Inside Farm Boy’s first downtown Toronto store, at Bay and College

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Name: Farm Boy
Contact: 777 Bay St., 416-979-7367, farmboy.ca/college-bay, instagram.com/officialfarmboy
Neighbourhood: Bay Street Corridor
Formerly: Sobey’s
Covid-19 measures: Separate entrance and exit, with a maximum capacity of 35; hand sanitizer stations and social-distancing stickers throughout.
Accessibility: Ramps are available at the building’s entrances

Downtown Toronto’s grocery game has just gotten stronger with Farm Boy’s long-awaited opening at College Park. The big draw is Farm Boy’s 1,200 private label products—hey, it’s called the Canadian Trader Joe’s for a reason. Focused purely on food (sorry, they don’t carry toilet paper), this location devotes more space than other Farm Boys to grab-and-go and prepared foods. We stopped in for a tour with executive chef Josh Drache, who gave us the lowdown on how they packed everything into a relatively cozy 8,000-square-foot space.

Here’s the entrance:

 

“If you look around, there is no backroom, no storage,” Drache said. Due to the small-ish space, everything has to be restocked daily, including the produce:

 

About 300 new products are added to Farm Boy’s private label each year, including this just-launched peach kefir:

 

Toffee Cappuccino Crunch gelato and lemon-vanilla stroopwafel ice cream sandwiches are two of Farm Boy’s many custom creations:

 

Need any eggs, milk or dairy alternatives? This corner is for you:

 

Many produce items come from farms that are located near Farm Boy’s original Cornwall store:

 

In addition to the must-haves, the cheese counter also carries special finds like pumpkin-spice Wensleydale and an aged vegan camembert coated with black ash:

 

And fresh, daily-delivered curds from St. Albert:

 

Here’s where most of the store’s private-label goods are found:

 

These double-roasted almonds and hazelnuts are coated in a thin, customized coating of Callebaut chocolate:

 

Believe it or not, these tortilla chips are Farm Boy’s second-best-selling item:

 

The top seller? The Lemon-Garlic dressing, one of many potential salad-toppers:

 

These oven-ready frozen flatbreads include sweet-and-savoury Prosciutto and Pear and umami-packed Mushroom and Black Truffle:

 

The Meat Shop is where to find steaks, skewers and even marinated spatchcocked chickens:

 

Neighbouring the meat department is the seafood department:

 

This was supposed to be the self-service salad bar, but the station has been converted to a pre-packaged salad and hot bar:

 

There are 19 varieties of soup, just in time for peak soup season:

 

Let’s get this bread—and pies and keto buns and “cruffies” (croissant muffins) and all other manner of carb:

 

The hot counter features made-to-order Neapolitan pizzas, stir-fries and burgers:

 

There’s also a large grab-and-go sushi counter:

 

There’s one more chance to grab something sweet on the way to the checkout: