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Question about Rowe Farms

m
mightycheesehead Jul 3, 2007 07:43 AM

Does anybody know about farming practices for Rowe Farms? I'm interested in getting free-range, sustainably produced meat and Rowe Farms products (chicken, beef, pork and eggs) are available in my grocery store. I don't live in Toronto, so going to places like the Healthy Butcher are not an option for me.

  1. k
    Kasia Jul 3, 2007 08:09 AM

    It's a very reputable company producing natural meats. started as a family farm, now is quite big with large distribution. i think it's now a network of farms, rather than one big farm. the animals are free of antibiotics and hormones, and graze on grass etc. places like karma co-op, which has stricter rules on the products they sell than most mainstream organic stores, carried rowe meats and eggs.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Kasia
      e
      erly Jul 3, 2007 04:36 PM

      I buy all of my chicken from Rowe or Clements at the Sat. market, and have been for years.
      If I need last minute shopping Cumbrae carries Clements.
      I can now buy rowe eggs at Loblaws, which makes it easier .
      I trust their organic products.
      Can't even imagine feeding my family hormone laden poultry.

      1. re: erly
        t
        tjr Feb 28, 2009 08:37 AM

        I wasn't aware Canadian chicken was hormone-laden, considering this practice has been banned for quite some time.

    2. jayt90 Jul 3, 2007 06:17 PM

      It's a big business now, with no connection to Rowe Farm. They have recently hred a CEO from Loblaws, so it will be interesting to see how they market naturally raised food in the coming months.
      I prefer to get naturally raised beef, pork and sausages from beefconections, as I can talk to the grower before I place an order.

      1. gnuf Jul 4, 2007 02:47 AM

        Can anyone comment on whether the farms in the Rowe Farm network use pesticides or GMO-free feed? I heard some claims from an organic retailer, but unfortunately, I can't find an official website to corroborate or contradict this assertion. For those that may be concerned about what the animals eat, does anyone have more information?

        10 Replies
        1. re: gnuf
          e
          erly Jul 4, 2007 06:02 AM

          Consumers Health Canada, a non profit org. lists them as organic.
          You could call directly to Rowe at 519 822 8794
          They are in the Guelph area.
          Also to Jay, I am in the process of ordering bacon from the beefconnection, as suggested by the helpful people here, but I don't think that they sell poultry.
          I am always open to new suggestions for organic poultry, if anyone is aware of an alternative.
          The chickens are all to white, as compared to the golden brown grain fed chickens available in Europe.

          1. re: gnuf
            Kitchen Imp Feb 4, 2010 06:45 PM

            I can't say definitively, but I did overhear a conversation between a clerk and a customer about this very issue a couple days ago. The clerk explained that they can't guarantee that the feed is 100% organic - there may have been pesticides involved in the feed production. But it's definitely vegetarian feed and the animals themselves are raised naturally, in a free-run environment.

            1. re: Kitchen Imp
              h
              helenhelen Oct 24, 2012 09:40 PM

              i have been buying rowe farm eggs and on the carton, it says free of antibiotics but does not mention hormones.. so i checked their website just now and it doesn't clarify this. however, the website does mention they sell 2 types of eggs. their rowe farm eggs from caged hens(!) and their green valley eggs are from free run hens. i had always just assumed that eggs that are free of antibiotics (and hopefully hormones too) are always free run but I realize now that I am wrong.

              Also, I always assume organic eggs (Rowe Farm eggs are not organic) are always from free run hens... but now I am not so sure. Can anyone confirm/deny?

              1. re: helenhelen
                jayt90 Oct 25, 2012 04:28 AM

                Hormones have been banned for 50+ years in Canadian chickens or eggs. Antibiotics cannot show up in eggs, but they are allowed in the growth stage of the bird. Here is a summary, http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Arti...

                Organic chickens are completely drug free, although sick birds can be treated by a vet, and sold off as non organic.

                Organically raised chickens must have a free run barn floor, which can be quite crowded, and they must have access to outdoors, usually through a pet door, but the outdoors is often a concrete or dirt patch in the barnyard. A few outdoor flocks are pastured, but this is rare and costly.

                1. re: jayt90
                  h
                  helenhelen Oct 25, 2012 10:12 PM

                  according to that website then, all canadian eggs and dairy (i'm not personally concerned with meat since i'm vegetarian) are free of hormones and antibiotics, including standard non-organic supermarket fare. is this really true? i deduced this from the following:

                  "In Canada, growth hormones are only given to beef cattle (and not dairy cattle). There are no growth hormones used in poultry or pork production."

                  but then also:

                  "Dairy cattle do not receive growth hormones so you do not need to limit conventional milk or milk products."

                  and:

                  "For animal products, if a cow is treated with antibiotics because of an infection, the milk they produce while being treated is not sold."

                  therefore, all dairy products in canada are hormone and antibiotic free?

                  and with regards to eggs:

                  "There are no growth hormones used in poultry or pork production."

                  and:

                  "When hens are given antibiotics, the eggs they lay are thrown away."

                  therefore, all eggs produced in canada are free of hormones or antibiotics?

                  i find this hard to believe though. is this really true? am i missing something in my interpretation of what is stated on the website?

                  1. re: helenhelen
                    s
                    sbug206 Oct 26, 2012 05:07 AM

                    This is exactly why organic milk in Canada is nothing but a marketing scam.

                    1. re: sbug206
                      m
                      magic Oct 26, 2012 07:21 AM

                      I'm confused sbug206. Why is organic milk in Canada a marketing scam? Do cows that produce organic milk not receive organically grown feed?

                      Can you elaborate??

                    2. re: helenhelen
                      h
                      Herne Oct 26, 2012 05:38 AM

                      I believe you interrupted the info correctly. Might be hard to believe that egg producers throw away eggs but that is an other question.
                      Is there any evidence that anyone has ever been harmed by beef with hormones in it? I assume this would have to be US information.

                      1. re: Herne
                        jayt90 Oct 26, 2012 06:22 AM

                        Herne, I have often seen USDA beef for sale, and USDA pork, in sale bins especially at NoFrills. Whenever back ribs go on sale, in any supermarket, they are often wrapped in cryovac and clearly marked USDA. I admit to buying the pork ribs, but never the U.S. beef. I guess I should find out more about what goes into USDA pork and beef. Even Costco and Loblaws sell USDA Choice (roughly equivalent to Canada AAA) beef from time to time.

                        1. re: Herne
                          h
                          helenhelen Oct 29, 2012 10:20 PM

                          if you google bovine growth hormone, you should get some info..

              2. e
                embee Jul 4, 2007 08:10 AM

                I'm not in a position to comment about the farming practices of Rowe Farms, other than to note that I do see their products in stores that claim to exercise close oversight.

                I AM in a position to say that I do not find the products from Rowe Farms to be of especially high quality. The red meats are banal, the chickens are very white (oddly so if naturally raised and minimally processed) and not especially flavourful, and the deli products lack any savour. YMMV.

