Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Looking for Farmers’ Markets?

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Now that summer is officially here, all the local farmers’ markets are in full swing.

Here’s the post from last year that lists the Toronto area markets by days of the week.  

For those looking for markets in other parts of Canada, you can simply use our Find Local Food tool.  Just type in your postal code, the distance you’re willing to travel, check off “Market”, click “Search!” and Voila! It’ll show all the markets in your area on a map.

We’ve been enjoying the local organic strawberries from our CSA.  Unfortunately, the wildlife in our backyard got to the one(!) strawberry in our garden before we did.  We got our first garlic scapes in our CSA share this week, I think I’ll make spinach and garlic scape pesto with it tomorrow.


Time to think about seeds again

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Even though we’re still in the middle of winter, last week’s (almost) spring-like weather is a gentle reminder that spring is coming. It’s time to head to your local Seedy Saturday/Sunday to swap and buy seeds, attend workshops and get inspired to grow your own food.  I am obsessed with the heirloom tomato varieties and can’t wait to buy more unusual tomato seeds.  After eating only Ontario garlic this past year (it tastes so much better, a milder taste, not pungent at all), I’m inspired to try growing my own. 

The Seedy Saturday in Toronto is on February 28 this year, at a new location – the Wychwood Barn. The theme this year is potatoes.

Here’s a list of Seedy events in the next month in Canada. 

Ontario

Date

City

Location

Saturday Feb 21

Port Burwell, ON

Trinity Church

 

Hamilton, ON

Royal Botanical Gardens

Saturday Feb 28

Mississauga, ON

Unitarian Congregation, S Service Rd

 

Sault Ste Marie, ON

Sault College-Native Centre-G Wing

 

Toronto, ON

Artscape Wychwood Barns

Saturday March 7

London, ON

Siloam United Church

 

Ottawa, ON

Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre

 

Peterborough, ON

St. James United Church, Romaine St

Sunday March 8

Pembroke, ON

Fellowes High School, 420 Bell Street

Saturday March 14

Kingston, ON

Kingston’s Central Branch Library

BC

Date

City

Location

Saturday Feb 21

Victoria, BC

Victoria Conference Centre

 

Prince George, BC

Exploration Place

Saturday Feb 28

Vancouver, BC

VanDusen Botanical Gardens

Sunday March 1

Nanaimo, BC

Bowen Park Auditorium

Saturday March 7

Courtenay, BC

Filberg Centre

 

Fernie, BC

Fernie Community Centre

 

Enderby, BC

A.L.Fortune Secondary School

 

Robert’s Creek, BC

Robert’s Creek Hall

 

Richmond, BC

Terra Nova Barn, 2631 Westminster Hwy

Saturday March 14

Kelowna, BC

Rutland Centennial Hall

 

Cobble Hill, BC

Cobble Hill Hall

 

Powell River, BC

Community Living Place, Artaban St

Manitoba

Date

City

Location

Saturday Feb 21

Garson, MB

 

Quebec

Date

City

Location

Sunday Feb 22

St. Appollinaire , QC

83 rue Boucher

Saturday Feb 28

St. Vallier de Bellechase, QC

école La Ruche de Lanaudière

Sunday March 8

Lanaudière, QC

Centre communautaire Le Rodriguais à Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez

Nova Scotia/New Brunswick

Date

City

Location

Saturday Feb 28

Truro, NS

Holiday Inn on Prince St.

Saturday March 7

Cocagne, NB

Ecole Blanche Bourgeouis

Saskatchewan

Date

City

Location

Saturday March 14

Saskatoon, SK

Princess Alexandra School


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Blueberries, Peaches and Plums. Oh my!

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Blueberries

Blueberry season is almost over in Ontario, but we certainly enjoyed it while it was here. Tanny, Ella and I went blueberry picking last weekend at Andrew’s Scenic Acres . We went again this weekend. Ella cannot get enough blueberries!! It was hard to get her to focus on putting the berries into the basket and not in her mouth. She got remarkable adept at distinguishing ripe blueberries from unripe.

