Posts Tagged ‘local meal’

To Market, To Market

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Going to the Dufferin Grove market has become a  regular outing around here. On Thursdays, Ella and I pick up Lina and we head to the market together.  We usually share a delicious cinnamon bun from the café and walk around to check out what’s available that week. After reading an article on Andrew Akiwenzie in edible Toronto – he sells the fish he caught himself from Georgian Bay the day before the market – I was looking to buy some fresh fish from him at the market. I also wanted to buy some flour to make crackers this weekend, and some sweet potatoes. I ended up with all that and some sprouts and a loaf of lemon rosemary sourdough.

I abandoned my original dinner plan of leftover Sheppard’s pie and made supper with my market purchases.  For dinner, we had mixed green salad with broccoli sprouts, baked whitefish, steamed broccoli and bread.  Pretty good for a last minute meal.

We’re not on a strict local diet yet – the main ingredients from our dinners are usually locally sourced and I’m making a conscious choice to buy local when I’m at the grocery store.  At times it is difficult to resist buying the strawberries and blueberries, but I’m holding out for the good stuff in the summer.  Other than that, it hasn’t been too difficult and we’re eating better than ever.  I’m definitely looking forward to spring more now that it represents a new growing season – I can’t wait to start my garden this year!

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.

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.