Partner profile: urbery


What happens when you cross “urban” with “grocery”? You get “Urbery”, the GTA’s newest grocery delivery service. Simply place your order online, Urbery’s team of Grocery Guru’s will shop on your behalf, and then deliver your groceries to your door in under two hours. Urbery is currently in phase I of its service roll out, and is rapidly expanding to serve an even greater geographic area. Yorkshire Valley Farms recently had the chance to speak with Urbery’s founder Mudit Rawat to learn more about the inspiration behind the Urbery concept, what has been the most surprising learning since launch, and what’s next for the Urbery team.

Can you give us a brief introduction to Urbery and what the service is all about?
Urbery is the ultimate in urban convenience – a delivery service that allows customers to order groceries online from their favourite grocery store and have them delivered within two hours. We offer a selection of over 4,000 grocery items through our user-friendly online platform. At Urbery, you can expect to find everything you would at your local grocery store, including fresh produce, meat and seafood products, baked goods, dairy items, and of course pantry must-haves.

Once a customer has placed an order, the request is routed to one of our knowledgeable and highly passionate personal shoppers, our Grocery Gurus. The Grocery Guru, who receives extensive training before shopping, will shop for the order and deliver it right to the customer’s door. We are currently operating in downtown Toronto and soon expanding our delivery zones to other parts of GTA.

Can you tell us a bit more about your background and why you decided to start Urbery?
The decision to start Urbery really came down to being in the right place at the right time. Seven years ago, I came to Canada to pursue my MBA at the Schulich School of Business. After graduation, I worked at several different corporate gigs including Oracle, CGI and finally Sobeys – Canada’s second largest grocery retailer. It was at Sobeys that I developed an interest and passion in the truly exciting world of food and groceries and started looking for ways the shopping process could be improved.

Back in India, where I’m from, no one ever went grocery shopping – you didn’t have to because everything was delivered right to your door within hours of ordering. I wondered why such a system hadn’t yet caught on in Canada and started studying available grocery delivery services. None of the available services really appealed to me for one of two reasons: lack of on-demand delivery options, or exorbitant delivery fees. I decided that I could provide a better service than what was currently available and, given the welcoming environment Canada has created for entrepreneurs, I decided to start Urbery.

What has been the biggest surprise since you started Urbery?
The biggest surprise has been the number of people we’ve had interested in becoming Grocery Gurus. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with some fantastic people who are so passionate about food and helping others.

I put a lot of time and effort into selecting the right people to become Grocery Gurus. It’s such an amazing feeling when I get feedback from customers telling me how impressed they were with their order and how much care the Grocery Guru took – and this happens a lot! When people actually take the time to contact you and let you know how amazing their experience was, you know you did a good job and hired the right people.

Why did you choose to work with Yorkshire Valley Farms?
At Urbery, we want to make sure that our customers have access to the healthy foods they need, including local food options. We chose to partner with Yorkshire Valley Farms because they uphold the values and business practices that are important to us and our customers, including working with local farmers, care of the environment, and respect for animal wellbeing.

We’re obviously big fans of chicken, so we have to ask…what’s your favourite chicken dish?
That’s a tough question as there are way too many dishes I absolutely love. I guess if I had to narrow it down to a favourite, I would say it’s my wife’s Chicken Parmesan – I’ve yet to taste anything better (but I may be biased)! Having been born and raised in India, I was lucky to have had the opportunity to sample a variety of exotic cuisines, and would say that chicken tikka masala with garlic naans would come in a very close second.

What’s next for Urbery? Any developments you are currently working on (and able to share) that we can look forward to?
A lot is happening in our business. Our delivery area continues to grow, as does our team. The biggest new development though is our upcoming mobile app. With our app, customers will have the vast selection of grocery store products right in their pocket.

We’re also ‘brewing’ up something very interesting, and this is the first time we’re talking about it – We recently received our alcohol delivery license and have already started testing out deliveries with existing customers. Our full alcohol delivery roll out is coming in July and we will be the only company in Canada that can get customers their favourite grocery products and alcoholic beverage in under 2 hours!

Use the promotional code WELOVECHICKEN to receive a $10 discount on your next Urbery order.

How to use the discount code: Enter the code during the checkout process and $10 will be taken off the final bill. Delivery is also free for orders over $65! The WELOVECHICKEN discount code expires on July 31, 2015.

Retailer profile: Soup Nutsy

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Soup Nutsy’s Richmond-Adelaide location.

