At Nature’s Fare Markets we respect everyone’s food lifestyle, and work hard to offer a wide range of products that are healthy, tasty, and ethical. Jason Plyem of Two Rivers Specialty Meats feels the same way, so we rely on him to source and deliver a variety of locally raised meat free of antibiotics, hormones, and chemical feed additives. He is as committed as we are to knowing where our food comes from, and to supporting the most natural way of eating possible. We recently visited him in his North Vancouver office to talk about how much local food awareness has grown in recent years.
The most important thing for all of us to know,” believes Jason, ”is where our food comes from. All our farms are hand chosen and inspected for their ethics, feed, care, and handling. Those are the elements of sustainability, and that’s the point: you either care or you don’t.”
And it’s clear that Jason and Margot Plyem care deeply: from the books on the reception coffee table—piles of fresh-off-the-press local foodie magazines cozying up to well-thumbed cookbooks—to an unwavering commitment to create a company that connects people to their food.
A Change in the Wind
In 2008, when he and his wife Margot started Two Rivers, words like ‘farm to table’, ‘ethical’, and ‘local’ were not mainstream. But there were whispers of the change to come, and Jason was paying attention.
“People were beginning to ask more questions about their food: ‘Where did it come from?’ ‘How was it raised?’ ‘What is it, exactly?’ I knew this is where the market was going—that the hunger and interest was there. We wanted to strengthen the connection between producers and consumers, and to give people the choice to buy quality, ethical, mainstream meat—like beef, chicken, and pork.”
“We started with Pemberton Meadows natural beef from my father-in-law’s farm. We only had 100 head of beef a year—and by seeing how it was raised and treated, how the meat is handled, and how the land was taken care of, I knew we had something special.”
Nature’s Fare Markets Chef Nick Johnston agrees. “There’s a ton of great things about working with Jason and the team at Two Rivers—besides their exceptional service and tremendous products. They are a small, family-operated business (just like us), with deep roots in both the meat and farming industry. They strive to work with local farms all over BC, and definitely practice what they preach in promoting the importance of local food.”
Jason and his team handpick and personally inspect the farms they work with to ensure conditions, property, feed, care, and handling are aligned with their standards. Today, they supply—mostly from BC farmers—beef, chicken, pork, lamb, duck, turkey, elk, boar, and venison, as well as specialty products like quail and squab.
Two Rivers also produces their own line of sausages and charcuterie, a product line developed to make sure all the parts of an animal are used—and the result of the company’s collaborative style. And we’re so glad they do!
What is ‘ethically raised’?
According to Jason, the quality of diet and life is reflected in the meat, and dairy and is leaner, tastier and healthier. What animals eat, we eat.
• No hormones
• No antibiotics
• Grass Fed + Finished: In the pasture all summer. In winter, cows are fed fermented grass (called silage) so all stages of life are grass fed.
• No Corn: Corn needs pesticides, fertilizers, and fossil fuels, so avoiding corn is better for the environment.
Room to Roam
• Free Range: access to roam free to enjoy sunshine and shade
• Free Run: chickens raised in open barns roam free within a structure
Article was published in The Good Life magazine.