Posts Tagged ‘The Red Apron’

Late season highlights: Cooking and gardening workshops, locavore fêtes and the Just Food Farm

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Winter may not be far away, but there’s still plenty to whet the appetite of Ottawa locavores.
Photo by Fleuret (via Flickr)













Ottawa’s growing season may be drawing to a close but there are still lots of events to whet locavore appetites.

  1. Cooking, eating and growing

Savour Ottawa presents: Local Cooking Workshop with The Red Apron

Join The Red Apron’s chef/owner Jo-Ann Laverty and sous-chef Maria Henao at the Urban Element demonstration kitchen and learn how to create a simple holiday menu using only local and seasonal ingredients. Menu will include winter greens with roasted garlic; carmelized onion and apple galette with chèvre; stuffed turkey breast with barley, sweet potato and cranberry pilaf; shredded Brussels sprouts with bacon and maple; and more.

When: November 18, 6-9 p.m.

Where: The Urban Element, 474 Parkdale

Price: $125 per person; space limited to 12 seats

Register: Online or call 613-722-3332


Growing a Modern Day Victory Garden

A victory gardenis a vegetable, fruit and/or herb garden in a private yard and public space that’s intended to reduce pressure on the public food supply. Popular during World Wars I and II, they’re in vogue again as more people become interested in self-sufficiency and homesteading.

Put on by the Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton, this workshop on victory gardens – i.e., small-space, sustainable gardens — is intended for experienced food gardeners, and will cover permaculture (an ecological design system), pest management and pesticide regulation, and other topics.

When: Saturday, October 26, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Where: St James Church, 225 Edmund St, Carleton Place

Cost: Non-Master Gardener members $35.00

For more information:

  1. Farmers’ market highlights

Many are closed for the season but not all! The Ottawa Organic Farmers’ Market operates every Saturday year-round, and the Ottawa Farmers’ Market Brewer Park location is open Sundays (8 a.m.-3 p.m.) until November 17.

And don’t forget the Christmas markets. The Carp Christmas Market (December 6-7), and the Ottawa Farmers’ Market (December 14-15 and 21-22) are great places for holiday shopping.

  1. Activities at the Just Food Farm 

Sign up for Start-Up Farm Program until October 31

People in the region who want to start their own successful farm business have until 4 p.m. on October 31 to apply to Just Food’s Start-Up Farm Program for 2014. Offering access to land, shared equipment, and training, new farmers benefit from a low-risk way to test their business ideas and develop new skills, experience, markets and networks before committing to a larger, longer term farm.

Visit Just Food for more information or contact Leela at (613-699-6850 x15).

Pitch your beekeeping project to the Just Food Farm

Just Food wants to add a new beekeeping partnership project at the Just Food Farm site in 2014. Apply online by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, November 13, 2013.

Have questions about your project idea? Contact Leela Ramachandran, Manager of Farm Programs, or 613-699-6850 x 15

Bring your pre-schooler to Apple Blossom Mornings 

Enjoy nature walks, storytelling, puppetry and crafts with your pre-schooler (ages 3 to 6) at Just Food’s 100-acre wooded farm.

When: Winter term begins January 6, Mondays

Where: Just Food Farm, 2389 Pepin Court, Blackburn Hamlet

For more information: or

  1. Book launch

No-Nonsense Guide to World Food

The No-Nonsense Guide to World Food by Canada’s Wayne Roberts is winning rave reviews. The book receives its Ottawa launch November 1, with Roberts on-hand to present it.

When: Friday, November 1, Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Free snacks and cash bar until 8:30 p.m.

Where: Mercury Lounge, 56 Byward Market Square


Get back to the table with Red Apron’s comfort food

Friday, November 30th, 2012

The Red Apron’s owners, Jo-ann Laverty (left) and Jennifer Heagle

One way to enjoy sustainable food in Ottawa is to get it directly from a local farmer. Another is to buy it from a retailer like Ottawa’s The Red Apron.

Launched in 2006 by Jennifer Heagle and Jo-Ann Laverty, The Red Apron prepares fresh, eco-friendly gourmet meals in an effort to get people back to the meal table to enjoy good, wholesome food.  Menus  highlight seasonal ingredients from regional producers and dinners can be ordered by the day or the week, for pick-up or home delivery.  In the weeks before the holidays this year, customers are invited to drop by the store on Gladstone Avenue to stock up on festive pies, cakes and other treats. From the holiday menu, you can also pre-order a whole, herb- roasted turkey with all the trimmings, traditional tourtière, or bison, sweet potato and cranberry pie

Besides its meal service, The Red Apron sells ready-made foods from farms and small businesses in Eastern Ontario and Western Québec that meet the owners’ requirements for sustainable, ethical production. In the store, you’ll find Major Craig chutneys, Michaelsdolce jams and jellies, Juniper Farm sauerkraut, Clarmell-on-the-Rideau goat cheeses, Pascale’s ice cream and more.

In addition to being experienced entrepreneurs who’ve run several other businesses, Heagle and Laverty are busy mothers with strong ties to their communities. Here’s a Q&A from my interview with Jennifer Heagle.

 What motivated you to start The Red Apron?

People are so busy it can be hard for them to get a good meal on the table at the end of the day. There’s a lot of guilt around this, especially for women.  Jo-Ann’s and my goal is to help people who don’t have the time to cook to get back to the table with family and friends and enjoy delicious, healthy, well-prepared food. We also want people to have a chance to experience the high-quality, flavourful food that’s available from the producers and small family food businesses in the region.

Is there lots of demand for your meal service?

Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we prepare and deliver 150 to 200 meal portions. We cook another 200 to 300 portions each day that we sell through the retail store.  These numbers are even higher on holidays and other peak times.

Why did you decide to put sustainability at the heart of what you do?

There’s such a strong connection between the health of the environment and the health of the food we eat. Before Jo-Ann and I started this business, we agreed that if we were going to spend the money and take the risk, it had to be for something worthwhile. No compromises. So we set some firm criteria for the taste, quality, healthiness and sustainability of whatever we prepare or sell.

What are your criteria for choosing suppliers?

Every ingredient we use or sell must be traceable. In other words, we want to know where it came from and how it was produced.  In season, we buy most of our fresh produce from local, usually organic, farmers. Our meat comes from producers in Ontario and Québec and as much as possible, it’s free of hormones and antibiotics. Our fish is ethically farm-raised, or wild-caught and sustainable. Our dried goods — beans, pasta, flour and sugar — are organic. We don’t use products with GMOS, artificial ingredients, preservatives, trans fats, dyes or MSG. And while we can’t accommodate dietary restrictions or allergies, all our meals are prepared from scratch with whole ingredients.

Is your food packaging sustainable?

Packaging for the food we deliver is all biodegradable, recyclable or re-usable, and we put the largest amount of food in the smallest container. As a business, we send very little to landfill. Most of our waste is either recyclable or it’s vegetable compost that our farmers feed to their cows, pigs and chickens.  

Does The Red Apron support community?

We feel a responsibility to contribute to the health and well-being of our communities as well as ourselves. Besides buying from local producers who grow delicious food in eco-friendly ways, we also donate food to certain organizations and community events. We look for opportunities to feed good food to people in need or to kids who might not have had the chance to try different foods.

Call The Red Apron at 613-695-0417 or visit them online

 Do you have enough time at the end of the day to prepare a healthy meal? Share your stories and solutions.