Grocery shopping in Ontario: a skyrocketing price thread

My local chain grocery stores mostly sell greenhouse tomatoes, so the only way I can get good tomatoes in London, ON is through the Farmers’ Market, one of 2 produce stands at the regular market building, or from country markets outside the city. Occasionally, there are 3 litre baskets of local Ontario tomatoes at the grocery stores, but they often don’t look quite as fresh or ripe as the tomatoes at the markets.

ah forgot I got a pint of cherry tomatoes too-- was trying to figure out what was missing out of the $ after $9 for the eggs & zuke was deducted. I think the potatoes were $2.50 so rest $3-ish each.

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Pringles Snack Stack

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I live on the outskirts of Markham. There are several farmer stands. There are 2 grocery stores that advertise they sell local veggies. I often see the framers marked trucks de,ivering in the back. So i go i to the grocery store and as an example cauliflower is on special at 2.50, visit the farmers stand its 4.99. I like to support the local farmer but i like to support myself first.


Wow those eggs are expensive. I can buy local eggs here in Ottawa for $5.50 CAD so factor in the exchange rate you are probably paying way more than we are.

I bought a basket of Ontario peaches at the Byward Market in Ottawa last weekend. The basket I bought is 2 L and I paid $9. I don’t remember how much I paid for peaches last year but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t that much. I went through them when I got home and they all had small bruises on them and the stones were rotting so I won’t be buying them at that farm stand again.

The Lansdowne farmers market in Ottawa used to have a stall for Warner Farms from Beamsville, ON and the only thing they sold was fruit from Southern Ontario but I wasn’t terribly happy with the quality of their fruit. My quest for Ontario peaches (or any Ontario fruit) continues.


Local Ontario stone fruit varies so much depending on whether the vendor is storing it properly, and on the weather while the fruit was developing. I buy around 20 l of nectarines and 20 l of peaches in 2 or 3 l baskets each year.

I have good luck from the truck from Niagara that comes to my local farmers’ market, and typically good luck at Farm Boy and some independent markets. They let me down sometimes, too.

The fruit from southern Ontario varies a lot.

Out of what’s available to me, I like the fruit from Blenheim, near Chatham, but they do not grow or supply as much fruit as Niagara. The peaches and cherries from Arkona closer to Sarnia and Grand Bend are usually good, but they probably don’t send them as far as Ottawa.

I know the strawberries from Île D’Orléans are often nicer than Ontario Strawberries. They cost around a dollar more per quart in Toronto, at the neighbourhood produce shops in Koreatown, Greektown and Little Italy.

I tend to like tomatoes from St Thomas and Norfolk County.



My farmers’ market experience to date this summer is that, for the most part near where I live in north Toronto (3 markets within driving distance), it ain’t up to much: mostly average to inferior quality at prices substantially above the better supermarkets. FarmBoy, for example, offers mainly decent fruit and veggie quality compared to what I’ve found at farmers’ markets. And some of those markets seem to have more fast food vendors than mainstay fruit and veggie sellers. An absurd $8 pretzel at one outdoor market!!!? No, thanks. It’s not worth the drive, not to mention the accursed parking.


I’m joining the exodus out of Toronto. One thing I’ll enjoy is making trips to nearby farms.

Markets have always had food brokers. Some rely on the captive audience feeling pressured to buy. When a guy looked at my spouse with a straight face and said, “that’ll be $45 for the honey,” well that was my breaking point.


Where are you heading, Googs?


I avoid the gimmicky stalls. Some places are one and done.

At my go-to Friday morning farmers’ market in the burbs of London, I have gotten to know 5 or 6 vendors over the years.

There are around 25 stalls most weeks. I’m a regular at around 8 stalls. I avoid 3 or 4 vendors.

The Perth County Slow Food Market on Sundays in Stratford is a different experience. More gourmet, pricier goods overall, and some frozen prepared meals I don’t see in London. It costs more, but the value is quite high.

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Just over the border to Pickering. It seems there’s food there.

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Tate’s cookies have been $6.99/ pack (reduced from $8.99) at Farm Boy for the last 3 weeks at least. We have liked all the varieties we have tried. Only problem is, they’re addictive.

Metro charges $8.99/pack.

Back ribs are currently on special at Farm Boy for $4.99/lb. I suspect this special will only last for the week. Regular price is $8.99/lb.

