It's shaping up to be a fantastic year for local foods.
Last year (2013) the government took steps to redefine the word "local". While it formerly meant within 100km, local now refers to provincial wide. This is great for rurally produced foods who want to sell in large urban centers and be able to market their product as local but it also means you could be eating a salad in Kenora with tomatoes grown by your neighbour in Bayham Township and the restaurant would be completely honest in calling them 'locally grown'.
We're incredibly fortunate to have access to a wide variety of high quality agro-products grown and prepared right here in Elgin County. When you think about it, it's really the best kind of problem to have: so much food to choose from in season the imports aren't needed.
Last weekend was a soft opening to market season when I had a booth set up at a local trade show. This weekend is the grand opening with the full-on farmers' market beginning May 10. But wait - there's more!
Spreading the Bread Love - with Tea
Just in case you can't seem to get yourself out of bed early enough on Saturday mornings, you will now have another option on where to pick up your sourdough bread on Saturdays. Wildflowers Tea, located on Fruit Ridge Line, south of St. Thomas, will be selling Elgin Harvest loaves at their newly opened farm store!
Jane, from Wildflowers Tea, has been a vendor at the St. Thomas market for the past four seasons and has taken the plunge to open her own store on her family's farm. The store provides space for offering eggs, organic produce, yoga classes, seasonal festivals, workshops, and of course, wildflower tea - much of it grown on the farm. Not only can you sit on the porch and enjoy a steaming cup of wildflowers tea, you can also stroll the gardens to see and smell the positive energy that vibes from the land.
I'm incredibly excited to work with Jane and I look forward to sharing and supporting our passion for good food at the farm store this season. This Saturday is a great time to visit the farm - Wildflowers is hosting an open house from 10-3.
You can find out more information about Wildflower's Tea by visiting the website.
I wrote about Wildflowers Tea in 2012 when I used a tea to prepare Lavender Mint Shortbread.
As mentioned, this Saturday is the opening day of the St. Thomas Horton Farmers' Market. This is my fifth season at the market and I'm anxious to see familiar faces and tempt new fans with all the baked goods and preserves I can whip up.
- Sourdough breads
- Seeded Crisps & Hummus
- Cinnamon Brioche Rolls with Blueberries
- Cherry Cardamom Scones
- Coconut Brown Butter Brownies, Salted Chocolate Rye Brownies
- Sourdough Croissants
- Rhubarb Curd Tarts with Buckwheat Sable
- Pecan Butter Tarts
- Kamut & Nut Cookies
- Live-Cultured Tri-Coloured Kraut
- Pickled Jalapenos
- Seville Orange Marmalade
What's a unemployed girl to do when she is starving without a culinary home? She sells off unneeded treasures to thrifty bargain hunters, purchases a former jewelery cabinet from a second-hand store, and calls the manager at the community complex to ask about "fridge space".
The sun (finally) broke through the snow clouds in April and the between the combination of boredom, excitement, frustration, and confidence, I've been doing my best to shake off the under-employed-cabin-fever-blues that sucked away much of my motivation over the past 4 months.
Caster wheels sourced, chrome polished, doors painted - twice. Lawns raked, rubber stamps designed, bread baked - and burnt. Spreadsheets for costing input, tables stained, succulents repotted, bread baked - and devoured. Applications mailed, cheques signed, furniture moved, pantry restocked, croissants baked - and my pants don't fit. My apron strings are long, thank goodness. Need a bubbling drink dispenser? Two years later I finally fixed it. Wanna buy it?
All this is to say - it's the beginning of another localicious season at markets and farms and I am super-motivated. Beginning this weekend, I'm taking my show on the road throughout the county to sell my baked goods & preserves.
First stop: Diva's and Dude's Day Out. Held at the Saxonia Hall in Aylmer on May 3, this show is open from 10-2 with over 40 vendors. Croissants, brioche cinnamon buns, 5 different sourdough breads, whole grain seeded crisps, berry & cream cookies, salted rye brownies, Kamut & walnut jam cookies, and good ol' fashioned tender, flaky pecan buttertarts are all on the menu.
The following week, May 10, Mother's Day weekend, is the opening day of the 2014 season at the Horton Farmers' Market in St. Thomas. You will find me there each and every Saturday morning from 8-noon smiling and sipping coffee (probably cold because I talk so much) until the fall. I look forward to seeing both familiar faces and tempting new ones with my siren pastries.
In case you need reminding - my mission is local, quality, and made from scratch. I don't use premade doughs from the grocers freezer, nor do I use margarine. I bake fresh, using as many locally sourced and/or organic products as possible including grains & flours, eggs, honey, cane sugar, jams, dried fruits, spices, herbs, vegetables, and lard.
I'm a chef by trade it's not a hobby, it's a passionate style of life.
Eating. Drinking. Sharing.