6 posts tagged with “Norfolk County”

  • 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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    Category Beyond Niagara


  • Peach Tree
  • White asparagus soup revisited (Spargelcremesuppe)

    This post and recipe for white asparagus soup first appeared on this blog in 2012. It has been updated where necessary.

    Bleary-eyed and running on fumes, my husband and I landed on my aunt Sigrun’s doorstep in Germany almost a year ago to the day, only she wasn’t there.

    But her husband, Eckard was and he had a pot of my aunt’s Spargelcremesuppe (cream of white asparagus soup) ready for us.

    What he wasn’t ready for, however, was our appetite for what may just have been the best soup we’d ever tasted, especially after travelling thousands of miles and 14 hours. It was rich and smooth, creamy and bright. It took everything in me not to pick up the bowl set before me and pour its contents down my gullet. I struggled to pace myself instead and savour every spoonful.

    “Mehr?” Eckard asked us, somewhat reluctantly, in Ger-glish, the pidgin we speak to each other.

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    Category Food Finds, On the Farm, Recipes


  • Peach Tree
  • The Canadian Food Experience Project: (Almost) a Canadian love affair with ice fishing

    Ice fishing huts on Lake Erie near Fort Erie.

    The framed photo propped against the wall in my office started it all.

    The red wooden ice fishing hut against the stark backdrop of baby blue sky interrupted by the ruler-straight line of Lake Simcoe’s frozen surface was so beautiful, I had to buy it when I saw it 12 years ago at the One of a Kind craft show in Toronto.

    It also awoke in me something primordial. There was something about sitting on a frozen lake, just me, my rod and the anticipation of catching fresh fish, that led me to believe I had to go ice fishing.

    The second toe on my left foot, which regularly turns nose-wrinkling shades of purple and blue the moment it feels chilled, is the regular reminder that it was all nonsense.

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    Category In the Wild


  • Peach Tree
  • Welcome back: Niagara’s seasonal farm workers return for the season

    I moved to Simcoe as a cub reporter at what may have been the worst time of year.

    It was January and an ornery one at that. I remember so well the aserbic wind and cold, the banks of snow and their regular growth spurts that made me think it would be impossible for them to ever fully melt. Mostly, I remember how closed up everything was, dormant, even. Everyone seemed to be in hibernation.

    Snow snuffed the frozen tobacco fields like the thickest down duvet, stifling all signs of fertility and life that Norfolk’s sandy soil was famous for generating year after year.

    And then there was the oppressive darkness, mostly my own. The weather, the long nights, the seeming lack of life everywhere made me wonder if this was what the weight of a million pounds felt like. It was oppressive. Time moved like sludge through a pipe and it was depressing.

    I truly wondered if I’d make it as a newly minted reporter and equally green Norfolk County resident.

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    Category Food Security, On the Farm