When I first walked into the Midtown Toronto location of The Healthy Butcher, it was not at all what I’ve come to expect from a butcher shop. The lovely wood-trimmed displays with chalk signage and Anaglypta ceiling create a warmth more reminiscent of an old-fashioned market than the modern butcher shops I’ve come to know. And I guess that’s precisely the point — to go back to a time when meat was sourced and prepared locally by experts who were passionate about their products. With a mission “to ensure food is prepared the way nature intended,” The Healthy Butcher is much more than a butcher shop, it’s an organic food market.
Meat the Way Nature Intended
Inspired by co-owners Mario Fiorucci and Tara Longo’s frustration over the difficulty of finding organic meat in Toronto, The Healthy Butcher offers a selection of certified organic, locally-raised beef, chicken, pork, lamb and more. The meat comes directly from local Ontario farms that are carefully selected to meet the highest organic standards.
Towards the back of the shop, you’ll notice the open-concept butcher counter, where every day the meat is cut from whole carcasses, ensuring freshness and minimal wastage.
MORE THAN JUST A BUTCHER SHOP
Adjacent to the meat counter, there’s a selection of seasonal fish, brought in fresh every day. In fact, The Healthy Butcher is one of two certified Ocean Wise retailers, which means you can be sure your getting sustainable fish.
The shelves around the periphery of the shop are lined with a huge selection of organic products that include dry goods, fresh produce, canned goods, fair-trade coffee, and fresh bread (including gluten-free bread). Kosher and gluten-free products are available throughout the store in every department.
For those days when you need help getting a meal on the table, the Healthy Butcher offers their Express Gourmet line of prepared gourmet food. You can choose from their selection of uncooked, prepared meats; vacuum-sealed cooked meals; frozen entrées; or fresh salads, all prepared by their experienced chefs.
If you’re a serious cook yourself, check out their huge selection of top-grade cooking knives ranging in price from $40 to $300, as well as top-end Cookware by All Clad and Le Creuset.
Service That Makes a Difference
The shop’s staff are knowledgeable and passionate about cooking and eating food. With over 40 varieties of hand-made sausages available, I needed some help to choose a mild and flavourful sausage to accompany a pasta dish. The staff member at the meat counter helped me to narrow my choices down to two: The Lincolnshire Traditional Sausage ($8.79 per pound) and the Perth County Pork Sausage with Garlic and White Wine ($7.30 per pound). I went with the Perth County sausage, which turned out to be a big hit at home with the kids.
Overall, I found the products at The Healthy Butcher to be priced a bit high. But considering that all their products are local food that is certified organic, and add to that the quality and service you get there, it seemed well worth the added cost.
The Healthy Butcher
298 Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto