Posts Tagged ‘Ottawa Farmers’ Market’

Feast on, Ottawa: These harvest events celebrate the best in local food

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

 

(Photo: Joan, via Flickr) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ca/

(Photo: by Joan, via Flickr)
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ca

 

You could call it summer, or you could call it a non-stop feast that celebrates local food in the Ottawa region, the farmers who grow it and the chefs who prepare it. Here are some of the events you can sample over the next two months.

Double Dig It, Alfresco Dining in the Field – August 16

Enjoy a multi-course dinner that showcases certified biodynamic* food grown on Elm Tree Farm, prepared by the same group of Ottawa chefs who produced last year’s popular menu, and accompanied by local wines. The all-day event also includes a farm tour and tapas tastings served in the garden.

*Biodynamics refers to a method of organic farming that treats soil fertility, plant growth and livestock care as ecologically inter-connected. 

When:                                  Sat., Aug 16, 11:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Where:                                Elm Tree Farm, 45 min west of Perth

Cost:                                      $150 (incl. bus transportation from Ottawa, food, wine and tips)

Info & tickets:                doubledigit.elmtreefarm.ca/Double_Dig_It.html

Savour Ottawa Harvest Table – August 17

Hosted by Savour Ottawa, this is one of the city’s biggest culinary events and involves a multi-course, family-style luncheon, with ingredients from local farmers prepared by Ottawa’s finest chefs.

Regular admission includes lunch and two drinks from some of the region’s best, newest craft breweries and wineries. Locally sourced non-alcoholic beverages will also be available.

Tickets can only be purchased in advance — not at the door – and buy them now because this event always sells out!

Savour Ottawa is looking for volunteers to help on the day of the event. If you’re interested, contact info@justfood.ca with the subject line: Volunteer for Harvest Table 2014.

When:                                  Sunday, Aug 17, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.

Where:                                Ottawa Farmers’ Market at Brewer Park

Info:                                     savourevents@justfood.ca

Ttickets:                           www.eventbrite.ca/e/savour-ottawa-harvest-table-2014-tickets-11590131395

Saunders Family Farm Dinner No. 2 – August 21

This is the second of several local dinners being organized by Saunders Family Farm. The all-local menu will include a classic pig roast, corn on the cob, fresh salads and seasonal fruit grumble with ice cream, as well as local craft beers and craft VQA wines from Ontario.

When:                                  Thursday, Aug 21 -5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Where:                                Saunders Farm, Bleeks Road, Munster

Cost:                                      $25 for adults; $15 for kids

Info & tickets:                www.saundersfarm.com/summer/events

Barns, Farms and Wicked Chefs – August 23

Stroll the grounds and historic barns of the EcoTay Farm and sample food prepared by renowned Lanark County chefs at 10 different stations.

The event is a fundraiser for Perth’s The Table Community Food Centre, an innovative food bank that brings people together to grow, cook, share, and advocate for good food.

When:                                 Saturday, Aug 23, 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Where:                                EcoTay Farm, 10 min west of Perth

Cost:                                     $100 (incl $70 tax receipt but no beer or wine)

Info:                                      http://thetablecfc.org

Tickets:                              www.ticketsplease.ca

Feast of FieldsSeptember 21

Presented by the regional chapter of Canadian Organic Growers (COG), Feast of Fields 2014 will showcase Ontario and Québec’s organic foods, wines and beers. Three top chefs will join forces with local organic producers and growers to create delicious tapas-size tastings you can pair with organic wines and beer. While you’re there, chat with chefs and organic producers, and enjoy live music.

Feast of Fields 2014 is a key fundraiser for COG Ottawa’s flagship programs Growing Up Organic (see my recent post

on GUO) and Senior Organic Gardeners.

When:                                  September 21, 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Where:                                Moulin Wakefield Mill, Wakefield, Québec

Price:                                    $80/person; tickets go on sale Aug 13, 2014

Info/tickets:                    www.feastoffields.ca

Harvest Noir Secret Picnic – September 27

This edgy harvest ball extravaganza combines a pop-up picnic and dance party to celebrate local farms and food in the Ottawa/Gatineau region. Dressed creatively in black, people assemble at a secret urban location in Ottawa for the picnic, then dance the night away at a top venue. Harvest Noir includes a participatory fashion show, flash mobs and more. In the process, it raises funds for BioRegional North America, an initiative that promotes low-carbon lifestyles in existing city buildings.

When:                         Saturday, Sept 27, 5 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Where:                        Undisclosed for now

Cost:                            TBA

Info:                            www.harvestnoir.com

Tickets:                    Not yet on sale

 

What local harvest events are you attending this season?

