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Rowe Farms

Posted by Sarah Kelsey / Posted on March 25, 2009

Rowe Farms TorontoI've never had a particularly strong connection to meat. That's not because I don't like the stuff. In fact, it's just the opposite. I love it. But I've always been one to save my meat-moments for those times I knew I'd be getting a quality product.

Which is why I was so excited to discover a new outpost of Rowe Farms on Ronces. Everything in the store (and I do mean everything!) is locally grown, with a focus on organic, pesticide and antibiotic-free meats.

The goal is to provide "quality foods with a conscience" and to bring people closer to what they eat. And it works. Their checkout counter is a map of suppliers the store uses (from Campbellford to Collingwood, and Peterborough to Guelph). And the friendly staff (on this particular day Matt and Jason) is happy to educate me on the different cuts of meat, where they come from and how to prepare them (especially important if you don't know your way around the kitchen... like me).

Rowe Farms

My first stop is the packed row of freezers on the right side of the store. I'm blinded (in a very, very good way) by all the carnivorous delights: wheat free Italian sausages ($5.09/lb), nitrate free beef wieners ($5.09/lb), extra lean ground beef ($6.29/lb) and chicken wings ($7.99/kg).

I move to a nearby refrigerator and discover an impressive selection of pre-packaged marinated cuts like herb flattened chicken ($6.29/lb) and hoisin pork chops ($11.39/lb). There's even a small selection of every day items like nitrate-free eggs, kielbasa sausage, boneless ham and organic milk. A nearby vintage-looking butcher block displays some of the store's homemade marinades and rubs.

It all starts to make me a little hungry. So I head to the back and check out their meat counter. It's time for me to decide on dinner.

Rowe Farms Roncesvalles

There's the prime rib roast (one of the most amazing cuts of meat I've ever seen). And the Ronci broil (a popular choice, I'm told). And the apple pine nut pork loin (stuffed with sweet apples, bacon, onion and pine nuts, it's something I'd envision myself eating at the Last Supper). In the end, I settle on two beef herb fillets (tightly wrapped, they're topped with an irresistible mix of thyme, rosemary, parsley, garlic and canola oil).

I celebrate my choice with a few bites of organically made shortbread ($5.79) and proclaim, to anyone who's listening (which is about 12 other customers walking through the store's constantly revolving door), "I love this place."

Rowe Farms Chicken

Rowe Farms Meat

Rowe Farms Toronto Roncesvalles

Writing and photos by Sarah Kelsey

Discussion

15 Comments

Denise Joseph / March 31, 2009 at 01:58 pm
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We love Rowe Farms. Sure, you pay a little more for the quality, but it's worth it. To make it more affordable, we decided to eat less meat overall but make the meat we do eat count. Big fan of the baby back pork ribs and the pork in general. Chicken over-priced although the spatchcock chicken is good value. My husband enjoys the marinated chicken wings for a Saturday afternoon snack: enough for two guys to pick at over a beer and feel really spoiled. Looking forward to trying the lamb over Easter. Bacon (the fat renders beautifully) and eggs (cheapest organics in town) are surprisingly tasty. Accommodating butcher service; jointed a chicken for me while I waited.
chenyip / April 1, 2009 at 03:13 pm
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The chicken - while more expensive - is not a bad value all things considered. At any of the big brand grocery stores, an air chilled chicken will run you betwee $10 - $13. I grabbed one from Rowe farms for $15. $2 more is worth it in my eyes.

Their piece de resistance though is the pork. Because I barbecue a lot, I asked them about getting Berkshire. To my surprise, I was procured a 7lb Berkshire shoulder that sold for just under $8 a kilo. That's a steal!
Dawn / April 1, 2009 at 03:21 pm
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Hands down, one of my favorite butchers. We used to go to them when they were at St. Lawrence market and were so happy when they opened up one in Leslieville!

They are so friendly, helpful and the quality of their meats are exceptional. A very wide variety of fresh and frozen meats too.
Jonathon Yule / April 1, 2009 at 04:07 pm
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I haven't been to the actual store but I can testfy that their products are great. My father used to buy from them before they made their big move into Toronto and re-branded. The prices were significantly lower until they found out people in Toronto were willing to pay a larger mark-up
Anon / April 1, 2009 at 06:16 pm
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Unless it was produced in a laboratory, meat is raised, not grown.
keven / April 2, 2009 at 11:42 am
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@Anon

I had no idea that cows did not grow, they are born full size?
Andrea / April 2, 2009 at 02:52 pm
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Looks great. I like to occasionally treat myself to shopping trips these types of shops.

Reminds me that I haven't been to Cumbrae's in awhile.
Adrian / December 28, 2009 at 04:56 pm
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I buy their eggs at Metro. Much better tasting than the other eggs.
roncesgal / January 22, 2010 at 01:19 pm
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Rowe Farms is the best! Better than any other butcher shop in Toronto. The people who work there are great.
k_webster / March 28, 2010 at 01:36 pm
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I am glad you guys are loving the Rowe I work there and its totally an amazing farm to work for! Keep shopping with a conscience
dryperogelio / February 11, 2012 at 04:21 am
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best for you coach knockoff purses for more
Rowe Farms / May 25, 2012 at 01:14 pm
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Richard, sorry to hear about your negative experience. Rowe Farms is committed to delivering quality products and great customer service so send us an email at info@rowefarms.ca or call 416-532-3738 and ask for Rebecca. Please explain your exact concerns and what location you visited and we will try to make it up to you.
Anna Ambrosini / July 18, 2013 at 01:48 pm
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I've been purchasing Rowe Farms meat for a number of years
and have noticed since the packaging for the chicken
breasts and thighs have changed there is a bad smell when
I open the package. Even after airing it out it still smells.
Locations such as Fortino's and Lablaws carry this DAR Fresh
packaging. I am very disappointed due to the fact that I
had to return the chicken numerous times. It's been very
inconvenient to me and my family.
Alex Greene / September 6, 2013 at 12:38 am
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Tried some of their prepared products -- they're salt bombs! Uncooked meat is pretty good, but not the best I tried.
Hazel / November 4, 2013 at 11:30 am
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Hubby & buy all our meats from Rowe Farms. I emailed them about their slaughter practices & received a satisfactory answer. They have their staff visit the abbatoirs periodically. Also they will only get an animal slaughtered if they have run out of the meat & ppl are asking for it. We had to wait until around Thanksgiving to get turkey breast but we didn't mind. Just reduced our meat intake until then. They are the best butcher in Toronto in my opinion. Someday I'd like to go visit their farm.

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