Sunday, October 24, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds - Recipes - Food - Canadian Living
Apparently you can also add maple syrup for a lovely nutty sweet flavour.
Pumpkin seeds and the Top 10 superfoods: Goji berries, cinnamon, turmeric and more - Nutrition - Canadian Living
Top 10 superfoods: Goji berries, cinnamon, turmeric and more - Nutrition - Canadian Living
including an audio file of farmer Michael Hutton talking about the farm.
A search of ACORN's database (remember, it's at ACORN where you can search for all organic farms and retailers in Atlantic Canada by clicking on the "find organic produce: button) shows *four* - count 'em, four! - organic cranberry producers here in NB and one in NS and another in PEI. Just think, a completely organic/free range Thanksgiving (or Xmas) dinner is easily had here in the Maritimes. Free range turkeys are being raised by a number of organic farms and all the "fixings" are easily had from local and organic sources including cranberries, squash, potatoes, greens, even the ingredients for stuffing. And pumpkin! My source at Jemseg River Farms also taught me how to "deal" with pumpkins (as long as you get the right kind, not the ones made for jack-o-lantern carving but the pie variety). You just cut them in half, scoop out the innards and throw 'em in the oven to bake like any normal squash. Then scoop out the flesh when they're done. She bags the cooked pumpkin up in one cup scoopfuls and tosses them in the freezer for soups, stews, and of course pies. Brilliant. Who knew how easy it was? In fact while I was in Australia they put pumpkin in everything - curries, stews, soups, casseroles - and I wondered why Canadian cooks didn't use this lovely squash more. Maybe we're intimidated. Well, fear the Great Pumpkin no more!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Pears, on the other hand, are very versatile fruits. Good thing since clearly local pears are in full season now. I found local pears, both red and yellow, at Baleman's in the Saint John City Market - and they are no doubt showing up in farm markets all over the province. I make a marvellous ginger pear crisp and pears can pretty much subsitute for apples in most cases. But this year I have promised myself I would "put up" some pears in a light syrup (i.e. can them). So I'll let you know how that goes. But now is the time to get on those fall food preserving projects. So get out your canners everyone!
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Anyways, the threat of a hurricane meant that the Kingston market was not particularly well-attended and particularly wanting for customers were bushels and bushels of tomatoes. Now I have lived in an Italian neighbourhood in Toronto (who hasn't?) and always admired those huge baskets of tomatoes and everyone going happily home to make sauces. But not actually being Italian I have also always held back from actually buying a bushel since I really hadn't progressed far beyond putting tomatoes in salad (sad, I know.) The thought of coring and then "x"ing and then parboiling and skinning all those tomatoes before cooking them for hours into a sauce was really too daunting. But the opportunity to give it a go was just too tempting to pass up this morning and, because I really do want to avoid those highly-salted tins of tomatoes I tend to rely on all winter, I walked away with what was probably two bushels in all. My fear over what to do with this cornucopia was alleviated by one tomato seller who said she simply quarters them and freezes them and then throws them into soups and sauces as needed. Brilliant! Why not? I know they are usually skinned and cooked down to make a smoother, stronger sauce, but frankly I'm not that picky and I only ever end up throwing a tin of tomatoes in with onions, garlic and whatever else is going in the sauce and cooking it down to a bare level of thickness. It was a great relief to realize I could just cut the suckers up and freeze them on a cookie sheet. Suddenly the tomato world was my oyster (so to speak). I checked out my Preserving for Beginners book and it indeed concurred that you could freeze tomatoes (although they would be more watery) and you could even freeze them whole after coring. So I prepped a few cookie trays of tomatoes for freezing in a matter of minutes. Amazing.
I also remembered a recipe for roasted tomato sauce that I had wanted to try and lo and behold another dead-easy tomato preservation technique presented itself. You just quarter or halve the tomatoes and put them cut side down on a baking sheet or baking dish, drizzle them with olive oil and salt, throw in some whole garlic gloves and chunks of onion and roast them for 40 minutes (until the skins brown somewhat). Then, when they're cooled, throw them in the food processor or blender. Again, fabulous results. Really, really tasty base tomato sauce ready to freeze with minimal effort. I also discovered that if you want the sauce thicker just pour off the "juice" that will have accumulated in the pan and reserve that for the most amazing soup broth ever. I can't wait to get more tomatoes. I'm on a roll!
In fact I started looking for other things to roast so I checked on line about roasting beets - which again, I love but am intimidated by. Easy as all get out it turns out. Wrap 'em up in some tin foil, pour on a little oil, and roast until fork tender. Once they've cooled the skins "slip off like big winter sweaters" as one website quaintly put it. Absolutely lovely. Besides I just happend to have some NS feta, and some roasted walnuts to throw into a salad with the roasted beets. And, to top it off, a honey balsamic vinegar I had brought back from Vancouver island (Okay, this is the part where my dear brother-in-law would ask - so is it still local if you brought it back from the other side of the country? Okay, well, we'll discuss that later. But it was really good with the beets....)
Monday, August 16, 2010
There will be Speerville baked goods, Picaroon's beer and Slipp Farms meat on the bbq of course. (Sounds like someone took my NB bbq idea seriously). There will also be live music and you can go for a swim in the Saint John river. Sounds ideal. Slipp Farms is in Central Hampstead, so close to Saint John, Fredericton and Sussex.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Things are in full swing of course so I was able to load up on all sorts of things, including my beloved lamb's quarters (the greens on the far right of the photo). Whaelghinbran farms (OCIA certified - i.e. certified organic) brings these lovely things to the Kingston market. You've really got to try them - Michael Pollan, author of the Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food - lists them as one of "the most nutritious greens in the world" (check it out: In Defense, p.170 - sorry, can't help footnoting). And they have a marvellous nutty flavour - great raw in a salad or cooked. Not only did Whaelghinbran have lamb's quarters they also had goose foot greens (in the centre of the photo) - which are very similar, but prettier because of their pink centres - and New Zealand spinach (not from NZ directly, but originally grown there, just in case you were wondering about the food miles) which is a nice "fat" spinach (far left) - perfect, I was told, for making spinach based dishes with, like Spanakopita, since it holds together better.
Chestnut Acres was also there with a cornucopia of irganic stuff - organic potatoes, kale, carrots, blueberries, salad greens, herbs, cabbage (red and green) cucumbers, zucchini, purple and green beans (and a groovy bag of mixed purple, green and yellow), snow peas, fava beans and on the list goes. They are excitedly awaiting their appearance on SmartEat TV - so keep checking on that website for updates: ...SmartEat TV (Smart Eat TV also has great hints on finding local foods and excellent recipes)
I was also able to stock up on some new NB cheeses from the "Cheese Shop" (Linda Nadj-Homestead is bringing in artisanal NB cheeses) and chicken from Cedar Lane Farm (which also carries lovely pork and, if you get there early enough, free range eggs - as well as Dave Bunnett's grass-fed beef).
I came away pretty stocked up (and could have stocked up more except I'm travelling next week, so didn't want to over-do it) but there are always those other things you need to pick up that you can't always get at the Farmer's market so I popped into Cochran's in Quispamsis on the way home and was delighted to find early pears in from Gagetown as well as Oberly apples and Yellow Transparents (also known as August Apples I believe). I was also able to pick up the Armadale parmesan that had sold out at the market already (I really have to get up earlier on Saturdays) and scooped up some black currents they were selling off at 2.99 a pint (more black current sauce for me, mmmm, maybe on some Cedar Lane pork, mmm...) I also made a note of the other local goods available there like Gagetown cider and sparkling juices, local free range chicken, Slipps farms beef and Jolly Farmer chicken, Armadale's butter, yoghurt and other cheeses, Degenhardt sausages, Covered Bridge Chips, that mustard from Jolly Farmer I mentioned in my BBQ post and a whole host of Speerville stuff. So really, lots of local to be had there. *And* there carry something that for sometime I didn't believe existed - organic milk from NB. Yup. Our very own Northumberland Dairies makes an organic milk. Who knew?
Indeed, if I were going to suggest a Saturday circuit for people out Kennebecasis Valley way that would pretty much cover all your grocery needs, that's all you'd have to do, start at the Kingston market and then finish off a Cochran's, (and don't forget Kuinshoeve meats just a few doors down) or go the other way through Hampton and stop at Kredl's. Pretty easy really and you're fridge will be full, believe me, I'm having trouble closing the door ...
Friday, August 13, 2010
I was just reminded of the locavore's dinner in Hampton on Sept. 24 (advance tickets required, see the info at Hampton )and it made me think of how easy it would be, right now, to pull off an NB or NS or "Maritime" BBQ with almost all locally sourced ingredients. Now we're into high "Down Home" season and the weather is begging us to be outdoors, it's time to invite everyone over for a bbq. And if I had a bbq in the city where my friends are, I'd do it - but hey, thought I'd give everyone else ideas from my perch. So here it is:
To start, of course, you need munchies - which is the other thing that got me thinking about this. Covered Bridge chips are now showing up in a variety of locations. The company is run by the Albright family - 4th generation NB farmers - in Hartland,NB and they're really good (the chips I mean, although I'm sure the family is very nice). The chips are kettle cooked so they have that extra bit of flavour and they've come out with some great flavours like: Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper, Sweet Potato and Brown Sugar and the newest (and my personal favourite) Lobster (it's great, mild loberstery flavour). They also have really good tortilla chips. You can check out their products at: Covered Bridge. In Saint John you can find them at Baleman's (see the photo display above), and I've also found them at that little Bate's Landing convenience store (at the ferry) on the Kingston Peninsula. They show up unexpectedly in a variety of places, but they're hardest to find in the big grocery stores since either they're not stocked or they're off in some display separate from all the other chips (go figure - shelf space costs big time). So keep on the look out for them. Anyways, with your chips, of course, comes your beer, and on that front NB has no problem: Picaroon's and Pumphouse are easily available - or Moosehead if you're not a craft brew person - as are the NS independents. There's a new Picaroon's out "melon head", which oddly features a cat wearing a melon helmet on its label, that I'm dying to try but I need help since I often can't justify drinking an entire Picaroon's pint bottle on my own. So only a party where I could split a beer with someone would work (hint, hint...)For the non-drinkers, you could stock some apple cider from Gagetown.
Then there is the main feature: the grill. I'd feature things like buffalo sausage from Boutouche's Seawind Buffalo farm (Dieppe market) and wild boar sausage from outside Sussex (Kredl's, Sussex market, Shediac Coop) and some local grass fed ground beef for burgers (Kingston Market, Kuinshoeve Meats, Dieppe market, Goddard Farms in Berwick). Local chicken and seafood are other options of course (did you know we shrimp farm up Caraquet way?). And there's lots of great veggies now in that go on the grill beautifully: sunburst squash, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, the list goes on. So the grill part is actually quite easy - just go to your best source of local food and get some protein/grilling veggies.
What about the traditional bun and fixings for the meat products? Well, you could go whole hog and make your own from Speerville flour. But if you're not that ambitious there are a couple options I can think of: use pita bread from Mother Nature's (made in Saint John) or just go to your local independent bakery. Studies on salt in Canadian food showed that bread made in actual bakeries had lower salt than both commercial store bread and homemade. Go figure, bakers probably just know what they're doing.
Fixings? Well, believe it or not, Speerville has a marvellous organic old-fashioned mustard made right there in Speerville in "Nancy's Kitchen" - you can order it from them or look for it in markets etc. I picked it up from Dave Bunnett in Dieppe Market. Relish? Well that's just pickles right? So make your own with the pickling cukes that are now all over the place or buy some from the market or get them from friends who pickle (my favourite option). You can jazz it up with Lady Ashburn's and chow chow and all sorts of other homemade pickled goodies available in church basements and farm markets everywhere. Now ketchup I admit, I find disturbing. Mostly sugar no? So, just use tomatoes, or whirl some tomatoes with sugar and a little vinegar and voila! Ketchup.
Okay now really, salad is you only other issue and that is dead easy given local greens and veggies are everywhere. *And* like I said earlier you can now get organic canola oil both from NS and Quebec in a number of healthfood stores here. And Boates' organic apple cider vinegar from NS is really good... Or use those herbed vinegars from Erb's Herbs in Cambridge Narrows or Tansy Lanes near Moncton. Just think of the options here!
For dessert? Blueberries of course? Blueberry grunt, blueberry crisp or go easy on yourself, run down to Pennfield and buy youself a couple of those amazing pies from everybody's favourite blueberry stand... Oh, but don't forget to top it off with some icecream from Sussez Ice Cream.
Sounds good yes? So, if you try to pull this off, let me know how it goes. Or better yet, invite me....
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Blackberries have been found! Yes, right next to the blueberries at Baleman's in the Saint John market. While apparently blue or purple is the least common colour of food, right now we are in a purple/blue season (for those of you who adhere to the old rule about four colours on your plate - turns out that's not a bad starting point). There are blueberries, blackberries, eggplants, purple cauliflower *and* these fabulous purple beans the Balemans are growing and bringing in to the market (they turn green when you cook them but they're great to look at while they're raw). The beans are very high in antioxidants I'm told. So go to it. Now's your time to eat as much purple as possible.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
The lowly tomato has a lot to answer for apparently. Many locavores were launched on their locavore journey by the sad, sad condition of the grocery store tomato. Either they've just come back from Italy, or eaten their own garden tomato, and it hits them: why, oh why, do we buy these tasteless things *called* tomatoes that are so far from the real thing. And every summer I go through the same revelation. Today I ate my first (and so far only) ripe tomato from my roof top garden (okay, my handful of containers plopped out on the roof). Boy was that tomato good. "Mountain Princess" it was called and I had bought the seedling from David at Amarosia farms a couple months back. Today was a veritable feast of tomatoes since I had also bought a quart from David on the weekend and today I turned some of them into my favourite quick pasta dish which was almost entirely made up of Maritime ingredients: you boil some rotini (okay, not Maritime - although there are sources of handmade pasta here, Sisters in the Saint John market, and another pasta maker in Dieppe market); sautee some tomatoes (Amarosia's tomatoes, beautiful, small, sweet, a hint of lemon flavour?) in oil (organic canola from Quebec) with garlic (Amarosia's organic), and toss the pasta and tomatoes with feta (from Homestead in NS - and available at the Super Store), and basil (from my rooftop, organic, plants from Northern Arrow farms, Kingston Market), and finally throw in some olives (okay, on this one I admit defeat but hey, the point is to source as *much* locally as possible not absolutely everything, unless you're a real diehard.) To die for. The whole dish was accompanied by a salad of local greens, cukes and cilantro dressed only with the most amazing canola oil I've ever had. I cracked open a new bottle of Fox Mill Organic canola oil from NS that I had picked up at Winterwood in Sussex (but also available at True Foods in F'ton). It has the most beautiful flavour, almost walnutty. Really, hunt it down and try it out.
