FAQ | Mama Earth Organics

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 for every staff member and have expanded our warehouse space to allow for proper social distancing. Additional information can be found here

  • 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, Thermal Bags, Ice Packs/Water Bottles: We use a commercial grade, food safe, kitchen sanitizer to clean all empty bins, thermal bags and water bottles that are picked up each day.

  • Where and when will my delivery be left?

    Deliveries will arrive between 10am and 8 pm depending on where you fall in your driver’s route and we will knock and leave your bins outside your door (if there’s a special secret spot you’d prefer - like the side door or hidden somewhere, just send us an email and we’ll update your delivery instructions!). If you have a screened-in/covered porch or sunroom, the driver can leave the bin there for you too if you note it for us!

  • Should I return my ice packs/frozen water bottles, empty jars, thermal bags & frozen bins?

    First of all, love that you’re asking these questions. The short answer is yes. The longer answer is yes, ice packs/frozen water bottles, thermal bags and glass jars can be returned in your empty bin for us to sanitize and reuse. We just ask that you take the ice packs/water bottles out of the thermal bag and turn the bag inside out and give the jars a quick rinse. It can all be left in your empty bin (alongside your frozen bin!) for pick up. If you don’t mind also disinfecting the lid and handles of your empty bin(s), we’d really appreciate it!

 

Baskets & Ordering

  • What's in a produce box?

    We have a few produce boxes to choose from (Fruit & Veg mixed boxes, 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 produce box?

    No problem! Each week, after the produce boxes 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 (7am the day before your order for Monday - Friday delivery days and 7am on Friday for Saturday and Sunday delivery days). 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'. Customization is not available on “The Value Box” and setting dislikes in your ‘Produce Preferences’ section won’t impact the contents of your Produce box if you have ordered the “The Value Box”.

  • What if there are things I never want to receive in a produce box?

    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!

  • 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?

    There is a $3.50 delivery fee on all orders to ensure we are able to pay our local partners and farmers fairly, while also reducing our foodprint on the planet. Orders containing alcohol will incur an additional $3.50 alcohol delivery fee; please have your ID ready for our drivers! An ID check is required for every alcohol delivery.

  • Do you deliver to condos and apartments?

    Absolutely. We have a few options depending on your setup:

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

    2) If you have a concierge or building security, we can leave the bin with them or contact them to let us in.

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

    4) We can leave the bin in a common area like the lobby or mail room (if it’s accessible). We rarely have problems, and we guarantee our deliveries 100%, so if it is stolen, we’ll 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 10am and 8 pm. We optimize our delivery routes each time to help reduce our carbon footprint, while your delivery will generally be around the same time each week, it can vary slightly depending on the week.

  • 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 packed with dry ice to make sure it stays frozen.

 

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.

  • How do you keep the fridge items cool?

    The only thing cooler than your local picks is the dry ice we use to maintain their temperature out on delivery. To limit the use of single-use plastics, we use loose dry ice pellets that will come wrapped in a cardboard liner at the bottom of your thermal bag to keep it protected and out of reach. Please take care when you’re unpacking your order and don't touch it with your bare hands, it burns! Leave it be and it will evaporate in the warmth of your home.

  • What are the Thermal Bags for, do I return it?

    The added insulation in the bags helps to keep your fridge items at the proper temps. That way it doesn't get too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. They will come filled with loose dry ice pellets, wrapped in a cardboard liner at the bottom of your bag to keep them protected and out of reach. Please don't touch it with your bare hands, it burns! Leave it be and it will evaporate in the warmth of your home. There’s no extra charge for these thermal bags; we just ask that you flip them inside out, then return them in your empty bin on your next delivery day.

  • Is everything sanitized after being returned?

    Definitely! It all goes through the sanitation station when they return to the warehouse. We have a dedicated team of super sanitizers that ensure every bin, ice pack, water bottle, and thermal bags get fully sanitized (inside and out!) with a food-safe sanitizing solution.

  • 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 product 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 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 reusable purple bin, so don’t forget to leave it out with the blue rubbermaid tote on your next delivery day!

  • What should I do with the dry ice in my order?

    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!).

  • I'd rather not use the reusable bin packaging, is there another option?

    You bet. We’ve got recyclable cardboard box options that can be used to pack your produce bins (some condo dwellers prefer this to save on space between deliveries). We also have a cardboard option for frozen goods as well (same deal) that’s fully recyclable - including the liner. If you’re tight on space but also mindful of your cardboard usage, a tip that some people find helpful is to order larger frozen orders less frequently to reduce the number of boxes you use!

 

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 “My Orders" tab, then select “Previous Orders” at the top of the page 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 the 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 produce boxes 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 box option, this box will only ever contain produce from Ontario (and sometimes Quebec) all year round.

  • Is everything certified organic?

    Most of our produce is 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 $2 frozen packaging fee?

    Order $40 or more of frozen goods and the packaging fee is on us.

  • Where does the seafood come from?

    We’ve teamed up with the best in 100% Canadian seafood with direct lines to fisheries from Nova Scotia to B.C. bringing you the freshest, highest quality seafood around. Fisherfolk & Afishionado have spent years building relationships with these fisheries, just as we have with farmers to ensure fair payment and responsible sourcing to protect the delicate balance of our lakes and oceans. We really 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 box.

