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Suggestions for meats in St. Lawrence Market?

I'm looking for a place to buy meats (preferably at an AFFORDABLE rate) that are well raised. By this I mean I'd like to konw that the meats are coming from farmers that care for their animals and not from a 'factory farm' where animals are crowded in tiny pens. Free run is great, organic or naturally raised is also great. I'm having a hard time finding somthing affordable (say apx $5.00 lb for chix breast). Also having a very hard time finding 'free run' pork.

I just don't want to eat animals that are kept in crowded pens they can't turn around in and that are pumped full of hormones etc... and I don't want to be in the poor house either.

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  1. St. Lawrence Market is not highly recommended (by me at least) for buying meat. To be precise, I'm talking about the main market (South) that's open 5 days a week. Most of the vendors in there sell the mass produced stuff. The reasonably priced meats, I mean. A few of them have organic/free range, etc, at higher prices. Besides, most of the meat sold there is from the more expensive cuts. tougher cuts, that would make buying organic/free range more affordable are less plentiful. It's been about a year since I've been going there regularly, so might have changed a bit.

    On the other hand, the north market (saturdays only) seems to have better choices from smaller producers. That's probably where you'll find what you're after. And I believe they have a better selection of cheaper cuts.

    4 Replies
    1. re: grandgourmand

      Thanks a bunch for the advice. I had no idea the main part was the mass produced stuff. Do you have any recommendations of anywhere else to go in the cit for what I'm looking for?

      I will try the north side for meats on Sats as well. :)

      1. re: Bitey_Barkface

        I agree with grandgourmand in that I do not buy any meat at the market. I realize it's probably not what one would call affordable but I only purchase my meats from either Nunzio's, Summerhill Market or Cumbrae's. Yeah sure they're prices are high, but it's ttop quality and nothing else in the city comes close IMO. Having said that check out Fresh from the Farm's website Bitey. It's exactly what you're looking for.

        1. re: Bitey_Barkface

          It's not all mass produced, but check out places like brown brothers and upper cuts (even whitehouse) and you'll see what i mean. the north market is more like a farmer's market and a few butchers set up there with free range/organic selections. again, i haven't been going regularly for a while so some others may be more informed.

          if you're looking for organic/free range you can go to the cumbrae's, healthy butchers,etc.. those places tend to cater to yuppies, with prices to match. but at least you'll be able to find some of the cheaper cuts of meat from animals that aren't from a high-density feedlot.

          i've been focusing my organic food purchases more on veggies than meat. the meats are still quite expensive. as far as better meat habits go, i'll buy maple leaf prime chicken and pork. likely not free range, but at least not eating ground bonemeal. or, i'll just buy from some mom & pop italian or eastern european butcher. not 100% sure, but i like to think that these places aren't getting the meat from tyson foods or cargill. a place i like to go to is jerry's supermarket. on the north side of danforth a few blocks west of coxwell. depending on your location, that may or may not be convenient, but there are other places like it. my rule of thumb: if they make the sausage on location, usually a good start.

        2. re: grandgourmand

          I agree I have never once been happy withany beef product from the market . ON the flip side I have always been pleased with the seafood.

        3. Hey Bitey -

          Here is a list or organic dealers (note St. Clement's Poultry) at the SLM -
          http://www.stlawrencemarket.com/shopp...

          Hope this helps...

          Rab-bit!

          1. A quick response to share my view. I have had GREAT meats from SLM.

            My strategy is to never buy just to have it. The piece has to look awesome. I am always very choosy there and always very happy. I have had incredible pork chops, ribs roasts and lean, tender, beef ribs to name a few items.

            1 Reply
            1. re: deelicious

              I have to agree with Deelicious. If you know what to look for there is some excellent meat to be had but you have to willing to take a good look around.

              I do know that Boucharie (sp) on the left side (behind Browns) will cut to order - just don't go when it is busy. I have a friend who calls and orders a whole tenderloin from them at a time and has apparently always has excellent meat and service.

            2. I have had some great cuts of meat from various places in the SLM. I find though that the best time to shop is in the off hours. Preferably in the morning before the lunch hour rush and never on weekends. This way you have more of a choice (meaning things haven't been picked over) and you can actually talk to the butchers and ask them questions about their meat.

              1. I have also had great success when it comes to meats at the SLM . . . I have bought some excellent lamb chops, bacon, pork ribs and many others over the years . . . I find the market vendors very friendly and over the years they have got to know my likes and dislikes . . . I also like the fact that many of the stores will vacuum pack the meats for you which comes in handy when you want to freeze things . . . this combined with excellent seafood as well as the farmers market on the north side make it an excellent place to shop....

                SB

                1. I shop at the SLM every Saturday without fail. And while I would agree with those that suggest Cumbrae's quality cannot be matched, there are butchers at the SLM whose quality comes really close, and at a substantially lower price. Go to La Boucherie, south side, first butcher on the left hand side when you enter from Front Street...ask for Gus. He's one of the owners, and even on a busy day he will take the time to talk to you and answer all your questions. I've been going to him for quite awhile now and the only time I've ever been disappointed was when I thought I knew more than the butcher and did something my way, instead of what I would learn later was the right way.

                  Cheers.

                  1. Free run chicken and pork is difficult but not impossible. Poultry is kept indoors to avoid avian flu, but it is possible to find hens with limited outdoor exposure, highly controlled. FFTF would be a starting point, but ask lots of questions.
                    Free run pork is almost an oxymoron, as the pigs will destroy an acre or two in a matter of weeks. But I have seen hogs with free runs inside a large barn, with an open door leading out to a barnyard. And believe me, they loved to run! This meat is available from www.beefconnections.ca delivered.