It really is a great moment when the tomatoes start coming in and we are reminded so forcefully of why local is better - it *tastes* so much better to start with. When I checked on canned tomatoes and pesticide residues using the "what's on my food" button above - the canned variety came out not too bad, in comparison to the fresh (which had 30+ residues, while canned had 8). So canned doesn't look like a terrible option until you investigate the salt question. You may have noticed that the government just brought in "voluntary" guidelines on salt in Canadian processed food since we discovered that most of us are getting 2-3 times the recommended daily allowance, which in turn is contributing to heart disease, stroke, etc. But some 77% of the salt we're getting comes from processed foods (including innocent looking things like breakfast cereal, and "healthy" soups). In other words, we don't have a lot of personal control over our salt intake. So, back to the tomato question. If we don't go for canned, what do we do? My "Beginner's Guide to Preserving Food at Home" says you can freeze them (wash and core them and freeze them on a cookie sheet before packaging) but canning is much better, although I've also heard that this can be dicey unless done right. You have to add acid (citric acid or lemon juice) to tomatoes to can them for starters or they will definitely go off. Drying them is another option if you have one of those dehydrator thingies. And my guidebook also has a way of making those "last of the season" green ones last for up to 6 weeks ripening under layered newspaper and kept in a cellar. Maybe I'll just try canning some tomato sauces this year and see how it goes. But if you have hints, let me know. The basil is just going wild as well so I guess I'll also have to learn to make pesto too.... (and now that I've discovered that both Armadale and Jolly Farmer make parmesan I can make a pretty local variety too!)
I also had the most gorgeous organic blackcurrants from Gaetan, who provides organic produce and foraged foods to Les Digues in Shediac/Grande Digue. Black currants need to be cooked into a sauce or something with sugar because they're so sour, but the taste is amazing. I made them into a sauce and poured them over bbqd wild boar from Brabant's in Knightsville (and carried by the Shediac Co-op - along with buffalo meat from Bouctouche). Beautiful! It all went very nicely with the organic veggies I picked up from David's stall on his farm (Amarosia) also in Grande Digue - beautiful Japanese eggplants, tiny little yellow squash (which all went on the bbq) and lovely mixed salad greens. He has lots more including tomatoes, herbs, purple cauliflower and weird and wonderful varieties of beans.
So if you're in the Shediac area - say, on a visit to Parlee - check out the Co-op's local holdings, and then try the "other side" of the Bay - Shediac Bridge/Grande Digue area (Rte 530 off 134) - and you can load up on organic and local foods (including lobster of course.) And, with so much shopping to do, you may want to stop for the perfect organic and fair trade iced coffee (they have actual barristas, they're from Vancouver, what can I say?) at Inn Thyme on Main Street in Shediac and try their local cuisine. (You can tell what I've been doing all summer....)
Monday, August 2, 2010
(I highly recommend Brian Brett's new book "Trauma Farm" for a loving, poetic and realistic view of running a sustainable, mixed-use farm in Canada.)David was taking all these demands in stride, even growing things like fava beans, which are a pain in the butt, "because people love them". See? Again, this is where knowing your farmers gets you. David will grow things just because other people love them. Now that's farming.
Besides meeting the farmer, it's also really great to hang out with other locavores. We shared information like where to get free range chicken and who was selling free range chicken carcasses for stock (JP at Springbrook Farms in the Dieppe Market has them for a couple of dollars). Some of us reminisced about things their families used to grow and how good they tasted and we delighted in seeing a farm going back to these "old ways". We shared recipes and knowledge and a lovely afternoon in the sunshine on a farm. And one woman gave me a great new "rule of thumb" - since you can't always tell whose organic or sustainable just from looking at the product, talk to the farmer, and if they invite you to come to the farm you can be pretty sure you're going to like what you see..
So, keep an eye out for other farm visits - often posten on farm websites, talk to your favourite farmers at the market, and pay them a visit some time.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
My favourite moment so far: the "magic" moment - which lasts all of two days - when strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are all available at once. This magic moment sadly passed about five days ago (sorry not to have been on line to tell you) but hopefully most of you caught it too. I'm always sad when the strawberry seasons ends however and this year I was quite remiss in freezing sufficient numbers of strawberries (only four quarts put away this year - hardly enough). I hoping the rest of you did manage, but there is hope for those who, like me, just kind of missed the opportunity. Before you run out and start buying California strawberries (remember, they're laden with pesticides) take note that in the Annapolis Valley at least they're growing strawberries until late into October under some complicated plastic arrangement. Okay, they do get a little dear, but still, think about how much you pay for those tasteless California berries come December! So, if you are short on strawberries this fall just call your friends in NS and have them help you out. However, despite my moaning about the strawberries, we can all be happy that raspberries are appearing everywhere (and yes, I'm freezing those as quickly as possible, just sticking them on cookie trays like I do for strawberries) and blueberries are coming in early and strong. Blackberries can only be around the corner... I've also seen local gooseberries at Baleman's and sour cherries at Cochrane's (as well as in the Moncton area). I eat the sour cherries as they are, although I guess many use them for cooking. But I think they're a great alternative to grapes at this time of year.
Another important development - the chanterelles are here! Yes those gorgeous, kind of apricotty mushrooms that mysteriously appear and disappear at the blink of an eye so if you're not paying attention you might never even know they existed (I just happened to spy one lonely box the other year and asked where they came from, to which the reply was "we'd have to kill you if we told you"). I think there's a secret communications network that just "knows" whent the chanterelles have come in and they quickly swoop in as soon as the few precious boxes hit the market stands. My wonderful market stand in Shediac actually called me to let me know they had arrived so I could rush over there before they disappeared. They're lovely just sauteed in butter with a little garlic and cream - sublime really. But again the window of opportunity is very small so keep your eyes peeled!
Things are moving so fast now that I'm thinking it's time to pull out the canner. I've already seen local field tomatoes at Kredl's as well as NB green peppers (and red ones from Ontario but I don't know how much better they are than the Mexican variety in terms of pesticides - general rule of thumb, if you can't get it from the Maritimes, get it from Quebec, which has much more stringent rules on pesticide use than anywhere else in Canada). And of course the pickling cukes are all over the place as well as fresh dill. (Of course you can just cut the cukes up, pour on some vinegar or sour cream, chop some dill on them and you've got a great cucumber salad.)
Oh and how could I forget! Hunter's corn! Beautiful peaches and cream corn - I've found at both Cochrane's and Kredl's.
Otherwise I've really been enjoying traipising around to various markets and farm stands while I make my summer journeys between Shediac and Saint John. I've made a number of discoveries that I can share with you later - like where to find organic flax and canola oils made in NS (hint: the Sussex health food store Winterwood Natural Foods - more on them later) and all the groovy flavours of chips being put out by a local NB chip company Covered Bridge. But really, more on that later....
Thursday, July 8, 2010
2 large bok choi; Fresh Dill; Fresh Cilantro; Romaine Lettuce; Carrots; Sugar Snap Peas; Beet Greens; Radishes; Spanish Onions; Kale; Broccoli - lots of it! Organic Strawberries; 12 Free Range Eggs
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
There are the lovely Joel and Jennifer (and their baby daughter Gwendolyn) who've moved from Montreal to Spring Meadows Farm in Head of Millstream. They're raising free range chickens (and turkeys). I bbq'd one of the chickens this week and it was amazing. They also have pork and Joel's dad raises range fed beef. Their farm is at 57 McMillan HIll Rd, Head of Millstream and they sometimes come to Sussex market but Joel will bring things into Saint John. Just give him a call at 506-433-1407. (He has email but frankly, Head of Millstream doesn't exactly have high speed and being "spoiled" by living in Montreal, as Joel puts it, he really doesn't see the point of even trying very hard when all you can get is dial-up). But really, it's worth a call. The chickens cost around $3.40/lb. And if people wanted to get together on beef, Joe's Dad, Jerald Coburn, processes one steer a month and can sell it in 50lb or more lots. (His number is 506-433-4885).
My other really happy find at Sussex market involved dairy, of course, it is Sussex. But oh, this was really special. It was my favourite kind of dairy: ice cream. Sussex icecream is run by Dave Freeze and only available at either Sussex or Dieppe markets and it's absolutely lucious. The flavours are to die for. I had lemon, made from real lemons, and my other half had the fresh strawberry - incroyable. We also tasted the peanut butter/chocolate combo made with organic pb and 70% dark chocolate - heaven! You can buy it by the dish or in pint containers to take home. Really, you have to seek them out if you are in either market. They're just building their website at www.sussexicecream.ca - or you can call them at 506-433-0996 if you want to know more. I love summer...
I also picked up some very good, and very inexpensive honey from bees that had been feeding on blueberry plants. Very nice flavour. This was from R&J Honeybee Farm - who also carry great blocks of beeswax - which is great for furniture polishing among other things.
I also dropped in on the Green Pig in Salisbury - and again very, very glad I did because there to my delight they had that great Maritime delicacy (well, I thought it was a Maritime delicacy but turns out it originally came from Europe) Sandfire or Samfire greens (or as they are known in Acadie "tetines de souris" - Yes, you bilingue folks, that's exactly what they're called, go look it up, really, you can look it up here, scroll to the bottom of the page:!Acadian food words). I was introduced to these as a kid in Shediac. They're a marsh green so they have that lovely salty flavour of marsh greens - kind of like salty asparagus. You steam them a bit, throw on some butter and then pull the flesh off the stems with your teeth. Delicious. They only show up here and there and unpredictably - unless like my family you sail to Shediac Island to pick them. But there they were at the Green Pig. So if you haven't tried them, this is your chance...