Shout out to Farm Boy’s Quick Sale Produce section at the Masonville location in London. I purchased around a kg of ripe heirloom tomatoes for $5. The non-reduced heirloom tomatoes that are not quite ripe cost $4.99/lb.

A lot of previously fairly expensive and maybe not popular with everyone produce ends up on the Quick Sale shelf as soon as it’s ripe. I see a lot of okra, artichokes, eggplants, and fancy peppers. Also, packs of ripe mangoes.

At one local indie market in London, people get there right when the store opens to stock up on the newest quick sale items.

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Prices today at my local indie grocery store in London, Ontario, Remark Fresh Market.

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I’ve seen Rao’s for $9.99 at Metro

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I’m just tracking the Rao price, since it seems to be what the martlet will bear.
I’ve bought Rao’s at Metro when it’s on sale for less than $10.

I actually like Carbone, also imported from the States, a lot more!

Stefano’s sauces from Montreal that are closer to $8 are also good in my experience. That’s what I’m using this week.

Ran out of Arm & Hammer baking soda. Usually $0.99 at No Frills. Today $1.99 for a 100% increase.

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Some price increases have been crazy. We keep prunes on hand, various brands. At Farm Boy, the Bassé 1 lb bags had been $4.99 throughout 2019 and 2020. I have watched the price climb by a dollar every 6 months or so, but I am pretty sure they jumped from $7.99 to $9.99.
They’ve been $9.99 for the last 6 months.

I haven’t been watching No Name, Our Compliments or SunMaid prune prices as carefully. I stock up when they go on sale.

The other staple I stock that jumped in price is Carnation Evaporated Milk. It had been $1.99 pre 2020. Then $2.49 for most of 2022. Currently, Carnation Brand has been costing $2.79 a can at Loblaws and Sobeys. I haven’t been to Metro to check their current price in around 2 months. It usually goes on sale for less for a few weeks when people start making pumpkin pie in late September.

I’ve started buying Sprague canned beans direct from Sprague. The cost is around $2.90 a can if I buy a case direct, and $3.49/can at my independent grocery store in London. Shipping is free if I purchase $100 worth of products, so that’s what I’ve been doing. Bush’s Beans have gone up in price lately.

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Mmm… I love fresh prunes (not what you’re referring to though).

I find huge price increases in farmers markets these days. e.g. Eborall farms at St. Lawrence farmer’s market have absolutely ridiculous prices for their fruits when I can get certified organic non-GMO counterparts that are sweeter than their produce at 1/4th of their prices. Support local non-certified no GMO status fruit when the cheaper competition ships in their stuff from US or south america? Nope.

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I’ve been paying $15 for a 2 l basket of bing cherries, $8-$9 for a 2 l basket of nectarines, $8 for a 3 l basket of peaches at the farmers’ market. $5-$ 5.50 for a quart of local strawberries. The farmer that sells the stuff also sells seconds for much less, if you ask. (This is in London)

I don’t mind, we only get these things for 6-8 weeks.

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That $5/kg price is a real steal. Our grocery “heirloom” (quotes because they don’t taste like the real deal to me) are similar to your 5/lb pricing, sometimes a little higher.

I keep saying I’m going to start growing toms but I never do. A couple from church gave us 6 that were of 3 varieties and they were startlingly flavorful - I was going to make BLTs but my wife tasted a bit and said skip the BL, let’s just eat these as tomato sandwiches. The star of the show was a monster 900 gram tomato, other than the fact that I had to cut out about 80 grams of pith up near the stem connection.

At the grocery I watch for green tomatoes to go on sale. They’re usually one of the most expensive - not sure why, maybe it’s the cachet of making “fried green tomatoes” that justifies the price. I bought some about 10 years ago and put them on a windowsill planning to make FGT, but then forgot about them and they ripened there. Once ripe they tasted like what I expect heirloom tomatoes to taste like, much better than anything else in the store. So I manage to capture a few of them on sale a couple of times a year.

ETA - wow that Rao’s pricing is like heart attack. We’re still around $7 (US) for that, and I won’t buy at that price point. Bertolli or whatever is good enough for me. Although the kids ask for Mids, which to me is reminiscent of the sauce in canned Chef Boyardee stuff.

Every time I start to grump about food prices here, I think about your thread here.