Posts Tagged ‘eating locally’

LocalEating at EcoSuave

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Josh and I have our outfits picked out and all ready for ecoSuave2009. We feel very fortunate to be asked by the organizers to attend this event. We’ll have a table there to talk to people about eating locally and a special activity that will get you entered into a draw for some awesome prizes. The whole event sounds like fun – there is live jazz and an array of food prepared from local ingredients. The food will be set up at sampling stations and is included in the ticket price. Check out the Enlightened Events website for more details.

If you’re in Toronto, maybe we’ll see you there!


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

 


Our Local Eating Experience: a reflection

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

We’ve been trying to eat locally since the beginning of the year, and since June, our meals are mostly local.  We’ve been getting our meats from Fresh from the Farm and The Healthy Butcher, and our fruits and vegetables from farmers’ markets and our CSA share.  We’re not your hardcore locavores, but we try to eat locally when it’s affordable and convenient.  Let’s face it, we’re very busy with both of us working and taking care of a toddler.  Time and money are precious commodities around here.  With that in mind, I’ve compiled lists of our experience so far:

What’s local in our kitchen:

  • all meat
  • all fruits
  • all vegetables
  • eggs
  • most cheese
  • some spelt flour
  • yogurt
  • maple syrup
  • wines
  • most beer

What’s not local in our kitchen:

  • rice
  • pasta
  • cereals
  • olive oil
  • vinegars
  • milk
  • flour
  • spices
  • condiments
  • baking ingredients
  • dried herbs
  • bread

New foods we’ve made since we’ve gone local:

  • cream of asparagus soup
  • strawberry bread
  • roasted roots vegetables
  • homemade burgers
  • parsnip mash
  • maple syrup pork chops
  • rhubarb sauce
  • strawberry jam

New foods we’ve tried:

  • rhubarb
  • green garlic
  • garlic scapes
  • parsnip
  • kale
  • odd sprouts
  • rutabaga
  • and all the heirloom tomatoes that we’re growing
  • the best chocolate milk - Harmony chocolate milk

This is just the beginning.  I’m sure we’ll be trying lots more different fruits and veggies as they’re harvested.  I’m really looking forward to the harvest of our own little garden.