The Ontario Table $10 Challenge

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a year of eating local

January 2012

Local Foods in January

Sourcing Local Foods in January Winter Wine Parings


WE L C OM E Welcome to The Ontario Table’s E-Zine. This on-line magazine was created as a compliment to the Canadian Best Selling cookbook to walk foodies through a year of eating local. It will introduce you to more sources of local food and also the commodity groups that look after the development and promotion of food groups. You can spend $10 a week on local food in the winter months.

F E AT U R E S Look for the Foodland Ontario symbol when you’re shopping for fresh Ontario fruit, vegetables, dairy, meats, eggs and specialty foods.

What the $10 Challenge is all about Seasonal Eating in January Where to find local food Ontario Fish Processed Vegetables in the Winter Winter Wine Choices Indulge in a Little Farm & Country Conviviality

Plus... Your best bet in a grocery store

Visit an on-farm market near you

The Ontario Table $10 Challenge is produced monthly. Editorial inquiries contact Lynn Ogryzlo through the website. Agricultural and food photography by Jon Ogryzlo



If every household in Ontario spent $10 a week on local food, we’d have an additional $2.4 billion in our local economy at the end of the year. Keeping our money circulating grows to $3.6 billion and creates 10,000 new jobs.*

Join us as we take you on a delicious, seasonal journey through the very best local food produced in Ontario 12 months of the year. yzlo

Ogr ynn


You can buy The Ontario Table cookbook at the same places you’ll find local food - at farm markets, farmers’ markets, independent grocers and bookstores across Ontario. Also available on-line at

Did you know... 1 Ontario farm feeds 120 people!




januar y’s food fresh from the farm


apples barley beetroot butter canned tomatoes charcuterie chilies cucumbers dried and canned beans eggs farm raised meat greenhouse eggplant greenhouse greens herbs honey farm raised fish

fresh & frozen lake fish leeks maple syrup milk & dairy mushrooms onions Ontario cheese pears potatoes poultry root vegetables squash sweet potatoes stone ground flour wine

The Welland Farmers’ Market is Niagara’s main gathering place for both farmers and foodies. Two pavilions house the regions best butchers with their farm raised meats and poultry, bakers with their breads and pastries, farmers with apples and root vegetables and everyone with jars of orchard fruit, jam, honey, maple syrup and more. The Market Café serves up bacon and egg breakfasts from ingredients purchased from the market vendors. 60 Main St East Welland Open Saturday mornings year round.




spend $10 a week on local food

FA R M F R E S H P RO D U C E Local food from fresh to packaged, processed to frozen can be found within the city’s crowded streets and meandering neighbourhoods as well as in the country at on-farm markets. Here are some sources for you to build your own local food community.

I N D E P E N D EN T G ROCER S Shop for fresh ingredients under the green Foodland Ontario logo. Independent grocers are members of your community and have strong local sensibilities. This means many of them will specialize in bringing you more local food.

ON -FA R M M A R K ET S It’s a personal visit to a farm in your neighbourhood. Drop in, meet the owners and their family, learn how they grow and raise the best food possible and talk about how to make delicious dishes. Then notice how amazingly fresh it all is - can’t get any fresher than right from the farm!

WEB S ITES Foodland Ontario: great resource on what’s grown in Ontario, with recipes Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association: a great website to find the closest on-farm retail store near you. www.ontar iofar Farmers Markets Ontario: find a farmers market near you www.far mer smar ketsontar OCTA: for the best local food events and happenings in your region: www.ontar ioculinar Greenbelt Fresh: a great site to build your local food community

FARMERS ’ MARKETS For a solid connection to your food source, strong sense of community and a great variety of seasonal food, make a trip to the farmers’ market your new habit for 2012. You’ll meet farmers, talk about the produce, find new sources for meat, poultry, cheese, canned orchard fruit, jam, honey, maple syrup and more. At a farmers’ market the possibilities are endless.

THE O NTARIO TAB LE A virtual do-it-yourself local food book, The Ontario Table has recipes, introduces you to growers, talks about what food is grown where and includes a much needed chapter called The Ontario Pantry so you can stock your home pantry with local foods. Don’t be without it!




januar y’s food fresh from the farm

O N TA R I O F I S H Ontario has a maritime influence that produces an ultra fresh, pristine, icy spring water essence to all of the fish that come from the many lakes. Some call it the purity factor in Ontario lake fish, others just love it for the amazing flavour fresh fish offers. There are over 150 species of lake fish but the most common are yellow perch, white perch, pickerel(walleye), whitefish, herring, white bass (silver bass), lake trout and pink salmon. Ontario also has fish farms that mostly produce rainbow trout and some salmon.

SERVE IT Lake fish has a clean and bright flavour that needs nothing but the simplest preparation. Saute in fresh, country butter and drizzle with a little verjus (no lemons please!)

FISHED IN The Great Lakes are among the best in the world for freshwater fish. Lake Erie produces about 80% of our fish (mostly perch) and the most whitefish comes from Lake Huron.