  • 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 $2 per order but we'll cover the cost if you have at least $40 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 always be labelled with the area it’s coming from, and we will try to list the specific fishery as much as possible. There are a few exceptions for some types of seafood that are sourced from multiple fisheries in the area.

  • Why are you carrying seafood?

    A couple of years ago we shared a Member Happiness survey and found that 76% of our members were interested in buying seafood from us! So we spent a lot of time looking for the best seafood options that were locally and sustainably sourced. We wanted to be sure that they shared the same values as Mama Earth and are equally picky about their fishery partners that are looking out for the balance of healthy oceans, lakes and local fishing communities too. We knew if we were going to sell seafood, we wanted to bring you the best and we really believe in what Fisherfolk and Afishionado 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 a separate reusable frozen bin and not in your produce 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, our seafood partners work directly with the fisheries that pride themselves on fishing sustainably and responsibly.

Alcohol

  • Do I have to be home to receive my alcohol delivery?

    Yes, you must be home to accept your delivery in person if any alcohol is included in your order. Our drivers will need to check your ID; that and well, we just love to see that beautiful smile of yours! If you can’t be home at the time of delivery, our drivers will return the alcohol portion of your order back to our warehouse (as we can't leave it without checking and confirming your ID). We will still leave your other grocery items though, don’t worry!

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

    If your order contains alcohol, you must be home (with ID in hand) to receive your order. If your order doesn’t contain alcohol, it’s no problem at all if you’re not home! (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. Your frozen items will come packed with dry ice to make sure it stays frozen.

  • What is the alcohol refund or return policy?

    All alcohol is final sale. Unfortunately we’re not able to offer product refunds or returns on alcohol.

  • Can I get alcohol delivered to my workplace or a business?

    No, alcohol must be delivered to a residence or private place.

 

Frozen Items

  • What’s the deal with this reusable bin?

    These are made from expanded polypropylene that’s 100% food safe and while we plan to reuse it many times, it is very easily recycled at the end of the line. It’s classified as a recycle number 5 (not to be confused with mambo number 5…).

    Fun fact - switching to these reusable boxes means we’re able to save 560 trees and over 255,000 feet of plastic packing tape every year!

  • Please return them :)

    They're cool & all, but being green (and nice) is cooler, so please leave them out with your produce bin on your next delivery day and we will sanitize and reuse them!

  • They’re one size fits most

    One size bin will be used for all our frozen deliveries (they’re also designed to nest neatly in your blue basket!). There are a couple of things we carry that won’t physically fit in the bin (like the whole turkey). In those cases we’ll send them out in the insulated cardboard boxes (and those cardboard boxes can just be recycled as usual!). This is also why you’ll have a larger bin when you order the smaller frozen items :)

  • Why is there still a $2 frozen fee for the reusable bin?

    We still have a fee to cover the cost of the dry ice and sanitizing the bins. Don’t forget the fee is waived if you order over $40 of frozen items!

  • Can I still get a cardboard box for my frozen order?

    Yes! You can choose to stick with the cardboard bins if you’d prefer. Just a heads up, the frozen fee for the cardboard boxes is $5 (but that fee is also always waived for frozen orders over $40). You can change your preference from within your weekly order page, or by logging in, heading to ‘Account & Preferences’ then clicking ‘Delivery’ from the top menu.

  • How are they cleaned?

    Just like our fresh bins and thermal bags, these also go through the sanitation station when they’re returned to athe warehouse. We have a dedicated team of super sanitizers that ensure everything gets fully sanitized (inside and out!) with a food-safe sanitizing solution.

  • What do I do with my empty bin?

    These frozen bins have been designed to nest neatly within the regular blue bins to help save space in between deliveries (you can even nest your (inside out) thermal bag inside the frozen bin inside the fresh bin for a Mama Earth version of those nesting toys!). And, as usual, you can leave these out on the day of your next delivery and we’ll swap it for a new one.

 

Mama Earth & Fresh City

  • I heard Fresh City bought Mama Earth, is that true? Will both companies continue to exist?

    Yes, it’s true, we’re joining forces! Fresh City and Mama Earth have competed for years but we believe by working together, we can have an even greater positive impact on the Planet and create an even better experience for our Customers. For the time being, we will run the businesses as they exist today, so that we can learn more about how each operates and build the best future together.

  • How will this change my service?

    For now, things will be business as usual and there won’t be any changes to your basket experience. We’re taking some time to regroup and put our heads together to make sure that any changes will make your crazy fresh basket experience even better for you, our farm partners and the planet (we love when everybody wins). We’ll be super diligent in keeping our customers informed of any updates via email.

  • I've always loved that Fresh City/Mama Earth is a small local company, supporting other small local businesses. Will this change?

    Great question! Supporting small local businesses and building Ontario’s local food movement is a big shared passion of ours, and it just so happened to be a big reason behind why we decided to join forces in the first place! Now, instead of competing against each other, we’re able to work together to double down and offer better support for our small family run farms and artisans to create a better future of local food for all.

  • 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.

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