Happy 20th Anniversary Nature’s Emporium!

One of our beloved retailers is celebrating a milestone that can’t go without sharing; the 20th anniversary of Nature’s Emporium!

The Nature's Emporium Family

A Costume Themed Nature’s Emporium Family Portrait

Over the last 20 years of being in retail, there have been many important lessons learned by the Nature’s Emporium family. The one that sticks out the most for them is realizing the profound value of trust. Ryan Dennis, Director of Communications, describes how it is involved in their day-to-day business,

“Our customers come to us for so many reasons – personal health or for a loved one, concern for the environment are but just a few. They entrust us with tremendously personal information and needs. By responding to that gesture with the respect and humility it warrants, we give them a reason to come back – and we gain the opportunity to build meaningful relationships that span through the years!”

Inside Nature's Emporium

Inside Nature’s Emporium

By playing a major role in the organic movement in the GTA, Nature’s has been able to see first-hand the growth of the industry. Dennis explains that their gratitude steams from the people they’re surrounded by,

“Really, this would not have been possible but for the steadfast support and effort of our incredible team, our amazing vendors and – more than anything – our customers, who have been with us every step of the way. This is truly an accomplishment that we’ve made together. The fact that we’re all able to share in more fresh, vibrant natural & organic foods than ever before, at prices that get better every day – that’s the real reward.”

The Nature's Emporium Family

The Nature’s Emporium Family

Even with 20 years of experience under their belt, Nature’s faces challenges every day, from seasonal availability to varying rates of public awareness to supply fluctuations. However, they don’t let these challenges stop them; they’ve taken these as opportunities to grow and improve the way their customers are served, as Dennis describes,

“We look for unique avenues to reach out to new audiences, through efforts like our three-year nutrition mentorship role with the NHLPA (National Hockey League Players’ Association) and Allstate in their “All Canadians Mentorship Program”. We build strong partnerships with local growers and suppliers [like Yorkshire Valley Farms!]. It’s a daily adventure, and we love it.”

Every year, Nature’s Emporium throws a holiday party for its staff members. This year, not only did they celebrate their 20 year mark but they also took home their third win in a row of the Brock Elliott Memorial Award for Excellence in Retail at the 2013 CHFA (Canadian Health Food Association) Awards. It doesn’t stop there! Nature’s is also celebrating the opening of the brand new Vaughan location!

Celebrating the Nature's Emporium Way!

Celebrating the Nature’s Emporium Way!

Here’s to 2014 and the next 20 years in organic retail to our old friends, Nature’s Emporium!

Spending the Holidays with Fidel Gastro’s Matt Basile

During the summer we had the pleasure of working with Matt Basile of Fidel Gastro’s. We got to see first-hand how he jumps from Priscilla (his beloved food truck) to Lisa Marie (his beloved restaurant), while filming Rebel Without A Kitchen on Travel + Escape  in between. It got us thinking, what would the holidays look like for a guy like him? So, we asked!

The Original Lisa Marie Family

The Original Lisa Marie Family

Not too far off from his day-to-day life, being surrounded by food and people is what Matt looks forward to the most once the holidays come around. Some of his favourite dishes he’ll bring to the table are lemon butter roasted turkey breast, slow roasted beef tenderloin and grilled large shrimps in tomato gravy. We sure would love to have a seat at his Thanksgiving or Christmas table!

Since turkey is usually the main event at any holiday meal, we asked Matt to give us some advice on how to make it with a hint of Olé!

“Make sure you season the turkey well before it goes in the oven and that you’re basting the turkey every 45 minutes to an hour after the first hour of cooking.”

A Fidel Gastro's Yorkshire Valley Farms Organic Turkey

A Fidel Gastro’s Yorkshire Valley Farms Organic Turkey

After sitting down from a day of cooking, with a glass of wine in-hand, Matt will set all his worries aside and focus on what’s right in front of him; family, friends and food.

His most memorable holiday moment was the first time he hosted Christmas for his family, just a few years ago. Matt says,

“I did all the food planning,  the Chris Kringle and even the sorry looking Christmas tree. It felt good to give back.”
Matt continued giving back to his family and sharing the holiday spirit, this past Thanksgiving. He and his partner hosted both of their families at Lisa Marie, which brought both sides together to celebrate.
Fidel Gastro's Matt Basile & Kyla Zanardi

Fidel Gastro’s Matt Basile & Kyla Zanardi

Turkey Time With Tim deWit, Our Organic Turkey Farmer

The time of year has come when our organic turkeys are available to be cooked up, roasted and devoured amongst family and friends. We figured what better way to kick off the turkey season than to bring you our organic turkey farmers, Tim and Katrina deWit.

The deWits and their three young children operate an organic turkey, sheep and cash crop farm in Oxford County, just west of the town of Ingersoll. Tim and Katrina have been in the turkey growing business for 12 years and for the last 3, they’ve been growing organic turkeys for Yorkshire Valley Farms.

deWit family

The deWit Family

Tim and his family got involved in organic turkey farming because they enjoy the challenge of trying out new ways of raising turkeys or growing crops. Not to mention, it’s a sustainable model when they can grow both livestock and crops organically. The deWits believe that organic farming fits well with their farming practices and they’re always looking at new opportunities to supply healthy food to growing markets. A perfect fit for Yorkshire Valley Farms!

deWit Farm

The deWit Farm

Why is it important to buy organic turkey for your holiday meals? Take it from the organic turkey farmer himself, it comes down to how the turkey has been raised.

“When you are buying an organic turkey you are getting a bird that has been able to live out its life as nature intended it to.  Organic turkeys have access to pasture, they’ve been fed certified organic feed, free from GMO grains, pesticide contamination, and antibiotics.  Consumers should also know that when they are buying a Yorkshire Valley Farm organic turkey, they are supporting a local family farm in Ontario.  95% of the labour involved in growing our organic turkeys are done by our family.”

Knowing how stressful it can be to prepare a turkey, and how to cook the turkey without drying it out, Tim gave us the inside scoop on the deWit way of holding those juices in.

“Our family’s favourite way to prepare a whole bird is to deep fry it in a turkey deep fryer.  It may sound unhealthy but deep frying actually seals the turkeys natural flavor and juices in making for a great tasting bird in about and hour.  A lot of turkey tips including how to deep fry at www.turkeyrecipes.ca.”

There’s never a dull moment when working on a turkey farm, especially for Tim and Katrina. Every so often, their kids love to help out mom and pop in the barn. Tim shares a moment when his daughter, Charlotte, spent a day at work with him.

“My youngest daughter (who was 4yrs old at the time) was in the barn with me shortly after receiving our day old baby poults from the hatchery.  She loves to help me in the barn with the baby turkeys and will spend hours playing with them.  I didn’t realize this but she actually hid a baby turkey under her sweater when she left the barn.  My wife Katrina called me a few hours later after she discovered her playing with this turkey up in her room.”

Charlotte deWit

Charlotte deWit