There’s nothing quite like a good bowl of soup. It’s a comforting, wholesome, and very portable meal that can be enjoyed year-round. Yorkshire Valley Farms recently sat down with soup enthusiast Domenic Gaudio of Soup Nutsy to chat about bone broth, the latest addition to his extensive soup menu. With three locations in Toronto, Soup Nutsy is one of the city’s premier soup destinations for the downtown office crowd. All the soups are made in-house, offering quality soups and broths that would make your grandma proud. Soup Nutsy’s new chicken bone broth is available at the Richmond-Adelaide location and is served as a sipping broth, to which you can add flavour enhancers (which are also made in-house), like ginger, turmeric, garlic, shiitake mushroom tea, or Calabrian chili oil. Below Domenic tells us more about the new bone broth, about the inspiration behind Soup Nutsy’s menu, and about his favourite soup.

How did Soup Nutsy get started? Can you tell us a bit more about your background and why you decided to open a soup shop? 
Soup Nutsy originated in New York City shortly after the Seinfeld “SOUP NAZI” episode was aired. The popularity of the show created so much hype that it spurred the opening of many soup operations. We were so impressed with the success of the concept that we purchased the rights and opened in Toronto in 1998, and Soup Nutsy became an instant success. I joined the company a few years later after spending many years in the food service business with various companies.

Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration for some of your most popular soups?
Our inspiration comes from many sources such as food trends, consumer eating habits, exotic flavours. We are constantly searching and developing soup recipes that will keep us current and on the frontline of our industry.

What has been the biggest surprise since you opened the shop?
I guess the biggest surprise was the success of our concept given that soup was always thought of as a side for many dishes. When we introduced it as the centrepiece of the meal, we had a lot of people doubt us that it could work.

Why did you choose to work with Yorkshire Valley Farms? What will you be making with our organic poultry?
We wanted to work with a company that produced high quality organic poultry that would enable us to create a healthy and nutritious product. We are currently using Yorkshire Valley Farms’ organic chicken bones to make chicken bone broth.

We have to ask…what’s your favourite chicken-based soup?
Old fashioned chunky chicken noodle.

What’s next for Soup Nutsy?
Our goal is to improve our business model and look towards expansion. We recently introduced a breakfast program featuring BREAKFAST SIPPING SOUPS AND BROTHS at our Richmond-Adelaide Centre location that is doing very well. We plan to further develop this as part of our business and implement it in our other two stores in the near future and heighten awareness for sipping soups and broths to “re-think your hot beverage”.


A cup of chicken bone broth, made with Yorkshire Valley Farms organic chicken bones.

To learn more about Soup Nutsy, and to see the daily soup menu, visit

Partner profile: David’s Condiments


Yorkshire Valley Farms is pleased to be partnering with entrepreneur and healthy food advocate David Marcus of David’s Condiments to launch a new Lemon Herb Spice Rub Chicken at select Longo’s locations. If you ever have the chance to meet David, and you just might since he manages all his demos himself, you’ll quickly feel his passion and energy for creating low-sodium, preservative-free spice rubs and marinades. We recently chatted with David to learn more about how he got into the food business, what makes him love his job so much, and what his favourite way to enjoy chicken is.

What is your background? What made you decide to become a food entrepreneur?
I have always had an entrepreneurial interest. I am an accountant by training, with a specialization in retail. Over the years, I had the opportunity to work with many successful retail brands within Canada. My work involved quite a bit of travelling. Getting home for the weekend, the last thing I wanted was another meal out. I found myself really looking forward to a home cooked meal. For me, cooking is therapeutic. Then I met my wife, who is a qualified Chef. We would cook together for friends and family, and our guests were always lining up for an invitation to dine at our house.

When health concerns within our family caused us to change our eating habits, I discovered what was possible in terms of flavourful cooking without salt. My father went in for routine heart surgery 3 weeks before my wedding. He did not come through the surgery. My father-in-law went in for similar heart surgery weeks later. He survived, but major lifestyle changes were required, including having to go on a salt-free diet. Over the next 3 years, my wife and I put a real emphasis on salt-free cooking to suit his dietary needs. Even with the changes, our friends were always so complimentary of our cooking. Eventually a friend with a retail outlet convinced me to bottle my spices. The labels are hand drawn by my wife. That was 3.5 years ago. Now David’s Condiments are sold across Canada and in the U.S.

Your slogan is “Made from the heart for the heart”. Can you tell us more about your emphasis on heart healthy products?
The whole product line is motivated by my family. After seeing the changes required to ensure a healthy lifestyle for my father-in-law, I knew there were more people who would benefit from this kind of salt-free seasoning. Even our friends who had no need to reduce their sodium intake were complimentary of my cooking. Right from the beginning our emphasis was on products that do not contain salt. We really believe in the benefits of a reduced-sodium diet. In fact, a percentage of our profits go back to heart health research, specifically around dietary impact on cardiovascular health.

