New to Toronto: can anyone recommend a good CSA and/or source of raw milk?
- linengirl May 29, 2010 09:16 AM
Any help much appreciated!
I've just relocated from NYC to Toronto. Living on the waterfront (Bay Street & Queen's Quay), so close to St. Lawrence Market, and close enough to Kensington Market.
Can anyone recommend a good and, ideally (because I don't intend to get a car -- I know, it's weird, but there it is) convenient CSA?
Also, any recommendations as to where to find raw milk and great eggs would be a truly wonderful thing. I am not hopeful on the raw milk front. It was hard enough to get in NYC. I'm told it's outright illegal here, or darned close to.
Finally, if anyone has strongly positive feelings about any particular butchers/cheesemongers/north market vendors, etc., I'm all ears...
Much obliged all!
St. Lawrence Market
92 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E, CA
Welcome to Toronto! I think it's kind of the closes Canadian city to NYC (though it's a league of its own).
You live near me and I'm also car free. I have developed my preferences at the market, Upper Cut Meats (butcher), Phil's Place (green grocer in the basement), Domino's (for bulk and baking stuff), Rube's Rice (for all grains related). Getting breakfast at Carosel (peameal bacon sandwich) and Mustachio's (italian veal and eggplant sandwich) is a tradition of mine while shopping at the market.
On Saturday, there is the Farmer's Market in the North Building. The butchers there are pretty good - great sausages, organic meats (which don't seem to be offered at most if not all butchers in the South Building strangely), and the egg lady sells wonderful eggs. I'd be wary of the produce there because I suspect most of them buy it from the Ontario Food Terminal and are not really farmers. Some things they might grow, but you just have to pay extra attention. I once asked if it was their own garlic, and the seller admitted to me it was from China.
I haven't used any CSA yet, but I know of Young Urban Farmers which grow their food in lawns and backyards of Toronto... so I'd imagine they should be quite convenient. http://www.youngurbanfarmers.com/ There is a directory of other CSAs. http://csafarms.ca/farms%20counties%2...
Raw milk, I'm not really sure of... but since Michael Schmidt was Acquitted, it shouldn't be quite as tough now. I think you'll have to do what the other people do and buy a share in a cow. http://network.nationalpost.com/np/bl...
I don't know if there's private messaging on ChowHound - haven't seen that option, but you're welcome to drop me a line if you had any other questions. mel.kianuko @ gmail.com (I don't check this email too often btw.)
The CSA model isn't too big in Toronto, unfortunately. I've been waiting for it to take off here for about 4 years now. We ended up going with a weekly organic veggie box - there are several companies around and a fairly recent thread on the options on this board. Most of them try to source locally when they can. We supplement with the great farmer's markets in the summer. There are a couple of CSA options, but they don't meet our needs in terms of pick-up/drop-off options, pricing, and quantity options. The open-air veggie markets in places like Chinatown and Kensington Market are also good bets as they often have local options and good prices.
It isn't a CSA... but there is also the FoodShare Good Food Box http://www.foodshare.net/ Their prices look WAY better than something from Green Earth Organics http://www.greenearthorganics.com/ . I have not ordered from either of them in Toronto. I used to subscribe to Green Earth Organics back in Vancouver, where their prices were cheaper than in Toronto to my surprise.
Hey I live exactly in the same area. Have you thought about getting Zipcar We have 3 location less than 1 KM!. There are options to places where you can walk in our area but I like some ethnic Supermarkets like T&T, J-Town (everything Japanese) and Galleria (good korean style meat products) not to mention a trip to the perennial CostCo . I like cheese selection at McEwan's and other high end Gourmet items which is better reached via car from our location :)
75 The Donway W, Toronto, ON M3C, CA
Check out Kawartha Ecological Growers. They have a CSA program. I joined their winter CSA and the veggies were amazing. I am also trying out Stoddart Family Farms this summer, they have a meat CSA.
There's also Plan B Organics. They have a few depot locations downtown (although I don't think any very close to you) and they are at the Dufferin Grove market.
I used them for a number of years a while back (before they had all those depots) and picked up my shares at the market (I haven't ordered a share for a few years as my job doesn't allow me time to go to any pick up depots or markets).
I found the product to be quite good - some seasons the variety and quality was remarkable and then some parts of the season, it wasn't so great (ie always the same every week, lower quality) but those were all subject to the season and weather - which is a possible consequence of a csa. The last few years, they added a fruit share which we got - that was GREAT addition/change to the normal. Although, since they seem to be much bigger now, our last year (where we picked up at a depot) there was no problem with amount or quality or product.
Alvaro and Rodrigo are great to chat with and I loved getting my produce all summer from the guys who grew it (although i think now, some stuff they get from other farmers around them?)
I would highly recommend - especially if you can make it out to one of the markets to pick up (instead of a depot to just pick up a box)
I am in my second year of membership with Plan B Organics and they offer home delivery for an additional $5.00 a week. A warning that their servings tend to be generous - my wife and I split what they call a half share and it is more than adequate.
What's great about Plan B is that - with 24 hours notice - you can cancel your delivery for that week and use the funds at one of their farmer's market booths or toward a future share purchase. Very convenient if you travel... http://www.planborganicfarms.ca/
I too am from NYC, except I still live there half the time (the other half I'm nearby @ QQW near Toronto Island airport) so here's what I know:
In Kensington, I'd pick Global over Cheese Magic. Pick up some $1.75 banh mi on Spadina when you're over there. You can't find them that cheap in NYC. As for butchers, hit up European Quality Meats across the street. Inexpensive and good for the basics (think Western Beef, but much smaller and just the meat section). If you want free range organic stuff, Healthy Butcher or Rowe Farms.
At SLM, I hit up the cheese monger in the back left when you enter from Front St.
Stuff you won't find easily or at all here: grits, black and white cookies, Guldens mustard, Nathans hotdogs, NY style pizza, hamburgers cooked anything less than medium-well, Korean fried chicken, coffee carts, food carts, the variety of food trucks in NYC, yakitori bars (like on St. Marks & 9th St.) and lots of other stuff that I forget until I want it (like cuban sandwiches).
Check out Queen East to the Beaches. Lots of new shops and restos in the Leslieville area and some interesting places in the Beaches area. I took my bike to explore the area since it made it easier to cover more ground, but still stop quick whenever I saw something interesting.
You won't find raw milk anywhere. There are raw milk cheeses from Ont. and Quebec, as long as they are aged 60 days. There are liters and bags of Goats milk in the larger supermarkets, pasteurized.
Ontario sheep's milk or goat's milk feta is worth looking for. The Greek owned companies have developed their sources because cow's milk is so heavily regulated..