Retailer profile: Vince’s Market

IMG_4177_8_9

Vince’s Market is an award-winning Ontario grocery chain that has been recognized as being one of the top Independent Grocers in the country. We recently spoke with Giancarlo Trimarchi, Co-owner of Vince’s Market, about Vince’s history, the growing demand for organic poultry, and his favourite way to enjoy chicken.

Tell us about the history of Vince’s Market:
Vince’s has a long history in Ontario, with the first store originally opening in Toronto in 1929. The Vince brothers moved the location to Sharon in 1956 as an open-air fruit market. In 1984, my father, Carmen Trimarchi, purchased the business and continued to run it as open-air market until 1989. From there, he built out the business into a full service supermarket, adding a second location in Newmarket 15 years ago, and then a third location in Uxbridge 5 years ago. My father is still active in the business, along with myself and business partner Brian Johns.

Can you tell us more about the philosophy of Vince’s Market?
We built the business off of fresh fruits and vegetables, and then expanded into a greater product offering. We have always been community focused, offering fresh, quality products at great value. We endeavour to buy from local suppliers where possible. Our slogan, “…Because food is one of life’s greatest pleasures” reinforces the importance of price, quality and the enjoyment of food in our everyday lives.

The Vince's Market Uxbridge team celebrates their 5 year anniversary.

The Vince’s Market Uxbridge team celebrates their 5 year anniversary.

Why offer organic poultry?
Vince’s Market has always focused on offering the highest quality, most nutritious products available. In the last few years, customers have been asking that Vince’s offer more organic options, especially when it comes to poultry. We have a strong Facebook following and are fortunate to get important feedback from customers though social media or directly in store. Customers have expressed their concerns with conventional growing practices and their desire for more organic meat options.

Why did you choose to work with Yorkshire Valley Farms?
Yorkshire Valley Farms was one of the first to offer a full range of fresh organic chicken products. And as YVF expands, we have been able to provide our customers with more choices. We’ve just added the YVF frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts to our offering.

We have to ask…what’s your favourite chicken dish?
Chicken fajitas! I love the spices and all the flavours.

What’s next for Vince’s Market?
We are working on major renovations to the Newmarket store and then next will be the Sharon location. We think it’s important to continue to invest to make an even better store experience for our customers. Because we are an independent, we can react to customer feedback, so we’re always working to source new products that better suit our customers’ needs. For example, we’ve received a lot of feedback around the need for better gluten-free choices, so we’ve introduced a whole new section of gluten-free products.

To learn more about Vince’s Market, visit http://vincesmarket.ca/

Community Spotlight: The Stop CFC After School Program

Yorkshire Valley Farms is proud to support The Stop Community Food Centre in their work to increase access to healthy food in a manner that maintains dignity, builds health and community and challenges inequality. YVF provides funding for The Stop’s After-School Program (ASP), which engages children aged 8 to 12 (grades 3 to 6) in fun, hands-on activities around growing, cooking, and encouraging positive attitudes towards healthy eating. In addition to the ASP, The Stop runs weeklong March Break and Summer Food Camps.

As we head into March Break, we spoke with Kathe Rogers and Kanaka Kulendran of The Stop about the ASP program, the upcoming March Break Camp, and what chicken recipes the kids have been learning.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the ASP program?
The goals of the After-School program (and the March Break and Summer Food Camp programs) are to build voice, develop critical-thinking skills, and engage around food skills and food issues using an anti-oppression/anti-racist framework of education. Children participate in food skills training (cooking and nutrition), growing/gardening, and activities related to food systems. This is our 5th year. There are 16 children per session.

TheStopCFC-EducationPrograms2

What are some of the activities you have planned for this year’s March Break Camp?
• Daily cooking session that involves the children preparing and cooking their meal
• Gardening activities that include worm bin care, soil screening, and starting seedlings
• Creating and recording/filming PSAs
• Shopping and cooking breakfast on an Ontario Works budget
• Food stories workshops

Can you share a great ‘food moment’ that expresses the impact of the work of the ASP?
In the past year, we have begun encouraging the children to build their leadership skills within the program. Just yesterday, we had a participant share her food story and personal connections to a favourite family dish. Not only did she share her story and knowledge, she taught us how to make the dish from beginning to end. By the end of the session, all of the participants were excited to introduce recipes and stories with the hopes of having a chance to step up and lead a cooking session.

We’re obviously big fans of organic chicken here at Yorkshire Valley Farms. Can you share some of the ways the kids are learning about cooking with chicken?
We have made a number of culturally diverse recipes as part of our food pride series. A number of them have included chicken as an ingredient, including Jerk Chicken, Lemongrass Chicken, and Chicken Soup.

You can learn more about The Stop Community Food Centre on their website at thestop.org

TheStopCFC-EducationPrograms3

Photo credits: The Stop Community Food Centre/Zoe Alexopoulos