 

 

Tiraislin Farm’s Rosemary Kralik: An ambassador for food and animals

Friday, June 6th, 2014
Tiraislin Farm's Rosemary Kralik with some of her Tibetan yaks and Highland Cattle. Photo by V. Ward

Tiraislin Farm’s Rosemary Kralik with some of her Tibetan yaks and Highland cattle.
(Photos by V. Ward)

Among the things I’ve learned in writing Earthward: Ottawa Seed to Table is that producers of sustainable food in this region are extraordinary people – energetic, creative and resilient, with a deep sense of responsibility to others and to the natural world. Organic livestock farmer Rosemary Kralik is no exception.

A trim, vigorous woman in her late sixties, she raises, single-handed, about 100 Tibetan yaks, as well as Highland cattle, sheep and goats at Tiraislin Farm, her 722-acre operation in the craggy Lanark Highlands near Perth. She sells meat from her animals at the farm gate and  the Ottawa Farmers’ Market, and also supports local food through memberships in Savour Ottawa and Lanark Local Flavour.

Articulate, forthright and wryly funny, Rosemary is a self-described ambassador for food and animals. “If we have to eat meat, there’s no reason to disrespect the animals who die to feed us,” she says. “We must feed them well, make them happy and minimize the horror of their deaths.”

To supplement her income from the farm, she draws, paints and sculpts, specializing in portraits and studies of animals and people. Art and farming go hand-in-hand, she says. “Agriculture is the mother of all art.”

Born in Cairo and raised in England and Ottawa, Rosemary began farming in the 1990s, after a career in the public and private sectors that encompassed everything from scientific illustration and photography to graphics and fashion design, systems analysis and management consulting. Farming harnesses her skills and knowledge, she says, and satisfies her love of variety.

I spoke with Rosemary at Tiraislin Farm on a rainy, wind-whipped day in late April. After a long chat at her kitchen table, she took me to meet some of her beloved yaks and Highland cattle who were foraging in pastures near the house. Here are highlights from our conversation.

What do animals need to live a happy life?

As much as possible, they need to live as they wish. For my animals, that means being able to roam over much of the property at different times of the year instead of living in confinement. It also means foraging freely on buds, bark and leaves rather than being fed corn and soy which are hard for them to digest. It’s a life that seems to suit them. My animals are never ill and have never been given antibiotics.

When it’s time for an animal to die, I go with him to the local abattoir. I make sure he’s lying comfortably in a bed of hay and that there are no loud noises to frighten him. I stroke him and talk to him. When the end comes, there’s no trauma: it’s quick and painless.

What are the benefits of eating meat from happy, humanely raised animals such as yours?

The meat tastes better: it has a sweetness to it and people tell me they feel so good after they’ve eaten it. The meat is more digestible, too, at a molecular level. The less you cook it, the better.

Yaks and other grass-fed ancient breeds tend to be very lean and high in omega 3 fats which help reduce cholesterol levels and inflammation. They’re also high in conjugated linoleic acid which is said to protect against cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.

I believe the benefits go further. We’re all bags of chemicals, so if we’re constantly eating the meat of stressed, unhappy animals, it’s not surprising that there’s a lot of depression in our society.

Kralik 1 IMG_0092

Running a livestock farm single-handedly would scare a lot of people off. What keeps you so committed?

It’s always fascinating. Farming spans biology, zoology, medicine, engineering, chemistry and many other disciplines. You continuously have to build and fix things, to solve problems on the spot and learn as you go.

There’s also great freedom that come with knowing you can feed yourself. That’s something we’re losing as our society becomes more urban. We’ve increasingly dependent on bosses of different kinds and rely less on ourselves. When you’re farming, you’re a slave to nature, but I don’t mind that slavery. In fact, I often find myself smiling as I shovel the shit.

If you could change one thing about the current food system, what would it be?

Stop preventing people from producing their own food! Open up more small abattoirs, let people grow food and trade it. No one ever died from eating a carrot their neighbour gave them and the more people who grow two bags of carrots, the better. Economies of scale may be fine for cars or widgets but they don’t work for living things. Having many more small farmers is the only food security we have.

Learn more about Rosemary’s organic meat at the Tiraislin Farm booth at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market. Check out her art at A Brush with Immortality.

The Best of Earthward: 8 ways to shop smarter at farmers markets

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

With so many Ottawa farmers markets opening this month, I thought I’d re-run this popular post from last year on how to shop them smarter.

Photo by Justin Sewell (via Flickr)  Creative Commons license 2.0

Photo by Justin Sewell (via Flickr)
Creative Commons license 2.0

Shopping at farmers markets is one of the joys of the Ottawa growing season. Just-picked produce, newly baked bread, homemade preserves, cooking demonstrations, specialty festivals and fairs: what’s not to love?

You can enjoy the experience even more and shop smarter at the same time by following a few simple steps, says Andy Terauds of Acorn Creek Garden Farm in Carp.  A regular presence at the Ottawa Farmers Market and the Carp Farmers Market, Terauds and his wife, Cindy, grow over 2,000 varieties of fruits and vegetables, as well as flowering and vegetable plants. They also sell Cindy’s preserves under the Naturally Cindy’s label.

1. Buy what you like and what looks good.

It may sound obvious, but Terauds says many customers come to the market with a specific recipe in mind and are disappointed to learn that the ingredients they want aren’t in season.  Instead, buy good-looking produce you know you’ll enjoy and then look for a recipe to go with it.  Most vendors can offer suggestions on how to prepare their produce.

2. Sample the food.

If five vendors are selling asparagus, which one do you buy from? According to Terauds, taste should be the clincher. “Try the samples vendors provide. That’s true for corn, too. If it’s not good raw, it’s not good. Better taste is why people buy local food.”

3. Don’t buy from the cheapest vendor.

Selling cheap can be a sign that the taste or quality isn’t up to snuff. What’s more, when you pay farmers a better price, you reward tehm for their hard work and motivate them to keep improving.

4. Come early.

Produce that sits out in the weather deteriorates through the day, so come early for the freshest, most varied selection. If the market opens at 8 a.m., be there at 8 a.m., Terauds counsels. But don’t come earlier because vendors will be setting up and won’t be able give you their full attention. Besides, every vendor has something that’s in short supply; having to sell it before the market opens means less for people who come during business hours.

Rainbow Heritage

Photo by V. Ward

5. Call ahead for big orders.

Need bushels of produce for canning or preserves? Instead of buying them at the market, call the farmer ahead of time to negotiate a price and arrange for delivery.

6. Bring bags and pay cash.

Depending on the weather, bring waterproof bags for breads and cheeses, or a cooler for anything that deteriorates in warm temperatures, such as soft fruit, dairy products or meat.

Since most vendors don’t take credit or debit cards, bring cash, preferably small bills and change.

7. Dress for the weather.

You’ll have a better time if you’re dressed for the weather so make sure you have the proper gear, including suitable footwear.

. Make the market an event.

Shopping at a farmers market is a social experience and one that appeals directly to the senses. Soak it all in. Make your market visit an event. Have a snack, talk to the vendors, watch a chef demonstrate a new recipe. “It’s a different experience to shopping at a supermarket chain,” Terauds says. “Take advantage of the differences and enjoy them.”

To find the market nearest you, check the Ottawa Farmers Market Guide.

How do you shop at farmers markets? What works for you?

 

Seasonal Eats : Chef Andrée Riffou’s Local Apple Pie

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Apple pie from Chef Andrée Riffou of C’est Bon Cooking

 

Apples rank among the most popular fruits consumed in Canada. It’s not hard to see why. They’re good eaten raw, cooked or baked, and the many common and heritage varieties of the fruit offer different colours, textures and flavours. Apples are also packed with antioxidants that protect the heart, help regulate blood sugar and provide anti-cancer benefits. And they’re good sources of vitamin C and dietary fibre.

Apples are at their best in the fall. Chef Andrée Riffou of C’est Bon Cooking uses apples from the Hall’s Apple Market at the Ottawa Farmers Market in Brewer Park for this elegant, easy-to-make, single-crust pie.

About Andrée Riffou

Chef Andrée studied cuisine and pastry with Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa and Paris, attaining the school’s highest qualification: Le Grand Diplôme de cuisine et de pâtisserie. She launched C’est Bon Cooking in 2008,  offering classes, team-building activities, and food tours that allow participants to explore neighbourhood food markets, discover local produce and dishes, and meet area chefs and food artisans.

Featured regularly on local television and radio, Chef Andrée is a staunch advocate of simplicity and homegrown cuisine. She believes in eating locally, sustainably and seasonally,  and in getting to know the people who grow and sell foods. She also believes that cooking and eating are activities to be shared and enjoyed with family and friends.

Local Apple Pie

Prep time – 15 minutes

Cooking time – 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 pie dough recipe (below)

500 g apples, Golden Delicious work well

50 g sugar

50 g butter

apples for garnish, sliced

sugar for garnish

Roll your dough to the desired thickness. Place over pie plate, pinching the edges and making sure there are no holes.

Peel and core the apples. Cut them into cubes.

