Posts Tagged ‘PYO’

Best places to find local sustainable food

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Whether you buy it from a farm or a small food business, sample it in a restaurant or to grow it yourself, there are many ways to enjoy local, sustainably produced food in Ottawa. What works for you will depend on your needs and budget, as well as the amount of time you have. Here are some options.

1.  Visit a farmers market: The Byward Market may be one of the oldest and largest in Canada, but there are many other farmers markets that serve the region (typically from May to October).  Besides fresh produce and locally raised meats, you’ll often find preserves, baked goods, flowers and crafts. Ask vendors if the food they’re selling was grown in the area and whether it’s chemical-free. For the market nearest you, consult Just Food’s Buy Local Food Guide or Farmers Markets Ontario.

2.  Join a CSA. When you subscribe to a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) farm, you pay a flat rate for a share of what it produces that season. In return, you collect a weekly basket of fresh-picked produce from the farm gate or a drop-off spot. You also have the chance to visit the farm, get to know the farmer who grows your food and meet other CSA members. The farmer benefits by knowing how much he or she must produce and by having the money to grow it at the start of the season. Visit Just Food for a list of area CSA farms.

3.  Buy at the farm gate (or on-farm store if there is one) or PYO: If a farmer in your area grows for the local market, ask if you can buy from their farm.  Pick-your-own (PYO) operations are also available throughout the region.

4.  Grow your own. There’s nothing more satisfying than growing – and eatingyour own food and you don’t need much space to do it in. Raise herbs and veggies in traditional containers or use structures that allow you to grow up vertical surfaces like walls or railings.

5.  Join a community garden. A community garden is a piece of land worked collectively by a group of residents. Just Food lists new and existing gardens across Ottawa, and provides support that includes workshops on organic vegetable gardening, food preservation, and starting your own community garden.

6.  Buy from businesses that sell or use local foods. Savour Ottawa lists restaurants, caterers, hotels, B&Bs, retailers and microprocessors in the region who source a certain percentage of food from local producers. In addition, some local products, such as Heavenly Honey and Hummingbird Chocolate, are available from Foodiepages.ca, an online storefront that features products from artisanal food businesses across Canada.

7.  Sign up with Ottawa’s Good Food Box program. The Ottawa Good Food Box is a non-profit, community-based program that distributes fresh fruit and vegetables, at wholesale prices, to people who may not have access to them for income, health, or other reasons.  Operating as a community buying club, the Good Food Box purchases items in season and grown as close to home as possible.

What’s your favourite way to enjoy local sustainable food in Ottawa?