                18 Replies
                1. re: embee
                  e
                  erly Jul 4, 2007 11:29 AM

                  embee,
                  Do you have another organic chicken suggestion?
                  As you can see, I am in total agreement with you on the "white" chickens.
                  Clements are the same colour, as are all non-organic..
                  Would like to find the golden brown (organic) chickens, which are much tastier, but have not had any luck.
                  Have not had a really "great" chicken in many years.
                  The real tell-tale slide in chicken quality is the capon.
                  Once a heavenly delight, but now not much different in taste to the roaster..

                  1. re: erly
                    y
                    Yongeman Jul 4, 2007 11:39 AM

                    Check out Beretta Organic Farms. Their products are carried at some Toronto Stores (eg. The Butcher's--on Yonge across from Sporting Life), or you can order online. Lots of variety and not too expensive. http://www.berettaorganics.com/

                    1. re: Yongeman
                      jayt90 Jul 4, 2007 10:28 PM

                      A quick look at the Beretta website does not say much about the raising of their poultry, or even if they do it. The birds are raised like their pigs and cattle. Could be indoors, with a bit of outdoor exposure.
                      Price points from Beretta are reasonable but there is a minimum order of $150.
                      Has anyone tried chicken from Butchers on Yonge?

                      I'll definitely be trying Dominion"s trsditionally raised chicken, now that embee says it tastes very good.

                      1. re: jayt90
                        e
                        embee Jul 5, 2007 07:58 AM

                        Beretta's is widely available at retail in normal retail packaging. I know that the Big Carrot sells it and I'm sure I've seen it occasionally at some supermarkets. Again, the fresh products have not been special and the deli stuff has been very poor. It's really discouraging.

                        As to the Dominion product, I've had it several times, simply roasted, and it was good each time. A friend just made one and wasn't impressed. Please advise of your experience.

                        1. re: embee
                          jayt90 Jul 6, 2007 05:31 PM

                          Just tried the Dominion chicken and it was good, but no better than Maple Leaf grain fed birds. Both are battery raised, just as Beretta's. Beretta may have a picture of hens outdoors, but they don't give us any details so I am assuming indoors, and not even their farm. They may achieve organic status by allowing a few hours of outdoor activity per week. That's what the hogs get, as there only need be a minimal pasture available to several hundred animals per farm (they are very destructive and do less damage inside.)

                          Free ranging hens are difficult to raise, as there are predators (Beretta mentions this), so a brief outdoor exposure per week will meet the organic requirement.

                          1. re: jayt90
                            e
                            embee Jul 6, 2007 06:29 PM

                            In theory, all kosher chickens are free ranging. However, I do emphasize the "in theory". You can open the door, but you can't assume the chicken wants to go outside :-) I don't think caged battery raised chickens can be certified kosher.

                            Unfortunately, none of the locally available kosher chickens are really wonderful. I'm also not aware of any local distributor of kosher chickens that makes an "organic" claim.

                            I have seen comments in several different places about producers deciding to keep chickens indoors because of avian flu concerns. Some of the arguments seem plausible, but I'm not in any position to validate any particular claims.

                        2. re: jayt90
                          y
                          Yongeman Jul 6, 2007 02:10 PM

                          If you read how the pigs and cattle are raised, in the two paragraphs above the poultry description ( http://www.berettaorganics.com/about/... ), it appears that they have plenty of access to the outdoors. I haven't been there, but that appears to be integral to the raising of their livestock.
                          Some Beretta meat products were being sold at the Dufferin Grove market last year, not sure about this year. I buy lean and extra lean ground beef via a co-op at about $3.99/lb.

                      2. re: erly
                        e
                        embee Jul 4, 2007 04:22 PM

                        I started to think about this and realized, shockingly, that I was almost stumped.

                        The colour of the chicken skin doesn't have much relationship to a chicken's provenance or quality. It can be manipulated easily through diet. Perdue chickens (one of the poorest quality brands in the US) have a vivid yellow skin due to, supposedly, marigold petals in their diet. Some producers may manipulate skin colour in ways that are not benign. But I don't know how one would get the shockingly white skin colour except by bleaching it in some way during wet processing. This was the norm in Ontario 30 years ago and things have actually improved since then.

                        Meat on the Beach has really good chickens and is emphasizing naturally raised and organic products. But I don't know for sure whether these birds are, in fact, organic. Ernesto, the owner, would know, but much of their staff lacks both product knowledge and communication skills.

                        Dominion sells some chickens labeled "traditionally raised". There are claims regarding diet and drugs, though I doubt these products would merit the "naturally raised" designation. They are certainly not organic. But they taste VERY good.

                        I've also heard good things about Fresh From the Farm, though I haven't tried their chickens. Again there are claims about provenance, but no actual certifications.

                        1. re: erly
                          chef_vegabond Feb 28, 2009 07:25 AM

                          The jury is not out on Rowe Farms with me. I haven't had any of their red meat, I love their bacon, breakfast sausage and Toulouse. There eggs are fine, for the price, apparently the chickens are in high density cages. Quality aside I am not sure of their farming practices and have sent them two emails with questions, no response. I will follow them up with a phone call when I get around to it.
                          As for where to find those beautiful chickens, Vince Gasparro's at 857 Bloor Street West but they run out quickly, Max the Butcher on Baldwin at Augusta and Butcher By Nature at 520 Annette St are my faourites.

                          1. re: chef_vegabond
                            f
                            freebee May 8, 2010 10:11 AM

                            I was under the impression that the Rowe Farms "Green Valley" eggs come from free-run hens rather than caged.

                            -----
                            Rowe Farms
                            912 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M, CA

                            1. re: freebee
                              jayt90 May 8, 2010 03:48 PM

                              When I read their description of the hens' living area, it comes out as a large barn floor with droppings, (maybe there is straw, periodic cleaning). The hens can run freely, but are their beaks clipped so they won't peck each other? Don't know.
                              All we do know is that they run freely indoors.

                              1. re: jayt90
                                Kitchen Imp Aug 2, 2010 06:34 PM

                                I spoke at length about this with one of the butchers. I was told that the eggs sold at Rowe Farms storefronts come from hens who spend 30% of their lives out-of-doors, which is a lot considering the weather here.

                                1. re: Kitchen Imp
                                  Full tummy Aug 2, 2010 08:17 PM

                                  That doesn't say anything about the conditions they are in for the remaining 70%. Nor does it explain why some of the eggs they sell (one of the two options commonly found in grocery stores) are clearly labelled as coming from standard caged product. (The other carton indicates the eggs are from "free-run" hens.)

                                  1. re: Full tummy
                                    Kitchen Imp Aug 3, 2010 07:01 AM

                                    I don't know anything about their eggs in grocery stores - as noted in my post, I only heard about eggs sold at Rowe Farms shops themselves. Sounds like it's an entirely different product, which I agree is misleading.

