Q & A

Email us anytime or call (416) 850-8662

COVID Information & Protocols

  • Can the virus be transmitted on food?
  • How are you ensuring the safety of your staff?

    The safety of our Mama Earthlings is our number one priority. We have restricted our warehouse access to staff only and implemented rigorous health and temperature screenings twice per day. We are also using protective equipment including gloves and masks for every staff member and expanded our warehouse space to support our physical distancing efforts. (More details can be found here)

  • Why can’t I sign up?

    As you can imagine, there has been a considerable increase in customers opting for online grocery delivery. Mama Earth has received a great spike in new customer sign-up interest, in addition to our existing customers wanting to place more frequent large orders. The sudden growing pains are real, and we are making hour-by-hour pivots to manage the opposing tensions of customer demand, and employee safety & fatigue. Click here to put your name on the waiting list, we will let you know as soon as we’re able to accommodate more deliveries.

  • How can I help?

    Please help by sanitizing our bins prior to pick-up and recycle any glass bottles or cardboard including our frozen boxes (they’re 100% recyclable, including the liner!). We sanitize bins again once they are in our warehouse, but it is imperative we keep our drivers safe at all times.

  • Are you hiring?

    If you or someone you know is interested in joining our team, please check out our Good Jobs, Great People page for current open positions.

  • Can I tip your staff?

    We allowed a “one week only” tip option and thanks to your generosity we raised a tip pool of $13,625 which worked out to an average $157 tip for each hourly employee. However, given we are in a fortunate industry that allows us to keep our staff employed during this crisis, we ask that you direct any further generosity to an area of greater need (there are many!). Some suggestions that are dedicated to helping others facing food insecurity are: Mama's Helping Mamas (proceeds go to Jessie’s Centre) and The Daily Bread Food Bank.

  • Are there any positive cases of COVID-19 in your warehouse?

    There are currently no cases of COVID-19 impacting our warehouse or team members. If a case is identified, we will follow the guidance of Toronto Public Health to notify any team members who are impacted by COVID-19. We intend to update this page to be transparent with you if there are any cases of COVID-19 identified in our warehouse.

  • What are your Sanitization Practices?

    Warehouse: We are now sanitizing all common areas throughout the day (ie. door handles, tables, phones, etc). We already have in place very stringent policies with regard to food handling, and hand hygiene in particular. Our food packers and kitchen team always wear vinyl gloves, and frequent hand-washing/hand sanitization is standard procedure. We are reinforcing and re-training on these standards, and have increased the use of hand sanitizer throughout our operations.

    Bins and Insulating Water Bottles: We use a commercial grade, food safe, kitchen sanitizer to clean all empty bins and water bottles that are picked up each day.

  • How are drivers handling bins?

    Our drivers are wearing masks where social distancing may not be possible, using vinyl gloves while dropping off and picking up the bins, and are asked to switch gloves for each delivery.

  • Where and when will my delivery be left?

    As much as our customers love to see their regular driver's smiling face, they will now knock and leave the bin outside your door. If you're in an apartment, your bin will be left in the lobby or with the building concierge if one is available. Due to the current increase in orders, your delivery may arrive a little later than usual (so sorry for any inconvenience!).

  • I have an account with Mama Earth, why can't I order?

    Due to overwhelming demand, we had to put a cap on orders. This was not something we wanted to do (and was certainly a very tough decision), but we were nearly at the breaking point even after stopping any new registrations. The size and volume of orders being placed by our current customers was still just too much to keep up with and we had to keep the health and safety of our staff at the forefront so we can keep operating past this crisis. We'll reach out to you as soon as we are able to open orders for you again!

  • Should I return my frozen water bottles, empty jars, thermal bags and cardboard?

    Frozen water bottles and thermal bags can be returned in your empty bin for us to sanitize and reuse. We just ask that you please disinfect the lid and handles of your empty bin. Glass jars and cardboard packaging cannot be returned at this time, you can toss them into the recycling!

