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
It seems to be the time where so many ideas and opportunities are presenting themselves to me and it feels both exhilarating and scary. Every week - if not every day - the people, conversations, ideas, and places I visit churn up inspiration at a (sometimes) dizzying pace.
I sleep with a pen and paper just in case an idea hits me in the middle of the night. I have folders and subfolders, lists of lists, jars in jars. I wonder a lot. I like to read, and write, and cook, and eat, and share although I don't think I do enough of any one. The opportunity to pick sour cherries presented itself today and how could I possibly say no? Change of plans, restructure the to-do list, wake up an hour or two earlier because a test batch of sour cherry chutney must be done. Tend to the ferments. Wish for daylight to snap more photos. Water the tomatoes. Start the reminder list for what I need to take with me in the morning. Get a shopping list ready for more recipe testing. Curse the rabbits for eating my beans.
I like this pace. Let's keep going because it's not time to stop yet. Summer is here.
It's been a whirlwind of a week and a lot of changes are happening with Elgin Harvest. I've been feeling 'out of sorts' for the past few days but I'm looking forward to interacting with the crowds and friends for some much needed sharing and smiling.
For the past three years (almost four), I have been a vendor and very active volunteer with the St. Thomas Horton Farmers' Market. Through the market I've had the fortune to meet not only some incredibly unique artisans and passionate farmers, I've also had the fortune to meet and share my love of food with many of the customers that religiously attend the hustling and bustling farmers' market every Saturday morning from May through November.
St. Thomas Horton Farmers' Market is the little market that could. Run by a dedicated part-time market manager with help from generous volunteers and friends, the market is unique to this area in that it is a producer-only market. That means you either have to grow it or make it in order to be a vendor. The market is a small business incubator, has become a centralized community meeting place, and most importantly provides a lively, fun atmosphere with access to fresh and LOCAL foods and products. It's a welcomed contrast to the industrial manufacturing plants and fast food chains that can (and has) overshadowed the city in a monocultured cloud.
With Spring and the beginning of a new market season right around the corner, I know other vendors and market attendees are just itching to get back into the Saturday morning routine of picking up seasonal fruits & veggies, fresh baked goods, and artisanal crafts. While I wait for May to roll around, I'm going to make the best of my time by continuing to experiment with new recipes and culianary techniques and plan out my vegetable garden.
Eating. Drinking. Sharing.