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Collette and Jean-Louis Bellemare opened the first Farm Boy location 1981 in their hometown of Cornwall, Ontario. Jean-Louis would drive down to Quebec daily and pick up fresh produce from the local farms and sell them at his modest 300 square foot store on Cumberland Street. Three years later, he and his brother Normand Bellemere, relocated the store to a larger, 5000 square foot space on Sydney Street, allowing the expansion of their produce selection and the addition of a new line of dairy, meat, deli and cheese. The store later added an in-store bakery and bulk food line.
By 1992, the success of Farm Boy allowed the brothers to expand their business to Ottawa, where it was very well received by the local community.
Fast forward nearly 40 years later, Farm Boy now has 33 stores across Ontario, with the newest location having just opened at 777 Bay Street.
Farm-fresh produce and organic, locally sourced foods have always been the cornerstones of Farm Boy. With over 134 partnerships with local vendors and suppliers across Ontario, Farm Boy emphasizes the importance of farm-to-table freshness in their grocery stores. The grocery chain maintains strong ties with local growers and suppliers in Ontario, many of which are ‘hyper-local’, meaning that they are located right here in the city and the surrounding area--some even so close as walking distance from their stores!
"Farm Boy still holds the same values as it did when it was family-run produce stand. We focus on buying local and supporting the growers and producers in the communities we serve," says Farm Boy Executive Chef, Josh Drache.
From local artisan cheese, Ontario dairy, butcher grade Canadian meats, sustainably sourced seafood and locally grown produce, Farm Boy is making farm-fresh, quality ingredients accessible and affordable to Torontonians.
Farm Boy pushes the boundaries when it comes to meeting all dietary needs. From organic, gluten-free, vegan-friendly and halal options, their progressive approach to food is refreshingly different from that of big-box grocers. Their team is dedicated to providing the best quality food at the best prices, while also supporting local businesses.
Farm Boy is also widely known for their prepared meals made from scratch in their commissary kitchen. Headed by their own team of executive chefs and product developers, they use original recipes and the same quality ingredients from their own stores! Artisan pizzas, smashburgers, paninis and stir-frys, among others, are made- to-order by the team of in-store chefs.
The hot table features many ready-to-eat foods such as rotating soups, pizza slices, sandwiches, fresh pastas, seafood, lean proteins, rotating mains and a wide variety of prepared sides and vegetables. They also have a growing selection of vegan-friendly and gluten free options. There is a comprehensive nutritional guide online where you can check for allergens, nutritional facts and the ingredients used in these ready-to-eat dishes.
Farm Boy also offers an impressive salad and cold bar with many healthy vegetarian options.
Farm Boy’s popular private label brand has over 1200 products, with an increasing selection of certified organic and gluten free products being added regularly. Their team of executive chefs and recipe developers work closely with local artisans to ensure delicious, top quality products are made in small batches that meet company standards.
Farm Boy carries only 100% AAA grade Canadian beef, 100% Canadian chicken, 100% Canadian pork, as well as a great selection of certified organic meats and specialty meats from Canadian farmers under their private label line. All Farm Boy beef is cut from Canada AAA, is deeply marbled and trimmed beyond industry standards and is naturally aged for a minimum of 14 days.
About 95% of Farm Boy's seafood products have a Good Catch label on them, meaning that they are sustainably raised and caught in an environmentally friendly way. With fresh deliveries arriving daily from Canada’s coastlines and international shores, Farm Boy offers the best quality seafood, at its peak of freshness. They even have a 100% satisfaction guarantee on their seafood products, so if you’re not happy with your purchase, you can bring it back and get a full refund.
With over 300 cheese varieties, there is a wide selection of artisan cheese sourced from local farmstead cheese makers, including handcrafted small batch cheese from Blyth Farms, Gunns Hill, Mountain Oak and St. Albert, to name a few.
Farm Boy is making it possible for Torontonians to buy quality, affordable farm-to-table groceries, without having to venture out of the city. The Canadian food retailer has announced that 5 more locations will be opening throughout Toronto by 2021. Farm Boy's 34th location at Yonge and Soudan is also set to open later this fall. Check out this list of the stores planned for the grocer’s expansion for a Farm Boy near you!