Baskets & Ordering

  • What's in the basket

    We have a few produce baskets to choose from (Fruit & Veg mixed baskets, Fruit Only, Veg Only etc) as well as a few different sizes. We change what's in them every week based on the season and what's coming in from our Farmers. We'll email you each week to let you know what's coming!

  • Can I customize my basket?

    No problem! Each week, after the baskets are built, we'll send you an email so you know what's coming. From there you can go in and make as many changes as you’d like up until your order deadline. Also, if you want to make sure we never send you a particular fruit or veg, you can put it on your ‘never send' list by going to 'Produce Preferences' under 'My Account'.

  • What if there are things I never want to receive in the basket?

    You can add any items you never want to receive in your basket as a 'dislike' under 'Produce Preference' in your account. We'll always swap out any items marked as a dislike for something else at no extra charge (unless we see you've already customized your basket, then we'll assume you've made all the changes you'd like!). You can also make note of items you love getting and we'll try to use them whenever we can!

  • I'm super busy and feel like there's not enough hours in the day – can you recommend anything?

    This might sound counter-intuitive, but I think meditating is the best thing to do when you feel overwhelmed. Exercise is also great. We're obviously biased, but signing up for Mama Earth (and adding some of your grocery items to your subscriptions) will also relieve a lot of your weekly decision fatigue.

  • Do I have to commit to a regular order?

    Definitely not. Most of our members choose to have a basket on their Subscription that comes weekly or bi-weekly automatically. But you can also skip orders (up to 12 weeks ahead) or place orders on as needed basis. You can also cancel your deliveries at any time.

  • Why is there a $30 produce minimum?

    Working with our farms to buy their fruits and veggies is at the heart of what we do. All the non-produce items are a bonus - they're items we love and wanted to share with our members but we basically just break even on them. So there's at least 2 reasons we ask you to buy $30 of produce: 1) to help support the farmers we work with, and 2) to ensure we can cover the costs of working with our farms, packing your order and delivering it to your door.

  • Is there a check out button when I'm done creating my order?

    No need! We save everything you’ve put in your basket and assume that it is final as of your order deadline.

  • What if I'm going on Holiday?

    You can adjust your schedule for the next 12 weeks in the My Account section. Look for the section that says "Manage Holidays". You can select the dates you'd like to skip.

  • What if I'm unhappy with an item in my order?

    We want you to love every item in your order! If you don't, let us know and we'll credit the value of the item right away (and do everything possible to ensure it never happens again).

Delivery

  • Is there a delivery fee?

    Delivery is free except for delivery to London, ON. Due to the distance from our warehouse, we have to charge a small fee ($2.50) to deliver to that area (but we'll waive it if your order is over $75!). Delivery is free to all of our other delivery areas (as long as your order has $30 of produce or more).

  • Do you deliver to condos and apartments?

    Absolutely. We actually have several options when it comes to delivering to apartment/condo buildings, so hopefully we can find a strategy which works for you!

    1) If you are able to remotely buzz the driver in, that's obviously the easiest solution if you're not home at the time of delivery (and then leave your bin in front of your apartment door).

    2) Many customers are able to provide us with an extra key to the building, so we can let ourselves in and then leave your bin in front of your apartment door.

    3) If you have a concierge or building security, or a willing landlord or neighbour on the premise, we can either leave the bin with them or contact them to let us in.

    4) We can leave the bin outside (or in a lobby or mail room if there is such an accessible place). We rarely have problems (sometimes pick a discrete location like a bush or bench), we guarantee our deliveries 100%, so if it is stolen we would fully credit you and do our best to redeliver.

    5) If none of the above options work for you just give us a call or email and we'll do our best to problem solve. We can be flexible!

  • What time will you deliver?

    Between 1 and 8 pm. Your delivery will generally be the same time each week and just depends on where you fall in our driver's route.

  • Can I choose my delivery day and time?

    We deliver to each neighbourhood only once or twice per week to help minimise carbon emissions and food miles. You can check out when we're in your area here. Delivery routes are set up to be as efficient as possible, so we can't guarantee a certain delivery time (but if you get in touch with us we'll certainly see what we can do!).

  • What if I'm not home when you deliver?