                        2. re: embee
                          j
                          julesrules Jul 5, 2007 11:24 AM

                          What kind of deli products are you looking for? I think Fresh From the Farm's suppliers do a good job with products such as bacon, fresh sausage and probably summer sausage (haven't actually tried theirs but generally the Mennonites' summer sausage is awesome). Maybe not gourmet, but good quality simple stuff that presumably they've been making for years rather than recently capitilizing on a demand for naturally raised meat.

                          Of course as you mention they only have claims as to how the meat is raised, no certification, and I don't know if all ingredients for the deli would pass muster.

                          I know I bought some Rowe Farms summer sausage on a whim and it was indeed tasteless and rubbery. And it still had nitrite.

                          1. re: julesrules
                            e
                            embee Jul 5, 2007 12:26 PM

                            I'm less concerned with organic cred than with taste. I'd start with simple things such as, say, beef franks, beef salamis, and smoked turkey. I don't eat pork. I've found the Rowe and Beretta stuff to be awful.

                            1. re: embee
                              e
                              erly Jul 5, 2007 01:01 PM

                              embee,
                              I am aware of the perdue chickens ghastly yellow colour.
                              Grain fed chicken have a natural golden brown, that only extreme bleaching would destroy.
                              I spend a great deal of time in Europe (business), and the chickens there have the grain fed look and taste.
                              My parents bought Kosher chickens , and they were always delicious (needed additional plucking, as feathers were never entirely removed).
                              I went that route, but although not as white, the several brands I tested were better than supermarket standards, but not organic.
                              As of my last inquiry, there is no organic kosher chicken on the market, and in this instance, I will stay with the less tasty organics.
                              I have noticed that Clements wasn't mentioned by anyone else.
                              They gave up their organic label, as they didn't want the additional cost, but welcome a visit to their farm.
                              Now the sceptics are making me nervous about Rowe's, I will stick to Clements until something better comes along.

                              1. re: embee
                                g
                                goodcookiedrift Mar 9, 2009 08:44 AM

                                I'm going to grab some Berkshire pork from them today. I'll let post back on here with a report on how it tasted.

                          2. Googs Jul 4, 2007 12:05 PM

                            Local Flavour Plus seems to be compiling a reasonable local/organic list to start with. It's the most lame website I've seen in a while, but if they keep up the info it's appreciated. Hope this helps.
                            http://www.localflavourplus.ca/docs/L...

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Googs
                              garlicscapes Jul 5, 2007 11:06 AM

                              I agree with the comment on Rowe Farm. I used to buy from them years ago, but it was never clear to what degree they were natural/organic. My experience with the Butcher was similar - I found the chiken watery.

                              I am now raising some laying hens, and what I can tell you is that the difference in the price of organic feed versus conventional feed is HUGE. Anyone selling "natural" is not buying organic feed. I try to buy organic chicken directly from a small farmer. My favourite Toronto shop is the Healthy Butcher on Queen Street.

                              1. re: Googs
                                Googs Feb 5, 2010 08:48 AM

                                The weblink goes to something rather unsavoury now. Here's the new one:
                                http://www.localfoodplus.ca/

                              2. chef_vegabond Mar 8, 2009 07:43 AM

                                Karma Co-Op is a shop here in Toronto that has a reputation for doing their homework when it comes to what they stock on their shelves. They've discontinued Rowe Farm eggs.
                                http://veg.ca/content/view/272/101/
                                From my experiences the vast majority of eggs from Rowe Farms have originated from Sweda Farms in Blackstock, ON. This is a farm that has 90 000 egg laying chickens. Sounds like battery hens to me all for the price of free range.

                                25 Replies
                                1. re: chef_vegabond
                                  e
                                  erly Mar 8, 2009 10:08 AM

                                  O.K.
                                  No more Rowes.
                                  I refuse to purchase eggs from caged Chickens.
                                  How can they still have their organic label??
                                  I rarely purchased them in any case, only when I couldn't get down to the Sat. market

                                  1. re: erly
                                    aser Mar 8, 2009 11:56 AM

                                    I've also heard that Rowe managed to dupe Loblaws into a huge multi-year contract selling "organically raised' chickens instead of "Organic" (ie. certified) chickens.

                                    Loblaws didn't realize the differentiation until afterwards.

                                    1. re: aser
                                      jayt90 Mar 8, 2009 12:22 PM

                                      The CEO at the investment company calling the shots at Rowe came from Loblaw.

                                      Since the public by and large knows about battery birds in cages producing their eggs, I don't understand why large producers don't make an effort to give us free range eggs at a reasonable cost, in major supermarkets. Is it too much to ask for?

                                      1. re: jayt90
                                        Full tummy Mar 8, 2009 01:59 PM

                                        I don't think the public does know about battery birds producing Rowe eggs. I have been purchasing free range/run eggs for years now and had been purchasing the Rowe eggs for a time, thinking they couldn't be selling eggs from caged birds, and only with the labelling system did I recently discover that I was paying a premium for what might as well have been any one of the much cheaper varieties. I now check the eggs I buy more rigorously.

                                        So, I would be surprised if there aren't a lot of people buying Rowe eggs under the assumption that they couldn't possibly be from caged birds (given Rowe's stated commitment to humane treatment of animals)....

                                    2. re: erly
                                      k
                                      Kasia Mar 8, 2009 02:03 PM

                                      i may be wrong but i always thought that 'organic certified' did not mean cage-free or pastured. i always assumed that organic certified meant no hormones, no GMO or unorganic feed, no antibiotics. pastured eggs have to be labelled as such, otherwise one should assume that the chickens were cages, but simply had healthier feed. i don't believe rowe makes any claims on their eggs packaging about the chickens being pastured, or 'free range,' do they?

                                      of course, their website, with the pastoral images and so on, is highly suggestive of the more traditional farming practices, but the actual claims you find on the website and packaging are much more limited, and seem to reflect the 'organic big business' nature of the affiliated farms (conventional farming with adaptations for organic feed and less medicated livestock).

                                      it's still better than conventional farming environmently and for our health, but they're not the gold standard of local sustainable and humane farming.

                                      1. re: Kasia
                                        aser Mar 8, 2009 02:07 PM

                                        The main point of contention is their deceptive marketing. Profiting off a false sense of responsible farming.

                                        They're not breaking any laws, but they're not exactly being forthright either.

                                        1. re: Kasia
                                          Full tummy Mar 8, 2009 02:20 PM

                                          Kasia, the website clearly states "All of our animals are raised...in a humane and low-stress environment..." It also states that "our hens have free mobility and access to food within a large indoor facility". And yet, the eggs I was buying were labelled as standard caged product, or some such description. I find the whole thing quite confusing and deliberately unclear.

                                          1. re: Full tummy
                                            k
                                            Kasia Mar 8, 2009 05:24 PM

                                            perhaps my point didn't come across right - i agree that rowe's marketing is deceptive. i think the promise of 'free mobility' is one such attempt - it's vague enough to make us imagine free running birds with lots of space, and perhaps some natural surroundings, but i think what it really means is a large room with lots of birds packed in it, who can perhaps move around a bit more than conventionally caged birds, but hardly the pastured chickens picking bugs and grass outdoors we likely picture.

                                            rowe farms does exactly what big organics do and what whole foods and other such retailers do - minimize the actual meaning of the labelling of their products, and maximize the fantasy of the pastoral farms to get the customer to buy products from suppliers that fall far short of what a humane and sustainable farming practices should be.

                                            1. re: Kasia
                                              JamieK Mar 8, 2009 05:37 PM

                                              Rowe seems pretty straightforward on their website that their birds are raised in a "conventional commercial setting" and are "intensively farmed" and they even provide the size of the cages.

                                              I'm trying to picture what this means. Do four or five hens brood each of these cages but can leave and do a walk-a-about inside a giant indoor barn-like setting? Because they are also apparently free run.
                                              http://www.rowefarms.ca/eggs.html

                                              1. re: JamieK
                                                jayt90 Mar 8, 2009 07:38 PM

                                                Rowe is ambiguous at best, but 18x18"doesn't seem very humane, definitely not organic, or even naturally raised.

                                                Clements at SLM seems to be more like a traditional, old time barn.

                                                Any eggs purchased at this time of year will be from indoors. I believe that organic has to have a free run floor, and access to outside through an opening.

                                                1. re: JamieK
                                                  Full tummy Mar 8, 2009 07:56 PM

                                                  Hi JamieK,

                                                  Actually, I don't see that Rowe indicates the size of their cages.

                                                  They clearly state that "in a conventional commercial setting, laying hens are...farmed in 18x18" cages, with 4-5 hens per cage", and then they contrast that with "our hens have free mobility and access to food within a large indoor facility". How large? How many hens? It does not say.

                                                  What I don't understand is why Rowe Farm has two differently labelled eggs selling at Loblaws/Superstores now. One clearly states "from free-run hens", and the other eggs are stamped as being from "regular caged product". "Regular caged product" is considered the lowest grade of egg, in terms of the living conditions of the bird.

                                                  The free-run eggs are more expensive than the latter. Yet, the website doesn't even address the possibility that you can buy Rowe Farms "regular caged product" eggs. It clearly states "our eggs are raised from free-run hens". That is deceptive.

                                                  Check the eggs out in-store, people. Maybe I'm wrong, but hubby and I both checked the label and were shocked (truly) to discover that we had been paying a premium for "regular caged product", and I now only buy the Rowe Farm eggs clearly labelled "from free-run hens".

                                                  1. re: Full tummy
                                                    JamieK Mar 8, 2009 08:05 PM

                                                    I agree with you that we've been mislead with the way information is provided and products labelled.

                                                    I'm still trying to understand the issue and the process. When you say you don't see Rowe indicates the size of their cages, I'm surmising that the "18x18" they reference is not actually a size of cage? Something different, that I'm missing? I'm honestly trying to understand, please don't mis-read me. Thanks.

                                                    1. re: JamieK
                                                      Full tummy Mar 8, 2009 08:39 PM

                                                      Hi JamieK,

                                                      Yes, I think we are all trying to understand, because it isn't clear. Perhaps intentionally so. If Rowe Farms were really able to make a case for how much better their hens lived, wouldn't they provide photos, footage, diagram of how their hens live? Some real evidence. They've got the money... Or do they just have the money to promote themselves to people who may not look deeper, question further...

                                                      Instead, what they've written provides no substantial information but leaves you feeling that life is good at Rowe Farms.

                                                      To clarify their explanation as I understand it, in conventional commercial settings (something Rowe Farm is differentiating itself from) laying hens live in small 2.25 square foot cages, with four to five hens in each of those cages. This means less than one square foot of space per bird. It doesn't surprise me that conventional commercial settings keep hens like this, which is why I have always bought Rowe Farm (or other free-run/free-range) eggs. I don't understand, therefore, how the Rowe Farm eggs I have purchased until recently were clearly labelled as from "regular caged product", as I said, the lowest graded living conditions for hens. This information was stamped on the eggs, and the explanation for the meaning of the stamp was on the inside of the lid of the carton of eggs I purchased. I had just never examined the stamp before (it was actually my husband who drew my attention to it).

                                                      I, too, am confused, alas, both by the lack of clear explanation of Rowe Farms practices, and by the fact that I can buy "regular caged product" under the "Rowe Farms" label. Is it smoke and mirrors? It does feel that way to me...

                                                      1. re: Full tummy
                                                        e
                                                        embee Mar 8, 2009 09:16 PM

                                                        It has become ever clearer with the passage of time that my initial reservations about Rowe Farms were valid. Their PR is long on image and short on details. They seem to sell some products that are raised under humane conditions, but there are few hardcore claims that you can really pin down. It's all just a marketing plan. There's no sign of any real conscience in their operation.

                                                        1. re: Full tummy
                                                          OnDaGo Mar 8, 2009 09:18 PM

                                                          Are the caged eggs available at the Rowe stores or just Loblaws under the Rowe name? if they are not sold at Rowe stores that may explain the website lack of info on the subject.

                                                          1. re: OnDaGo
                                                            e
                                                            embee Mar 8, 2009 09:36 PM

                                                            The Rowe store in Leslieville didn't seem to be selling caged eggs, but I haven't looked inside the boxes to check for stamps on the eggs.

                                                            At Loblaws, I noticed one variety that mentioned free ranging on the box and another, adjacent, variety that didn't. Once again, I did not look inside the boxes.

                                                            If they are selling "regular caged product", why the secrecy of stating this only INSIDE the box? While this might insulate them from any truth in labeling issues, it seems to me a total perversion of what they claim to be.

                                                            1. re: embee
                                                              chef_vegabond Mar 9, 2009 05:30 AM

                                                              I'm surprised Rowe Farms would subscribe to Verified Eggs Canada, seeing as to what a dead giveaway it is that their eggs are in fact from battery hens. Another confusing part of their web site is that these eggs from "free run hens that live in a low stress environment" are under the label Green Valley from Rowe Farms. Karma Co-Op has discontinued that very label based on their concern for animal welfare.
                                                              Such a shame, when I saw the number 3 on my egg I was in such disbelief, I was raised on Rowe Farms, I wanted to believe in them.
                                                              It's one thing to mislead but is this not a clear case of false advertising? Does 90 000 egg laying hens (I actually looked the farm up on google earth and it's not that big) qualify as "free run" and in a "low stress environment"?

                                                              1. re: chef_vegabond
                                                                Olivia Mar 9, 2009 06:25 PM

                                                                This thread is very timely. I just bought my first carton of Rowe eggs from the organic section at Loblaws--in my haste I neglected to *read* the carton, and lazily assumed that being from the organic fridge, they'd be free-range at the very least.

                                                                Chef_vegabond, I had the exact same moment on the weekend when I saw the number 3 on my egg.

