It seems like everyone is looking to eat healthier and live a cleaner lifestyle. One of the best ways to do this is to improve the food that you are putting into your body. Enter the world of Organic eating. It seems like Organic foods are everywhere but there is still a stigma attached to them that says, they are overly expensive and not worth the cost. It’s important to note that when it comes to your diet, quality over quantity is the way to go according to James Fell, nationally syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune who advises that, “when it comes to managing calories the high quality diet enhances satiety , so you don’t need to eat that many calories, it enhances performance in physical activity and it will generally make you feel better and healthier.”
Moving to a more organic diet puts you in a position to be eating a higher quality of food. But where is the best place to find it. Luckily we’ve put in the time and have this list of the GTA’s 10 best Organic Grocery Stores.
The Big Carrot
The Big Carrot is likely the most well-known Organic grocery stop in Toronto and with good reason, as it has been a staple on the Danforth since back in 1983, when 9 founding members put it together as a co-op style grocery store. It’s still operated that way today, as any employee is able to buy into the store and become an owner after 1 year of employment. Offering everything from Organic baked goods and fresh fruits and vegetables to meat, seafood and a vegetarian deli. The big carrot also boasts a range of body care and household products. It has also become known for its Organic Juice Bar, offering juices, fair trade coffee, salads, sandwiches, muffins and raw desserts. The Big Carrot likes to take things a step further than most grocery stores as it refines every aspect of it’s operations to promote a healthier world, through organic packaging and clean energy initiatives.
The Sweet Potato
It will surprise no one to find The Sweet Potato on this list, and it’s also no surprise that one of Toronto’s best organic markets is located in the Hipster Mecca of The Junction. The Sweet Potato actually predates the majority of the area’s revitalization, as it first opened it’s doors as a year round grocery store in 2008. Born out of the High Park Organic Market, the Sweet Potato has always valued it’s close relationship with both farmers and it’s loyal customers. Their “to go counter” is a favourite local stop for a quick healthy bite to eat, offering sandwiches and wraps as well as coffee, juice and smoothies. The Sweet Potato’s goal is to be the all organic stop that could replace your usual chain grocery store.
Raise the Root
Raise the Root in Leslieville is founded on a love of real food and a love for the community that it calls home. The quaint and cozy store front fits perfectly into it’s Queen East location and offers a quick stop in option for all your grocery needs. Even better, the prices are well below what you feel you may end up paying when you hear the word Organic, even offering a discounted price on “ugly” fruits and vegetables. Raise the Root also often hosts workshops on healthy eating, living and growing as well as pop up vegan markets. Stop in and see what’s going on in locally sourced foods in Leslieville.
It makes perfect sense that with entries already on this list based on the Danforth, the Junction and Leslieville, our next stop would be located in the Annex. In a neighborhood that has always had a focus on smaller businesses and an anti-big box mentality, it is no surprise to find Karma Co-OP. Founded in 1972, Karma is a classic form of co-op, owned by it’s members who all share in the decision making process. Karma specializes in organically grown, local, fair trade and non-GMO products. The co-op claims to carry over 200 bulk items and organic produce fresh from more than a dozen Ontario farms. Karma also carries a large selection of health supplements and eco-friendly, packaged goods.
Essence of Life Organics
Kensington Market is a hotbed for Organic and Health centric stores, but by far the biggest and most popular among them is Essence of Life Organics. They carry all the vegan and organic staples from Tofurky and Sol Burgers to naturally raised meat as well as a selection of nut butter and a ton of ecofriendly packaged products. They also have a great selection of household and body care items including chlorine free diapers for the organic conscious baby on the go. Known for its large selection, central location and helpful staff, Essence of Life is your one stop shop for all things organic in Kensington market.
Address: 50 Kensington Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2K1
P: (416) 506-0345
Google: 4.5 Stars – 21 Reviews
Facebook: 4.5 – 20 Votes
Qi Natural Food
We are What We Eat – It may be a commonly used phrase in the world of healthy eating, but it also serves as the motto for Qi foods, who have been serving Toronto from its 3 locations since it was first established back in 1999. Hei Joung Hur, the Founder of Qi began her career as a pharmacist and has a passion for natural remedies, which led her to open the store specializing in health food. Qi works with naturopathic and homeopathic doctors in its attempts to provide its customers with the best quality of therapeutic groceries . Carrying more than 1000 brands and over 12000 items including organic groceries, vitamins and organic bulk foods, QI Natural Foods is a haven for natural health, healing and living.
Address: 219 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R 2L6
P: (416) 537-1428
Google: 4.3 Stars – 6 Reviews
If you’re outside of the city proper, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have access to some top notch organic groceries. Enter Natures Emporium. With locations in Vaughn and Newmarket, Nature’s Emporium is a massive grocery store that rivals the big chains in both size and selection. Offering farm fresh, local and exclusively organic produce, Nature’s Emporium endeavors to help it’s customers live healthier and eat better. Their all natural and organic hot table offers quick and healthy prepared foods that can be quickly grabbed on a lunch break and their all natural cosmetic and beauty section is full of all natural products that are safe and healthy for the entire family. The staggering selection of vitamins can seem overwhelming, but it means that you can find anything and everything you’re looking for. Natures Emporium proudly serves York Region for all their organic and natural needs.
Unlike the majority of this list, Goodness Me is more of a chain than a mom and pop market. What earns it’s place on this list is that it operates the Goodness Me organic farm in Campbelville Ontario which supplies it’s produce exclusively to their 9 locations. Goodness Me also boasts consciously raised meats and seafood including growth hormone and antibiotic free chicken. They also offer cooking and lifestyle classes and their founder hosts a weekly radio show. Goodness Me claims their mission is “to discover, educate about and offer healthy living products” and throughout their 9 locations they have endeavored to do just that.
Fiesta Farms is different. Different from the majority of organic grocery stores, different from your average grocery store and different from the other stores on this here list – and that’s a good thing. What Fiesta Farms set out to do was provide groceries that were local, sustainable and serviced the ethnic communities in their area. Fiesta Farms also promises that while they stock some items that you can get at your average grocery store but helps you make better choices in every aisle and on every shelf. How do they do that? By teaming with local organizations to provide items that are certified local and sustainable. Fiesta Farms is a unique shopping experience and you should do yourself a favour and stop in sometime. Bet you’ll walk out happy.
Moberly Natural Foods
Originally known as Better Bulk Danforth, the owners made a change in focus and business ideal and became Moberly Natural Foods. The obvious items are on offer here, including the organic fruits and vegetables but there is also a very large refrigerator/freezer section and an incredible array of organic baked goods and snack foods. Moberly has a very bright feel and the owners sense of humour and down to earth demeanor is evident everywhere you look and their online blog makes it simple for anyone to adopt a natural health food diet.
Address: 2044 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4C 1J6
P: (416) 690-8868
Google: 5 – 12 Reviews
Facebook: 4.5 – 29 votes