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Fresh and Wild

Does anyone else have issues with freshness at Fresh and WIld? I was at the King and Spadina one today and watched someone who looked the owner move meat that was 3 days expired to the front of the rack. EXPIRED! This has happened to me on more than one occasion where i forget to check the date - it's happened with meat, pasta sauce and dairy. Considering the name (and top rate prices) you'd think that fresh would be a priority!

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  1. Loblaws and Price Chopper will put 50% off stickers on meat 1 day before expiry.
    Metro uses dollars off stickers; Sobeys uses 30% off stickers.

    It appears as if this merchant at Fresh and Wild is being chintzy, and the public is paying the price.

    He could donate the meat to a soup kitchen.

    1. I bought a pre-made roast beef sandwich from there last winter, and paid a lot. It was a disgusting soggy mess. I never went back.

      1. I never got as far as checking the expiry date because their prices are so high.

        Their beef and chicken prices make the Healthy Butcher look like Price Chopper.

        2 Replies
        1. re: BruceMcK

          High prices? Location, location, location.

          Moderately high prices at F & W in Bloor West Village.

          BTW, Fresh & Wild in the UK was bought several years ago by Whole Foods, and the F & W chain here in Canada uses the UK F & W former logo and name design.

          Despite some effort on my part, Whole Foods in Canada and the US never responded to me about the matter.

          1. re: Dean Tudor

            That's what Whole Foods does - they buy out the competition. They bought Capers in Vancouver a while ago. They don't really do anything with it either: they just don't like any competition. I wouldn't worry about WF being too worried about the Toronto version of Fresh and Wild.

        2. I'm not a huge fan. The pastries and breakfast sandwiches are nice but I just don't get the grocery store, terribly over priced and meh...... Would never do my grocery shopping there.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Baelsette

            Strictly for the well heeled condo crowd. The location at the Distillery even makes Pusateri's look reasonable.

            1. re: Baelsette

              If you live or work down there (near the Spadina location I mean) and don't have access to a car, it's the only game in town as far as a groceries go unfortunately. You can take the streetcar along King to Dominion (Metro?) near the market. Otherwise that's it for reasonably accessible places to pick up a decent loaf of bread and veggies. The market at John and Queen is so-so -- when I lived down there a few years back that was the only place to go. It's really surprising how poorly served that neighbourhood is given the density of condos. I ended up moving after a few months because it was so underserved -- before Gourmand opened there was no place to chill out on a Sunday morning and read the papers. Only Quiznos and Subway -- it was like living at the mall.

              1. re: Arcadiaseeker

                I don't agree that its the only place to purchase groceries. We used to live at Richmond and Simcoe until last October and would purchase our meat, bread and dairy from The Healthy Butcher (which is only another 5 minute walk from F&W at King&Spadina). For our veg/fruit we did have organic delivery from Wanigans since we didn't want (nor had the time to trek) all the way down to the St. Lawrence Market. But once in a while would head over to Kensington Market. If you live downtown you learn to walk everywhere ... and explore.

                As for Sunday morning paper reading and coffee time goes, Zoe's at King/Portland was always a good option or further west at King and Tecumseh "Wagamama" or there's a bunch of cozy coffee/restos along Queen West.

                Yes we've moved but only to a more quiet part of DT along King West, we still walk to the Healthy Butcher and ton's of little shops along Queen to pick up everyday groceries (organic and local too!).

                Just need to learn to use your two lower limbs and explore the city a little more, than just to stick to the surface core.

                1. re: jeannieh20

                  Chinatown grocers are less than 4 blocks from King and Spadina. That's a no brainer, along with Kensington market nearby. Anyone living carless in Manhattan would be glad to have those two spots nearby.

                  1. re: jeannieh20

                    Fresh & Wild has it's uses. I live right near the King & Spadina location and it's good for emergency pickups or just to grab something quick. A full grocery shopping session is never done there. That's pretty gross about the expiry dates but I always check for that wherever I shop.

                    The good news for the area is that the Sobey's at CityPlace is nearly done. It looks like it may be ready for end of June or early July. I hope it's 24 hours. There's also the strong rumour of Loblaw's going in at Queen & Portland where Home Depot was originally going to be. I was looking forward to the Home Depot but if Loblaw's is plan B then I can live with that. I currently drive once a week over to the Queen's Quay Loblaws for groceries.

