Author Archive

Get fresh Strawberry Festival

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

We’re a little late on the notice here, but there are 18 different strawberries festivals taking place in Ontario this weekend! Check out this website for more details – you can still make it on Sunday.

Too expensive to stay local?

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

local eating on a dime

This Globe and Mail article is an interesting look at how the “economic downturn” is making it harder for chefs to continue to use local ingredients. Based on the article it looks like we need to de-list Il Fornello since they have dropped their local menu.

Personally we’ve found that the cost of local food is not that noticeable an increase in our grocery bill. Certainly the CSA plan makes it less apparent since we’ve prepaid for all our vegetables in installments. Our meat is still purchased on a biweekly basis but Fresh From The Farm‘s prices are quite reasonable. Their meat does not go on sale, but it’s not nearly as pricey as other local butchers we’ve been to.

Probably the most cost effective local eating strategy is to grow it all yourself. Our garden is much bigger this year but it’s certainly not enough to sustain us for the summer, let alone provide for our needs over the winter via canning. Still, it’s a good place to start. We recently saw a story on Global TV that interviewed some chefs who have roof-top gardens to supply herbs, etc to their restaurants. 

Another side-note on the effect of the downturn on the local food movement: do you think the “buy American” push is an ugly sister to buying local food, the same thing, or not at all related?

Rhubarb! It’s in season.

Saturday, May 30th, 2009
Rhubarb I’ve always liked rhubarb. As we posted  in rhubarb season 2008 we made rhubarb sauce last year. Tanny just found a rhubarb website with a lot of potentially good recipes. Strawberry-rhubarb pie is always yummy, but we don’t have any local strawberries yet. So far the 2009 rhubarb recipe favourite is looking like Rhubarb Crumb Bars. We’ll post back with the results.

 

Oh no – sunburned tomatoes!

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Well, as Tanny reported yesterday we planted all our seedlings. After work tonight we checked their progress and, to our great dismay, the tomatoes are all limp and lifeless!! It appears we have not hardened our plants properly and they got sunburned under today’s blazing sun.

Hopefully they will recover – we’ve been dreaming of a tomato bounty for weeks.

Local Food – the reality show?

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

My sister passed this link on to us. Apparently there is now a reality show that follows six families in Mission, BC who eat local for 100 days. They are following the “100 mile” diet which really kicked the local food movement into the mainstream based on James MacKinnon and Alisa Smith’s book. James and Alisa host the show.

Their website is pretty snazzy with lots to read and look at. I have mixed feelings about the show. Since we don’t have cable TV we don’t have the option of watching it, but post your reviews if you’ve seen the show.

Garden Update

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Our sprouts are taking off like crazy! Our tomato plants are huge now, especially our beefsteak tomatoes. Altogether we have ten tomato plants, two basil, a bunch of thyme and two peppers. My parents just brought us some seed potatoes and we have Veestar strawberries on order. I’m feeling like it’s going to be a good harvest this year. Last year we didn’t start our seeds soon enough and they were late blooming.

Speaking of late seedings, we probably need to get our watermelon seeds started this week. Tanny’s probably going to get more basil started as well.

Suspended animation, garlic, Rip Van Winkle

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Our garlic, like Rip Van Winkle, is in suspended animation. Or so I hope. In fact, it’s just in paper bags in our fridge. Dormant; not dead.

What’s next? Good question! When we bought our garlic starts at Seedy Saturday, we were told to keep them in the fridge until final frost has passed, introduce them slowly to the outside and then plant them. Seems simple, but I think I need more details. Anyone have any experience with growing garlic from a start?

Monforte Cheese CSA

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

On her way to work last week Tanny heard an interview with Ruth Klahsen of Monforte Dairy on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning. Monforte Dairy is a local Ontario cheese producer of artisanal cheeses. 

She currently uses milk from other local farms, but Ruth is now raising funds to create her own dairy and using a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) approach to do it. They are offering three different share plans (cleverly named “wedge”, “brick” and “wheel”) ranging from $200 to $1000 with the cheese doled out over the next 5 years. Two options are available to the brick and wheel plans: you can either receive vouchers to buy the cheese at markets or have it delivered. The wedge plan offers vouchers only.

We both thought this was a great idea and wanted to post about it. I’ll add Monforte to our list of suppliers shortly.

Oh – I also noticed that LocalEating.ca is on her blogroll! Yay – and “hi Ruth”.

Not Far From The Tree

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Not Far From The Tree BannerOne of the cool projects we heard about at EcoSuave was “Not Far From the Tree.” They are a non-profit organisation in Toronto that “help fruit tree owners make use of the abundance of fruit that their trees offer by dispatching teams of volunteers to harvest it for them. One third goes to the fruit tree owners, another third goes to the volunteers for their labour, and the final third is distributed (by bicycle or cart) to community organizations in the neighbourhood who can make good use of the fresh fruit.” Last year (2008) they picked 3003lb of fruit!

We thought this was a GREAT idea and will consider calling them if our lonely pear tree is as abundant as it was last year.

Here are some similar organisations in the rest of the province and Canada:

Maple Sugar Rush

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

This week we ventured out to the Kortright Centre conservation area for their Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival. Tanny and I have a special affinity for the Kortright Centre since we got married there but we have never made it to the Maple Sugar Festival. The centerpiece of the festival is a walk through the forest to visit several interpretation areas (with yummy samples). The guided walk is about an hour. We made our own way along the trail, eavesdropping on the tours when we met them and did it in less than an hour and really enjoyed ourselves. I think that if we didn’t have Ella with us we wouldn’t have taken the entire tour. Some interesting maple syrup facts:

  • Sap from the sugar maple tree is 97% water
  • The ratio of sap to syrup is 40:1!
  • In the old days you had to boil the sap for 24 hours to make syrup – continuously
  • Modern syrup making takes 6 hours
  • Maple trees are one of only four families of trees in Ontario that have opposite branches (i.e., branches and leaves come off the main stem in pairs on opposite sides of the stem). M.A.D. Horse is the way to remember these trees: Maple, Ash, Dogwood and Horse chestnut.

Tanny and I loaded up on maple sugar and maple almonds from their sugar shack. Ella was mesmerized by the pony ride but was a little too scared to get closer than 3m away.

The festival runs until April 13, 2009.

Maple Syrup Festivel Banner