Archive for January, 2008

WinterDelicious at Il Fornello

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Il Fornello’s annual WinterDelicious event is now on. They’re offering a three-course prix fixe menu created from Ontario ingredients. WinterDelicious ends February 13. Please check their website for details.  

If you’ve been to WinterDelicious, write a comment and tell us all about it!

Visionary Farmers and Consumers

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

There’s a one day conference in Toronto on organic farming hosted by the Canadian Organic Growers.  It is on February 18, 2008.  Click here for more details.

Il Fornello Goes Local

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Ok, so this might not be news to some people, but it’s news to me. Il Fornello has been offering a “Local Food Menu” for over six months now. Since the ingredients are sourced from local farms, the menu must change to reflect the seasonal offerings.

Currently on the menu are:

  • Fresh herb goat cheese crusted roast peach on arugula + grilled red onion salad with mint Riesling vinegar dressing
  • Fresh corn + cream blended with a puree of white wine sauteed cauliflower + onions with a garnish of sweet pea shoots
  • Rigatoni with smoked chicken, sweet peas, caramalized onions, in a rose sauce, with fresh basil
  • Thin crust pizza topped with wild mushroom bechamel, wild mushrooms, vienna style ham, broccoli + Toscana cheese
  • Grilled “on the bone” pork rack served with roasted yukon gold potatoes, seasonal vegetables + a shallot, plum, baco noir compot


PLU Labels

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

You can tell whether the produce is organic or genetically modified by the PLU code (the number found on the sticker on the produce).  Conventionally grown produce has a 4-digit code, organic produce has a 5-digit code starting with a 9, and genetically modified produce has a 5-digit code starting with an 8.

source: Canadian Organic Growers

100-Kilometre: Winter

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

A tasting menu designed by top chefs that celebrates food and wine produced within 100km of Toronto.  The event is at Coupe Space on Queen St E on January 22. Click here for more details.

The idea of local eating is definitely gaining popularity.  I hope to see  more restaurants offering local foods on their menus soon.  If you know of such restaurant, don’t forget to login and add it to our resource map!

Fresh From the Farm

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

I learned of Fresh From the Farm when I attended the Mom2Mom Holiday Show back in November. The timing was perfect since I was introducing my daughter to solid foods and have been looking for healthier alternatives for her. To be honest, I used to be a bit skeptical of organic foods. There wasn’t any official organic certification process and it seems that people label the food “organic” and charge you twice the price. Now that there are regulations in place and more information available, I’m all for organic food – when it’s affordable. Which brings me back to Fresh From the Farm.

Fresh from the Farm is a small store that’s only open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The owners Jacqui and Tim Schmucker bring in fresh meat from small farms in Mennonite communities near Kitchener-Waterloo every two weeks. All the animals are raised in humane conditions, drug-free and hormone-free. The prices are very affordable. The only catch is that you have to order in advance.

Last week I put in my first order: 2 rib eye steaks, a whole chicken and some eggs. I picked up my order on Saturday and also bought a jar of Pinehedge yogurt. The steaks were at 1½ inched thick each and the chicken was huge. One steak was enough for both Josh and I for dinner. I just pan-fried the steak – flavourful, juicy and tender, even at “well done”. We had eggs for breakfast, roast chicken for supper, and yogurt for dessert. Everything was delicious. It felt good knowing that I was eating wholesome food.

Looking better

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Today we started to learn all about developing WordPress themes. The result is a new theme that looks almost the way we want it. We will be refining it over the next few evenings. The map pages still need a lot of formatting but they are functional should any web wanderer make it to our site.

My First Attempt at Planning a Local Meal

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Buying Local – Dufferin Grove Farmers’ Market

Since I’ve started my research in local food resources in Toronto two weeks ago, I still haven’t visited any of the new findings myself. So last Thursday, I went to check out Toronto’s only year-round farmers’ market at Dufferin Grove Park. A market where there are strict guidelines in place to ensure that the vendors are the producer of their goods and most goods are certified organic.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there’s a year-round farmers’ market in town. And even in mid-January, it’s still bustling with activities. I bought a pork tenderloin ($21) from Berreta Organics, arugula sprouts and basil ($9, I can’t remember the vendor’s name), home-made perogies (two bags of 6 large perogies for $10 total) from Sosnickis Organic Produce, and whole wheat sweet potato bread ($5) from Alli’s. I wanted to buy more but had to hold back, I had placed an order from Fresh From The Farm to be picked up on Friday (more about that later).

First meal

Inspired by my purchases at the market, I prepared my first (mostly) local dinner. I made pan-fried perogies with sausages (non-local), mixed green salad with vinaigrette (olive oil, white wine vinegar and honey from an apiary in Wiarton that I bought while on vacation), and sweet potato bread. It was nothing fancy but the perogies were the best I’ve ever tasted, the salad was so fresh and the bread was very hearty although it would go better with soup. A good meal all around.

Second meal

On Friday, we had our friend Andrew who is visiting from BC, was over for dinner. I roasted the pork tenderloin with roasted root vegetables (a recipe I found on the foodnetwork website), served it with a mixed green salad and sweet potato bread. I used local honey and Ontario red wine in the marinade for the tenderloin, although not all the root vegetables (carrot, rutabaga, turnip and parsley root) were local, they were at least seasonal. Had I planned better, I could’ve bought them from the farmers’ market, but I ended up going to the local supermarket. The tenderloin was succulent and tender, and the root vegetables complimented it quite nicely. I’ve never had rutabaga, turnip or parsley root before, I’d always thought they looked weird and didn’t know how to cook them; however, in my quest to eat more locally and seasonally, I decided to give them a try. As it turned out, they are quite tasty.

In The Beginning

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

It all started when I got the book 100-Mile Diet for Christmas. Josh and I have always tried to eat local produce when available, especially in the summer, when the local fruits taste so much better. The book inspired us to try the 100-mile diet ourselves. So off we went searching the internet for various local alternatives: butter, flour, honey. That’s when we realized there are no centralized resources readily available. We wanted to create a resource for people interested in local eating, a forum to share our experience and discuss all things pertaining to local eating. And that’s how this website came about.

We’ve got maps!

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

The basic functionality of our site is up. You can now search the database for local food suppliers and get a map showing the results. Tanny has been diligently adding resources local to Toronto.

The next step is to make this site a little more attractive.

Note: In order to contribute the list of local food suppliers or post messages on the forum, you must register via the link at the left. We do not sell or distribute our user list. Registration is only necessary to cut down on the amount of spam we would otherwise receive. Searching for food suppliers or reading the forums do not require registration.