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Muddy Crops knows produce. They're a Toronto-based fruit and vegetable supplier that source and deliver rare and difficult to find fruits and vegetables, unique tropical fruit and pasture-raised meat and eggs.
They don't get their international produce from the Food Terminal like many other Toronto food businesses and suppliers do; instead, they use a private company that source specifically for them, and can thereby choose small, international farmers that support sustainable agriculture. This feeds into how they built their business around pillars like supporting local (and smaller), regenerative agriculture, sustainability, and high quality.
Muddy Crops sells directly to consumers, but they also do a bit of wholesale with restaurants in Toronto, often for things that they have a hard time finding, like obscure fruits for special dishes, edible flowers, high-quality vegetables, etc. You can go to their pop-ups, visit their storefront or get a subscription box. If you submit an order over $45, you can get free delivery (from Highway 427 to Victoria Park and from Steeles down to the lake), and folks outside of Toronto can contact them directly for special rates to receive their produce.
They started their business in 2012, so you might recognize them from their old branding under Berry Fresh. In 2019, however, they had to go through a rebranding because Berry Fresh is too familiar of a name, a Berry Fresh in California who was moving to Toronto litigated them and Muddy Crops was born (a reference to Toronto -- "The Big Mud, or "Muddy York"). During the pandemic, they started an online delivery focusing on bringing these specialty products to households (not just restaurants), and they've been operating as a pop-up/in-store and delivery hybrid ever since. They have a small storefront at 100 Stockyards, which is where they do all their packing, but they do have a small retail section and their summer hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturdays, and closed on Sundays.
In the summer, they're doing their traditional pop-up blitz, you can follow their Instagram or check out their website to see when they'll be on your side of town, but every Tuesday, they'll be at June Rowlands Park in Davisville, on Thursdays they'll be at the summer Financial District pop-up on Bay and Wellington, and they'll be in Roncesvalles from Fridays to Sundays on the corner of Westminster, next to Joe's Variety & Gifts.
One major factor for why Muddy Crops like to get their goods from small farms is that they can get unique products; small farmers are more often willing to play around with crops you can't traditionally get in Ontario, so after Muddy Crops sources the seeds, the farmers they work with plant them and give Muddy Crops some really cool products. Ultimately, by supporting local farms and diversifying their crops to get international offerings, they're hoping the same local farmers will be able to build up their greenhouse technology to be able to continue to source locally, even during the harsh Canadian winters.
Another aspect of their business is exotic fruit sourcing which they just started this year. As a daughter of immigrant parents, there are many mornings I've spent in a farmer's market or high-end grocery store hunting for the quality and variety of fruit my parents and aunts had when they were younger, it's a Herculean task that usually ends up in failure, so it's the ultimate gift to be able to give them a taste of home. If Muddy Crops can't successfully plant them in Ontario, they can still source them abroad.
Muddy Crops may not be the cheapest fruit and vegetable supplier in Toronto. Still, their commitment to making sure that their produce supports all facets of the farm-to-table community is high-quality and that their farmers are being championed; it is worth the extra dollar to bring honesty back into what we're eating. Some cool things you can currently get at Muddy Crops include Atemoya (or pawpaw fruit) from Brazil, Concubine of the Sun mangoes (or, Guifei) from Hainan, Brown Turkey Figs from Brazil, and doughnut peaches right here from Ontario.
Check out Muddy Crop's website to see what delicious produce you can get your hands on!