The Garden Basket Food Market is Markham’s landmark grocery store. A household name, the Garden Basket family has helped nourish and entertain Markham families since 1972.
It was 1929 when Sam Comella and Sam Badali opened the Sunkist Food Market on Danforth Avenue in Toronto's east end. Their commitment to quality and personal service steadily grew the business. It's these standards that have been the basis of the business ever since.
Forward to 1967, and that's when Jack Comella, Sam's nephew, purchased the business.
By 1972, Jack decided to expand. He located his new store on Woodbine Avenue to the north of Toronto.
FOOD 101 | ORGANICS
The Garden Basket offers you one of the biggest and best choices in organic food available in Markham and York Region. Organic food is one of the most important parts of our commitment to our healthy customer and our planet. As well, choosing organic food helps to support farmers and producers who believe in quality food, optimal health and earth-friendly farming.
Eating healthy foods are important for your overall health, and adding organic foods into your diet offer even more benefits for your health. There is evidence that organically grown fruits, vegetables and grains offer more nutrients and less exposure to nitrates and pesticide residues than their counterparts (non-organic foods).
Some important reasons to buy Organic
- Organic food tastes great!
- Evidence shows that organic foods contain higher concentrations of nutrients than their conventional counterparts. That means more vitamin C, more iron and more magnesium in your diet.
- Countless research shows that organic fruit has much higher levels of antioxidant content than conventional fruit, and much higher levels of
- Organic dairy products offer consumers more health benefits over non-organic.
- Organic farmers work to conserve the planet and nature.
- Organic farming standards do not allow the use of synthetic pesticides, chemicals that can be hazardous to your health.
- Organic farming eliminates polluting chemicals, toxins and nitrogen leaching, producing a more
- Organic foods have stringent standards – Organic food production is a heavily regulated industry, so you can be assured any certified organic food meets strict guidelines prior to being certified.
What does "Organic" Mean?
Organic agriculture is a production method that emphasizes the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality. Organic food products are produced using:
Agricultural management practices that promote healthy eco-systems and prohibit the use of genetically engineered seeds or crops, sewage sludge, long-lasting pesticides, herbicides or fungicides.
- Livestock management practices that promote healthy, humanely treated animals by providing organically-grown feed, fresh air and outdoor access while using no antibiotics or added growth hormones.
- Food processing practices that protect the integrity of the organic product and disallow irradiation, genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) or synthetic preservatives.
Canadian National Organic Standards
Consumers are increasingly choosing to purchase organic foods and products that offer alternatives to potentially harmful chemical pesticides and genetically modified foods that may be undesirable from both health and environmental standpoints.
Organic farmers, food processors, and retailers have worked together to develop organic farming and production standards so that consumers can feel confident with the organic integrity of their purchases.
Compliance with the Canadian Standard is voluntary, yet most producers of organic products are motivated to both certify and label their products so that consumers are informed of their organic status. Products that have been certified may display the terms certified organic, certified organically grown, certified organically raised, certified organically produced, certified biological, or certified biodynamic on their label. The label typically contains the certifying agent's logo or trademark.
The guidelines for labelling organic products are:
The use of the term organic, and similar terms having the same meaning, is permitted on the principle display panel of a food product, only if 95% or greater of ingredients, excluding added water or salt, are obtained from certified sources of organic production.
- The trademark of the certification body shall appear only on the principle display panel if 95% or greater of the ingredients are certified organic.
- Products containing 70% or greater of certified organic ingredients shall be labeled on the principle display panel as follows:
- "Contains X% certified organic ingredients" – Example: Contains 75% organic ingredients
- Products containing less than 70% of certified organic ingredients shall have the organic ingredients labeled as organic in the list of ingredients only.
In 1988, Sunkist Food Markets expanded again. A site on Markham Road allowed for a store more than three times the size of the Woodbine store. The larger size permitted expansion into new product areas, such as meat, deli, bakery, groceries, a salad bar and a flower shop.
We still remember the humble beginnings of our first store, and still embrace the values learned there, which have led to our continued success today.
We are very proud of our history and success as Sunkist Food Market and The Garden Basket Food Markets.