Saturday, June 26, 2010
If you live in the Fredericton area you really have an embarrassment of riches to choose from when it comes to both local and organic sources. Two stores in the downtown serving this need: the True Food Organics store on Charlotte St. (run by and supplied in part by their organic farm in Keswick Ridge and which carries an amazing array of stuff - including organic sunflower and flax oils from NS) and the long-running Aura health food store. *And* at the market I got to talk to the folks running the Apple Bin Farm store which is *dedicated* to NB produce and is just a few minutes outside Fredericton at Keswick Ridge. The Apple Bin carries NB fruits, veggies, meats, eggs, dairy and other things like honey and cider and herbs etc. Really, Freddybeach has no excuses whatsoever. Nonetheless I had an interesting conversation with the Apple Bin folks who are finding it hard to educate people on local food (the "yes we have no bananas" song comes to mind) and have had to cut their hours back to Wed-Friday afternoons (1-6) and Saturday afternoons (1-5). Phone 506-260-2498. We would die to have such stores in Saint John (more on that soon.) People in the Fredericton area can also drop by Joseph's "Urban Organic Garden" in Marysville on Tuesdays between 4 and 7) or he's in the market on Saturdays. Last Saturday he had scads of scapes and sprouts and he assured me that the number of different things available on Tuesdays is much greater as he pools resources from two of his gardens.
In Saint John we have Baleman's in the market which brings in stuff from its farm and other local producers when available and Grand Bay Westfield has the Corn Crib and there's Cochrane's in the Valley.
Towards Sussex, in Berwick just up the #10 highway towards Cambridge Narrows, there's a new one to me: Goddard Farms Shop (433-2544) which sells both animal and vegetable products "no growth hormones, pesticides or sprays" - and that includes pet food. It's open Mon-Sat. "mornings and evenings are best for dropping in, or call ahead."
Moncton not only boasts two very fine markets on Saturdays but has a lovely natural foods store, Sequoia, 114 Highfield St. (http://www.sequoiafoods.ca)
And, if you're going down the highway towards NS, a great stop is the relatively new "Green Pig" farm store at Salisbury - you know where you'd normally turn off to go to the Tim's and the Irving Big Stop. Well, go right, not left, if you're coming from Moncton and you'll immediately see the Green Pig (http://www.greenpigmarket.com) - open every day 9-8 in the summers. The Green Pig (the story behind the name is on their website) is dedicated to local products (including a lot of stuff they grow/raise themselves). They carry Speerville products, local cheeses, Just Us coffee from NS, and they have a great bakery to boot! (You can get organic pumpkin pie there in the fall).
Now if you get all the way into NS and you're headed for Truro or Halifax, just before Truro and again just 2 minutes from the highway, is Masstown Market. A fabulous stop if you're looking for coffee (they serve Just Us) and a snack - they have a whole cafe counter/bakery thing happening - they also have a liquor store, a plant store, a craft store, a deli counter and a grocery store - but most importantly for our purposes they are again dedicated to local products. It's the only place I know where I can buy local (okay south Shore NS) *line-caught* haddock. They're very into supporting sustainable fisheries. But there's also loads of local meat, cheese and produce. So if you're passing through bring a cooler with you so you can stock up...
Okay, so that's what I know at least in the Southern NB region (or nearby). Feel free to add!
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Check out EWG's cosmetic database at: http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/?inlist=Y
And Olivier, if you don't know them yet: http://www.oliviersoaps.com/
During the summer members open their gardens to other members every Wednesday night. The focus tends to ornamentals, shrubs, and flowering plants, but there are many members who have outstanding vegetable gardens as well.
All members receive discounts at a large number of local garden supply stores and nurseries.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
So it looks like things are really starting to happen. There are reports of farm market stalls opening. You can also follows the blogs of a number of organic farms in NB to see what's up and what's in. Here are a few of them....
Kathi Dunphy of Minihorse Farm B&B, which produces organic veggies and berries, has declared that she's putting up her roadside sign to let people know they can now come and get her organic produce in St. Martin's (280 West Quaco Rd, 506-833-6240). She already has mixed salad greens, some broccoli, arugula, onion tops and a variety of herbs. See her blog at: http://www.kathidunphywatercolors.blogspot.com/
You can also check out the goings on at Jemseg River Farms: http//jemsegriver.blogspot.com/
They brought their first harvest in to Boyce's Farmers' Market in Fredericton last Saturday - gorgeous looking greens - and they're offering weekly CSA boxes (still available for sign-up on their blog site) or you can stop by the farm (262 Rte 715 Jemseg; email email@example.com; 506-470-1906)
Another group offering CSAs is:
Dave is the manager of Kredl's (you see Dave's farm when you come into Hampton, and "Dave's" produce is often featured at Kredl's). See the article on his new "produce packs" weekly delivery idea at: http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/rss/article/1056787
And join the facebook group to join the action.
And rumour has it that the folks at Good Spring Farm in Keswick Ridge (who are die hard local foodies) are also opening a farm gate stand. They're at:
730 Rte 616, Keswick Ridge (they're on the map at http://www.organicdb.ca/)
And the list goes on!
Canadian Organic Database
And, oh how could I forget them, there are the amazing folks at Falls Brook Centre - that haven of eco-activity in NB. They have a page dedicated to local foods as well, " the 100 mile challenge" which includes a resource list of NB producers and farm markets.
And yet another listing for organics in NB from Buy Local Think Global:http://www.buylocalthinkglobal.com/OrganicGrowers_Canada.cfm?local=New_Brunswick
Go to it! (And tell me what you find!)
