Tag Archives: organic

Visit to Aqua Greens: The Future of Urban Agriculture

The Healthy Butcher and RealFoodToronto.com‘s team visits Aqua Greens Aquaponics; Toronto’s first fully sustainable, aquaponic facility. (http://www.aquagreens.ca)

Aquaponics is a food production system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.


In normal aquaculture, excretions from the animals being raised can accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity. In an aquaponic system, water from an aquaculture system is fed to a hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down by nitrification bacteria into nitrates and nitrites, which are utilized by the plants as nutrients. The filtered water is then recirculated back to the aquaculture system. Continue reading

The Ultimate Guide to Canadian Meat Labels

By Mario Fiorucci, Co-Founder of The Healthy Butcher

In today’s urban lifestyle, consumers, generally, are disconnected from the original source of their food.  As such, food labels play an integral role towards understanding how a product came to be. Unfortunately, marketers have run rampant for decades, fabricating terms, seals, emblems, and photos that form mental associations of idyllic farm settings, even if the product came out of the worst of factory farms. Confusion is at an all time high. Organic, Grass fed, Grass finished, Corn fed, Grain Fed, Free Range, Pasture Raised, Farm Raised, Natural, Naturally Raised, Antibiotic Free, Raised without Growth Hormones, Sustainable, Humane, Ethical, Certified Angus, Kobe, Berkshire… the list of adjectives to describe meat go on and on. What do they mean?

In this issue we will take you through the most common terms found in Canada to describe meat, and what they actually mean. It is important to note that when googling any of these terms, you will more than likely land on a on U.S. web page, which causes Canadians even more confusion because the terms have different meanings in the U.S. or other countries.

Without further ado, The Healthy Butcher’s Ultimate Guide to Canadian Meat Labels…

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Gingerichs’ Organic Eggs

Originally written and published by Sarah for A Transparent Life Blog on March 12, 2012

Introduction

It’s amazing how little you know about the people you know.

RFT-ATL-Blog_img_3068Don and Sharon Gingerich were friends of my parents when I was a kid, and at times they were our babysitters, too. They live on the same side road as we did, a few country blocks away.

They are the parents of eight, grandparents of fifteen, and the proud caretakers of hundreds of “happy chickens,” as Sharon emphatically calls their flock.

I knew the Gingerichs produced and sold organic eggs, but what I only recently found out was just how rare their operation is, and how well they have established themselves in the organic foods community across Southwestern Ontario.

The Gingerichs have a small organic egg farm. Though you might have some concept of what that looks like, the reality might be more impressive than you imagine.

For starters, there are the regulations imposed on every egg farmer. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) stipulates that every egg sold in stores in Ontario must be graded according to federal standards at a facility authorized by the federal government. Official grading stations are often far from small egg farms, and transporting eggs is costly.

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The Healthy Butcher’s Perfect Turkey

“Thanksgiving, man. Not a good day to be my pants.”
Kevin James, Comedian

Click here to download The Healthy Butcher’s Perfect Turkey recipe.
*Requires Adobe PDF Reader.

 

Introduction

Our goal in this article is simple: To help you and your family achieve a juicy, succulent, out-of-this-world tasting turkey; the centre piece of most Thanksgiving dinners and other special occasions. We start with a quality turkey humanely raised without the use of antibiotics and growth hormones from The Healthy Butcher.  We then take the turkey, pamper it in a salty bath, stuff it with a classic stuffing if your heart so desires, and massage it with an herbed butter before roasting it to perfection.

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A Real Guide to Cheese

By Mario Fiorucci, Co-Founder of The Healthy Butcher

People who know nothing about cheeses reel away from Camembert, Roquefort, and Stilton because the plebeian proboscis is not equipped to differentiate between the sordid and the sublime.
Harvey Day

Foreword.

yThis article is geared towards people that eat cheese, love cheese, but essentially are confused by the myriad of options available to them in this expanding dairy world. We will work through a brief history, a breakdown of cheese types, other commonly asked information, and end with a world tour of cheeses.

Enjoy.

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Real Recipe: The Healthy Butcher’s Famous Pulled Pork

The Healthy Butcher’s Famed Recipe.

 

Introduction

The history of pulled pork is extensive, with most recipes originating from the southern U.S., where it is typical for most households to have some sort of homemade smoker in their backyard.  Pulled Pork is often made exclusively in a smoker, slowly cooked over coals for several hours.

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Chicken Sex

By Mario Fiorucci, Co-Founder of The Healthy Butcher

This article was originally published in Tonic Magazine November 2011

 

Introduction

I have to start by admitting that I am not an expert in the field of pediatrics (although my wife would tell you that I think I’m an expert on everything).  But, the topic of early maturity in girls instantly tickled my spider sense because I have a three-year old daughter.  A few months ago, Pediatrics – the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics – published a report out of Copenhagen University which showed that between 1991 and 2006, the average age of breast development in girls (called thelarche, which is the first sign of impending puberty) – decreased from 10.88 years to 9.86 years.  Along that theme, there are no shortages of similarly concluding studies;  another I came across found that the average age of first menstruation (called menarche) decreased from 15 in the 19th century to 13.5 in the 1960s, to 12!

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Organic Can Save the World

Written by Guest Blogger Coach Mark Smallwood, Executive Director of the Rodale Institute.

This article was originally published in HuffPost on 04/03/2012

 

Introduction

Buying organic is a powerful change-making action, but it’s also a relatively easy one. You put the organic food in your cart, hand over the cash, and head home with a bag full of food you can feel good about. Defending your choice to support organic can sometimes be a little trickier. Early on, the trend was to attack the quality of organically grown food–bug-eaten lettuce and scabby apples. In just 20 years, the criticism has become the polar opposite, that organic food is gourmet and only for the rich.

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Veal: The Greener (and Rosier) Side

By Mario Fiorucci, Co-Founder of The Healthy Butcher

This article was originally published in Edible Toronto Magazine Winter 2009/2010 Edition

 

Introduction

volume32-veal_photo1This article was the cover story in Edible Toronto’s Winter 2009/2010 edition.  Gail Gordon Oliver, the Publisher and Editor of the magazine, asked me to write an 800 word article on “Red Veal”, a meat that has recently experienced a surge in popularity in the U.S..  Well, 2200 words later I emailed her an article and hoped she wouldn’t notice that it was almost triple the length that was allotted in her Winter edition and only briefly discussed Red Veal.  Thankfully, Gail realized the importance of the topic, published it and made it the cover story.

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On the raising of Beef, Cows and the definition of “Grass-fed”

Introduction

The term “Grass-fed” has been thrown around by retailers far too often as of late.  In this article we give you our definition of “grass-fed”.  We’ll start with some fundamentals on how beef cows are raised, then move into what “grass-fed” beef should be.

RealFoodToronto-Grassfed_Beef_Grazing

How are Beef conventionally raised?

Conventional beef production has three stages. The first is called “cow-calf.” Producers maintain herds of mature cows, mate them every 12 months and raise the calves to weaning age (about 6 months). Stage two is called “stocker” or “backgrounding.” The weaned calves are raised mainly on pasture, along with wheat or oats, for another 6 to 12 months. The beef can gain three pounds a day, reaching 750 pounds before the third stage. This is the “feedlot” stage, where beef are generally kept in confinement and fed mainly corn and grain until they reach the market weight of around 1,400 pounds.

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