Archive for June, 2009

The Story of Strawberry

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

There was an interesting article in the Toronto Star yesterday about the journey of California strawberry - from the genetics lab in California to the local grocery stores all over North America.  It’s incredible/scary all the processes involved from seeds to fruit.  

Some interesting facts from the article:

  • there are over 200 genetically unique seeds on each strawberry
  • the growing season for Ontario strawberries is 5 weeks; in California, 9 months
  • each strawberry plant is engineered from a seed, put through heat treatment, humidity chamber, and travelled to mountains in Northern California for cooling
  • California strawberry fields are first fumigated with methyl bromide to kill all weeds, bugs and fungus to a depth of 2.4 metres (is this practice common in all commercial farming, or unique to strawberries?)
  • once picked, strawberries are cooled to 2 degree Celcius to prolong the shelf life to 10 days
  • the farthest city the California strawberries travel to is Toronto
The story of the strawberry is a lot more complicated than I thought. I don’t think it’s the way nature intended.   Having read the article,  I now appreciate the Ontario strawberries even more.

Ontario Strawberries are Here!

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

I just bought my first pint Ontario strawberries from a local grocery store on Friday.  They are so juicy and red!  Josh’s mom has already made 15 jars of strawberry jam.  We’ll be making our first trip of the season to our favourite strawberry farm - Organics Family Farm for more strawberries tomorrow.

Here’s a list of strawberry farms on our site:

Toronto area:

London area:

Hamilton area:

Niagara area:

 Barrie area:

Kingston area:


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.


Forum

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?


Second Annual EcoSavvy Festival

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

There’s a free green event at Mel Lastman Square on June 19-20, hosted by Enlightened Events.  At the EcoSavvy Festival, you’ll learn all about the local green and responsibly made products and services.  There’ll also be live music, organic food sampling and DIY workshops.  Visit their website for more information.

EcoSavvy Festival