Monday, May 22, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, May 22, 2017


Farmers’ Market Shopping Basket 
I buy over half my weekly groceries at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. It’s fresh; it’s local; and I’m among friends. Here’s what I bought this week: spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, asparagus, rhubarb, apples, frozen seabuckthorn berries, pasta and sauce, vegetarian shepherd’s pie, soup, banana loaf, chocolate cookie, croissant, and chipotle chile powder.

And my top hits of the week: Salted Caramel and Apple Croissant (addictively delicious) from Proof . . . Fresh Baked Creations; Spinach Fettucine and Leek, Parmesan and White Wine Sauce from the Market’s newest vendor, Cranked – Fresh Pasta; Rhubarb (first rhubarb crisp of the season!) from Wally’s Market Garden; and wonderfully fresh Spinach from Kaleidoscope Vegetable Gardens.


Vegan Protein Options 
I’m looking forward to trying vegan wheat sausages from Gusta (Dad’s Organic Market). Gusta is a Montreal-based company based at the Jean-Talon Market. They say they are exploring “the power of plants to create richly flavourful, authentic products that also happen to be good for the environment, your body and even your soul!” In addition to 3 flavours of vegan sausages, they sell a vegan cheese that melts and broils well.


Facts about Wine and Health 
Two wine writers who are also gastroenterologists gave a seminar on wine and health recently. Facts about Wine and Health captures some of their remarks. I found this comment particularly interesting: “Taking a week or a month off from drinking wine is not particularly beneficial. 'This idea of doing a cleanse or having a dry January is utter nonsense,’ Apstein asserts. ‘Those that think they need a dry January might be drinking too much the rest of the year.’ ” 

British Food Relies on Migrant Workers
I think a lot of us fail to realize how much food production relies on migrant workers – from picking fruit to food processing. This is certainly true in Great Britain where 20% of farm workers come from abroad and 30% of those working in food manufacturing.

David Kay, managing director of a fruit growing business, says, “ ‘We’ve worked with job centres and with ex-prisoners, but British people don’t want to do these jobs.’ Instead, he says, he gets a steady supply of highly educated and motivated eastern Europeans, most of whom have some connection to farming because their families still have smallholdings. ‘We have a return rate of 76% each year,’ he says, ‘which means we retain a skills base – 70% of our management arrived here as pickers and worked their way up the ranks.’ ” 

Jay Rayner concludes the article by saying, “The Brexit deal isn’t just about vague concepts of nationhood. It isn’t simply about international standing or the ebb and flow of trade. It’s about the lives of individual people like Protasovs and Iclodean, Yusein and Kolev; the ones prepared to do the back-breaking jobs British people are not. What’s more, this is not just their crisis, to be worked out in anguished letters home. It’s ours too. Because without them and the half a million seasonal workers like them, our very ability to feed ourselves, at a price we can all afford, is in peril. In the forthcoming Brexit negotiations that is what’s really at stake.” 


Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, May 15, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, May 15, 2017

Devour every Hour spring rolls

Steve and Dan’s Fresh BC Fruit
What a treat to find BC fruit available in May at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. And what a great selection. There are 3 varieties of apples, pears, organic walnuts, sparkling fruit juice, dried cherries, and dried apple slices.


80% of the produce sold by Steve and Dan’s Fresh BC Fruit comes from their own farm in Oliver, BC. They only spray when they have to, favour organic sprays if possible, and sell organic or transitional (in the process of being certified organic) fruit from other Okanagan farmers. They’re on a waiting list so that they can start feeding their trees with manure rather than nitrogen fertilizer.

Steve and Dan’s BC Fruit is at the Market on a 5-week trial basis so be sure to stop buy, welcome them to Saskatoon, and encourage them to return by buying lots of their lovely products.


Chile Peppers
I recently responded to a Facebook inquiry about where one could purchase dried chile peppers and powder. If you want fresh, locally-grown peppers, and a chance to support local farmers, the only place to go is Grandora Gardens, Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. They sell a huge range of peppers and powders – from mild Chipotle to very spicy Scorpion and Naga.