What has the response been to your low-sodium offering?
We have found that our products appeal to a range of consumers, not just those with low-sodium dietary needs. There are so many shoppers out there who are health conscious and who are simply looking for healthier options for themselves and their families. Many moms want products where they can actually pronounce all the ingredients on the label. They want to feel good about the choices they are making for their kids. We also get positive feedback from a lot of students. They are cooking for themselves for the first time and are trying to eat healthy. Our rubs and marinades make it easy for them to add a lot of flavour in a healthy way.


You are working with Longo’s and Yorkshire Valley Farms to develop an exclusive rub for a new prepared chicken offering. Tell us more about the process of developing a new product.
Longo’s has been a leader in looking to offer a healthier product range in their stores. The partnership between Yorkshire Valley Farms and David’s Condiments was a natural fit. To develop a product, we look at what flavor combinations we like, which pairings work well, and then see how we can create great flavor without adding salt. The first ingredient in so many products is salt, but here’s no salt in our products. We started our business with David’s steak rub, which is a tastier, healthier version of a Montreal steak rub. Then came David’s Spicy, a spicier version of the steak rub. To perfect our flavours, we also take feedback from consumers. They tell us what flavours they are looking for and we figure out how we can create that combination for them.

The Lemon Herb Spice Rub used for the prepared chicken is exclusive to Longo’s. Can you tell us more about the flavours of this recipe?
For this spice rub, we use the powerful flavour of herbs. We’ve added lemon peel, lemon oil, and lemon seasoning, then added garlic flakes and black pepper to bring it life. It’s made with all natural ingredients. Here’s a bonus: because of all the lemon it’s high in vitamin C, providing 10% of the Recommended Daily Allowance.

What is your favourite way to enjoy chicken?
I am cooking all the time, using different ingredients and experimenting. For me, the flavour of a whole organic chicken is night and day compared to conventional. Organic chicken is just so much more flavourful! I like to butterfly a whole chicken. I marinate it with olive oil and a sprinkle of my chicken rub and let it rest overnight in the fridge. When I am ready to cook the chicken, I add fresh lemon juice. Or I like chicken with my Piri Piri rub.

What’s next for David’s Condiments?
Continuing to develop healthy food products that make people happy! I love cooking for people. Food puts smiles on people’s faces. I never got the same reaction from dealing with numbers in accounting. People relate to food; they enjoy good food. Creating that experience for people is so gratifying. A customer came up to me at a demo and revealed his scar from heart surgery. He was so thankful to have a product that complies with his diet. All I can think is “What a fantastic day. I’ve had a positive impact on someone’s life.” For me, helping people to live a healthier life, what could be better than that?

To learn more about David’s Condiments, visit

You can find the new Lemon Herb Spice Rub Whole and Half Chicken in The Kitchen at these Longo’s locations:
Maple Leaf Square, 15 York St, Toronto
York Mills, 808 York Mills Road, Toronto
Aurora, 650 Wellington St E, Aurora
North Oakville, 338 Dundas Street East, Oakville
Leaside, 93 Laird Dr, Toronto
Rutherford, 5283 Rutherford Rd, Woodbridge
Bayview, 7355 Bayview Ave, Thornhill

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Retailer profile: Fortinos


At the Langstaff location, you can choose from one of the many food stations and enjoy complimentary wifi while you dine in the cafe.

As the story goes, John Fortino came to Canada from Cosenza, a town in Southern Italy, at the age of 19. He stopped in Hamilton, Ontario to visit friends on his way to Windsor and never left. In 1961, John opened his first grocery store in the heart of Hamilton.  John’s emphasis was on giving his customers fresh, quality foods at competitive prices with unsurpassed customer service. With a few years of experience under his belt, John brought on seven partners in 1972 and was able to open a second location in Hamilton. Today, Fortinos, the Supermarket with a Heart, serves many Ontario communities, with over20 stores from Stoney Creek to Vaughan. Throughout the years, Fortinos has maintained its emphasis on creating a shopping experience with a sense of exploration and adventure and on offering top quality fresh meats. Each store offers a Butcher Block section, which puts customers in touch directly with the butcher to order special cuts and to learn more about the meat offerings.

The Yorkshire Valley Farms team recently spoke with Tony Ciccarelli, Meat Manager at the newly opened Langstaff location in Vaughn. Tony has been with Fortinos for over 20 years. He got into the meat business as inspired by his older brother. Naturally, we asked Tony about his favourite way to enjoy chicken. With four young children, the Ciccarelli household eats a lot of poultry. For Tony, when you start with good ingredients, you don’t need to do a lot. He prefers a baked boneless skinless chicken breast with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Sounds pretty good to us!


