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Whole-Foods Substitutes in TO?

Hi -
My wife and I are considering relocating to Toronto from Boston - so far we're excited about the idea. However, we shop almost exclusively at a Whole Foods near our home. We feel strongly about eating Organic and relatively little processed foods. We can't live without a Whole Foods or similar substitute in some reasonable proximity to where we live. We've noticed the only Whole Foods in TO seems to be in Hazelton Lanes downtown. Are there 'Whole Foods -like' substitutes you would recommend?

Thanks!
King Carnivore

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    1. Which area(s) are you thinking of moving to?

      There's Pusateri's, a high-end grocery store at Avenue Road and Lawrence which carries a lot of organic (as well as conventional) produce, but they don't specialize in organic. They don't have a tonne of organic meat options, but there are some great organic butcher stores in Toronto, such as Cumbrae's (on Bayview south of Eglinton or on Church around Wellesley) or the Healthy Butcher (Queen west, and also soon to open at Avenue Road and Eglinton).

      http://www.pusateris.com/index2.htm
      http://www.cumbraes.com/main.php?a=re...
      http://www.thehealthybutcher.com/abou...

      Another good store to check out would be Noah's Natural Foods (4 locations through the city). I don't often shop there, but I'm pretty sure they carry a wide range of organic/natural foods.

      http://www.noahsnaturalfoods.ca/retai...

      Similarly, check out the Big Carrot on the Danforth:

      http://www.thebigcarrot.ca/

      That's just a start - I'm sure other TO CH'ers will have lots of other suggestions for you as well.

      1. Don't know where you're going to live in To, but there is a large Whole Foods in Oakville, about 20 minutes west of downtown, much better than the Hazelton Lanes location.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Scary Bill

          20 minutes to Oakville ? At 2:30 in the morning on a Wednesday maybe...

          Sorry- but it's rare that the QEW/Gardiner are traffic free these days...

          1. re: meld_la

            At 100 kph from Yonge street to Whole Foods, which is a couple of blocks off the QEW, takes under 25 minutes, easily. And I did say originally "about 20 minutes".

            What are you driving, a 61' Volkswagon? And why are you shopping for groceries during "Rush Hour"???

        2. Big Carrot is great.

          If you're really committed to shopping organic you might also try a weekly trip to the Dufferin Grove market (Thursdays), where most everything is fresh, local, and organic.

          http://dufferinpark.ca/market/wiki/wi...

          As with most large cities, as you dig into your neighbourhood you will find various vendors of organic meats, produce, etc. The St. Lawrence and Kensington markets also have various vendors where you can buy natural or organic products.

          Like torontofoodiegirl suggests, super-close proximity to grocery (liquor store, drug store, whatever... ) really depends where you live. Here's a great thread on Toronto foodie neighbourhoods which you might find helpful:

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/389444

          1 Reply
          1. re: Rabbit

            The High Park farmers' market is organic, too. But it's not open for the season yet.

          2. And in the east end there's The Beach, where there is Wholesome Market, which carries natural and organic products -
            http://www.blogto.com/grocery/wholeso...

            And Meat on the Beach, which carries naturally raised meat and poultry as well as organic fruits and veggies and a whole bunch of other goodies -
            http://www.meatonthebeach.ca/

            Here's a link to more shops and services in the Beach -
            http://www.beachesbia.com/

              1. re: beany

                oh you'll have no diffuculties no matter where you locate in TO. Most neighbourhoods in TO have natural food stores, and fruit stands that carry organic/natural products.
                Evenmore, Loblaws chain has its own organic selections, and most Dominions have an aisle dedicated to healthy eating where you can pick up the staples(FYI - Loblaws and Dominion are the larger chain grocery stores you will encounter here in TO).
                I know many Torontonians who feel the same way about your favoured approach to eating and they have no difficulty keeping it up.
                We even have a vegan-friendly, healthy restaurant chain - Fresh - that is doing quite well here. Welcome to TO!

                1. re: pancake

                  Also moved here from Boston and used to shop exculsively at Whole Foods for produce and meat so I understand. WF here is not quite the same - much more exclusive and expensive. I can't recommend Cumbrae's http://www.cumbraes.com/ enough for meat. It's unbelievably good and all organic. For produce, I would strongly recommend signing up for a local organic food share where you pick up your box of fresh, locally grown organic fruits and veggies every week. There are many, here is a link to get you started. We use plan B.

                  http://www.planborganicfarms.ca/summe...
                  http://www.greenearthorganics.com/def...

                  There are many, many more. Thankfully, Southern Ontario is home to a lot of excellent organic farms so this is the way to go. There are a number of Toronto area farmer's markets with organics as well. Dufferin Market being one. There is a list here: http://veg.ca/content/view/76/108/

                  If you let us know where you think you will live, we can help more.

              2. If that's the only thing holding you back, c'mon on up. There's plenty of places as mentioned above.
                Find out where you'd be living and post again. You'll get a much better idea of what's where.

                DT

                1. Tons of great recommendations already, but another is Fiesta Farms: http://www.localfoodplus.ca/Fiesta.htm

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nyxie

                    yes, good call...

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                    Fiesta Farms
                    200 Christie St, Toronto, ON M6G, CA