    No problemo. Most of our customers aren't home for delivery. We'll leave it at your door (or you can make note to have us leave tucked away somewhere or at a back or side door). Your produce delivery comes in a rubbermaid container. On hot days, we pack it with frozen water bottles to help keep everything cool. On freezing cold days, the container is also able to stop the produce and food from freezing for a few hours (you can also leave out a heavy blanket for the driver to cover the basket with or a cooler to transfer everything into and help protect it from the elements). Your frozen items will come in a lined recyclable cardboard box packed with dry ice to make sure it stays frozen.

  • Why do you think everyone loves Mama Earth so much?

    Oh – come on. That's not for us to say. We just put our heads down and do the best we can. We're not here for the glory. We just want to build something that we're proud of. We're just a tool for our members and our farms.

  • Seriously though, it seems like everyone really loves Mama Earth – what's the secret?

    Really? I feel like we've answered that above – I really don't know what else you want us to say. You come on to our website and start repeating questions… I'm not trying to be rude, but we're pretty busy, we really don't have time for this.

  • Sorry, it just seems like you're really hitting on something

    No worries. I appreciate what you're saying, and I know there's truth in it – I just don't think that this is the right areas of the website to be talking about it.

Bins & Packaging

  • What do I do with my empty bin?

    We'll pick it up when you receive your next order! Please leave the empty bin out by noon on your next delivery and the driver will swap it out with your new basket.

  • What are the water bottles for?

    We use frozen water bottles to keep everything cool and fresh. We also re-use them (so please don't drink them!). You can leave them in your empty bin for pick up on your next delivery day.

  • Are you reducing the use of plastic?

    We're trying to minimize wherever we can! We only use packaging when absolutely necessary, to protect the fruit & veg while on its way to you or to keep it fresh. We're fully aware of the environmental impact that plastics have, and this is why we are always actively looking for alternatives.

  • Is your packaging re-usable or recyclable?

    Most of the packaging used for any fruit and veggies can be recycled. Our packaging for Mama's Kitchen prepped food items are sent in recycled plastic (for things like cold deli sides) or in and an aluminum bottom container (for our hot dishes, so it can easily be re-heated) which can all be put in the recycle bin. We also offer salads, hummus, soup and a few other items in glass jars - the jars can be returned in your empty bin and we'll re-use them! The frozen items will come packed in a lined cardboard box which can be recyled.

  • What should I do with the dry ice from my frozen box?

    No need to panic (or call the fire department), just like that fancy bar downtown with the smoking cocktails, we've hopped on the dry ice train! It's the best way to keep your goodies nice and frozen until you're ready to unpack your bin. Just please, for the love of all that is good, don't touch the dry ice with your bare hands. It's got a crazy cold freezing point of -78.5 degrees Celcius, so if you touch it, you'll freezer burn your hands off. Just leave it be, and in the warmth of your home, it will evaporate on it's own. It's not synthetic or harmful either, just a little CO2 gas (the same stuff that just left your lungs!).

Account

  • How do I update my Info & Preferences

    Click the "My Account" section in order to change your personal information, delivery preferences, credit card info and much more.

  • How do I get a purchase receipt?

    Go to the "My Account" section and select the "Previous Orders" tab for a list of your last twelve orders. If you'd like a receipt emailed to your weekly, you can go to 'Delivery Preferences' under 'My Account' and select 'Yes' under 'Optional Email Receipt'.

  • How do I cancel?

    Oh no - we were hoping you'd never ask! But if you must know... email or call us and we'll help you cancel. Sorry to see you go!

  • How do I pay?

    Credit card please and thanks! We accept Mastercard and Visa. We take payment they day of your delivery, not at the time of ordering. When you set up an account, your payment details will be saved so you don't have to add it each time you place an order.

Our Produce

  • Where does your produce come from?