One thing we learned this year is that the powdery-white coating on blueberries is called the “bloom” and is not pesticide (thank goodness).

During my high school years, my family and I would always pick blueberries in Thamesville at Park’s Blueberries . If you’re ever passing through the area they have excellent pick your own and home-baked goods. They usually have three different types of blueberries.

While we were at Andrew’s Scenic Acres we also picked some Damas plums. Personally I prefer yellow plums but these were good too. Their pears and apples looked just about ready to pick.

Damas Plums

Tomorrow we’re going to be in Grimsby and hope to stop at Two Century Farm to pick up some peaches and possibly some grapes. We haven’t been there before but my parents said it’s good.

Tanny and I have a running joke about #1 peaches. When we were in the Niagara area a few years ago we stopped at a roadside peach stand. He had two types of peaches with labels: “peaches” and “#1 peaches”. Curious, we asked him what the difference was and he remarked, pointing to one basket, “Those are #1 peaches.” Now whenever we get an obvious answer that contains no value it’s “#1 peaches!”. Anyway, for the curious here is the precise definition of #1 peaches in Canada.

Blueberry farms listed in our database (as of August 31, 2008):

Peach farms listed in our database (as of August 31, 2008):

I know there are many stands and farms with blueberries across the country. Please add them to our list so that others may feast on fresh blueberries.

Keep eating local!


Aphids!

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

Despite our slow start to the garden this year, everything has been growing really well. We’ve been eating fresh peas almost everyday for about a month now, the tomatoes are looking really promising, the carrots are just about ready, we’ve been harvesting the basil and even our one cornstalk has defied all odds and is producing one corn! Yesterday, while I was checking the tomatoes, I found aphids on the flowering branches!!! The aphids nearly destroyed our snowball trees earlier this year and they are not getting my heirloom tomatoes. Luckily there were only a few clusters of them and I began picking them off with my hands. Then I felt weird squishing the bugs and so I blasted them off with the garden hose. When I checked today, there were a few left on the branches still so I blasted them again with the water. Hopefully that’s enough to keep them off. Does anyone know of any other organic ways to keep them off my tomatoes?

Aside from that, our local eating has been going really well in the summer. We go to Fresh from the Farm to stock up on meats every few weeks and we have our CSA from Plan B . We only got a half share and we find it challenging to finish all the veggies each week. We’re not salad people and we just can’t keep up with all the lettuce we’re getting! We tried purple beans for the first time last week. Did you know that they’re green inside and that they turn green when cooked?They taste similar to green beans with a stronger bean taste.

Since we were away for a few weeks in July, we traded those weeks for fruit shares. I decided to get the fruit shares in August thinking of all the peaches and plums that are in season. Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I didn’t get any local fruits in the fruit share. There were bananas, oranges, grapes and plums, mostly from California. Apparently, it’s risky to grow peaches and plums organically in Southern Ontario, due the high risk of fungal disease in the fruit. Most farmers can’t afford a crop failure. Here’s an except from an email from Melanie ofPlan B Organics explaining the situation:

Why is there so little fruit being grown organically in Ontario?

While the climate in Southern Ontario is warm enough to grow tender fruit crops, the high humidity in summer leads to a high incidence and spreading of fungal diseases on tender fruit crops. To combat these fungal diseases on conventional farms tender fruit crops are sprayed with chemical fungicides as many as 15 times or more each season to keep these diseases at bay and ensure a crop for the farmer. These sprays are why we at Plan B feel the need to provide an organic alternative, but for that alternative to also be local is a bigger challenge. Most of the certified organic tender fruits you have been getting in your fruit share are grown in arid, semi-desert zones in California where disease pressures are much lower and it is more conducive to organic growing. The cooler and drier weather in more northern parts of the province where we get our organic apples from is also helps lower disease and pest pressures for the farmers there. We also feel that very few local growers are in the position to risk losing their crops as there is little or no financial security in making significant changes to the food system, unless people are guaranteeing their costs and a a living wage. Things most of us take for granted, but that’s not how it is for farmers in our society.

