152 posts tagged with “Niagara”

  • Greenhouse turns over new leaf with Niagara Lettuce Co.

    The team at Niagara Lettuce Co. in Vineland.

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

    Eat healthier. Cut food waste. Be kinder to the planet.

    They’re a common refrain at this time of year, the height of resolution season.

    If they’re your goals for the new year, there’s an easy way to spare yourself resolution remorse for any tumbles off the proverbial wagon: Eat a salad. Just make sure it’s made with leaves grown by Niagara Lettuce Co.

    The Vineland greens machine that’s a division of Sunrise Greenhouses grows between 1,300 and 1,500 heads of Boston, green and red oak leaf lettuce each week — even now in the greyest and coldest depths of January. So if eating local is also on your to-do list, you really have no excuses.

    Dennis Sengsavang, who grows the heads of tender greens for Niagara Lettuce Co., will confirm how easy it is to make friends with salad.

    “I became a big salad guy,” he said. “I’ll be honest, it’s a passion for growing. I love seeing it from the beginning to end.”

    Still, this isn’t just any salad that Sengsavang grows.

    Sunrise Greenhouses is better known for being early adopters of new and niche houseplant production. For years potted flowers, such as campanula, rather than food have been Sunrise’s bread and butter.

    The operation began branching into edibles when it worked with the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre to develop the pixie grape, a popular and petite ornamental wine grapevine that comes in Pinot Meunier, and soon Merlot, Riesling and Cab Franc.

    But Sunrise general manager Rodney Bierhuizen knows tastes change when it comes to the plants we place in our living rooms. Salad, by contrast, is a relative constant in our kitchens, and a more sustainable business plan than that stylish succulent sitting on my coffee table.

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    Category Food Finds, On the Farm

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  • Peach Tree
  • Last of the Strip Mall Gems: Readers’ Choices

    A spread at Hibachi Café in St. Catharines.

    Strip Mall Gems is a series of Eating Niagara, my column that runs in the St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review and Welland Tribune. This is my final instalment in the series and includes readers’ choices.

    It was about a year ago at this time that I walked into a burrito joint in a Niagara Falls strip mall, looking for lunch.

    I was there on chef Michael Olson’s recommendation and held out high hopes for my sweet potato wrap at a place that was nothing if not intriguing. It was Don Wong’s Mexican Asian Food Mart.

    How could I not be curious?

    As I waited for my order, I learned that owners Cyndi Wong-Lorenzo and Attilio Lorenzo had only been open three weeks. They moved to the region from Toronto, beckoned by a pace of life more meandering than big-city maniacal.

    Niagara Falls, where Lorenzo grew up, promised to be the perfect place to raise the couple’s own family. Their new takeout venture, a more multicultural riff on what they were doing in Toronto, would enable them to do it.

    As I took my first few bites of burrito, filled with generous pieces of sweet potato and splotches of guacamole, I wondered how many people were like these two, pinning their hopes on a shoebox space in those bastions of mundane urban architecture we call The Strip Mall.

    And how many of us just drive by, thinking ‘One day I’ll stop in’ or ‘I wonder if that place is any good?’

    My strip mall gems series was born at that moment.

    This past year, I stretched my freelancer’s bank balance and my waistline to tell the stories of some of Niagara’s dining treasures; some fancy, some no frills.

    They were stories of chefs trading in round-the-clock jobs in other people’s kitchens to put their own stamp on breakfast and lunch, and have time at night for their families.

    They were tales of people with plum day jobs packing them in to take a chance on a dream. Of new Canadians who longed for a taste of home and when they couldn’t find it, invited us to their tables to share their experiences and become part of their new communities through food.

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    Category Food Finds

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  • Peach Tree
  • Workhorses: Turnip-Apple Ravioli with Miso-Brown Butter Sauce

    This post was sponsored by the Ontario Apple Growers (OAG). What does that mean? I was paid to develop this recipe for Turnip-Apple Ravioli with Miso-Brown Butter Sauce. The recipe and story I’ve told below are my own, without input or editing by OAG.

    I don’t think I’m being bold by stating turnips don’t have the same cachet as, say, kale.

    Really, when was the last time you made a beeline for the humble root vegetable at the grocery store? If you answered, ‘Just the other day, in fact,’ then you and I need to hang out.

    I love turnip. I don’t buy them nearly enough but I do sing their praises often. They’re lovely to look at, for one, with their two-tone purple and cream complexions. Baby bunch turnips, those pure white orbs against verdant greens, are stunning, too.

    Then there’s that taste, with hints of radish and mustard kept in check by the odd apple note. Oh, and turnips are budget friendly, going for less than a dollar a pound in most places.

    Are you feeling me yet on the turnip?

    They’re also incredibly adaptable. They lend themselves to all kinds of flavour pairings from simple, comforting ones to more exotic. Really, the turnip is like the workhorse of the vegetable world.

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    Category Recipes

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  • Peach Tree
  • Abundance: Creamy Potato and Kohlrabi Soup with Spicy Brown Butter

    I officially marked the start of week seven as a phlegm bot yesterday.

    This isn’t an anniversary I want to mark or even acknowledge with a passing thought, yet I can’t help but wonder where the hell my immune system went with no telling when it will return.

    It’s been the winter of my discontent with illness. It started with pneumonia, morphed into a sinus cold that lasted longer than its predecessor, and later a cough that came on so strong at times, it made me throw up. All of this was followed by a fresh set of symptoms this week. They came on the moment I felt confident I was at the very tip of the tail end of all this sickness.

    It’s been nothing short of demoralizing. I make a point of trying to live well. I get nine hours of sleep a night and clock my seven to 10 fruits and veg every day.

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    Category Recipes

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