Whatever ingredient you’re looking for, there’s a good chance you’ll find it somewhere in Toronto. But rather than mapping out a list of stores to cross everything off of your grocery list, visit these great retailers for the best in truly natural and organic groceries.
Qi Natural Foods I shop at the Eglinton location, but the same (wonderful) family owns the Qi on Bayview. I wouldn’t say that it’s the most spacious and gorgeous shopping experience, however, it is by far the best pricing and greatest selection. And if you want something that they don’t have, they will stock it for you with a smile. For probiotics and supplements, organic nuts and crackers, frozen tempeh and ice cream, start here.
The Big Carrot There’s just something more to the Big Carrot than grocery shopping – it’s a healthy outing (for our family, anyway). It must have something to do with it being a full grocery store with a vegetarian and organic cafe, a beauty centre, a mini book store, a dispensary with fabulous and attentive staff, and an organic juice and smoothie bar (not the bottled stuff, but the juiced right in front of you stuff, which means you can customize it all). I really value the fact that they have an all organic produce selection, and work with farmers before the food terminal with a huge commitment to local (which means ramps and fiddleheads and farmers’ market produce if you don’t make it there first).
Fiesta Farms Supporting an indie store is always better for our local economy, and Fiesta Farms is a huge one who supports so many of our local, organic and artisanal brands first. Beware that they also stock and sell a huge percentage of products that should never go in your cart, from toxic cleaners to kraft dinner. But if you are used to reading labels, there are aisles upon aisles of great
Healthy Butcher For local, certified organic and 100% grassfed meat, fresh organic produce, and great groceries and gourmet prepared foods.
Organic Garage For organic groceries just outside Toronto, in Oakville and Vaughan, with the best quality products at the lowest prices.
Nature’s Emporium For local organic food, vitamins, supplements, gluten-free, natural make-up, skincare, home-care and more, in Newmarket and Vaughan.
West End Food Co-op How great is it to be able to know what’s in your food, how your food was made or grown and by who, where it came from and why it’s special? WEFC connects local farmers to you, the local eater, and also supports the community.
The Sweet Potato The perfect combination of a fine food store, an organic market, and a discount store. Some great choices include: organic ginger and basil, fair trade bananas, chocolate. Try local raw chocolate favourites, Live On Chocolate and Giddy Yoyo, plus sweet and sticky Wedderspoon Manuka Honey, and Navita’s Naturals Maca Powder. Fill up that reusable bag, and get it on, starting in the kitchen.
Urban Bulk Emporium These guys are taking shopping back to the basics with over 300 organic bulk foods, premium pantry items, spices, herbs, and groceries. Their selection includes something for everyone, whether you’re gluten-free, paleo, or dairy-free.
Raise the Root Organic Market This small market is packed with everything from organic produce, pantry staples, and desserts, to non-toxic kitchen cleaning supplies. You can read my son Ryan’s review of Raise the Root here.