Tony Ciccarelli, Meat Manager at the Langstaff location, has been with Fortinos for over 20 years.

Tony takes great pride in not only his work behind the butcher counter, but in his role as a mentor to his coworkers, and as a customer service representative providing his customers with knowledge and guidance as they make their shopping choices. Staff education is an important component of the Fortinos shopping experience. The Fortinos team is continuously learning about their products so that they can better serve their customers. The introduction of more and more organic offerings over the last few years has provided a great opportunity for staff to learn more as the category grows. As Tony told us, “customers are curious, so the staff need to be equally curious”. As a Manager, Tony talked about how one of the most rewarding parts of his role is helping individuals to grow within their area of interest so that they can build a long-term career. Now we understand why Fortinos is known as the Supermarket with a Heart.

The new Langstaff store offers more than groceries. Beyond the broad range of fresh produce, meats, dairy, breads and pantry staples, there is a cafe area where customers can sit by the window to enjoy a hot meal. Fresh options are prepared daily at the many cafe stations: coffee bar, wood pizza oven, pane fresco, soup bar, hot foods. There’s even complimentary wifi while you shop or dine. Fortinos stores also organize events to support seasonal or cultural initiatives that relate to the communities they are in. For example, at the end of the summer, the Langstaff store will be bringing in bushels of local roma tomatoes for those keen to preserve. Mark your calendars now, because the tomatoes go fast!

To learn more about Fortinos, or find a store neat you, visit


Fortinos offers a broad selection of both fresh and frozen YVF organic products.

Retailer profile: Choices Markets

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We have great news for our friends in British Columbia. Select Yorkshire Valley Farms products are now available at Choices Markets! We recently spoke with Tyler Romano, Marketing Manager at Choices Markets, to learn about the Choices history and operating philosophy that has helped them to become Western Canada’s largest local retailer of natural and organic food.

The beginning of Choices Market was a bit of a happy accident. The first store opened in 1990 in Kitsilano, BC. The initial idea was to offer shoppers a broad range of choices – any kind of food customers wanted – hence the name, Choices Markets. However, in the early days, Choices unintentionally ordered a large shipment of organic rice cakes. The rice cakes sold out in record time! Realizing they were on to something, the Choices team decided to focus on offering healthier, better for you organic options and they haven’t looked back since.

Part of the Choices philosophy is to offer a warm, attractive, family friendly shopping experience. Each store has a dietician on site to answer questions. You can even take a complimentary store tour to get guidance on shopping for specific diets or lifestyle needs. Choices has also been a pioneer in offering a range of gluten-free products, including a dedicated gluten-free production facility (which also acts as a storefront) where they make fresh additive-free and gluten-free products daily.

When it comes to meat options, Choices knew their customers were concerned with two things: knowing where their meat comes from and knowing that the animals have been treated ethically. Offering Yorkshire Valley Farms organic chicken products allows Choices to satisfy both these concerns providing a product that is free of additives and that is ethically raised. The frozen Yorkshire Valley Farms organic chicken nuggets, fillets, and burgers align with the values of the Choices meat department, making our partnership an obvious one!

You can learn more about Choices Markets on their website or visit one of their seven locations: 4 stores in Vancouver, 1 in Burnaby, 1 in Kelowna, and 1 in South Surrey.


Retailer profile: T&T Supermarket

T&T Supermarket is Canada’s largest Asian supermarket chain, featuring a broad selection of uniquely Asian items not found at other grocers. You can shop for noodles from Taiwan, special sauces from Hong Kong, or unusual fruits from southeast Asia. In additional, T&T offers an in-house bakery, an Asian deli, a Sushi bar, and a Chinese BBQ department. And starting this month, you can now also find Yorkshire Valley Farms fresh whole organic chicken at T&T stores across the GTA!


Hanging out in store with the T&T team.

Founded in 1993, T&T just celebrated its 20th anniversary. With 22 locations across Canada, and more in the works, there is much to celebrate. T&T’s commitment to quality and a high level of customer satisfaction has helped them to develop a loyal following, especially among Canadians looking for ingredients that allow them to make their favourite cultural dishes.


This T&T store is decorated for Chinese New Year.

We spoke with Abigail Lu, a member of the T&T head office team, about the importance of organic, her favourite chicken dish, and what we need to know about the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday.

Abigail told us that having organic options for T&T customers is important to them because “No chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, GMO products, growth hormones, medications are used to grow organic products and organic practices are better for the earth.” T&T recognizes that many of their “customers are passionate about health, about leading a healthy lifestyle, and about the impact their food brings to the mother earth.”