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Even better, you can get amazing cheese and dairy products, "naturally produced" (but I'm not sure what that means yet, I'll try to drop in on the farm, but I'm quite sure you're avoiding additives and hormones) from Armadale in Roachville. Armadale's many cheeses are pretty widely available - Saint John City Market, Dieppe Market, Boyce's Farmer's market in Fredericton, Kredl's, Cochrane's, to name a few places. They do great cheddars, goudas, curds, yoghurt, quark, buttermilk, butter - you know your go-to dairy stuff. What I like to think of as everyday cheese - although maybe not everyone consider cumin gouda "everday" - I do however. Armadale is also doing a cow's milk feta (again, an everyday cheese to me). It's a nice dry feta. Great for cheese plates and salads. (For melty, pasta feta I still like Homestead feta from NS - you can actually get it at the Super Store).
However, there are also some artisanal cheese producers in NB and NS doing amazing things. So on our lovely cheese plate last night were some great goat cheeses - fantastic if you have trouble with cow's milk - made in the traditional way that is hard to find even in France these days. In NB, starting with the furthest away is the "Fromagerie au fond des bois" in Rexton, which does amazing goat cheese - beautiful little washed rind, soft goat cheese the like of which I've only since in France and Portugal - oh, and BC. They do ash-rolled soft goat cheese, and hard goat cheese and you name it. Things of beauty and amazing flavour. Now I used to have to go to Dieppe or Moncton to find these cheeses - or you can go to Les Gourmands in Moncton - but now they're being brought in to Kingston's Farmers market (Homestead Cheese Shoppe). Beautiful. And so are some of the cheeses from our incredible fromagerie - Bergerie de 4 vents - which puts out a camembert to die for (La Dune) and other sheep, cow and goat cheeses. Indeed, their first cheese - the semi-pressed, sheep's cheese, Le Sieur de Duplessis - is getting national recognition. See the write up in the Globe and Mail
(Apparently the Sieur is also available at the new Costco in Saint John)
For more on the Fromagerie au fond des Bois see:
Au fond des bois You can visit them on Tues, Thurs and Sunday afternoons in the summer. So if you're up that way check it out.
Both the Sieur de Duplessis and a "Barbizon" soft goat cheese from au fond des Bois were on our platter last night as well as a camembert from 4 vents and a "gris blue" coming from a fromagerie in Bouctouche (I'll have to find out more on this one) - ash covered, mixed blue and soft goat. Fantastic. However I must admit the salt addicted, high-flavour seeking folks at the table (okay that includes me) couldn't past the Dragon's Breath blue from That Dutchman in Economy, NS. The Dragon's Breath is the Dutchman's (famous for his amazing goudas) favourite cheese, and one can see why. It's a black wax wrapped blue that knocks the socks off you - and you just can't help going back for more. Bring on the Newman's Port (Newfoundlanders will know what I'm talking about). http://www.thatdutchmansfarm.com/
You don't have to go to Lower Economy however - the Dutchman's stuff is usually available at the venerable Masstown Market (just off the Trans Canada before you hit Truro in well, Masstown, 2 mins from the highway - the Masstown Market prides itself on providing local products so it's a good place to check in on your next drive through to Halifax).
Nova Scotia of course has a number of cheese places, Fox Hill Farms in the Annapolis Valley, for example: http://www.foxhillcheesehouse.com/ . But for goat cheese I think NB has it wrapped up. In any case, this is one food group for which there are absolutely no excuses for not buying local.... (okay, maybe parmesan, but I'll get back to you on that...)
But back to the the emu. I tried out Carol's recipe for "Honey Mustard Emu Steaks" for dinner tonight - with more lovely NB beet greens and some admittedly non-NB quinoa (although organic quinoa can be sourced from Speerville). It's is a very rich, tasty meat. Reminds me of kangaroo (which is probably no coincidence since emu is a big number ofr the aborigines of Australia) - a dark, dense, very low-fat meat, but also very mild. It's not like game meat, just very rich steaky flavour. It's also a great source of iron (four times more than beef). It needs to be cooked "low and slow" as all lean meats do (or this is what Dave Bunnet taught me). It would probably do really well is a simmering dish like a stew or a "emu' Wellington or some such thing. I'll check with the local chefs and see what they would do. But add this one to your list of local protein sources people. It's available at the Kingston Market, at the farm on Route 10 and at Goddard Farms in Berwick (also on Route 10 - a shop which carries no-hormone meats of other kinds and local veggies "with no pesticides or sprays"). And if people know of other places, let me know!
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
First off, I did find fresh lettuce from Cedar Lane Farms. And great sunflower and pea sprouts from Homesteader Farms. The salads in this house will be fabulous this week.
And I got some of the Cedar Lane pork chops - will try those later.
Most exciting was a chat with Fred Decker, who was the first to point me in the direction of NB cheeses a few years back. He's now running Bounty of New Brunswick catering (http://bountynb.ca/) which is focused on "local, seasonal and regional cuisine." And he's cooking at the Kingston Farmers' Market this summer. He made me a fabulous "Maple Peppercorn Egg and Cheese Sandwich" (Cedar Lane Farm eggs, Sussex cheese) and Decker's own Maple Peppercorn Bacon. He also reminded me to check out Mott's Winery near Cambridge Narrows(which I shall surely do) and gestured over to the marketer carrying those fabulous NB cheese. (A man after my own heart, wine and cheese as the key ingredients to anything.)