Melt butter and sugar over medium heat. Add apples and cook until apples are a caramelized colour and al dente (i.e., tender but still firm).

Pour the filling into the pie dough, and arrange sliced apples on top.

Bake in 350° oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with sugar.

Pie Dough

Makes 2 shells

Prep time – 20 minutes

Time in fridge – 1 hour

1/3 cup (70 ml) cold water

2 cups (220 g) flour

1 tsp (5 g) salt

1 cup (225 g) butter

Mix flour, salt and butter together until completely combined.

Add water. Mix well, stirring and folding, until there are no dry patches.

Chill at least 4 hours or overnight until firm (you could probably justchill for 1 hour and be fine), or freeze. Just be sure to defrost for a few hours before baking.

What apple varieties do you prefer and how do you like to prepare them?

Harvest season: a weekend at Ottawa farmers markets

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Harvest season is at its peak in Ottawa these days. This weekend, I soaked up some of the sights, sounds and tastes at the Carp Farmers Market and the Ottawa Farmers Market at Brewer Park. Vendor stalls brimmed with late summer produce, and farmers, food retailers, artisans and customers were out in full force. Here are a few of my photos.

Acorn Creek Garden Farm produces about 600 types of fruit and vegetables, including globe artichokes, tomatillos, hot and chili peppers, sundried tomatoes, orange and purple cauliflower, nearly 50 herbs and more than 40 melon varieties.

 

Carolina Foresti, owner of Carolina’s Box of Goodness, specializes in artisan brownies, custom cakes and dulche de leche (a kind of milk jam similar to caramel but more complex). A native of Brazil, she comes from a long line of pastry chefs and bakers, and creates her treats based on family recipes and French baking techniques.

 

Heather MacMillan of Heather’s Hearth, with husband Patrick, at the Carp Farmers Market. Heather bakes sourdough breads in a wood-fired oven using organic grain from Castor River Farm or organic flour from Mountain Path, an organic and natural foods distributor south of Ottawa.

 

Multi-coloured heirloom beets from Rainbow Heritage Garden. This certified organic, off-grid farm near Cobden produces 200-plus varieties of fruits, vegetables, nuts and drying beans, with a focus on heirloom types. It also offers a CSA program.

 

Artist and farmer Rosemary Kralik raises free-range Tibetan yak, Highland beef, sheep and goats at Tiraislin Fold, her 722-acre farm in the Lanark Highlands. Her animals are raised without growth hormones or antibiotics, on high-quality, pesticide-free local forage.

 

A glimpse of guests eating family-style at the Savour Ottawa Harvest Table, held at Brewer Park on August 18. At the event, some of the Ottawa region’s finest chefs prepared unique dishes with seasonal local ingredients from local farmers. This photo was taken through an arbour at the amazing Brewer Park Community Garden.

 

Do you go to farmers markets? What do you enjoy most and least about them?

 

8 ways to shop smarter at farmers markets

Friday, May 17th, 2013

 

Photo: Kristopher Fritters, from Flickr

Shopping at farmers markets is one of the joys of the Ottawa growing season. Just-picked produce, newly baked bread, homemade preserves, cooking demonstrations, specialty festivals and fairs: what’s not to love?

You can enjoy the experience even more and shop smarter at the same time by following a few simple steps, says Andy Terauds of Acorn Creek Garden Farm in Carp.  A regular presence at the Ottawa Farmers Market and the Carp Farmers Market, Terauds and his wife, Cindy, grow over 2,000 varieties of fruits and vegetables, as well as flowering and vegetable plants. They also sell Cindy’s preserves under the Naturally Cindy’s label.

  1. Buy what you like and what looks good.

It may sound obvious, but Terauds says many customers come to the market with a specific recipe and are disappointed if the ingredients they want aren’t in season.  Instead, it works better to buy good-looking produce you know you’ll enjoy and then look for a recipe to go with it.  Most vendors can offer suggestions on how to prepare their produce.

  1. Sample the food.

If five vendors are selling asparagus, which one do you buy from? According to Terauds, taste should be the clincher. “Try the samples vendors provide. That’s true for corn, too. If it’s not good raw, it’s not good. Better taste is why people buy local food.”

  1. Don’t buy from the cheapest vendor.

Selling cheap can be a sign that the taste or quality isn’t up to snuff. What’s more, when you pay better prices, you reward farmers for their hard work and motivate them to keep improving.

  1. Come early.

Fruit and veg that sit out in the weather deteriorate through the day, so come early for the freshest, most varied selection. If the market opens at 8 a.m., be there at 8 a.m., Terauds counsels. But don’t come earlier because vendors will be setting up and won’t be able give you their full attention. Besides, every vendor has something that’s in short supply; having to sell it before the market opens means less for people who come during business hours.

