What is the difference between naturally raised meat and conventional meat found on grocery shelves across our country? Is Organic really better than Natural? What happens if we do not support our local farmers and we continue to rely on other countries for our food supply? These questions, in retrospect, were the inspiration behind Brooker’s All Natural Meats.
I had the privilege of growing up in the food business, as my father owned and operated 3 IGA food stores in York Region for over 33 years. As a young boy, my father would take me with him to work in the store on Saturday’s and during the summer. My love affair with food and the food business began at a very early age. I truly enjoyed being around my dad, watching carefully and learning the inner workings of the food business. One memory that stands out in particular were the trips with my dad to the Market, known as the Ontario Food Terminal. We would get up really, really early to go to the Market where we would hand select our produce that we would sell in our store. The market is one of the most interesting places to be if you love fresh food, and one of the only places in the city that shows any life at that time in the morning. Looking back, it was my dad who instilled in me at an early age the core values that were the foundation for his success: Listen to what people want, offer the best service period, sell the best available products at reasonable prices, and work hard. I am grateful for the influence my family has had on my life as I work hard to build my company with the same principles that my dad followed to build his business.
After High School, like most kids, I wanted to be my own man and strike out in a different direction than the family food business. I enrolled in University, graduated with a Commerce Degree and began my assault on the corporate world. Soon in to my journey, it became apparent that the food business was in my blood and that an entrepreneurial spirit such as mine was not cut out for the corporate world. I once again joined my father and worked with him in our family food business for 8 years. This was an exciting time for me. I appreciated the opportunity to work with my dad in a way that I never imagined. The tables had turned slightly as it was my turn to go to the Market and hand select the produce we sold, but the core values and strong community involvement never changed. In February 2009, my family sold our business as it was time for a new chapter to begin, and so, Brooker’s was born.
I have always had a passion for great food and supported local food producers for many years in our store. One of our suppliers had this great little operation known as The Free Range Meat Company. I had been interested in getting involved for many years, however the timing was never right. Circumstances allowed for me to take sole ownership of the company in September of 2009. The company has undergone a dramatic transformation: a fresh makeover and re-branding, improved our product and service offering, and a clearly defined mission to support locally sustainable farming practices right here in our backyard.
We appreciate your support as we continue to grow our ideas. We all have a choice when it comes to the food we buy, and as consumers, we cast our vote with each purchase. Support local and vote today. From our table to yours, thank you for joining our movement.