Markets Help Local Food Take Root
Farmers need to be salespeople. And that can be really tough if you’re operating a small, local farm. “A lot of people get into farming as a passion project, but … there’s a lot of staffing, merchandising, pricing, and marketing that goes into it,” White said. “People that get into farming don’t necessarily know how to do those things, and don’t necessarily think to learn them.”

Farmers’ markets can help support local farmers: “Part of DA-LE Ranch’s success is that Heafner and Pesic use markets as networking events more than as a pop-up storefront. Pesic said markets grew their business because they ‘allow us to make a connection with the customer, to explain ourselves and how we raise and why.’ They’re not shy about using those connections to further expand. Dave said he’d like to sell to more restaurants, ‘so I ask my customers to ask their restaurants if the chef buys their meat from me."

Shopping locally means I’m supporting my neighbours and friends. And shopping at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market means I can meet the farmers and find out how they grow my food. That’s really important, especially when I read an article explaining why organic food from China probably isn’t organic.


Devour every Hour & The Local Kitchen 
The Local Kitchen is set up at the Ideas Inc. market around the corner from the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. They were selling some of their kitchen users’ products, including tea, salsa, and honey.

Devour every Hour uses The Local Kitchen to prepare veggie and pork spring rolls. I had a sample and found it very tasty.

The Collective Kitchen

Vegan Options
I’ve been experimenting with vegan alternatives to dairy products and am not really satisfied. They may taste good, but they don’t have the same nutritional content. Of particular concern is the low protein content – you can get plenty of protein on a vegan diet, but not if you’re relying on dairy substitutes.

Here’s a comparison for Daiya Medium Cheddar Style Farmhouse Block and L’Ancêtre Extra Sharp Organic Cheddar Cheese.
Daiya (28 g – 1 in cube)
Protein – 1 g
Calcium – 10% daily value
Vitamin A – 0%
L’Ancêtre (30 g – 3 cm cube)
Protein – 7 g
Calcium – 15% daily value
Vitamin A – 8%

Here’s another comparison for Yoso Chocolate Cultured Coconut and Olympic Organic French Vanilla Yogurt.
Yoso (125 g)
Protein – 1 g (0.8/100 g)
Calcium – 17%
Vitamin A – 0%
Iron – 0%
Olympic (175 g)
Protein – 6 g (3.43 g/100 g)
Calcium – 20%
Vitamin A – 6%
Iron – 8%

Taste of Nature 
From Green Drinks and wild foraging to festival beer and a moveable feast, don’t miss the food and drinks at Saskatoon’s fourth NatureCity Festival, May 23-28.


Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events.

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

2017 NatureCity Festival Has a Local Flavour


Saskatoon’s NatureCity Festival is May 23 to 28, and there is truly something for everyone. The following are all food and drink events.

May 23 to 28 
Stay Wild Saskatoon 
Wild about Saskatoon has partnered with 9 Mile Legacy Brewing on a festival beer featuring Saskatoon’s local water profile and local ingredients. Stay Wild Saskatoon beer will be available festival week at locations around Saskatoon, at 9 Mile and at our keynote event with Maude Barlow. A festival growler is for sale too.

Hungry for Nature 
Some local restaurants will be featuring a nature-inspired dish during the Festival. Check out d’Lish by Tish, Drift Café, Citizen Bakery, Little Bird Patisserie, Amigos Cantina, Una Pizzeria, and more.

May 26 
Compost & Soil
Join the Saskatoon Compost Coaches at the Garden Patch to learn how to build healthy soil using compost and other organic techniques from 6:30-8:30 pm.

Green Drinks 
Have a beer and chat about all things wild, natural, green, renewable, and resilient at Green Drinks, 5:30 pm, at 9 Mile Legacy.


May 27 
The Path to Wild Food 
Join Sandra Walker to explore the wild food that is available for both humans and animals within the city from 3-5 pm.

Plant the Saskatoon Seed Library 
Help the Saskatoon Seed Library plant their garden and celebrate the importance of protecting locally adapted seed varieties from 11 am-1 pm. They’ll be featuring water-saving gardening techniques.

Bike the Moveable Feast 
Take a slow ride along the Meewasin trails and enjoy Chef Jenni’s delicious food in unusual locations from 5-8 pm.