  1. Call ahead for big orders.

Need bushels of produce for canning or preserves? Don’t try to buy them at the market. Call the farmer ahead of time to negotiate a price and arrange for delivery.

  1. Bring bags and pay cash.

Depending on the weather, bring waterproof bags for breads and cheeses, or a cooler for anything that deteriorates in warm temperatures, such as soft fruit, dairy or meat.

Since most vendors don’t take credit or debit cards, bring cash, preferably small bills and change.

  1. Dress for the weather.

You’ll have a better time if you’re dressed for the weather so make sure you have the proper gear, including suitable footwear.

  1. Make the market an event.

Shopping at a farmers market is a social experience and one that appeals directly to the senses. Soak it all in. Make your market visit into an event. Have a snack, talk to the vendors, watch a chef demonstrate a new recipe. “It’s a different experience to shopping at a supermarket chain,” Terauds says. “Take advantage of the differences and enjoy them.”

The May 16 Ottawa Citizen offers a rundown of what’s new and exciting at area markets this season. To find the market nearest you, check the Ottawa Farmers Market Guide.

What’s your favourite farmers market in the Ottawa area? What do you enjoy about it most?

Community Harvest grows fresh local produce for Ottawa’s hungry

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

What comes to mind when you think of food bank food? Canned goods, probably. Processed foods high in salt, sugar and fat.

The Ottawa Food Bank and Community Harvest Ontario are challenging that stereotype. Together, they’re transforming emergency food relief in this city by making fresh, local fruit and vegetables available to those in need.  In 2012 — its third year of operation –Community Harvest grew and sourced 56,130 lbs of fresh produce for the Ottawa Food Bank to distribute to its 140 member agencies.  The goal for 2013 is even higher, at 75,000 lbs.

The Community Harvest program gives the estimated 48,000 people (37% of them children) who use Ottawa Food Bank services each month the chance to eat more nutritiously.  At the same time, it helps strengthen community by building relationships with local farmers, recruiting local volunteers and soliciting in-kind support from local businesses.

“The whole program is very rewarding,” says Jason Gray, Community Harvest coordinator for the Ottawa Food Bank. “The community benefit gives you a real sense of wellbeing.”

Ontario Association of Food Banks

An initiative of the Ontario Association of Food Banks, Community Harvest Ontario got started in 2009 in response to the global recession, declines in Ontario’s food manufacturing sector, and rising demand for food bank services.  Successful pilot projects in the Toronto area led to expanded programs in partnership with regional food banks in Ottawa, Hamilton, London and Thunder Bay the following year.

The push to provide nutritious fresh food is consistent with other Ottawa Food Bank practices, Jason points out. “Many people aren’t aware, but we distribute a lot of fresh food, and for after-school programs it’s all fresh.  Through our annual Food Aid event, we raise money to purchase beef from a local sale barn that we can process locally, freeze, and supply to our member agencies.”

Grow, glean, give

To provide fresh local fruit and vegetables, Community Harvest uses three main strategies:

  1. It grows its own crops at local farms, using organic methods.
  2. It gleans unpicked produce that would otherwise be disposed of or ploughed back into the soil at the end of the season, and
  3. It promotes giving – that is, donations of produce from partner farms and farmers’ markets (in Ottawa’s case, from the Ottawa Farmers’ Market).

These strategies are clearly working. For example, last year’s growing projects at Black Farm in Stittsville and Roots and Shoots Farm near Manotick Station yielded a total of 15,017 lbs of vegetables, up 83% from 2011. Gleaning from partner farms yielded nearly 17,000 lbs, while produce donations added more than 24,000 lbs. As the program grows, so does the variety of produce; in 2012, it included potatoes, carrots, corn, squash, beets and apples, as well as small crops of broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatillos, Swiss chard and other vegetables.

To meet its 2013 goal of 75,000 lbs of fresh produce, Community Harvest plans to consolidate its growing projects and search for a new one closer to Ottawa Food Bank’s warehouse in Gloucester. There are also opportunities to add new crops, depending on the needs of member agencies.

 Volunteers at the heart of Community Harvest

None of these successes would have been possible without the hard work of volunteers, Jason Gray notes. “They’re at the heart of what we do.” In 2012, 285 individual volunteers and 10 corporate groups spent 1,219 hours planting, weeding and harvesting.

Jason says he’s always interested in signing up new volunteers, and wants to engage more corporate groups this year. He’s also looking for donations of equipment to streamline the farm work and money to expand the program. Contact him if you’d like to help.

 What other ways can Ottawa make fresh local food available to those in need?