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Jul 19, 2009 06:15 AM

Buy Local in Ontario

I would like to start a thread on good local food sources in the GTA and Ontario.

In the media section there is a thread about 12 Sobey's franchisees leaving the fold, so they can buy locally

Some of these stores (L&M Markets) are in Arthur, Elora, Harriston, Palmerston, Dundalk, and Durham.

In the GTA, Highland Farms and Fiesta Farms sell as much local produce and meat as they can get. Highland Farms even has their own meat and fruit on sale from time to time.

Several upscale stores such as Cumbrae's have a local policy, some sourcing from their own farms.

This list should be longer, and growing. What is Longo's policy?
Are there others ?

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  1. Fresh From the Farm on Donlands sells meat and produce from local Mennonite farmers. You can order meat from them in advance for pickup, or they have some extra fresh meats from their weekly run and always have a selection of frozen meats. They also carry free trade items like coffee, cocoa and chocolate It's a wonderful little store.


    4 Replies
    1. re: TorontoJo

      I buy my eggs at Fresh From the Farm, but I no longer even consider other stuff from there. I wish I felt differently, since I pass them almost every day.

      Most of the prepared foods I've tried have been both very expensive and very bland. The baked goods (other than the St John's bread) have been really awful. The packaged groceries are available elsewhere for less. I don't like the idea of buying meat wrapped in opaque paper, and they aren't happy when I ask them to open something.

      1. re: embee

        I agree with your assesment of FFTF. I'm also only buying eggs there now, and it's an inconvenience to drive over just for those. Everything else is available for less at other stores. They are still good for fresh ducks and goose, and some good garlic later in the season. Most of the meat has much more fat than I'd like. The bacon is very fatty and often over-salted. I roast my own coffee now, but I don' see why they have to bring coffee in all the way from Vancouver Island.

        1. re: embee

          " . . . and they aren't happy when I ask them to open something. . . "

          Yeah, what is with that? I'm supposed to buy my meat sight unseen? I live less than two main streets away and would love to patronize them, but, that just puts me right off. I asked them to unwrap something once and they made a huge fuss about it. However, the meat looked good and I bought it and cooked it and it was tasty. So, I decided to just buy a package the next time and when I got home it was quite brown and had a slightly unpleasant odour.

          So, they don't want to show it to me first, and their quality standard isn't high enough for me to just trust them – so, I haven't been back.

        2. re: TorontoJo

          I shop at FFTF. I don't buy the prepared foods, never have, owing to early negative feedback on them. I rarely purchase the non-perishables, except I do enjoy some of the jarred apricots and peaches mid-winter; they really are yummy. Won't buy steak there, as they're wrapped in paper (as embee says), and they're cut too thin, in my opinion. But, many of the meats are wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator, and I have been satisfied with the value of these purchases. I always enjoy the seasonal turkeys and bone-in hams. The latter was absolutely delicious and received raves, which I not only attributed to the meat quality, but also to the use of a meat thermometer, heheh. They often have lovely and well-priced produce in the summer months, and even secured for me red peppers, in bulk, at a reasonable price for a batch pepper grilling I undertook.

          Oh, ya, and as everyone's mentioned, the eggs. Them's good eggs.

          Farmers Daughter on Kingston Road is a lovely little shop, with some great stuff, but does anyone else find it overpriced? Sometimes I feel as though I'm shopping in Harvest Wagon... I mostly leave without having made a single purchase. For example, they sell the little sesame cracker chips in containers at an astounding price, compared to what I pay for them at Bulk Barn...

        3. A friend recently grilled up some Mennonite sausages from Fresh From The Farm. They may have been the tastiest sausages I have ever had in my life.

          And I hope it's not off-topic for this thread, but the farmers' markets need a mention. I've been hitting a couple of little ones downtown, Sick Kids on Tuesday morning and Bloor/Borden on Wednesday afternoon, and the available local produce is just fantastic. Here's a list of local markets:

          and here's Foodland's list of what's in season:

          2 Replies
          1. re: simplepieman

            My regular grocery store is Michael-Angelo's in Mississaauga where they have an ever increasing number of big, red "LOCAL" signs in the produce and meat areas. They also have a Markham store.

            1. re: iamafoodie

              I've driven by this place before but never been inside, maybe it is worth checking out

              thanks for the info

          2. What a great idea!

            Farmer's Daughter sell produce from their own family farm (Shabatura Produce) and other local farmers, They also have some yummy prepared foods.

