Even in a city like Toronto, with its abundance of farmer’s markets and organic butchers, it can still be difficult to make healthy food choices. For every organic juice bar there are a hundred fast food shops. When you’re pressed for time and have an empty fridge, grabbing a burger or a frozen pizza from the supermarket can seem like the quickest and easiest option. Enter food delivery services! These businesses make accessing healthy or organic as easy as possible.
Organic Food Delivery
There are an abundance of organic food delivery services available to residents of South Western Ontario. While each service differs slightly (we’ll get to that in a minute), they do share a few common traits: online ordering, weekly delivery and a focus on organic produce. Most services allow you to customize what items are in your box (though, often for an extra fee), and many allow you to specify things you never want delivered. When you sign up, you can choose what size box you’d like – single, couple, family and so on. We’ve tried out Mama Earth Organics and they were great at letting you switch box sizes or skip a week if you were going to be away.
It’s important to remember that “organic” does not mean the produce is local or seasonal. However, there are a few services that operate a bit differently; working with local farms to secure their produce. Plan B Organic Farms operates on a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) system, wherein you buy “shares” of a harvest from a local farm. You pay for the produce at the beginning of the growing season, which gives farmers the capital to pay for seeds, supplies, etc instead of relying on bank loans. Pretty cool, right? The only thing we’re bummed about is that they don’t deliver to Toronto…. yet. For us city dwellers, Front Door Organics has a Go Ontario! Fresh Box option which is available seasonally.
Prices vary according to service provider, box size and level of customization. By no means are we saying these services are “cheap”. Organic produce is more expensive than non-organic; that’s just the state of affairs right now. But the pay-off of knowing that your food wasn’t doused in harmful chemicals justifies the expenditure. For us, at least.
While organic produce can stretch your wallet, organic meat can often times break the bank. Again, we feel that knowing that our meat came from an animal who led a “happy,” artificial hormone-free life makes it worthwhile. There are a number of butchers in the city who get their meat from local farms (our favourites being Sanagans Meat Locker and The Healthy Butcher) but meat-lovers can also buy their protein CSA-style, as offered by Stoddart Family Farm.
One share from Stoddart is equivalent to a monthly delivery of 10 pounds of meat. Shares are sold in four- and sixth-month increments. Each delivery comes frozen and includes a range of meat (beef, pork, lamb, poultry) depending on what is available that month. Each order also contains a mix of ground, stew, chops, roasts, sausages and sometimes bacon or ham. As with produce deliveries, for an additional fee you can specify if there’s a particular type of meat you never want to receive.
Now, for those of you who aren’t adept in the kitchen or are looking for a quick, healthy meal when they’re too busy to cook, there are a number of great meal delivery services in Toronto. Recognizing this need, celebrated nutritionist and caterer, Rose Reisman created Personal Gourmet, a daily food delivery service. Intended to complement a person’s lifestyle, Personal Gourmet meals are offered both fresh and frozen, and in both “healthy living” or “weight loss” programs. Another bonus? There’s a family-sized option for easy weeknight dinners.
Another option is newcomer Lilly’s Lunches. This service delivers homemade sandwiches by bicycle to downtown Toronto residents. Paired with a side or sweet (or both!), the food is made with carefully considered ingredients and, the most important of all components, love. To order lunch, you need to commit to four lunches – one a week, on the same weekday, for four consecutive weeks. Imagine how jealous your co-workers will be when you’re enjoying your fresh, delicious sandwich without leaving your desk?