May 28 
Waste Not YXE Potluck Picnic 
Join Waste Not YXE for a family-friendly, zero waste, pack-in, pack-out picnic and find out more about home waste reduction from noon-2 pm.

Food Forest Potluck
Enjoy a potluck dinner and find out what the Saskatoon Food Forest Initiative is all about at 6 pm.

Eat These Words Dinner
Slow Food Saskatoon will be serving a four-course meal made with local ingredients and served by talented local chefs at 6 pm.

There are many, many more events happening during the NatureCity Festival. Take a look at the Festival Calendar of Events.

EcoFriendly Sask is proud to be an ongoing sponsor of Wild about Saskatoon’s NatureCity Festival.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, May 8, 2017

Food Truck Saturdays in front of the Saskatoon Farmers' Market

The Local Bar Story 
Have you ever dreamed of selling your own food product? Find out how The Local Bar got its start.

Fair Trade in Saskatchewan 
The University of Regina and the City of Saskatoon are working towards a fair trade designation. The University of Saskatchewan has also been making fair trade purchases.

Wild Serendipity Foods al fresco (be sure to try the Banana Coconut Lime Bread)

Crew of Cyclists Turning Florida’s Lawns into Farms 
In Florida, a group of pedal-powered volunteers are transforming lawns into organic gardens to create hyper-local food networks.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner). 

Lovely garden plants from Mistik Acres

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Purdy's Chocolates: Tasty, Local, Sustainable


I’ve always been a fan of Purdy’s chocolates, bringing them home from trips to British Columbia or Alberta, so I was pleased to hear that they were opening a store in Saskatoon’s Midtown Plaza – and delighted to be invited to a wine and chocolate pairing to celebrate the store’s opening. I came away from the event even happier as I’d learned that Purdy’s chocolates are not just tasty – they’re also fresh, local, and sustainable.


Local 
Richard Carmon Purdy started selling homemade chocolates on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver in 1907. Their first chocolate factory was in a house on West 7th, and the company is still located in Vancouver.

The Vanilla Caramel, Dairy Cream, and Marshmallow chocolates are still made using the original 1907 recipes.

Purdy’s uses as many Canadian ingredients as possible. The ice wine is from Mission Hill Winery; the Chardonnay from Quail’s Gate. The mint oil is from Quebec and the Saskatoon berries are from – you guessed it – Saskatoon.


Sustainable 
So many chocolates are the product of child labour, miserable working conditions, and environmental destruction. Purdy’s, however, has made a commitment to sustainability. They monitor to ensure that children are in school and not at work, and they provide schools, medical care, business and agricultural training for their workers, particularly women. They also plant banana trees for shade, protect waterways, and work with farmers to improve their agricultural practices to protect the soil and reduce waste.

Purdy’s also supports a number of green initiatives and was awarded the City of Vancouver’s Award of Excellence for Greenest City Leadership in 2015.


Tasty and Fresh
As I browsed the racks, I was impressed by the variety of products Purdy’s produces. One of my favorites is the Sweet Georgia Browns, and I was delighted to discover you can now purchase Mini Sweet Georgia Browns for a bite-sized treat.

I was intrigued by some of the small boxes – Sparkling and Roses, Sakura and Sake, and Pear Lemon Caramel. My new favorite is the Goat Cheese & Chardonnay Truffle – a goat cheese/white chocolate ganache topped with a layer of milk chocolate infused with chardonnay wine, and wrapped in milk chocolate. Seriously delicious!

Purdy’s milk chocolate is a secret blend of milk, dark, and white chocolate. If you’re normally a dark chocolate fan, try the Single Origin Ghana Bar. Most milk chocolate has a 34% cocoa mass content, but this bar is 45% cocoa mass and is conched at a higher temperature so the sugars are caramelized, giving it a richer, deeper flavour.

Purdy’s tries out 150 new chocolate recipes every year – only 6 to 12 of them make the cut. To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, Purdy’s is coming out in June with a new collection featuring Smoked Maple, Blueberry, Saskatoon Berry, and one other flavour. The Saskatoon Berry truffles were ready in time for the Saskatoon store opening, and they’re lovely (and I’m not a Saskatoon Berry fan so that’s high praise!).