                                                                I'm very disappointed, and am writing Loblaws to tell them to move these eggs to the "conventional" fridge.

                                                                1. re: Olivia
                                                                  chef_vegabond Mar 10, 2009 07:04 AM

                                                                  I found this on the eggs trace web site,
                                                                  All members of Verified Eggs Canada are required to provide an increased level of welfare for their birds, including more space per bird, proper access to feed and water, and adherence to Federal protocols for caged and cage-free hens.
                                                                  Nevertheless, the farm I always find on Rowe Farm's eggs 9 times out of 10 houses 90 000 hens. I'm not convinced. Karm Co Op has discontinued them but still stock their meat and poultry and they stock Homestead Farms "free run" eggs for about the same price one pays for Rowe Farms.
                                                                  Thank you for writing to Loblaws, our voice must be heard!

                                                              2. re: embee
                                                                Full tummy Mar 9, 2009 06:41 AM

                                                                HI embee, I have the "free-run" labelled egg carton in front of me. Is that what you saw? (I only ask because I don't recall any "free-range" eggs from Rowe.)

                                                                1. re: Full tummy
                                                                  e
                                                                  embee Mar 9, 2009 06:59 AM

                                                                  Probably. I do not buy Rowe Farms eggs.

                                                      2. re: JamieK
                                                        f
                                                        freebee May 8, 2010 10:21 AM

                                                        hey jamie,
                                                        sounds to me like the website is saying that Rowe does NOT use a conventional setting with 18"X18" cages with 4-5 hens in each. This entire paragraph is very confusing.

                                                        1. re: freebee
                                                          JamieK May 8, 2010 10:35 AM

                                                          Yes, you are correct. They are trying to say their hens are not raised in a conventional setting. I misread it the first time. I agree that paragraph could be re-jigged to be more clear.

                                                    2. re: Full tummy
                                                      g
                                                      goodcookiedrift Mar 9, 2009 08:42 AM

                                                      First of all, there's no standard by which the term 'free range' specifically refers to and no standard that any farmer subscribes to. So unless you the consumer, have your own paradigm of what is considered acceptable and have access to just exactly how much range said chickens are allowed to roam, being steadfast about this term is moot. I have an uncle that works as a city health inspector and one that owns his own food manufacturing business and as explained by them, in Ontario, the term 'free range' applying to poultry, means that the bird has roughly 2 feet of range to roam. 2 feet ain't a lot.

                                                      So the problem lays in the consumer's understanding or paradigm of what free range is. I think a lot of people when they hear this term, think of chickens running around on a hectare of land, trying to avoid capture by the Farmer in the Dell. I can pretty much guarantee you that this isn't the case. The majority of chicken farms will very rarely if ever, let the birds roam this free and far. It's too risky for a business to do so.

                                                      However, if the ethics of farming play a very large role in the meat you consume I think the surefire way of knowing this is to purchase directly from a local farm. Investigate and you will find some that will butcher meat for you (I remember my parents used to buy half cows from a farm close to Kitchener when i was a kid) and package it into any cut you desire. It's expensive and it's time consuming. But if you value principle over profit, then this is the route to go.

                                                      1. re: goodcookiedrift
                                                        Full tummy Mar 9, 2009 09:09 AM

                                                        Hi goodcookiedrift,

                                                        Thanks for your input. While there may be a lack of clarity with respect to such labels, it is my understanding from a variety of sources, that the industry is trying to create some clarity. I have read in various places that there is supposed to be a difference between free-run and free-range. One such place: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servle...

                                                        My question to embee was to clarify what I have seen in the packaging and to be sure there isn't a third way that Rowe Farm labels their eggs.

                                                        I have for sure bought meats directly from farms. Generally, I have received frozen orders to the home. Sometimes the meat has been satisfactory; sometimes it was poorly cut. Eggs, on the other hand, cannot be purchased in large quantities and frozen, and convenience dictates more what is available to me; I am doing my best to satisfy my principles with the options I have that are relatively close to home.

                                              2. chef_vegabond Mar 22, 2009 03:51 PM

                                                Was just at Fiesta Farms, Chef Vegabond like many others is on a bit of a tight budget as of late. Saw some eggs labeled Foodland Ontario, 18 for just over $4.00, extra large. They are said to be from caged chickens but each chicken is given a space of 67 by 75 inches. So I picked some up, took them home to find the code 3ca1060, the vast majority of where Rowe Farms gets their eggs from. Just thought I'd share it with the rest of you.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: chef_vegabond
                                                  jayt90 Mar 22, 2009 04:53 PM

                                                  Thanks. There is no good reason to hide behind codes.

                                                  1. re: chef_vegabond
                                                    Full tummy Mar 22, 2009 06:30 PM

                                                    I entered that code into the producer field at www.eggsactrace.com, and it said the egg is from Sweda Farms, in Blackstock, Ontario. (You mention above that this is where Rowe Farms get their eggs...

                                                    )

                                                    Would you mind sharing where you got the information about cage size, as there is no information about that on the eggsactrace website. That seems like an awfully large space per chicken in what we have understood till now to be "regular caged product"--we're talking 35+ square feet.

                                                    1. re: Full tummy
                                                      chef_vegabond Mar 22, 2009 07:30 PM

                                                      Fiesta Farms has a large selection of eggs, many who are part of the whole eggstrace program. The store itself has put up a sign stating that although they are "regular cage products" that the chickens are in fact in low density cages and gave the measurements. Surely I must of read it too fast as you said that is a lot of space for one bird. They must of said per several birds. Will check again.

                                                    2. re: chef_vegabond
                                                      j
                                                      jnine Feb 4, 2010 05:26 PM

                                                      That is how I buy my eggs as well at Fiesta. 18 verified eggs for $4.00 is a great deal.

                                                    3. c
                                                      crazyfoodie Mar 23, 2009 09:34 AM

                                                      You may want to check out Dingo Farms. Jamie Kennedy gets all his meat from them. non GMO feed, no hormones, (flax, field pies, mustard and canola for their feed). The animals grow in an open concept stress free environment. They are also pasture raised.

                                                      They've also been featured on tvo.

                                                      1. p
                                                        piggyxoxo Feb 4, 2010 08:59 AM

                                                        I noticed that my carton of Rowe Farm eggs this week did not contain any egg codes. The carton from 2 weeks ago had a 0CA1047 listed as the producer. I looked it up at verifiedeggs.com and this particular set came from the Van Aert Farm (Watford Ontario). On the website it stated that they're certified organic eggs.

                                                        I never knew that they sold regular cage eggs under the organic section. That's quite deceiving. From now on I will check the carton before I make a purchase.

                                                        I also spoke to George (de Andrade(?)) who sells organic produce at the Farmer's Market at St. Lawrence and he explained the difference between free range and free run. He basically said that with free run eggs, the hens are housed inside with access to an open window for fresh air. With free range, they're allowed to go outside. He said by law if you have more than 50 birds you have to keep them indoors and the best way to get free range eggs is from a local farm with less than 50 birds. George also said that in the spring he sells free range eggs.