            In addition to naturally raised meat, Meat on the Beach sells quite a bit of local produce.

            If you click on this link, you can see what local produce they have this week:

            Karma Co-op tries to stock as much local food as possible.

            There are a few vendors in the St. Lawrence Market's South Market that sell local items and multiple health food stores have organic and/or local produce including The Wholesome Market , Noah's, the Big Carrot... Also, I can't remember their names, but a few of the stores in Kensington Market sell local produce.

            In Mississauga, BlossomPure sells local meat and produce and various products from regional Amish and Mennonite farms.
            And, of course, the many farmer's markets and CSAs.

            A good resource to locate and discuss local food is:

            Meat on the Beach
            1860 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L, CA

            Karma Food
            739 Palmerston Ave, Toronto, ON M6G, CA

            Farmer's Daughter
            946 Kingston Rd, Toronto, ON M4E, CA

            Beaches Wholesome Food Store
            2234 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4E, CA

            705 Mt Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON M4S 2N4, CA

            Big Carrot Natural Food Market
            348 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K, CA

            Noah's Natural Foods
            322 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S, CA

            BlossomPure Organic Meat & Dairy
            714 Lakeshore Rd E, Mississauga, ON L5G, CA

            4 Replies
            1. re: toveggiegirl

              Great topic!! I am really getting interested in the 100 Mile Diet lately. So I have been doing quite a bit of research

              I am a big fan of Farmer's Daughter. Also on that Kingston Road stretch is Close to the Bone I know that they were being pretty picky about where they got their stuff from. Also the Cheese place next door, I believe, sells local products. Both places are VERY helpful with reasonable prices.

              1. re: toveggiegirl

                Culinarium: The quaklity depends on the day and time of the day when you shop. I was shocked to see limp veggies on their shelves and the price shocked me even more. I think that those in charge should be monitoring this store more closely.

                1. re: toveggiegirl

                  Living Midtown, our choice is very limited: Metro, Sobey's, Apple Tree every Thursday, and St.Lawrence Market. I wish there would be more selections. I understand that local farmers usually have a long haul and that makes food price more expensive. They do not have the economy of scale big stores have. Nevertheless I think that many of us would like to be able to buy fresh food. My only problem is with eggs : $5 for a dozen of very large eggs. They are very good but they do not keep as long as those sold at Metro or Sobey's.

                  1. re: toveggiegirl

                    Here's a new Toronto CSA for fruits, vegetables, herbs and other grown produce. From June 1 to Oct 26 (2010) this farm provides it's members with a weekly delivery of ultrafresh, organic produce. Here's the info including the link to the registration package... Deliveries are weekly to a location near Avenue Rd and Hwy 401 where you choose your products right off the truck. (Products are grown less than 20 kms away)

                  2. Sobey's has been selling Munro's Honey, Lambton county, ON.
                    They also have an excellent salad shrimp, pre-cooked, from Labrador (Metro also)
                    Bulk Barn has Red Fife flour from ON, and honey from Burke's, Buckhorn ON
                    Costco's fresh trout comes from Manitoulin, and they source onions, carrots, and potatoes locally. Too bad about the truckloads from California.
                    It would be nice if these stores had red Ontario signs on local products, like Michael-Angelo.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jayt90

                      Agreed, all I have near my really is a Sobeys and an A&P and finding local stuff is almost impossible there.. all I've seen worthwhile recently is asparagus and strawberries

                      and the strawberries weren't very good :(

                      1. re: duckdown

                        I went picking, and they were good, though not as good as they've been in previous years.

                    2. jayt90 - try and find an issue of Edible Toronto somewhere, it'll answer all your questions about access to local produce. It can be found from stores like Fiesta Farms, Big Carrot, to places like JK and Gladstone Hotel.


                      One new farmer's market I noticed recently was at Fairview Mall, on Tuesdays.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: aser

                        Do you happen to know the times for when the Fairview market opens and closes on Tuesdays?

                        1. re: tuttebene

                          According to this, Tuesdays and Fridays 10-6.


                          Aser, have you been? Do you know what's available?

                          1. re: Wahooty

                            I've only passed by, didn't have time to look. It's located in a small parking section next to the TTC pickup area for Don Mills station.

                            I would say there are about 15 stands or so.....