Purdy’s doesn’t use any preservatives in its chocolates and products are only on the shelf for 3 weeks. Any left after that date are discounted and sold as “almost perfect.”


Wine and Chocolate 
Peter Blanchet, Purdy’s Master Chocolate Connoisseur, took us through a tasting of six chocolates paired with six different wines. If you try this for yourself, make sure that the sweetness level of the wine matches the sweetness level of the chocolate so that they balance each other rather than one overpowering the other. One of the pairings wasn’t a good match, and it proved the point. You really don’t want a super-sweet wine with a less sweet chocolate.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, May 1, 2017


Mother’s Day Brunch, May 14 
The Griffin Takeaway is hosting a Mother’s Day brunch on May 14 at Honey Bun Café.

Open House Farm Event, June 14 
Tour New Life Oranic Foods grain facility at the Witzaney Family Farm Open House on June 10.

Simpkins Market Garden 
I had a chat with Dixon Simpkins from Simpkins Market Garden last week and learned that they’re able to sell vegetables almost year round thanks to a large root cellar built into the side of a hill. He also told me they’re trying out a couple of new crops. They planted purple asparagus last year. He’s not sure how much will be ready for market this year – maybe next year. Apparently it’s popular in the United Kingdom. They’re also planning to grow husk cherries this year. He saw lots on sale last year at the Jean-Talon Market in Montreal.

Wild Serendipity Foods 
You’ll have two opportunities to purchase scones and macarons from Michelle at Wild Serendipity Foods this summer – indoors at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market and outdoors at the Ideas Inc. market starting May 6. Enjoy!


Jim Ternier 
Jim Ternier had a degree in Mathematics; he never intended to become a farmer. But he started selling vegetables, found seeds more profitable, and is now a driving force for seed saving. His company, Prairie Garden Seeds, sells an amazing collection of locally grown seeds, including old grains, especially wheats.

Popeye's Favorites 
For those of you who worry you won’t get enough iron on a vegetarian/vegan diet, here are 14 vegetables that have more iron than meat.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, April 24, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, April 24, 2017


Nvigorate Demo, May 13
Enjoy a taste of Nvigorate’s seabuckthorn berry products at Dad’s Organic Market from 10 am to 2 pm, May 13.

Pizza Dough
I’m really enjoying being able to buy a bag of fresh pizza dough at Earth Bound Bakery on Saturdays. Making pizza is easy and you’re guaranteed a good crust.

Sprouts 
I’m amazed by the variety of sprouts and baby greens available from Floating Gardens at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market – everything from baby Spinach and Kale to Pea Shoots, Sunflower Sprouts, a Crunchy Bean Mix, and an Ancient Eastern Blend (check out the long blades that look just like grass!).

Ingredients 
I always enjoy browsing at Ingredients Artisan Market as you never know what you’ll find. How about Red Rice Noodles or Blueberry Bliss Honey Wine?


African Food
I know next to nothing about authentic African food – how about you? Two British women decided to start a Somali and Swahili Supper Club to share their cultures’ generous, abundant food: “Ismail has found that most Brits blithely treat Somali food as an afterthought, that its food takes a backseat to the problems of war, famine, and piracy that have saturated news reports about the region. Bruford, meanwhile, feels that Kenyan cuisine has often been misconstrued as a collage of bland carbs and tough, gristly meat. It was far from what they knew.”

But the two women don’t want their food to become the latest trend. Instead, they’re emphasizing the links between food and culture and politics (e.g., ugali, made from maize grown by the British to feed their slaves and later employees). They hope to organize an African food symposium and a workshop exploring what it means to be British (e.g., “tea—a drink so synonymous with British identity, yet with roots firmly planted in the country’s colonial past”).

For another take on African food, Zoe Adjonyoh has recently published her debut cookbook, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen.

Breads of Mexico 
“We eat just as much bread as we do tortillas, which is something people don’t realize,” says Chef Iliana de la Vega. You'll learn about an assortment of sweet buns and pastries in this collection of 25 baked goods you’ll find in most Mexican panaderías.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, April 17, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, April 16, 2017


Congratulations
Congratulations to Black Fox Farm and Distillery! Their Oaked Gin Barrel Two was recently crowned the best cask gin at the World Gin Awards.

