Posts Tagged ‘Eat Local’

The Stop’s Green Barn Market

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

Yesterday, Tanny, Ella and I went down to The Stop’s Green Barn Market near Christie and St. Clair. It’s not far from our house and with our CSA deliveries on hold over the holidays we were tired of staring at empty produce bins in our fridge. 

It’s a nice little market. Everyone is super friendly. It’s bigger than the market at Distillery (at least the last time we were there) but not as big as the market at the Brickworks. The market is held at Artscape’s Wychwood Barns - a converted TTC streetcar repair barn. It looks a bit like the Distillery Farmer’s Market, though much much smaller; the Distillery is also an Artscape project. The Stop, which runs the market, is an organisation which works to increase access to healthy food. 

We picked up some sweet potatoes from Round Plains Plantation. They have Tanny and Ella’s favourites: Chinese purple sweet potatoes. They also had O’Henry sweet potatoes of which we bought one to try. 

We got some eggs and ground beef from two vendors and some white potatoes as well. That night we made sheppard’s pie with the ground beef and potatos and it was delicious! They potatoes were the most favourful we’ve had in months.

Since we’ve been slow to upload recipes, here’s my Mom’s Sheperd’s Pie Recipe:

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 cup water*
  • 1 beef boullion cube*
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 stick of celery (chopped)
  • pinch of thyme
  • dash of worchestershire sauce
  • milk (to taste)
  • a few parsley sprigs
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • (optional) 1 carrot (chopped)
  • (optional) 1 cup corn kernals (cooked or canned)

* You can substitute 1 cup of homade beef stock for the 1 cup of water and boullion cube

  1. Brown beef and onions
  2. Stir in salt, pepper, flour, beef boullion*
  3. Add celery, water*, thyme, worchestershire sauce (and carrots)
  4. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
  5. Meanwhile or before: peel and boil potatoes
  6. When cooked, drain and mash with butter, milk and salt
  7. Put beef mixture into an oven-proof dish
  8. (optional) Add layer of corn
  9. Top with mashed potatoes
  10. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley
  11. Put in oven at 400F for 25-30 minutes

p.s. We left our camera at my parent’s house at Christmas so the blog will be pretty textual for a while.


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!


Simpler Thyme Organic

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

This past weekend Tanny, Ella and I went to visit my family in Waterdown. We got to town a little early and decided to pay a visit to Simpler Thyme Organic Farm . We passed it the first time, seeing the brightly painted sign a little too late (crying baby in the back seat!) but when we turned around and drove into the farm we were happy to find a lovely little store and a very friendly and enthusiastic host Ann.

Ann and her husband play host to many visitors to Canada, letting them exchange their time in the “gardens” for room and board. Their gardens are expansive and very well organised from what we could see. The day we were there a young man from Japan, one from Korea and a young women from Waterdown had just returned from picking asparagus. We readily picked some from their baskets and ate it the next night - delicious! We also bought some mixed salad greens and spinach. Excellent taste and very crisp - even after a few days in our fridge they are still fresher than grocery store produce. Makes me think we should have planted some lettuce in our garden.

Simpler Thyme also carries produce from other farms, organic milk, grains and meats. They raise chickens for meat and eggs (about 200 and 100 respectively).

Anne publishes a weekly email newsletter detailing the activities on the farm and what produce is currently available. We received our first one on Tuesday.

If you’re in Waterdown be sure to check them out.


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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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We have a CSA.

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

In our continuing series of “We have…”, we have a CSA. 

After much research and deliberation, we’ve signed up for a summer half share at plan b Organics.  They deliver to a depot within walking distance from our house and I look forward to walking over with Ella in the wagon to pick up our weekly farm fresh produce in the summer.

Check back next month for our “We have not…” series.


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.


Tips for successful local eating

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Tanny has been busy with the content for this site while I’ve been working behind the scene (and enjoying her yummy local cooking). Tonight I had a chance to peruse the web for other local eating site. This post from the EatLocalChallenge.com website caught my eye. It talks about the “Locavore Pledge”:

If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then Organic.
If not ORGANIC, then Family farm.
If not FAMILY FARM, then Local business.
If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then Fair Trade.

Sounds like a good set of rules to me.

So far I’ve been shocked by the number and variety of food producers Tanny has found local to Toronto. I can definitely attest that the meats are better. We’ve always known that local veggies and fruits taste better. I can’t wait for spring when we really kick off our diet.


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!