                                                        7 Replies
                                                        1. re: piggyxoxo
                                                          e
                                                          embee Feb 4, 2010 10:29 AM

                                                          If Rowe is selling "regular caged product", and they are, it seems to me a total perversion of what they claim to be. Their marketing is completely legal, even though very deceptive. They are extremely clever marketers, but I have no respect for the reality of Rowe Farms.

                                                          The also seems to be a significant gap between what the egg marketing board wants (based on real or exaggerated fears of avian flu") and a real (though niche) market demand for real free range eggs.

                                                          1. re: embee
                                                            j
                                                            jnine Feb 4, 2010 05:19 PM

                                                            I still like Gasparro's on Bloor near Ossington. They visit the small Mennonite farms they purchase from. You can talk to them about the farm conditions, and the freshness and quality of the meat. It has a wonderful old fashioned charm that has been lost in modern times due to big industry.

                                                            As a food industry professional, I know first hand what happens behind the scene when big business tries to capitalize on the organic/natural market. I'd like to caution all about the trap of certifications and marketing. Just because a food product is labeled organic does not mean its:
                                                            -better for you
                                                            -better for the planet
                                                            -better for the animals

                                                            It usually means that you are paying more money for a fancy stamp and for the administrative cost of having an organic inspector look at some paperwork to verify that in writing you say%90 of the recipe contains organic and complying with some basic material handling and sanitation expectations....once a year. You have to consider all factors, and look behind the marketing. Look at whether the item is overly packaged, or look at the $$$ spent designing the ROWE FARMS stores. Then you are mostly paying for the interior and graphic designers and marketers and materials to make that carton of eggs or that store look 'SEXY and ECO-FRIENDLY'. Is the product from a large corporation like ROWE FARMS? Then you are not going to have a feel good connection to the farm. They are now middle men buying from many sources, based on market price fluctuations. In general, if you are concerned about the quality of your food, get closer to it, don't rely on big business to provide an alternative.

                                                            1. re: jnine
                                                              n
                                                              nikey Feb 26, 2010 05:20 AM

                                                              Don't know if this is helpful but a couple of years ago received a pamphlet on many green initiatives in Ontario, and there were a couple of pages devoted to Rowe Farms. The owner, Ken Rowe, explained that he does not let the chickens outdoors because of Avian Flu concerns. Perhaps some of you have more info than this, but thought I would pass it along, for what it's worth.

                                                              1. re: nikey
                                                                n
                                                                nikey Feb 26, 2010 05:37 AM

                                                                Was just looking at the Rowe Farm website again, specifically at the section on egg production. It does not say that their eggs are from caged hens. It says that "conventional commercial" eggs, that is those that do not claim to be organic, come from 4-5 hens in a single 18"X18" cage. On the other hand, it says that their (Rowe Farm) chickens "have free mobility and access to food within a large indoor facility." Again, I hope this helps.

                                                                1. re: nikey
                                                                  Full tummy Feb 26, 2010 05:38 AM

                                                                  That is true of most egg farms, and, while I would prefer the chickens be running around freely outside, I realize this is not practical. I would be fine with Rowe Farm eggs if I believed the chickens were all humanely treated, even if they had to be indoors, with ample space to move, roost, nest, etc., However, when I buy Rowe Farm eggs from a grocery store and note that they are labelled as being from "standard caged product" or whatever the term is, I am not happy and don't understand how this fits in with the stated Rowe Farms philosophy.

                                                            2. re: piggyxoxo
                                                              jayt90 Feb 26, 2010 06:52 AM

                                                              piggyxoxo, where is George's farm? I think we need a list of farm gate free range sellers, which would useful for weekend drives near GTA. Is anyone seriously afraid of Avian flu in Ontario, except the Egg Marketing Board?

                                                              1. re: jayt90
                                                                t
                                                                Tatai Feb 26, 2010 07:32 AM

                                                                I've been buying eggs at both Everdale Organic Farm in Hillsburgh www.everdale.org and Whole Circle Farm www.wholecirclefarm.ca in Acton, both within an hour's drive of Toronto. The eggs are delicious and I no longer use store-bought eggs.

                                                                And there are numerous farms in the region that naturally raise all variety of animals which they sell directly at the farm. Blue Haven Farm is just one: www.bluehavenfarm.moonfruit.com

                                                            3. h
                                                              helenhelen Oct 24, 2012 09:54 PM

                                                              just found this useful info about what the terms and labels all mean:

                                                              http://veg.ca/content/view/272/101/

                                                              1. e
                                                                EverymanJack Oct 26, 2012 08:27 AM

                                                                Love dem sweet Rowe farm chickens

                                                                15 Replies
                                                                1. re: EverymanJack
                                                                  dannyboy Oct 30, 2012 11:29 AM

                                                                  Me too, and the little bugger likes their bacon too. I'll pay more for their chicken and eggs any day of the week. Don't know why everyone thinks there's some sort of a conspiracy with them though lol

                                                                  1. re: dannyboy
                                                                    Googs Nov 3, 2012 06:51 AM

                                                                    Conspiracy theory? Hardly. Personally, I prefer a measurable standard to anecdote. They can write anything they like about their wares. Why don't they prove it? 32 pages of organic vendors in Canada, and I don't seem to see Rowe.
                                                                    http://www.pro-cert.org/docs/Client%2...

                                                                    1. re: Googs
                                                                      dannyboy Nov 3, 2012 11:54 AM

                                                                      Because they don't claim to be organic, perhaps?
                                                                      I think they're more about raising animals free run and without hormones etc., if they label something specific organic I'd suspect it would be however i shop there all the time and the two main reasons i do so are 1. the fact i'm putting a less tainted meat into my body (which is traceable as they identify where all the farmers they buy from are etc.) and 2. because i'm willing to pay a few bucks more to think the animals i eat didn't live in cages or were treated like shite their whole lives. Not rocket science.
                                                                      If you want organic go ahead, but that isn't what they're doing.

                                                                      1. re: dannyboy
                                                                        jayt90 Nov 3, 2012 12:52 PM

                                                                        dannyboy, if you read Rowe's information, there are two types of eggs, Rowe Farms regular, from caged hens, and Rowe Farms Green Valley, from hens roaming on a barn floor. If I was a customer, I would ask whether the Green Valley hens are debeaked, as the conditions may be crowded. Here is the link http://www.rowefarms.ca/eggs.html

                                                                        1. re: dannyboy
                                                                          Googs Nov 3, 2012 06:52 PM

                                                                          No, dannyboy, they make every claim possible that would infer organic without using the word. Organic is a certifiable standard. Marketing buzz words are cheap. Make them prove it.

