The Healthy Butcher: Supplying Quality Organic Meats through Tradition

By Mary Wales- The Healthy Butcher first opened its doors in 2005 on Queen Street West in downtown Toronto. Run by foodie husband and wife team Tara Longo and Mario Fiorucci, the business has grown to include additional stores on Eglinton Street West in Midtown Toronto, in the Kitchener-Waterloo area just off of the 85 Expressway, and a Toronto home delivery service through the website

The stores offer everything from certified organic produce and wines to sustainable and OceanWise certified seafood and, of course, various gourmet cuts of organic beef, pork, lamb, duck, elk, chicken and more.

“I used to be vegetarian,” reports Mario, who previously practiced law on Bay Street. “I was put off by the limited choices of available meat and we wanted to support farmers who were producing on a smaller scale without the use of hormones and antibiotics.”

Ninety percent of the meats sold at The Healthy Butcher are produced on Ontario farms. Before opening, both Tara and Mario visited farms across Southern Ontario searching for suppliers. “Farmers were excited about the potential for direct sales to customers in Toronto,” adds Mario.

Much of the meat sold in the store is certified organic meaning that it is produced as outlined in the Canada Organic Standard. Canada finalized its organic standard, which is equivalent to both EU and European Organic Standards, in 2009.

Organic meat meets specific requirements as outlined in the Canada Organic Standard. Animals must have outdoor access and cannot be fed feed grown with GMO ingredients. Animal food must be 100% organic, meaning that no synthetic pesticides, including herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers can be used to grow feed ingredients.

Apart from an outstanding selection of quality products, The Healthy Butcher also offers various cooking classes on topics ranging from sausage making to knife sharpening to butchering of beef, pork, lamb, chicken and more. Their classes are popular among foodies, future chefs and those wanting to learn more about meat processing.

“A huge disconnect exists between the farm and the final sales point,” states Mario. “Our customers are curious and want to learn more about the food and meat they are eating. This curiosity keeps us on our toes.”

The Healthy Butcher is also contributing to keeping a tradition alive. Abattoirs have gone out of business at an alarming rate in recent decades and the choice of cut available in most grocery stores is limited to typical cuts only. The Healthy Butcher is committed to using and selling whole animals whenever possible.

From sustainability through the promotion of organic products to keeping tradition alive to supplying customers with Ontario-grown products, The Healthy Butcher is making a great effort to bring an array of valued organic meats and knowledge to Ontario’s kitchens.

Comments are closed.