Why can’t we get more farmers in Ontario to grow their fruit organically?

We at Plan B Organic Farm began offering the fruit share with hopes that having a good market for local organic fruit would help convince some local growers to convert to organic production. So far we have only been able to find a few farmers who have taken this step, we hope to find more in the future. Our goal is to have everything we handle be local and organic, but this is a goal for us when it comes to fruit, not the reality of where organic agriculture is at right now in Ontario. We want to build this system for the future, if you know of anyone with a fruit farm that’s not being used or is retiring please let us know and we will contact them with info about organic production.

So, if you know of anyone interested in organic fruit production, drop them a line at info@planborganicfarms.ca.

p.s. We’ve been getting some local organic melons in our fruit shares in the past two weeks.  Yay for melons!

Sweet Corn Sweet Peas Carrot tops Black Cherry Tomatoes Blanche Beaute Tomatoes McMullen Tomatoes Red Zebra Tomatoes

 


More provinces included in seasonal food list

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Tonight I added seasonal food lists for Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. All provinces are now represented; I just have the territories remaining.


100 Local Food Suppliers!

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Six months into the site and we’re at 100 suppliers! Thank you to everyone who has contributed.

Remember: When you’re driving through the country and find some hidden farms and markets, be sure to come back and add them to our list so others can enjoy your tasty finds too!


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Happy Victoria Day

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Tanny and the seedlings.

This weekend Tanny and I had some time to work on the website and the garden. Tanny added some more soil to her tomato seedlings and pinched off the weaker ones. I worked some compost into the garden and got it primed for planting. Unfortunately the temperature is just barely into the double digits so we’re going to wait until next weekend to plant.

Also - the seasonal food list now has lists for BC and PEI.


Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) - Local Eating Made Simple

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

In my research to find local food resources I learned of a system called Community Shared Agriculture (CSA). CSA is a food distribution system where the growers are directly connected to the consumer. The consumer subscribes to a share of the year’s harvest (i.e. pays a flat fee up front) from a local farm in early spring, and in return, the shareholder receives a box of fresh produce weekly during the growing season. The share subscription provides the farmers with the capital to purchase seeds and farming supplies, and the shareholder gets an amazing supply of farm fresh produce weekly.

The size and variety of the shares depend on the farm you purchase from. Generally speaking, the farms offer at least a large and small size share. Some farms also offer a fruit box in addition to the veggie option. At Everdale Organic Farm , shareholders also have free access to the culinary herb garden, the flower garden for fresh cut flowers, and all the beans and peas you can pick when they are in season.

I think this is a fantastic idea - it really is what local eating is all about - supporting and connecting with the people who grow my food. I do have one reservation though - I LOVE going to farmers’ markets and checking out the different vendors each week. By signing up to be a shareholder, it eliminates the need to go to the markets, hmmm….I guess I can still go for the fish and local cheeses and all sorts of other goodies. On the other hand, I’ll get to try new veggies I normally wouldn’t buy and learn new recipes. Now the next question is: who should I sign up with? There’re quite a few close to the Toronto area. To minimize the environmental impact, I should pick one that is close to home.

Here are the CSAs I’ve found in Ontario so far; they are all in our database:

Everdale Organic Farm - near Guelph

Plan b Organic Farm - near Hamilton

rare Organic Farm - Cambridge

Simpler Thyme Organic Farm - Hamilton

Thurston Organic Farm - near Lindsay

Whole Circle Farm - Acton

Click here for an in-depth article on CSA from Green Living Ideas.

To find a CSA near you, go to our Find Local Food page and choose "CSA" as the supplier type.