                                                                          1. re: Googs
                                                                            y
                                                                            Yongeman Nov 4, 2012 08:20 AM

                                                                            Wow, Googs, you seem to have a real hate-on for Rowe Farms. When I looked at their website, there is no attempt to 'infer organic'. I'm not sure why you have that impression. Here is a link to their" phi(l)osophies" http://www.rowefarms.ca/phiosophies.html

                                                                            1. re: Yongeman
                                                                              dannyboy Nov 4, 2012 02:49 PM

                                                                              he's ready to expose it's all actually a front for a joint venture between sinopec and monsanto corporation :S

                                                                              1. re: Yongeman
                                                                                Googs Nov 4, 2012 05:26 PM

                                                                                I have no emotions about Rowe at all. They may be everything they say they are. Then again, maybe not. As with any company, transparency is the only thing that can make them trustworthy. I have no intention of whipping out my phone to run a background check on farmers while standing in a store. How ridiculous. How about they list their other suppliers in full on their website? Why on earth would anyone believe any company just because they say it's so? Green washing is rampant for a reason.

                                                                            2. re: dannyboy
                                                                              dannyboy Nov 4, 2012 06:53 AM

                                                                              you guys may be completely right in your suspicions - all i'm saying is it doesn't make sense a business model that seems to be all about sustainable ethical farming etc. is simply a cover for the exact opposite behavior. It's just a bunch of farmers doing things a little cleaner and more humanely from what i can see and selling through the Rowe 'branding'. If because it's taken off their PR is a little slicker than some are comfortable with than so be it. I'm okay taking their word on it i guess, as i don't get why the need to fib, as they are identifying their farms etc. and i'm sure one could drive out to one and verify with the guy and that. Also, if shadiness or misleading stuff came out the whole joint would fall like a house of cards and why risk it when it's taken off?... I figure there's alot better people in the food business to be suspicious of.

                                                                              1. re: dannyboy
                                                                                NonStickSteel Nov 5, 2012 08:01 PM

                                                                                It's becoming like Hollywood in the same way they market movies as "based on" or "inspired by" a true story. "Naturally raised" is most definitely not the same as "certified organic". In fact in Canada, all poultry and pork is by law required to be raised without the use of growth hormones so any marketing to the tune of "free from hormones" is just that...marketing. They're simply abiding by the law. There's a lot of this misleading advertising about these days. However, if you read the fine print, most labels advertising free from hormones etc, you'll notice the phrase "as all chicken/pork in Canada".

                                                                                As far as eggs go, "free run" and "free range" are two different things. Free range means they have access to the outdoors. There's no specific definition however as to the size of the area of outdoors they have access to. It could literally be a two square feet patch of grass. When we hear "free" and "range" though, we think of verdant pastures a la Sound of Music where chickens are frolicking about well, freely laying eggs as they naturally please. Free run just means they have the ability to move freely around the barn they're raised in. Again, because there's no legal definition as to the space given for them to "run" around in, all chickens in Canada are "free run".

                                                                                It's all about being educated and making the right choice for you. I will say that organic eggs are SO much better and although I've eaten Rowe's in the past, I'm now buying nothing but organic, free range, naturally raised, inspired by a true story eggs.

                                                                                www.nonsticksteel.com

                                                                                1. re: NonStickSteel
                                                                                  h
                                                                                  helenhelen Nov 6, 2012 06:36 PM

                                                                                  what brands do you buy?

                                                                                  1. re: helenhelen
                                                                                    NonStickSteel Nov 7, 2012 07:35 AM

                                                                                    Hi helenhelen, we're actually on a bit of a quest to find the perfect egg since we enjoy a good weekend fry-up. The ones my wife got from Sorauren Market were very good but I've since been told that the brand packaging they came in was a big store type brand (jury's still out as to whether the carton was simply used as a recycled container though). If I could help it, I'd buy from a farm up north somewhere alongside old hwy 7 or such. Maybe Stouffville market has a good dairy vendor...anyone?

                                                                                    www.nonsticksteel.com

                                                                                  2. re: NonStickSteel
                                                                                    Full tummy Nov 6, 2012 07:04 PM

                                                                                    But as jayt90 rightly pointed out, the way to determine if hens are leading a stressful existence due to overcrowding is to find out if they have been debeaked. It's not so important to me to know if they get to walk around outside in space of a certain size - if the farmer does not have to debeak the hens, and they are running around freely, then that says a lot. I grew up on a farm, and our hens could pretty much run off as far as they wanted, though they generally stuck to the barnyard. In the winter, though, they spent some days entirely indoors, and their pens weren't very large. They weren't stepping on each other, though, and they certainly didn't have to be debeaked.

                                                                                2. re: dannyboy
                                                                                  chef_vegabond Apr 7, 2014 05:21 PM

                                                                                  I tried to see if they fed their animals GMOs, head office told me they "try to avoid it."

                                                                                  1. re: chef_vegabond
                                                                                    Googs Apr 8, 2014 11:16 AM

                                                                                    And I still don't see Rowe on this certified list.
                                                                                    http://www.pro-cert.org/images/docume...

                                                                          2. chef_vegabond Apr 7, 2014 05:20 PM

                                                                            I'm going to bring this timely thread up again. This is not in regards to their farming practices but about their labour practices. Rowe Farms opened up a store in the Beaches, they were looking for a store manager, compensation was $13-15 an hour.
                                                                            I am just as concerned about animal welfare as I am about human and I thought chow hounders would be interested to know that one.

                                                                            29 Replies
                                                                            1. re: chef_vegabond
                                                                              TorontoTuna Apr 8, 2014 12:01 PM

                                                                              Considering what they charge for their meat and veggies, not to mention their condiments, that's pretty mean spirited.

                                                                              1. re: TorontoTuna
                                                                                jayt90 Apr 8, 2014 04:03 PM

                                                                                A venture capital company is part of the deal behind Rowe Farms.

                                                                              2. re: chef_vegabond
                                                                                Full tummy Apr 8, 2014 05:59 PM

                                                                                What is the going salary for a store manager? Not sure it's any more. Rowe Farms is a business. Lose sight of that, and it's not going to last.

                                                                                1. re: Full tummy
                                                                                  foodyDudey Apr 8, 2014 06:12 PM

                                                                                  You can even survive in Toronto on $15/hr unless you live in your parent's basement. What sort of person do they expect to find?

                                                                                  1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                                    Full tummy Apr 8, 2014 06:20 PM

                                                                                    My sister was a store manager with approximately that salary until a few years ago. While she worked full time, she shared an apartment with someone else, put herself through school part time, and saved enough to buy a house. But she is very good with money.

                                                                                    1. re: Full tummy
                                                                                      y
                                                                                      yakionigiri Apr 8, 2014 06:46 PM

                                                                                      Not a house in Toronto, obviously.

                                                                                      1. re: yakionigiri
                                                                                        chef_vegabond Apr 9, 2014 08:36 AM

                                                                                        Not a house in Toronto and not in 2014.

                                                                                        1. re: yakionigiri
                                                                                          Full tummy Apr 9, 2014 08:33 PM

                                                                                          Yes, a small bungalow four years ago near Woodbine subway station.

