There is only one place to get milk in the Granville Island Public Market, and it is fittingly called The Milkman.
At this tiny grocery, local dairy is the star. From Avalon Dairy yogurt, cheese, and milk, to Maple Hill Farms eggs, to Olympic Dairy yogurt, to Island Farms ice cream, the focus here is the products of the Lower Mainland. “We try to get everything local,” says owner Simon Cheah. “People around this island love local stuff.” But one notable international product is Dole Whip: a tangy, (ironically) dairy-free pineapple sorbet-like treat. Made famous at Disneyland, Dole Whip can only be found in Vancouver at The Milkman.
Cheah is the second-generation owner of the shop; his father purchased it from the founder, and Cheah eventually took over. “My dad bought it so I helped him once in a while, and I felt I liked it here, because the environment is very vibrant,” he says, standing by The Milkman’s tempting ice cream case. “I spend most of my time here, it’s like my first home.”
His own kids are getting a taste for the business as well, helping out when they are not at school. “They have more friends than I do around Granville Island,” Cheah says with a smile. “They know everybody.” Soon after, one of his sons wanders up to the stall. Because even if the whole Public Market is his backyard, The Milkman is his home.
Continue reading our Meet the Market series.