Imprint Plant-Based Foods 
Imprint Plant-Based Foods is a new initiative by a young vegan couple who weren’t finding enough plant-based options in Saskatoon stores so started experimenting and making their own. Pleased with the results, they’ve started selling their products. I tried their cashew-based cheese alternative this weekend and really enjoyed it. It’s smooth and creamy and spreads well on bread or crackers. The original hickory-flavoured product is mild with just the right amount of flavour. The taco-flavoured one has a bit of zip – I’m looking forward to trying it on baked sweet potato. You can also purchase burgers and sausages.

World Disco Soup Day, Apr. 29
Soup and dance – less waste and less hunger. The Slow Food Youth Network is promoting World Disco Soup Day on Apr. 29. Disco Soup started 5 years ago in Germany to protest food waste. Here's what to do if you want to organize a Disco Soup Day in your community.

May 6 Food Drive
The Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre is struggling to put nutritious food for 2-3 days in people’s baskets with a record-breaking 22,000 people coming to the Food Bank for help in March 2017. We can help by making a donation or by contributing to the May 6 Food Drive.

Kids in the Kitchen
Are your kids interested in cooking? The Local Kitchen is offering two week-long, half-day cooking classes for kids ages 6 and up in July – Level 1 and Level 2.

Anita’s Coconut Yogurt
Anita Shepherd started making coconut yogurt to use in her vegan baked goods. The yogurt turned out to be more popular than the muffins and became a full-time business. “Sourcing for my yogurt was particularly difficult, because I didn’t just want organic—I wanted additive free. If you’re buying premade, commercial coconut milk, it probably has either carrageenan or guar gum, or some kind of emulsifier additive. . . . Some people see the price and are offended. But if someone came here for one day and saw how much goes into it labor and ingredient wise, I think they would be like, Oh my god, you should be charging twenty dollars a cup.” 

Building Bridges
In Berlin, cooking is helping long-time inhabitants and immigrants to connect. There are collaborative cooking classes, refugee-run restaurants and cafés, and pop-up dinners.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, April 10, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, April 10, 2017

 

Croissants and Stroopwafels
You can now buy croissants and several kinds of focaccia at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market from Cathy Langdon, Proof . . . fresh baked creations. I tried Cathy’s spinach and cheese croissant and it was great – buttery layers filled with a generous, tasty serving of spinach and asiago cheese. Next week I plan to try her caramel and apple focaccia.

Another new vendor was selling stroopwafel – Dutch waffle cookies.

Karma at Night 
Karma Conscious Café and Eatery is launching its evening menu (Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 6-10 pm) from Apr. 20-22. The menu includes such unexpected items as a Roasted Cabbage Steak with Hemp Chimichurri and Samosa Flautas.

Pop Up Cider 
You can now purchase Crossmount Cider at their pop-up location in College Park Mall off 8th Street and McKercher Drive. They’re closed Mondays and open 11-7 on Tuesdays, 11-8 Wednesday through Saturday, and 12-5 on Sundays.

Grow Your Own Microgreens, Apr. 22 
Find out how to grow your own microgreens at the Glen at Crossmount, Apr. 22.

Sourcing Local Food for Institutions 
Food Safe Canada has shared 10 lessons to help schools, hospitals, and other institutions shift to locally produced food.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Sun on the Serpentine

The sun was shining on my last morning in London - the perfect time for a short walk in Hyde Park.


 The Italian Garden - Prince Albert's gift to Queen Victoria.


I believe in fairies.



A lovely spot for birds.


Grey Heron


One of the Queen's swans


Egyptian Goose


Robin

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Springtime in Kew Gardens

This is my last day in Europe and I filled it with flowers and fresh spring growth at Kew Gardens, London. I hope that my photos provide a small portion of the pleasure I received today.


Magnolias, rhododendrons, and camelias - what a bright burst of colour on a grey day!





And then there were the trees - old and wise and gnarly - and still vibrating with fresh lime-green growth.






A robin came begging for crumbs at lunchtime. This squirrel was very curious, and the moorhens were hungry.



So many different flowers - of every colour, size, and shape.