Looking to Expand The Mustard Seed Board!


Dear Members-Owners,

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since the The Mustard Seed Co-op opened on a snowy Friday in January. So many of you were there to support the Mustard Seed vision as our store became a reality!

A Look Back at 2014

Right from the beginning The Mustard Seed has been made possible by you, our member-owners. You helped search for a location and renovate our store, built our membership, set our sourcing policies, packed Local Bounty or Holiday Gift Bags, counted inventory, or shopped at the co-op regularly. In whatever way you’ve been involved, you’ve helped The Mustard Seed start becoming the best place to shop for local, wholesome food.

The past 11 months have brought tremendous milestones: our membership has grow to over 1750, we were voted “Best New Business in Hamilton” in the Spec’s Readers’ Choice Awards, and we’ve passed the $1,000,000 mark in total sales! There are many things to celebrate.

Board of Directors

Your Board of Directors has worked tirelessly through this start-up phase to bring our members’ shared vision into reality. Now, as the co-op has really started to find its feet both operationally and financially, the Board is transitioning towards more of a governance role with the focus on strategic development, policy, and oversight.

We are also looking to grow the Board to ten members this year, in order to create a robust and resilient team that is diverse in its expertise and is representative of our membership.

Elections and Annual General Meeting

Mustard Seed members are responsible for electing the Board of Directors at the AGM on February 19th. This is your opportunity to shape The Mustard Seed in 2015 and beyond.

Our goal is to forge a strong and balanced leadership, and we are asking you to consider who would be a great candidate. We are looking for members who are committed to the co-op’s mission and vision, have some board experience, and ideally have expertise in at least one of these areas:

  • Policy Writing
  • Human Resources
  • Member Engagement
  • Education
  • Marketing/Public Relations
  • Administration
  • Finance
  • Producers
  • Project Management
  • Strategic Planning

For a full description of the Director position, please see here on our website. In early January we’ll have more details available for interested candidates. If you have any questions about the election process or the Board of Directors opportunity, you may reach out to me directly at graham@mustardseed.coop.

May you enjoy a wonderful holiday season and enter 2015 refreshed by family, friends, and local food!



Making It Simple To Give Local

Are you looking for a unique and thoughtful gift this holiday season? If you’re passionate about shopping local, or you’re interested in delicious food – The Mustard Seed Holiday Gift Bag is just the thing! This is our second year presenting these bags, and last year they were a huge hit! A perfect gift for a family member, friend, neighbour, or perhaps someone you don’t know as well: a teacher, a caregiver, or a local business owner – this bag will bring holiday joy to anyone!

Follow this link to place an online order - or read on for more information.

The items listed below come packaged in our reusable burlap shopping bags, and are ready-to-give, with vibrant tissue paper already included. This year, we’ve incorporated an extra special element, as the bags will feature artwork by local artist Julia Veenstra.

We have chosen a delightful selection of local products that will make your mouth water! All bags contain the following items:

  • Karma Candy All-Natural Candy Cane (Hamilton, Ontario
  • Barrie’s Asparagus Chia Seed Crisps (Cambridge, Ontario)
  • Dawson’s Garlic Jalapeno Hot Sauce (Hamilton, Ontario)
  • Hotti Biscotti Large Holiday Biscotti (Hamilton, Ontario)
  • Savvy Chef Mustard (Original Grainy or Creole) (London, Ontario)
  • Chocolate Tales Elaborate Truffle Pop (Hamilton, Ontario)
  • Stasis Preserves Jam (Strawberry Rhubarb, Blueberry Blackberry, Pear & Roasted Garlic, or Sweet Pepper) (Toronto, Ontario)
  • Maria’s Vegetable Pappardelle Pasta (Kitchener, Ontario)
  • Martin’s Apple Chips (Waterloo, Ontario)
  • Coffeecology Seasonal Blend Coffee (roasted in Hamilton, Ontario)

Inside the bag, you’ll find a full colour version of the piece that inspired the artwork on the bags, which you can frame, hang on the fridge, or turn into a greeting card!

Mary Lou

How to order:

Holiday gift bags are $55.99 each for members, and $59.99 for non-members. You can either order online, or come by the co-op and purchase your bags on the spot. Ordering online is helpful if you’d like to pay with credit card, or if you won’t be by the co-op for a few days and want to reserve some bags.

To place your order online, please follow this link.

There will be a small transaction fee added to your total if you order online, so again, feel free to come by the store to purchase.

If you’ve got questions, feel free to email us (info@mustardseed.coop), or head over to our Facebook page to ask away!

Local Food Forum

Join us for a great conversation about local food!

Cropped (for E-newsletter)Join us for an evening of informative discussion as we learn about some of the complex issues regarding local food in Ontario. With the participation of some of our Mustard Seed suppliers, we’ll hear questions answered and stories shared in an honest and open discussion. Click “attending” and stay updated on the Local Food Forum on Facebook!

Forum Panelists


Marty Strub

Owner + Operator of Marty’s Pickles – Hamilton, Ontario

Marty has been making pickles his whole life, and brings the process back to the basics. Using only Ontario-grown produce and ingredients, his pickles are brined in small barrel batches and hand-packed. Marty says that his products will always be small-scale, handmade, and local. Come to the food forum to hear Marty share about the joys and challenges of basing your business around those values, and what that looks like in the context of small-scale distribution.

tim barry 2

Tim Barrie

Owner + Operator of Barrie’s Asparagus – Cambridge, Ontario

Tim is a fourth-generation farmer at the Cedardale Farm, where he and his wife Libby have raised their four children. The asparagus grown on their farm is developed into a variety of products, one of those being a co-op favourite: Barrie’s Asparagus Chips! These products, along with many other local items, are available year round in their County Market (located inside the century home on their property). Tim brings a lifetime of farming heritage to the table, and can also speak to the challenge of navigating thresholds – a tricky aspect for producers who are not quite small but not quite big.


Russ Ohrt

Owner + Operator of Backyard Harvest – Hamilton, Ontario

Many people would consider anything grown in Ontario to be local, but Russ brings ‘local’ to a whole new level, taking his extensive farming experience and adapting it to the big city. He calls it “urban agriculture”, and has many farms growing in backyards across Hamilton. Russ’ perspective will allow us to see how accepting Hamiltonians are regarding the practice of growing their own food, as well as great insight into the “affordability equation” and the true cost of growing local produce.


Damian Wills

Sourcing Manager at The Mustard Seed – Hamilton, Ontario

Damian’s role at the Mustard Seed acts like a bridge between the co-op and the amazing farmers and producers we partner with! In his daily conversations with our producers, he has come to know the real challenges they face, and works to make The Mustard Seed a place where relationships are honest, supportive, and through which suppliers are being treated fairly. Damian brings his experience, expertise, and passion to the Food Forum, and is full of stories of success and challenge when it comes to sourcing and shopping local.


This is your chance – ask away!

While there will be an opportunity to ask questions at the event, it would be so helpful to know what you’re curious about beforehand. If there’s something you’ve wanted to ask a farmer or producer; if there’s something you aren’t understanding about the food system; if there are just things you’re curious about; if there are stories you’d like to hear – please let us know! Send an email to info@mustardseed.coop and let us know what you’d like to talk about on November 19th. Hope to see you there!