Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Food Resources in Lower Mainland / Vancouver Region - Updated June 2012

Greater Vancouver map via Google.

One of the hardest parts of eating local and healthy animal proteins is sourcing the products, especially when it comes to to grass fed beef, pastured poultry products and pastured dairy. They are several farms in the Fraser Valley that supply grass fed beef and pastured chicken, but many of them require purchasing an entire quarter or half of the cow. If you're like me, you don't have the money or the freezer space to make such a large purchase, not to mention the time required to make the three hour round trip drive to go and get the products.

Instead, I have been sourcing out local vendors and suppliers (within the Lower Mainland of Vancouver) - grocers, home delivery services and other vendors that supply healthy dairy, meat and poultry products. This list will grow as I find more local retailers. If you have a trusted source for local, ethically raised animal products, let me know in the comments!

Cows at the Blue Heron French Cheese Company. Tillamook, Oregon


The distribution & sale of raw milk has been illegal in Canada since 1971 so no raw milk sources are listed. Government regulations in Canada prohibit the use of synthetic hormones on dairy cows and prohibit the distribution of milk containing antibiotics (even trace amounts). As well, a guideline set by Agriculture Canada requires that all dairy cows have access to pasture and fresh air. According to the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, "milk is the most heavily safety-tested food in the Canadian food supply system". The only thing that seems to differ between Canadian organic dairy versus non-organic dairy is that organic dairy is obtained from the milk of animals which are fed organic feed (free of pesticides, fertilizers and GMO's). With those facts, I'm not sure organic dairy is worth the extra money for so little added benefit. Conventional milk in Canada is pretty darn good already. Regardless, I have still listed a few sources for products I love! For more on the Canadian dairy supply, check here.

- Avalon Dairy (Vancouver, B.C.): Organic milk and dairy products. Milk packed in reusable or returnable glass bottles to reduce waste. Available at most retail grocery chains and via Organics@Home and Spud home delivery services. This is the only source I have been able to find for non-homogenized whole milk (also called Standard Milk).

- Gort's Gouda (Salmon Arm, B.C.): Although Gort's Gouda is not available in retail outlets in the Lower Mainland, I included it in this list because I absolutely adore their products. My aunt lives in Salmon Arm so I always pick some up while I am there visiting. Gort's is newly certified organic and makes raw milk Gouda, Maasdammer and feta cheese out milk produced by pasture raised, 100% grass and hay fed cows. They accept online orders within Canada, minimum $45 purchase required, and offer free shipping in Western Canada and the Maritimes. They also sell goat's milk Gouda.

- L'Ancetre Cheese Factory (Quebec): Not local, but a good source of organic, raw milk cheeses. They also produce quality butter and pasteurized milk cheeses. Selected varieties are available at Planet Organic, IGA and at most better grocers. Also available via Organics@Home and Spud home delivery services.

- Kerry Gold: Not even close to being local since it's imported from Ireland, but it's the ONLY butter I use. Kerry Gold is pure Irish butter made of milk from grass-fed cows. Unfortunately, Kerry Gold is not sold in Canada. I get mine from Trader Joe's in Bellingham, WA. but it's also available across Washington State at Whole Foods, QFC and Costco.

- Les Amis Du Fromage (Vancouver, B.C.): Sells artisan cheese and butter, including unpasteurized (raw) cheese products.


- Rabbit River Farms (Richmond, B.C.): Chickens range free on organic pasture and are fed certified organic feed. When indoors, they are cage free. Available at IGA, Save On Foods, some Real Canadian Superstore locations, Choices, Whole Foods and via Organics@Home and Spud. See here for more retail locations. Beware of the "free run" eggs they also sell, which come from chickens with no access to the outdoors or pasture.


- A Bread Affair Baugetterie (Langley, B.C.): Large selection of organic artisan breads, including Whole Wheat Sourdough, Spelt and 6 Grain. Also have several delicious breads certified at least 85% organic including my favourite Roasted Garlic & Cheese, Sprouted Wheat and Cranberry Semolina. Don't forget about their 100 Mile loaf, which is made of ingredients sourced within 100 miles of their bakery in Langley. Available at their Bakery, Planet Organic, Hopcott Premium Meats and various Farmer's Markets. Farmer's Market Schedule.

- Gesundheit Bakery (Abbotsford, B.C.): Preservative, oil and sugar free bread and bun products. They also have a line of yeast free and gluten free breads. Huge selection, including my fave Black Russian Rye! Gesundheit is a Farmer's Market staple around the Lower Mainland. Check their market schedule here.

- Silver Hills Bakery (Abbotsford, B.C.): Breads & bagels made with organic sprouted grain. Many products are wheat free. Available at most grocery chains, including IGA, Thrifty's, Safeway and Save On Foods.Check the store locater for more retail locations.


- Honey Bee Centre (Surrey, B.C.): One of the only honey bee farms in the Greater Vancouver region. All their honey is pure and unpasteurized. Available for sale at their country store on 176 Street & Fraser Hwy, online, or at various Farmer Markets around the Lower Mainland.


*Government legislation does not permit the use of growth hormones in any poultry, lamb, pork and bison sold in Canada. Although not specified below, all poultry, lamb, pork and bison products will be hormone free.*

- Bradner Farms Chicken (Abbotsford, B.C.): Their certified organic chickens have three times more living space than the average chicken and access to the outdoors. Available in the frozen meat section at Save On Foods. (The Bradner Family Farm also supplies the milk for Avalon Dairy. In 1999, they became the first suppliers of certified organic fluid milk in Western Canada!)

- Empire Valley Beef (Williams Lake, B.C.) Grass fed and finished beef products. Available at selected community Farmer's Markets through the fall and via Organics@Home delivery service. Check here for their market schedule.

- The Honest Butcher (Vancouver, B.C.) "100% local, sustainable, naturally raised, whole animal butchery", selling "Stocks, broths, sausages, charcuterie, pates, terrines, raw dog food". I haven't been myself but have heard good things from others. A commenter below also recommended them.

- Hopcott Premium Meats (Pitt Meadows, B.C.): Partially pasture raised, hormone and anti-biotic free beef from the family farm, located right next door to the meat shop. Dry aged 21-28 days. The beef is not certified organic and not fed a diet of 100% grass, but still better quality than what you would find in your grocers meat case. Hopcott also sells antibiotic free pork and poultry from the Fraser Valley and a line of nitrate free deli meats.

- Meridian Meats & Seafood (Maple Ridge & Port Coquitlam, B.C.): Quality butcher shop offering pasture raised, grass fed beef and lamb, free run, cage free chicken, free range, non-medicated turkey, and pasture raised (grain finished) bison. Animals raised in the Fraser Valley and interior.

- Organic World's Specialty Meats (Maple Ridge, B.C.): Sells pre-packaged fresh and frozen organic beef, bison, chicken, turkey, pork, seafood and occasionally, wild game (elk, boar & pheasants!). Very, very good prices.

- Pasture to Plate (Chilcotin Valley, B.C.): Pasture raised, grass fed organic beef and lamb, pork and poultry. Only available at a few independent retailers in Vancouver, including Drive Organics on Commercial Drive. See here for retail locations.

- Redl's Home Grown Beef (William's Lake, B.C.): Redl's beef is pasture raised and free off antibiotics, pesticides, hormones, and CORN! Redl's is a staple at my local farmer's market and many others around the Lower Mainland. During the winter Redl's can be found at the Coquitlam and Abbotsford markets. Check here for their market schedule.

- Thomas Reid Farms (Langley, B,C.): Free run, certified organic chicken. Available at Capers, Choices, Thrifty Foods and via Organics@Home delivery service. See here for more retailers.


As Vancouverites we are so lucky to have so many local sources of fresh, wild caught, sustainable seafood. Fresh, sustainable seafood is widely available in most grocery stores, as well as fish markets. For an even better experience, take a trip to a local fisherman's warf and buy direct from the fishers. When shopping for seafood, always make sure the fish you bought is labelled "WILD". Check the SeaChoice Seafood Guide to know what is the best choice for sustainability when buying fish and seafood. I buy a lot of my fresh seafood at IGA and Thrifty Foods (both support the Ocean Wise Program), as well as my local fish market.

Fisherman's Wharf's

- False Creek Fisherman's Wharf (Vancouver): 1505 West 1st Avenue, North-West of Granville Island, between the Burrard Street Bridge and the Granville Street Bridge.

- Steveston Fish Market(Richmond): 3800 Bayview Street, Steveston Village, Richmond.

Farmers Markets:

- Fresh Off the Boat (Port Coquitlam, B.C.): Large selection of locally, wild caught, sustainable seafood & fish. Check here for their market schedule. Ocean Wise supporter.

Fish Markets

- Blue Seas Fish Market (North Vancouver): 2011 Lonsdale Ave, North Vancouver. Supports OceanWise.

- Granville Island Public Market (Vancouver): Several seafood merchants including Finest At Sea and The Lobster Man on Mast Tower Road and Longliner Seafoods, The Salmon Shop and Seafood City inside the market.

- The Crab Shop (North Vancouver): 2455 Dollarton Hwy, North Vancouver.

- Inlet Seafoods Ltd. (Port Moody): 236 Newport Drive, Port Moody (NewPort Village). Supports OceanWise.

- 7Seas: Locations in South Surrey and Kitsilano (Vancouver). Supports OceanWise and SeaChoice.

More to be added...


  1. I don't know if this meets all of the requirements you're looking for but Birchwood Dairy in Abbotsford has some of the yummiest home made ice cream I've ever had. They have other dairy products as well as local produce.

  2. Olympic makes some organic dairy product - yogurt, sour cream.

    Thrifty's sells Rabbit River eggs as well :)

    That is all.

  3. What a fabulous resource! Thanks, Jill! Will definitely be using this my next trip up there! Love your blog.

  4. My trusted source for ethically raised animal products is La Cense Beef. They might not be local to some, but you can order your Grass fed Beef online and they deliver it to you. I work with La Cense but it is so convenient to get my meat from them. They always deliver quickly and efficiently.