                    If the upcoming LCBO on the south east corner at King & Spadina gets an excellent store manager who will bring in good beer and wine then I won't have to drive around downtown at all anymore. :D

                    1. re: lister

                      Not meaning to diss any of the good Spadina grocers, Healthy Butcher etc. but once or twice a month a big shop is needed where you can buy canned goods, paper/cleaning products, and all that other stuff you can't get at the above at reasonable prices within a reasonable cab or streetcar ride. That's what I meant. And my experience living there was several years ago (pre-HB!) and it I felt lacked that neighbourhood feel at the time. Much has changed since I think.

                      1. re: lister

                        you say Loblaw's eh? Hmmm interesting - I live at King/Dufferin and would much rather walk 20 minutes east with my buggy to Queen/Portland for Loblaw's than shop at the Metro at King/Atlantic... sure beats treking all the way to Queen's Quay! I sure hope this rumor is true! Thanks for the heads up!

                  2. re: Baelsette

                    I know - so boring. It's like someone just went and bought all the cool stuff from Loblaws and put it in one smaller spot. Big deal. Their cheese is a joke too.

                  3. With the proliferation of electronic means of communication (like Chowhound for example), I'm surprised businesses play games like trying to sell meat past its expiry. Word travels fast.

                    I recently went to the Distillery Fresh and Wild just to check it out, and purchased some artisinal pasta, some smoked salmon and a bag of watercress. The pasta section is quite decent actually. They also have a good selection of condiments.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: DrewStar

                      Yes, I was wondering about that too, how "high-end" grocers try to pull that off, practising inferior inventory control yet charging their premium prices. Especially most people these days are feeling the pinch on rising food costs and being more cost and value aware in general.

                      The one and only time I walked into an F&W, their Spadina/King location, I was struck by their high prices and ho-hum selection (I can be an extremely picky consumer).

                    2. I view the Fresh & Wild at the Distillery as a high end convenience store. You are paying for the convenience of their locations. I would never consider doing a full grocery shopping there, especially as there's a Sobey's on Front St. only a block or so west. But it's a handy alternative when I need a specialty item (say a decent balsamic vinegar or something) that Sobey's doesn't carry, or on a holiday Monday when the major chain groceries and SLM are closed. But I would never consider buying staples like meat there. For the car-free down by Spadina they could probably grab a cab home from a real grocery store and break even!

                      12 Replies
                      1. re: Gary

                        I have gone to the branch on Bloor St. West and am disappointed with their produce.
                        The salespeople are rude and uninformed.
                        The last straw came when I bought some herbs in pots selling for $2.49 per pot. Then I went down the street and found exactly the same herbs in the same pots from the same source selling for $1.49 a pot.

                        1. re: Smachnoho

                          Metro is still selling pots of herbs (which won't transplant!) for $2.99 I have a half dozen duds.

                              1. re: redearth

                                The pots contain some sort of non-earth compound, Soil-less soil.
                                Not usually a problem, but these plants would not take hold, except for rosemary. Avoid.

                                1. re: redearth

                                  I haven't a clue. I brought home two healthy looking plants - a cilantro and a dill. Both shriveled and died within a week. They weren't over watered, under watered, or infested with anything. They just died. I suppose one could call it "transplant shock", but I really have no idea as to why.

                                  My other herbs, all from other sources, are doing very well.

                                  1. re: embee

                                    I had to replace mine with a six pack from Costco, and some more from Richter's (a 20 minute drive, but worth it.)

                                    1. re: embee

                                      Is it worth trying to take them back? You should definitely try or tell them. They should know they're selling duds -- that's terrible.

                                      1. re: Arcadiaseeker

                                        I sent Metro an e mail. They say they will respond within two days. They also state on the home page that they want information and feedback from their customers.

                                    2. re: redearth

                                      the only plants that i've ever purchased at Metro are the african violets - which i have not had a problem re-potting. still i think either going to Richter's (30 minute drive) or Urban Harvest (Queen/Dufferin) is a better option. At least with Urban Harvest it's all organic and a lot of the time heirloom seeds are used (www.uharvest.ca).

                                      1. re: jeannieh20

                                        My other herbs, and some heirloom tomatoes, are from Urban Harvest and from Loblaws. All are doing well.

                                        1. re: jeannieh20

                                          Another vote for Urban Harvest! I got the majority of my herbs and tomato plants there this year. They have the little store off Elm Grove and they are at the Dufferin Grove market each week as well. Lots of selection, cool heirloom tomatoes and my plants are all doing very well.