Through Abigail we learned a fun fact about the “T&T” name.

“The acronym stands for two of the original investor companies who helped get T&T off the ground. But in the hearts of founders Jack and Cindy Lee, T&T also stands for the names of their two daughters, Tina & Tiffany.”

We talked with Abigail about her favourite chicken dish. Like many of us, our fondest food memories involve family and enjoying a meal together at home. For Abigail, it is the chicken wings with Chinese black mushrooms that her grandma used to make for the family all the time.

With Chinese New Year just a couple of weeks away, we asked Abigail to tell us about some New Year traditions. The New Year, or Spring Festival, is the most important event in the Lunar calendar and represents a time of prosperity, family, tradition and good will.

“On Chinese New Year’s Eve, family members gather around the table for the family reunion dinner. A chicken or duck is prepared, and left whole, including the head and feet, to ensure completeness and avoid misfortune for the coming year.”

Abigail also told us that “When cooking, people generally avoid chopping up fish, leafy greens and other items. In fact, using knives, cleavers or sharp objects during the holiday season is considered unlucky.” As with many traditional Chinese gatherings, food plays an important role. In fact, “Chi fan le mei you?”, “Have you eaten yet?” is a common greeting to guests as they enter a host’s home. T&T will be preparing special dishes for the New Year celebrations on January 31st, so visit the T&T website to learn more and begin preparing for your own New Year’s feast!

To find a T&T store near you, check our Where to Buy page.



T&T shared this popular recipe for Three Cups Chicken with us, so you can explore some new flavours in your own kitchen.


500g boneless chicken meat
2 stalks green onion
5 cloves garlic
8 slices ginger
1/2 cup black sesame oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice wine
1/2 tbsp sugar
few sprigs fresh basil


1. Cut chicken into small pieces and place them in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain and dry.
2. Cut green onions in short pieces. Lightly crush garlic and ginger.
3. Heat sesame oil in a pot. Add green onions, garlic, and ginger and bring to a boil.
4. Add chicken and soy sauce and stew for 2 minutes.
5. Add in rice wine and sugar and stew until the juice thickens.
6. Add basil when ready to serve.

Retailer Feature: The Big Carrot Natural Food Market

Our organic chicken can be found in stores big and small. One of those retailers is a unique worker-owner co-operative in Toronto’s east end that’s been around since 1983. The Big Carrot Natural Food Market is Canada’s first certified organic retailer that started off with a produce department, then  added on their vegetarian, deli and juice bar.

However, The Big Carrot isn’t just a place to fetch your organic groceries, but a place in the community where services such as cooking classes, free nutritional store tours and free weekly lectures on health and the environment take place.

“Our strength is in our people, our standards and our commitment to good food and good information,” says Sarah Dobec, public relations and Education Outreach Coordinator at The Big Carrot.

The Big Carrot Juice Bar

The Juice Bar

In December 2009, the co-op  strengthened its commitment to good organic stewardship by certifying their processing and packaging activities to the new Canadian Organic Standard. They believe that organic methods not only provide us with the healthiest and safest food, but they also involve measures to protect and preserve important resources such as our soil, air and water. Not to mention that organic practices take into account the externalized costs of agriculture and food processing.

The Big Carrot Cash Counter

The Cash Counter

One reason we love to work with The Big Carrot is because we have the same values. We believe that eating organic should be important to everyone and so do they.

“What we eat is one of the most important choices we make everyday. Our food is our medicine. By choosing organic, consumers are supporting a food system that prohibits the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, GMO inputs and the use of hormones and antibiotics in animal products. This equates to healthier meals and in turn, healthier people,” Dobec explains.

The Courtyard at The Big Carrot

The Courtyard

There are plenty of wins in being a co-operative. They work hard at providing accurate, current information about food and their food system, making education of buying organic goods accessible. They also have an opportunity to help grow the industry. Every season they meet new organic producers and can offer more and more choice to their shoppers. As a co-op retailer, they expose consumers to a different, successful business model, which by all means, comes with a few challenges.

“Our biggest challenge would have to be decision-making amongst 70 co-op members in an ever-changing industry and world. However, we do have several committees to disseminate information for the group and help guide policy making and decisions,”  says Heather Barclay, Office Manager of The Big Carrot.

The Big Carrot Family

The Big Carrot Family

The Big Carrot’s new website launches TODAY with exciting news about their new strategic donating plan to help expand the availability of locally produced food called – Nature’s Finest Fund. Another thing we have in common, good food for a good cause! Visit their site here.