  5. Tori - Thanks for the link, however they are American based. I'm in Canada. Kind of useless to me and most readers of my blog.

  6. Sunshine Coast Turf Farm is a variety of seashore paspalum which exhibits significant salt tolerance and grows in a wide variety of soil types and PH levels.

  7. i am looking for a test kitchen and commercial bakeryin the greater vancouver area. do you know of any or where i can look. not much luck in google.

  8. Thank you, thankyou, thank you for putting this together and sharing it!!!! Great info. I'm going to share this post/yourblog with the followers on my blog
    I look forward to reading more.

  9. Thanks for the support! I haven't updated in some time but will be getting back at it after summer vacation. Stay tuned!

  10. We just moved to Vancouver, and this is a wonderful list! Thank you for taking the time to put it together! I found Sumas Mountain Farms online - I'd love to get your opinion on them, as I was thinking of placing an order. Again, thank you for the list!

  11. You're quite mistaken that dairy cows in Canada are required access to the outdoors. Here is a PDF of the Canadian Code of Practice for Dairy Cattle: It says that heifers and dry cows are "often" given access to the outdoors, but "other practices may be used" and "little research has been done to examine the effects of housing on the welfare of dry cows/heifers." Essentially, it's common practice, but it's not required by law. And the statement that it's common practice must be taken with a grain of salt, as it's not cited.

    Need more proof? Check out Eco Dairy, producers of Vitala milk products right here in BC. Their cows are free-run (not free-range) kept entirely in an indoors facility. This is legal, and they even try to spin it as a good thing.

    To get organic certification, dairy cows must be allowed access to the outdoors. Here's some of the actual wording from the requirements:

    "Herbivores shall have access to pasture during the grazing season and access to the open air at other times whenever weather conditions permit. Calculated on the basis of dry matter intake, the consumption of grazed forage during the grazing season of the region shall represent a minimum of 30% of the total forage intake during this period for ruminants that have reached sexual maturity. On all farms a minimum of 0.13 ha (1/3 acre) per animal unit must be devoted to grazing. (One animal unit = one cow or one bull or two calves (each 225 to 500 kg) or four ewes and their lambs or six does and their kids."

  12. &&

    "Herbivores shall have access to pasture, during the grazing season, and to the open air or outdoor exercise area at other times weather permitting. Exceptions to the pasture requirement are allowed for
    a. breeding males;
    b. the final finishing phase -- when cattle are confined for finishing, there shall be at least 23 m2/animal;
    c. young animals when their health and welfare are jeopardized."


    "Guidance 6.8.7
    Wherever possible, dairy cattle should have access to pasture in the summer months: research has shown this can reduce the incidence of various health problems such as mastitis, metritis and lameness.(5) It is recommended that cattle be pastured for a minimum of 120 days per year during the appropriate seasons. Shade must be provided to prevent heat stress during hot summer days.

    Pasture should supply the majority of the cattle's dry matter intakes and nutritional requirements during the grazing season. When environmental or growing conditions are not conducive to pasturing cattle, the cattle should have access to pasture or outdoor exercise paddocks at least 4 to 5 hours a day. Supplementary forage must be provided ad lib where pasture conditions become inadequate to meet body condition needs of cows."

    Sources from the PDFs linked here:

    There IS a difference in the quality of animal husbandry between conventional and organic dairy. Organic dairy isn't perfect, as my standards for how I'd like to see cows treated are higher (30% of forage from grazing during grazing season is too low) but they're a sight better than conventional dairy, which has no regulations whatsoever on how much the cows must graze.

    Gort's Gouda is an excellent resource and has all grass-fed cows, but I find it impractical to order $45 worth of dairy in advance.

    I'm still searching for local dairy carried in stores that meets my needs. So far I've found Morningstar Farms/Qualicum Cheeseworks ( The cows are outdoors grazing during the day, but are kept inside at night. They are fed eight pounds of grain per day--I would prefer none, since grain is bad for ruminants, but it's the best I've found so far. If anyone knows of completely grass-fed, pasture-raised dairy products, I would be there in a heartbeat.

  13. Oh, and on the topic of resources, check out The Honest Butcher in Kits. All their meat is pasture-raised, the beef is grass-finished (really hard to find that!) all local and sustainable, and he practices whole butchery, which means you can get any part! I've tried some cuts of meat that were new to me, and they were all delicious. I can't believe I'd never had crackling before!

    Market Meats also has some free range meats, and some of their beef is grass-finished (ground and stew cuts) while the rest is grass-fed but grain-finished. They do have some other interesting meats, like buffalo and game. I got wild boar bacon there!

  14. Hi, Thank you so much for posting this! I know there is a honey farm in Pitt Meadows as well! Not sure of the name. My Dad and his brothers grow cranberries in Pitt Meadows and make LOCALLY chocolate covered cranberries and blueberries! Sweet and dried without ANY added sugar (using pineapple juice) They are sold in the local section of Save-On. Called The Berry Boys. :)

  15. The Village Cheese in Armstrong also does terrific cheese - an unpasturised cheddar to die for - and you can buy on line


Related Posts with Thumbnails