    We source as much food as possible from small, local family farms near Toronto. We've spent years (ever since 2007) developing our relationships with our many farmers and artisans. We believe in personal relationships, sourcing food from people who make the food themselves and feed it to their own families. We'll always try to include as much local produce in the baskets as we can. At certain times of the year we'd struggle to have enough fresh fruit & veg to go around so we do source from further abroad. We'll also offer things we can't grow here (like bananas) so there's always a good variety of organic produce available. We label everything with its country of origin so you can see where each item comes from. We also offer a Local Only basket option, this basket will only ever contain produce from Ontario (and sometimes Quebec) all year round.

  • Is everything certified organic?

    Most of our basket items are certified and any uncertified organic produce is only from farms we know and will be labelled clearly as non-certified. Most of our non-produce is certified and organic too but we do have some items that we believe are healthy enough to sell, even though it may not be made with all certified organic ingredients.

  • What's the most important thing in life?

    💚Love, of course.

  • How long is your produce in the warehouse?

    We aim to have produce arrive the day before delivery and some items like bread and juice are made the morning of your delivery. Freshness is a huge focus so we get things to you as soon as we possibly can.

  • How should I store food to keep it lasting longer?

    Here's some general rules:

    1. If your produce spoils after just a few days, you might be storing incompatible fruits and veggies together. Those that give off high levels of ethylene gas—a ripening agent—will speed the decay of ethylene-sensitive foods. Keep the two separate.

    2. Never refrigerate potatoes, onions, winter squash or garlic. Keep them in a cool, dark, dry cabinet, and they can last up to a month or more. But separate them so their flavours and smells don't migrate.

    3. With the exception of leafy greens, fresh fruits and vegetables should not be washed before storing. Washing will hasten deterioration of the produce. It is best to wash produce just before preparation or eating.

    4. Refrigerate fruits and vegetables in perforated plastic bags to help maintain moisture yet provide air flow. You can use a knife to make several small holes in a food-grade plastic bag.

    5. Do you want some of your fruits to ripen faster (avocado – we're looking at you)? Place the fruit in a paper bag with an apple or banana and soon that fruit will be ripe enough to eat.

    We've also got a super handy storage guide cheat sheet for quick reference.

Responsibly Raised Meat

  • Why pasture raised?

    So glad you asked! Plain and simple it’s better for the animals. When the animals are able to roam free and forage in the pastures as they please, they’re more likely to be happy and healthy. When the animals are healthy, the overall quality of the meat products is better, and they taste better too!

    Pasture raised meat products are typically lower in fat overall and higher in the good stuff like omega 3s and other nutrients.

    The animals improve the land they forage on. They disrupt the soil (aerating it) and fertilize it naturally. Better soil, means better grasses which means better animals, which means better natural manure to close that loop.

    All of our farmers we’ve selected are utilising regenerative land management practises that result in healthy soil that’s able to sequester more carbon which means a healthier environment.

    Quality over quantity, and in raising these animals the right way, they’re having a positive impact on the land, the environment and the communities that surround them. It’s food you can feel good about!

  • Is the beef grass fed?

    Yep, and not just any grass, but the grasses and plants that they enjoy are actually well suited to the environment in the Algoma region (sounds weird but it's less common than you think)! Penokean Hills offers heritage Black and Red Angus cattle that are free to roam these pastures and are finished on a non-GMO pea and barley blend they grow themselves to produce tender, tasty cuts of beef (they even won an award for it and everything!).

    All of their cattle are born and raised in low stress environments on their farms, and they’re always free of added hormones and antibiotics and 100% traceable from gate to plate.

  • Is the chicken antibiotic free?

    Of course! The Fennema Family are committed to raising all of their chickens without any antibiotics and proudly provide a feed rich in vitamins, minerals, probiotics and grains. They’re also free to forage in the pastures when the weather is to their liking too! They’ve also always refused to add any animal by-products or bakery waste and definitely no growth proponents are added to the feed or water. Ever.

    To top it all off, they’re also air-chilled to enhance the flavour of the meat!

  • What about the pigs?

    Don’t worry, Jeff and his heritage breed pigs are living the life in Walton where they enjoy foraging in green sun-filled pastures with access to an old school bank barn whenever they please! Jeff also repurposes his cover crops as feed to supplement the forage to support his farm’s sustainability efforts!

Sustainable Seafood

  • How is the seafood delivered?

    All the seafood is vaccuum sealed and frozen. We'll pack the seafood in an insulated cardboard box with dry ice to keep everything cold. The dry ice will keep the fish cold for about 24 hours. Be careful when handling the dry ice and please don't touch it with your hands directly (it will evaporate on its own).

  • What should I do with the dry ice?

    No need to panic (or call the fire department), just like that fancy bar downtown with the smoking cocktails, we've hopped on the dry ice train! It's the best way to keep your goodies nice and frozen until you're ready to unpack your bin. Just please, for the love of all that is good, don't touch the dry ice with your bare hands. It's got a crazy cold freezing point of -78.5 degrees Celcius, so if you touch it, you'll freezer burn your hands off. Just leave it be, and in the warmth of your home, it will evaporate on it's own. It's not synthetic or harmful either, just a little CO2 gas (the same stuff that just left your lungs!).

  • Want to do your part in reducing the cardboard we send you?

    Ordering more, per order will mean we'll pack one box instead of multiple boxes for each piece of seafood you order. Having one large order instead of several smaller ones will help to reduce packaging (and you'll have lots of options ready to be cooked!! All seafood is good for 6 months in the freezer).

  • How do I avoid the $4 frozen packaging fee

    Order $50 of frozen seafood (or more) and packaging fee is on us.

  • Where does the seafood come from?

    We've teamed up with Fisherfolk, who are an awesome 100% Canadian company. They work with Canadian fisheries from Nova Scotia to B.C to bring you the freshest, highest quality seafood we could find. Fisherfolk has spent the last few years building relationships with fisheries just as we have with farmers. We love what they're doing and we're really happy to be working with them!

  • How long will the seafood last in the freezer?

    We recommend using the seafood within 6 months to enjoy it at it's best quality.

  • Can I just order seafood?

    We ask that there be a minimum of $30 worth of produce (fruits and veggies) on your order to send out a delivery. We offer the fish, like our other grocery items, as an addition to your produce basket.

  • Do I have to order a minimum amount of seafood?

    No, there's no minimum! We can send you as little as you'd like but, just a heads up, frozen items require special packaging to make sure things stay perfectly frozen. This cold packaging costs an extra $4 per order but we'll cover the cost if you have at least $50 worth of frozen items in your order.

  • Will I be able to see the origin of the seafood or tell which fishery it's coming from?

    All seafood will be labelled with the area it's coming from. The actual fishery won't be listed as Fisherfolk may source from a couple of different fisheries in the area.

  • Why are you carrying seafood?

    Earlier this year we shared a Member Happiness survey and found that 76% of our members would be interested in buying seafood from us! So we spent a lot of time looking for the best seafood options and found Fisherfolk. They share a lot of the same values as Mama Earth so we decided to partner with them. Their mandate as a company is to provide seafood that's great quality while supporting Canadian fisheries. Like us, they're pretty picky about who they work with and support the use of fishing practices that maintain the balance of healthy oceans, lakes and local fishing communities. If we were going to sell seafood we wanted to bring you the best and we really believe in what Fisherfolk are doing.

  • Are seafood items kept totally separate from produce and other items in my delivery?

    Everything is totally separate. Although the seafood will be packed in the same warehouse as the produce, it will be stored and packed in its own space with a dedicated team of packers handling the seafood. All seafood will be packed in recyclable cardboard boxes, and not in our resusable bins.

  • Is everything wild caught?

    Everything is wild caught except for the rainbow trout. The trout is cultivated out of Lake Huron by Odawa Island Farms. They're kept in free flowing water and are given a carefully formulated, healthy diet with no hormones or antibiotics. Growing fish in Lake Huron provides a ton of nutrients to the lake which is a huge benefit as the lake has experienced a trophic collapse due to the invasive species, zebra mussels.

  • Is the seafood organic?

    Due to the nature of fishing from the ocean, it's not possible to get wild caught certified organic seafood. However, Jen at Fisherfolk has spent the last 10 years working directly with fisheries that pride themselves on fishing sustainably and responsibly.