An Italian original

By Sean Delaney

Berton Seed imports 99 percent of their products from Italy.


Because that’s how Dad would do it.

“We bring in 99 percent of our stuff from Italy, even today,” said Walter Berton, owner of Berton Seed Co. Ltd. “My dad’s thought process was that what they were offering here were only Canadian-style products and plants. Some items that Italians are very familiar with and that are easily cultivated, such as radicchio, aren’t available here.”

Even some types of tomatoes and specialty items such as certain types of zucchinis started to grow their customer base. “What it boiled down to was a lot of varieties Italians are used to having available just weren’t,” Berton said.

Berton Seeds has been providing high-quality garden seeds and bird products since 1979. It’s an unusual combination, but one that feeds two fancies.

If you are a gardener or plants are your fancy, their “garden seeds” available for order on their webpage or through their retail outlet will offer you more than 150 varieties of vegetable, flower, and herb seeds. And with those seeds imported from Italy, customers can get an authentic taste of Italy in their own backyards.

If you are a bird breeder or fancier, look through their selection of “bird products” as well as solid, well-built bird cages, accessories, and high-quality nesting foods and seed mixes.

“My dad brought these plants over to see how they would be accepted, and that’s basically how it started,” Berton said. “And while today the majority of our customers are Italian, we have also begun to bring in foods to cater to a variety of backgrounds.”

As Berton explained, while the base of his business was grown serving the Italian community, the community itself has changed. Many hobby and larger farms have been sold for development, new communities have developed, and new people continue to move in.

“We now have people from all different kinds of backgrounds who want to source farm-fresh foods, so we’re looking to expand our offerings to ensure we’re providing everything to everyone.”

Radicchio, as Berton said, has become more popular, as well as certain types of zucchinis, but his business has also seen some crossover between Italian and the Southeast Asian diet. Rapini, Berton said, is a popular seed for both groups; they simply cook it and spice it differently.

To find out more about Berton Seeds, you can drop in at:

4260 Weston Rd., Toronto

Visit them online at:

Call them at: 416-745-5655