More on the cheese later...
But the Deckers also had marvellous breads and, be still my beating heart, Belgian waffles. Tomorrow morning I have a date with those Begian waffles, some NB organic maple syrup a friend gave me, Armadale's Balkan yoghurt and last year's Pennfield blueberries turned into a compote...
I also met Cynthia Liberty of Cynfully Delicious Who had gorgeous looking baked goods - using Speerville products of course - including her very cute bagels. If I didn't already have waffles in hand I'd have to get the bagels. I made off with some focaccia bread however and she has quite a raft of other things she makes.
There's always more than one can take in at the Kingston Market - there were the organic herb plants I picked up for my balcony garden from Northern Arrow for example. But more on that later, I have some cheese to taste...
Friday, June 11, 2010
The NB Conservation Council has its Local Food page with a search engine much like ACORN's:
AND: Check *this* out: a friend pointed me to this new site:
Apparently it's a "web-tv", social network site, 13 episodes (coming soon) dedicated to NB food producers. Cool yes? Will explore more and keep you posted...
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
So, the green season is upon us. Glad I froze some fiddleheads before they disappeared (I'll let you know this fall how that worked out). Rob Baleman tells me that the peas on their farm are already in blossom - that means peas should be here in a couple of weeks, as will the first potatoes. There are visions of hodge podge dancing through my head.
Now I'm on the hunt for more sources of local baby salad greens....
Sunday, June 6, 2010
And, doubly bless them, they now have a map of organics in the region on their homepage. You can also sign up to their Facebook page and receive newsletters and updates. It's really the best resource we have for at least finding those folks registered with ACORN. So check it out - you'll be amazed at what you find!
Two other sources you should know about:
The Conservation Council of NB's Find Local Food page - which also has a database for NB:
Find Local Food
Here you can pick your region and get a list of all the farms, farm stands, markets etc. in that region. Great if you're doing some touring this summer!
And, the Really Local Harvest Coop/ Recoltez de chez nous, which provides all sorts of resources on local, environmentally friendly producers in the Southeast region of NB:
Really Local Harvest
The Really Local Harvest folks came up with the "eco-logik" label that you'll see on some farms in south-eastern NB. The label is reserved for those producers who reduce their chemical inputs through more sustainable farming methods.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Anyways, for your personal shopping pleasure, here is link to the EWG's pocket guide on the "Dirty Dozen" (and the "Clean 15" as well). They've even got an I-phone app... So take it with you when you shop. And in any case, let me know where you're finding local and especially local and organic in NB!
The Dirty Dozen
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The beef is excellent - way more flavour than grocery store beef and leaner too - so cook with care. Dave gives excellent advice on this.
There are other more esoteric options in NB however
One I found on my way through the old (890) highway from Sussex to Petitcodiac - Brabant's wild boar meat in Newtown/Knightville. Wild boar is very lean and tastier than pork. I had some lovely chops the other night - they need to be cooked slow and low to retain their moisture. It's very low in saturated fat, lower than pork, and only slightly higher than chicken. Brabants
The other night I cooked up their also very tasty and lean sausages along with sauerkraut from Lewis Mountain (outside Moncton)that I also picked up at the Dieppe Market. Apparently there's an organic Lewis Mountain sauerkraut as well.
And in the same trip, I picked up some buffalo meat at the Dieppe market from SeaWind Buffalo Ranch in Bouctouche. Fabulous hot Italian sausages from them. Again very lean and the sausages had a marvellous fennel flavour. Highly recommended if you like Hot Italian. The Buffalo at Seawind are grass fed - avoiding all the problems of grain fed meat.
Seawind Buffalo Farm
There are other sources I'm sure, in fact I'll check it out on the ACORN site....which I will introduce in the next post.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Of course, as usual, science has simply re-proven what First Nations here have known for thousands of years - fiddleheads are incredibly good for you, eat 'em while they're here.
(Apparently food does fascinate university students, check out this reaction to the fiddlehead news from a science student at Waterloo: http://imprint.uwaterloo.ca/2010/may/21/science-and-technology/fiddleheads-rescue/ - with recipe attached.)
There is some debate over how to prepare fiddleheads - the government recommends 10 minutes of boiling, since undercooking of fiddleheads can make you ill. I'm a long time practitioner of the method laid out in Marie Nightingale's "Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens", the bible of traditional Maritime cooking, which is to steam them in the "water that clings after rinsing" (several times of course to remove the chaff). This method does mean careful watching however and I have been known to burn them when I've left them unattended, so be forewarned. Some great recipes are at the end of this article from Vitality Magazine:
Fiddleheads Taste Like Spring
Other spring greens are showing up as well: I found fabulous local asparagus at Les Fleurs du Pommier at the Dieppe Market. And I've had mixed greens already from Dave Bunnett's Farm (he who produces grass fed beef in Havelock, but more on that later...). He too is at Dieppe market. So you can pretty easily green up your diet with local greens even now.