gear, SaltStick, SPIbelt, Goodr, Noxgear, and Switch4Good.

6 thoughts on “Grocery Tour Series for Vegans: Ellwood Thompson’s

  1. I wish we could visit that store it looks awesome. My husband decided to be vegan shortly before lockdown and I intended to go from my pescatarian diet to being nearly vegan to support him . However lockdown has reduced our ability to visit varying shops and also meant w have my son and his son (with their dietary limitations) living with us. It’s lovely having them but being vegan has proved impossible so we are now waiting for normality to return. In meantime we love soya milk and enjoy making vegan cakes and the occasional meal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great that you are transitioning to a vegan diet! I’m the only vegan in my house, so I understand the challenge of cooking different meals, too. Do you have a local organic market? I tend to do my primary shopping at larger stores. I toured Kroger, Trader Joe’s, and Aldi in earlier blog posts. Check those out for more tips! Thanks for your comments. Hopefully, our worlds will find a new normal soon!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My husband has told me we do have a local organic shop. I didn’t realise so might try that. Aldi can be quite good but its hit and miss. It will be easier when we are not catering for our sons as one has a limited diet due to migraine issues and the other has a long list of things he isn’t keen on.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, incredible monument photos! Definitely, a defining moment we’re going through. This market reminds me of one back home in Michigan. Feels very “hometown” but still offers a lot of the same brands as the big box places. I wish we had something like that here. Thankful for my Whole Foods vegan desserts for now hahah

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. So amazing to see the monuments in person. And I’m a big fan of the vegan desserts at Whole Foods, too! I’m taking you on a tour there soon! I got some chocolate iced vegan doughnuts last visit. Such a treat!


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