75 posts tagged with “local food”

  • Meet four Niagara food entrepreneurs who want to feed you

    Small Batch Co. Granola from its early days in 2014.

    This post was sponsored by the Greenbelt Fund. What does that mean? I was paid to write about a topic of my choosing inspired by the most recent story published in The Toronto Star related to Ontario’s Greenbelt. The ideas, interviews, writing and editing are my own. The Greenbelt Fund fact-checked all information, including numbers and statistics, about the Greenbelt in this post before publication.

    There’s more to education than the three R’s.

    At Mohawk College in Hamilton, there are also the three P’s: production, preparation and procurement. They aren’t related to anything learned in a classroom. Instead, they’re all about what’s on students’ plates come lunch, and they offer a lesson about the importance of local food.

    Production teaches students about growing food. Preparation is about cooking what they grow. And procurement is about buying it, particularly food with origins close to home.

    With the help of a $100,000 grant from the Greenbelt Fund, Mohawk is leading a project to create a common model for that third P, local food procurement, for Ontario’s 24 community colleges.

    Public institutions from schools and hospitals to universities and government offices have talked for years about how they crave more local food in their cafeterias. Here at home, Brock University sources regional ingredients when it can for the daily offerings served on campus. The French fries there, which were a real weakness of mine when I worked at the university, are made with potatoes that have local roots.

    This weekend, a story in the Toronto Star talked about some of the  inroads made when it comes to getting local food into schools, and the recognition by students that cooking and eating good food grown nearby matters as much as math class.

    Offering local food doesn’t merely nourish students’ bodies. It feeds their imaginations and plants the seeds for fruitful careers in food. And Niagara, which is on the southwestern periphery of the Greenbelt, is fertile ground for such career ambitions.

    The Greenbelt is two million acres of land protected from urban sprawl.  It’s bigger than all of Prince Edward Island. That makes it one big insurance policy we’ll have some of the best farmland to continue providing us many local meals in the future. It also makes it one giant muse for people pursuing careers in food.

    Continue reading

    Labels , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Category Food Finds, Food Security

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest

  • Peach Tree
  • Sopa de Ajo: Cold medicine in a bowl

    The recipe for Sopa de Ajo in this post is an updated version of one posted previously to this site.

    My cat Louie has to go to a cardiologist.

    I don’t blame you if you guffawed at that, chortled, snorted or simply smiled. I’m convinced that’s just a fancy way of saying “Really expensive vet.”

    But my boy is sick. He had a cardiac event over the holidays and lost so much weight I could feel the sharp edges of his spine. He was far from his curious and engaged self. We need to figure out what exactly happened to a guy I’ve dubbed my editor since freelancing full-time.

    Louie, who literally showed up on our doorstep — I looked out the back door eight years and saw his big grey noggin and tenuous look — often joins me at the kitchen table during my workday writing sessions. He’ll curl up on the chair next to mine or he’ll sleep in my lap as I type.

    Continue reading

    Labels , , , , , , , , ,
    Category Recipes

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest

  • Peach Tree
  • 100KM Foods connects farmers and chefs

    Paul Sawtell of 100KM Foods.

    I originally wrote this story for Edible Toronto Magazine. 

    There was a time when Paul Sawtell had an affinity for shiny, expensive items.

    Such objects still occasionally catch the former pharmaceutical sales rep’s eye. He gets excited, for instance, when he sees a newly washed delivery truck sparkling in the sunlight behind the warehouse of 100km Foods. These days he prefers his flash with substance – the kind that comes from trading a career with lucrative financial rewards for one rich in social benefits.

    100km Foods Inc. is a wholesale and distribution business bridging the gap between farmers and chefs and getting more local food onto our plates in the process. The venture, started by Sawtell and life partner Grace Mandarano nearly nine years ago, was admittedly “warm and fuzzy” at the beginning. But it has become an important link in Ontario’s food economy – by handling product marketing for farmers who’d rather be tending their crops, while sourcing the best ingredients for chefs who prefer to spend their time behind the burner.

    Continue reading

    Labels , , , , , , , ,
    Category Beyond Niagara

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest

  • Peach Tree
  • St. Catharines shop shells out fresh tortillas

    My column, Eating Niagara, runs every second Wednesday in the St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review and Welland Tribune.

    One of Oscar Rivera’s first tasks when he arrived in Canada 10 years ago was to convert his backyard into a corn field.

    The former agricultural engineer from Guatemala City did it in a quest to find the perfect kernel. Each seed he planted promised possibility. Collectively, they represented the new life Rivera was cultivating for himself and his family, including four children, who left their homeland for the safety Canada promised.

    His plan was to grow corn ideal for grinding. He’d sell his harvest to a tortilleria that would turn his season’s work into a taste of home. He search for the right maize lasted two years. All the while his wife, Arminda, lamented the loss of her lawn.

    “My wife almost killed me,” Rivera, 56, said with a smile. “We had grass there but I had to erase it to plant corn.”

    After all his research, the buyer he had lined up for his crop fell through. So Rivera, who was dismayed at the additives he found in corn tortillas available in Canada, decided to make the Central American staple himself.

    Read the rest of the story

    Labels , , , , , , , , ,
    Category Food Finds

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest