The above photos are from today's weekly run to the berkeley bowl. Emily's backpack is in front, doing gentle item duty with some eggs/pb/spinach, it's a good size comparison to the very old kremlin bag I use for hauling many-itemed loads on my cetma rack. This setup does a wonderful job navigating the several miles of urban traffic between the berkeley bowl and our house, and saves my back from what can sometimes reach toward triple digit loads. This setup has proven able to carry people, too, if you were wondering. The second photo shows everything carried (which was about half capacity). You can make out a 3L bottle of olive oil in there (and a pomelo--the 'king' of grapefruits).
Low trail geometry is one standard for safely and efficiently moving significant front loads. Kogswell is one of many small makers who are answering the call by using classic french porteur design from the 50s, with 39mm of trail for nominal wheel flop. This bike gives amazingly good handling with huge front loads (my atlantis, for comparison, has the british classic 60+mm of trail and is designed for rear loads--it still works quite well with a front boxy bag, however, so don't get too hung about all this trail business and focus on riding).
Want to try out a low trail bicycle? Check out this post for some options, new and used (of note, Trek made low trail bikes up until 1984).
French porteur racing (also, nice plump tires eat up the cobbles improving speed and handling). A 1952 Alex Singer.