                                                                                        2. re: Full tummy
                                                                                          chef_vegabond Apr 8, 2014 08:12 PM

                                                                                          They weren't looking for someone who is committed for the long term.

                                                                                          1. re: chef_vegabond
                                                                                            Full tummy Apr 9, 2014 08:34 PM

                                                                                            Exactly.

                                                                                      2. re: Full tummy
                                                                                        a
                                                                                        asagiri Apr 8, 2014 06:17 PM

                                                                                        When I used to work as a meat clerk, my department manager made about $25.xx/hr. This was in a chain based grocery store btw.

                                                                                        1. re: asagiri
                                                                                          Full tummy Apr 8, 2014 06:21 PM

                                                                                          With a union, no doubt. Hard to compare the two.

                                                                                          1. re: Full tummy
                                                                                            jayt90 Apr 9, 2014 10:07 AM

                                                                                            The Costco meat cutters get $25/hour plus benefits, and no union dues, just a democratic employee agreement. Yearly bonus approximately $5000. The meat manager, usually a butcher, gets more.

                                                                                            1. re: jayt90
                                                                                              Full tummy Apr 9, 2014 08:48 PM

                                                                                              Well, that's Costco. Every business is different. What bugs me is the huge number of people Toronto restaurants employ at lower than minimum wage. Servers, dishwashers, delivery people. Many are not citizens and don't have work permits, so they're not going to complain that their boss only pays them $6/hour and pockets all their tips.

                                                                                              I just feel I have no idea of RF profitability. It certainly isn't an easy market for higher priced foods. Food shops close with frequency in Toronto, and I don't blame someone for trying to make their books balance.

                                                                                              And as for comparing a butcher salary to a store manager. Is the store manager responsible for acting as a butcher? Does he/she come with specialized training in butchering meat, or is training provided? I think all of these are valid questions.

                                                                                              And, if nobody wants the job, nobody has to take it.

                                                                                              1. re: jayt90
                                                                                                justinisthebest about 17 hours ago

                                                                                                Yes, but there are no Costcos even remotely close to Leslieville. Add a car + insurance + gas and you would need added comp. In Leslieville the candidate could WALK to work....

                                                                                              2. re: Full tummy
                                                                                                Googs Apr 9, 2014 11:10 AM

                                                                                                This disparity is a good way to get a union.

                                                                                                1. re: Googs
                                                                                                  chef_vegabond Apr 9, 2014 03:07 PM

                                                                                                  Well said!

                                                                                                  1. re: Googs
                                                                                                    Full tummy Apr 9, 2014 08:51 PM

                                                                                                    Right.

                                                                                              3. re: Full tummy
                                                                                                chef_vegabond Apr 8, 2014 08:11 PM

                                                                                                $20-$25 an hour for what Rowe Farms was asking for, a chef who has worked in some of the better restaurants in the city but wanted to take a step back and work some day time hours. Skilled butchers start at around $18. Basically your staff should be able to afford the product.

                                                                                                1. re: chef_vegabond
                                                                                                  petek Apr 8, 2014 08:20 PM

                                                                                                  <Basically your staff should be able to afford the product.>

                                                                                                  If this were the case, how would Holt Renfrew stay in business ? :)

                                                                                                  1. re: petek
                                                                                                    chef_vegabond Apr 9, 2014 08:36 AM

                                                                                                    Holt's staff do quite well with commissions actually and their staff discount is significant.

                                                                                                    1. re: chef_vegabond
                                                                                                      Full tummy Apr 9, 2014 09:07 PM

                                                                                                      And they expect results. Not the most understanding work environment, either. Bottom line, every business is different. We can't compare apples to oranges without more information.
                                                                                                      http://m.theglobeandmail.com/report-o...

                                                                                                    2. re: petek
                                                                                                      Full tummy Apr 9, 2014 08:36 PM

                                                                                                      I think that notion is crazy. There are people earning minimum wage selling $200 sunglasses. Even with a staff discount, those sunglasses are inaccessible. I don't for a minute believe you can walk around this city and consistently find staff in higher end stores/restaurants able to shop/eat where they work.

                                                                                                      1. re: Full tummy
                                                                                                        petek Apr 10, 2014 04:23 AM

                                                                                                        <I think that notion is crazy. There are people earning minimum wage selling $200 sunglasses>

                                                                                                        Good luck trying to find a pair of $200 sunglasses at Holts.

                                                                                                        1. re: petek
                                                                                                          Full tummy Apr 11, 2014 09:20 PM

                                                                                                          I wasn't talking about Holt's. There are plenty of businesses in Toronto where employees can't afford to shop/eat. I wonder where Cumbrae's cleaners buy their meat... or how many times the dishwashers at Canoe have taken their family to eat at the restaurant, or how often the front desk staff at The Templar Hotel rent a room there. There are plenty of private school teachers who are in no position to enrol their children in their employer school.

                                                                                                          I was talking about the Oakley store. I knew someone who worked there for minimum wage or slightly above - and a small discount on store product. And there are plenty of $200 plus sunglasses there.

                                                                                                          1. re: Full tummy
                                                                                                            j
                                                                                                            JennaBean Apr 14, 2014 08:55 AM

                                                                                                            For the record, the dishwasher at Canoe likely makes more that the guard cook on the line...

                                                                                                            What people don't realize is that in all areas of the food business, people who make the least often prepare food for people who make the most.

                                                                                                2. re: chef_vegabond
                                                                                                  vil Apr 9, 2014 02:14 PM

                                                                                                  (Re: chef_vegabond)

                                                                                                  Makes me feel so much better about getting most of my meats these days through a co-op manager, who sources the products from local farms. I pay a $5 one-time membership for the privilege of ordering online and having the goods delivered to a specific pickup location. AFAIK he adds in only a modest markup, and the resulting prices (and quality) are on par or better than other comparable sources.

                                                                                                  1. re: vil
                                                                                                    chef_vegabond Apr 9, 2014 03:06 PM

                                                                                                    Great, that is meat that is changing hands over far fewer times then going into a Rowe Farms, that's profits going directly into the pockets of the farmers and not greedy CEO's who short change their staff!

                                                                                                  2. re: chef_vegabond
                                                                                                    justinisthebest about 17 hours ago

                                                                                                    Did anyone take the job? Comp is always negotiable.

                                                                                                  3. justinisthebest about 17 hours ago

                                                                                                    Met John Rowe couple weeks ago at the Farmer's Market across from St. Lawrence - Saturday Morning. Nice Man. We chatted about sustainability and local, natural meats from 'happy' animals who are grass fed. The deal as he explained it is that organic feed is just not financially viable within their business model however the feed is grain/corn-free. All animals are grass fed and free of antibiotics and hormones. They graze like they did back in the day and are well socialized, healthy and sleep well.

                                                                                                    I'm a grass-fed meat convert. It really is better. If you have questions about Rowe Farms, get your behind over to the market on a Saturday morning and ask for John.

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