All posts in category “Beyond Niagara”

  • Grub: A Podcast about Food digs into stir-fry techniques

    I learned how to make stir-fry in Grade 7 home ec class. Technically, it was family studies class. That’s what they called it back then for whatever reason.

    A life skills class by any other name is still a life skills class, and in the more than 25 years since walking into that kitchen at Stanley Park Senior Public School in Kitchener, I’ve never forgotten what I was told about how to make a stir-fry.

    Heat oil in a wok. Add your protein. When it’s mostly cooked, add your hardest vegetables — the carrots, broccoli stems and cauliflowers of the world. Then add the next hardest until you get to the softest; those that need the least amount of time cook. Douse with sauce, serve on rice and voila, you have dinner. Or something.

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    Category Beyond Niagara

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  • Peach Tree
  • Samsara Fields: Cycles of Life in Waterford, Ont.

    Soyoung Lee and J.P. Gural of Samsara Fields, an organic farm in Waterford, Ont.

    This story originally appeared in Edible Toronto’s Summer 2016 issue.

    As she walks along the edges of sweeping rows of organic garlic at Samsara Fields, Soyoung Lee makes a beeline for a patch of wild catmint.

    She reaches for it, breaking off a bunch, but not for the reason you might expect of a farmer. Lee, who grows heirloom vegetables with partner J.P. Gural on this rolling swath in Waterford, Ontario, sees the value in this prolific squatter known for making cats loopy. Weeds provide great benefit, she says, as she breathes in the plant’s pungent smell. They’re medicinal, therapeutic, and often edible, so she leaves the catmint in the ground and doesn’t bat an eye at its overgrown, uninvited neighbours.

    It’s not the typical response of someone whose job description usually includes doing battle with weeds for the sake of their crops—their livelihood. But Lee and Gural aren’t your typical farmers. Sure, they grow food for a living but this is about more than trying to earn a paycheque from the 44 acres they cultivate.

    “We’re doing this as activism,” Lee says.

    Like many small organic farmers, they’re railing against the usual suspects: conventional, large-scale agriculture, unsustainable cheap food, urban sprawl, and the political and bureaucratic red tape that comes with any kind of farming. Their reasons for working the land to make the world a better, healthier place also go deeper than that, and have much to do with why that catmint was spared.

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  • Peach Tree
  • Sophomore jinx: Episode 2 of the Grub podcast drops

    Who does No. 2 work for?

    Credit for that lede goes to Mike Myers a.k.a. Austin Powers. But to answer the question, clearly not me.

    The second episode of Grub: A Podcast about Food is now available on the virtual airwaves. I’m thrilled to talk to two food writing powerhouses on this show: Jennifer Cockrall-King, author of Food Artisans of the Okanagan: Your Guide to the Best Locally Crafted Fare, and Jeanine Donofrio of Love and Lemons fame.

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  • Peach Tree
  • Taking a day trip to Hamilton

    A scene from Kim Adams' Bruegel-Bosch Bus at the Art Gallery of Hamilton.

    If I were the one calling the forecast, there’d be lots of fog in it.

    That’s how I’ve felt all week — foggy — after using up all creative credit on Sunday night when I mapped out my to-do list and schedule for conquering it.

    Fog started rolling in on Monday morning after dropping my car at the mechanic’s and learning a simple repair job was anything but. I drive a 16-year-old Toyota Echo with 350,000 clicks on it. My boiler suit-wearing friend warning me of all that ails the Echo needs to be approached with a measured response. I have to weigh how many new car payments his big bill would cover.

    Then there was the time eaten up as I moved from coffee shop to coffee shop to work and not seem like too much of a loiterer while I waited for my sickly wheels to be brought back to health. Productivity wasn’t where I’d hoped it would be by day’s end, what with all the self-conscious moving from one seat to another. The to-do list needed some revising and the week had only begun.

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    Category Beyond Niagara, Food Finds

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