4 posts tagged with “The Garden of Eating – Niagara”

  • Raising a Glass to Food Literacy with Garage D’Or Ciders

    Thanks Shutterstock!

    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 and writing are my own. The Greenbelt Fund fact-checked all information, including numbers and statistics, about the Greenbelt in this post before publication.

    There’s a landmark on the other side of the Welland Canal that my daughter points out every time we drive by.

    “Fruit farm!” she yells from the back seat whenever we pass the shuttered Werner’s Fruit Farm stand on Lakeshore Road.

    She wants to stop at the red plywood hut and buy peaches, plums, apricots and raspberries, just like we did every week in the summer. Enter Killjoy Mom.

    “We ate all the fruit last summer. We have to wait for more to grow,” I say.

    She got equally excited on CSA pickup days this winter at Creek Shore Farms in Port Dalhousie.

    “We go see Amanda and Ryan? They give us carrots?” she’d ask every Wednesday when I picked her up from day care.

    At nearly three, she knows the names of most of the folks at our local food stops. Olivia also loves to help me water my community garden plot, too. And she stands next to me in the kitchen, taking on the important job of stirring, or raiding the utensil draw so she can pretend to whip up something  of her own. Continue reading

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    Category Food Finds, Food Security

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  • Peach Tree
  • Cheering on the culinary misfits

    This post was done in partnership with TVO and Food Bloggers of Canada.

    I took a roadie with some unlikely travel companions a few weeks ago.

    It was 200 pounds of Kieffer and Bartlett pears bound for Great Lakes Beer in The Big Smoke. The Kieffers were rescued Thanksgiving weekend, their fate to become compost were it not for a small group of volunteers who gave up their time to harvest them. The Bartletts were seconds from Torrie Warner’s Beamsville farm; more knobby and scuffed than some of their relatives who fetch a higher price at market with their flawless appearance.

    I made the trip with mixed feelings: excitement for what was to become of these pears — the castoffs of the fruit world — but also feeling a little guilty. Two hundred pounds is a lot of pears and someone would have to chop and freeze them to use next spring to make the second — and larger edition — of Great Lakes’ Kieffer Your Hands Off My Pears saison. I only hope Great Lakes has an intern or two.

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    Category Food Finds, Food Security

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  • Peach Tree
  • The Canadian Food Experience Project: The flavour purple

    Homemade grape juice is easy to make and an homage to a Niagara industry that has been kept alive by only a small group of farmers.

    I wanted flash. Some ta-dah, huzzah, laaaaa.

    Because that’s how grape cream pie sounds to me — or purple cow pie, depending on what circles you run in — especially a vegan version, given the cow and I just don’t get on well. There would be homemade condensed milk, too, created with coconut milk to further prove my domestic prowess and eschew the bovine.
    But I was running out of time to try my hand at it. March 30 was the deadline I had given myself to finish the first draft of Niagara Food: A Flavourful History of the Peninsula’s Bounty for my publisher, the History Press. At 1,000 words a day, it seemed nothing short of doable, though my manuscript wasn’t actually due until May 1. You see, I was trying to please another editor — Olivia, my daughter growing inside me and, according to my obstetrician, expected to arrive April 10.
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    Category Recipes

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  • Peach Tree
  • Grovel, grovel

    I’m unconvinced about how much I like the colour yellow.

    On a rain slicker, it’s a beauty.

    But as the colour of a button on this website with the word ‘Donate’ emblazoned on it, it makes me feel a little awkward. I hate asking for favours.

    The donate button in the column on the right is because I am trying to raise money for The Garden of Eating — Niagara, the residential fruit picking program I started in 2009 to provide a source of fresh fruit to social organizations that would otherwise rarely see such donations. In that time and with the help of some kicking volunteers, we’ve diverted 3,600 pounds of tree fruit from compost bins, having that food go to people who can eat and enjoy it instead.

    As the third full harvest season looms, I have some expenses coming my way as I work toward turning this from an after-work hobby to an organization with even greater impact. To do that, I need liability insurance and harvesting and canning supplies for my helpers, who have, for the most part, been supplying their own, generous bunch that they are. But mostly, my priority is getting that insurance for the coming year.

    Until now, I have covered any expenses that have come up with my own funds but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do. That’s why I’ve resorted to putting a donate button on this site and the GOEN’s official website.

    I’m in the process of incorporating the Garden of Eating — Niagara as a non-profit organization. That will make accessing grants easier, provided my applications get the stamp of approval. It should also enable the GOEN to apply for a group insurance rate, which would lessen costs.

    There will be a board to oversee and help direct where the program goes. In time, applying for charitable status will be in the cards but for now, this is the most appropriate route to take.

    That means that anyone who donates won’t be able to get a tax receipt in return but you will have my gratitude and my word that anything donated will be used only for goods and services required to carry out this program. Two years ago, I raised $50 holding a raffle and only spent it this year on labels for pears that were jarred for Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold. That wasn’t because there were no other expenses for the program until now —I’ve purchased ladders and baskets in the meantime. I was just fiercely protective of how that money should be spent.

    No one involved with the GOEN is or will be paid for their time. That is all volunteered so no money will be used as any kind of salary.

    If you do decide to give, thank you so very much. If not, that’s OK, too. This doesn’t mean the program is in jeopardy. It just needs a little help.

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