Where Can I Find – Game Meat

deerThis is not a ‘where can I find’ question! It is a ‘Why can’t I find’ question.

I was just wondering if you know why game is so hard to get in Ontario, relative to Quebec or even many places in the U.S. I know where to find it in town, but it is a pain; and mainstream markets never seem to carry it.

In Quebec the big chains like Metro even carry bear meat in season! Just wondering if there was some sort of law in Ontario that made selling game difficult or something?

There is indeed. Hunted game carcasses cannot be sold to the public, regardless of whether they are processed in a provincially licensed meat plant or not. Hunted game can be consumed by the hunter for personal use, but it may not be sold. As such, a lot of the more rare game meats such as moose or bear just aren’t available at the retail level.

Any other game meat available for sale throughout the province is farmed – whether it’s rabbits, deer, elk or bison, or more exotic meats – and is subject to the same laws and legislation regarding processing as more standard farm animal slaughter.

Tracking down game meat in the city isn’t actually that hard, although, as mentioned above, you won’t find anything rare due the rules about selling hunted meat. And the idea of a “bear farm” just hurts the head.

Between the game farmers who vend at some of the city’s markets and a few stores spread throughout Toronto, procuring most farmed game meat is fairly easy. If you’re buying from a retail shop, calling ahead to ensure they have what you want in stock is advised, but generally the standards such as venison, rabbit, elk and bison are pretty easy to find.

Here’s what I could track down…

2nd Wind Elk (St. Lawrence Market north, Saturdays only) – Elk meats/sausage.

Cumbrae’s (481 Church Street, and others) – wild boar, venison, ostrich and buffalo.

Deer Valley Farm (Brickworks Farmers Market, Saturdays; Dufferin Grove Farmers Market – Thursdays) – farm-raised venison.

Eramosa Elk (Brickworks Farmers Market) – Fresh and frozen elk meat, plus elk meat deli items.

Healthy Butcher (565 Queen Street West) – offers a rotating stock of bison, elk, rabbit and venison. They can also custom order any of the above meats as well as game birds such as ostrich, quail, pheasant and partridge.

Peterborough Buffalo Farms (Liberty Village Farmers Market, Sundays) – bison meat.

Springcreek Farm Produce (291 Roncesvalles Avenue)  – venison, elk, bison, rabbit.

Whitehouse Meats (St. Lawrence Market south, 93 Front Street East) – game birds including pheasant, squab, Guinea fowl, quail and partridge. They also carry game meats such as venison, buffalo, elk, ostrich, wild boar, musk ox, kangaroo, and rabbit.