D I D YO U K N O W ? The Ontario Commercial Fisheries’ Association ( look after commercial fisheries interests as they move forward growing the industry and providing us with more and more fresh lake fish while The Northern Ontario Aquaculture Association look after fish farms in the province. In Ontario, rainbow trout is the main species cultivated, along with brook trout, arctic charr and tilapia.


Purvis is a fifth generation family owned company with a dockside plant in Silver Water. Whitefish, lake trout and herring are caught wild in Lake Huron and processed the same day in a registered fish plant reducing food miles and keeping the quality at its peak. Depending on winter conditions, fishing season runs from early March until the end of January each year. Whole fish, smoked fish and fish fillets are vacuumed packed and the result is in that unmistakably pristine flavour of icy spring water throughout flaky flavourful, fresh fish. You can order on-line or through Ontario Natural Food Co-op. ( end of Burnt Island Road on Burnt Island

For more stories on Ontario fisheries, see The Ontario Table chapter, Great Lakes Fish, page 101.



januar ys seasonal dishes

Roasted Winter Salmon 1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets Ontario salt to taste 1 onion, peeled and cut into thin rings fresh dill, minced Season salmon fillets with salt. Lay on a rack in a baking dish. Top with onion rings and minced fresh dill. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Place salmon in centre of the ove and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets. Remove from oven and serve warm. Serves 6.

Corn Crusted Lake Erie Pickerel 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) Ontario cornmeal 2 tablespoons (30 mL) dry mustard 1 tablespoon (15 mL) dried dill 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Ontario salt 12 Lake Erie pickerel fillets 2 farm fresh eggs, beaten 2 tablespoons (30 mL) canola oil Mix cornmeal, mustard, dill and salt in a bowl. Put beaten eggs in another bowl. Diip fish in beaten eggs and then in cornmeal. Put half the oil in a nonstick skillet and warm over medium heat. Place fillets in skillet and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the fillets and cook another 5 minutes. Remove pickerel from skillet and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining fillets. Serves 6.


W H AT ’ S I N


januar y is the season for...

F R E S H O N TA R I O P O R K Januar y is pork season. In butcher shops you’ll find giant bags of whole legs, shoulders, butts and lots and lots of sausage casings. Italians love to make sausage and with the popularity of cured meats, more and more people are trying their hand at soprassata and prosciutto. It’s also the time of year for Porchetta and Porchetta on a bun!

The Harrisons, Dennis, Denise and their 5 children run Dingo Farms in a way that makes sense to them and is safe for their children. The sheep, cattle and pigs are allowed to grow and mature in their own time with no drugs and an emphasis on animal welfare. Their feed consists of non GMO grains and hay they grow themselves. This is supplemented with flax, mustard and canola seed and field peas. The small flocks are provided with rotational pasture and are happy animals processed at local abattoirs using time honoured butchering traditions. Dingo meat is tender and tasty. You can buy right from the farm and is available at many restaurants. 3412 8th Line, Bradford On-farm store

INDEPENDENT GROCER If you’re a traditional grocery store shopper, small independent grocers can be your best friend when it comes to local food. Commisso’s Fresh Foods in Niagara Falls is an independent grocer with strong local sensibility. They have an in-store butcher shop and butcher Nick Damiano makes Porchetta. He first seasons a pork shoulder with fresh chopped garlic, fennel and paprika and lets this marinade for a day. Then he wraps the seasoned shoulder in pork rind. Now it’s ready for you to take it home and cook it. If you have an independent grocer with an in-store butcher, ask them to make you a Porchetta roast, it’s one of January’s simple, yet memorable joys. 6161 Thorold Stone Rd, Niagara Falls




januar y’s food fresh from the farm

Spending $10 a week on local food in the winter months is not that difficult when you know how.

Heritage Line Herbs in Aylmer was a tobacco farm and is now an herb farm. It was a brilliant transition on the part of Deb and Tom Benner as the tobacco kilns now dry herbs, the greenhouse that started tobacco plants now house a potted herb operation and the bunkhouse the seasonal workers lived is now a farm store. Inside the store are dried and fresh herbs as well as their own line of herbal tea blends, oils, vinegars, mustards and jellies. 53443 Heritage Line, Aylmer Open Year Round

photograph courtesy of Heritage Line Herbs



januar y’s food fresh from the farm

O N TA R I O P RO C E S S E D V E G E TA B L E S We grow lots of fresh fruit and vegetables throughout Ontario and some of it is put aside so we can enjoy a taste of summers sunshine in the winter. It could be a bag of frozen peas, a jar of asparagus or a tin of tomatoes. We often take these products for granted so look for a box of frozen fiddlehead, a bag of dried beans, a jar of pickled garlic, jars of pickles, tins of sliced beets, tins of whole potatoes.

G ROW N I N Vegetables for processing are grown across Ontario but are concentrated in an area that starts in Essex County and runs up to the Toronto area.

D I D YO U K N O W ? S U N S H I N E FA R M S John and Claudia Jacques of Sunshine Farms in Thamesville grew asparagus. Claudia preserved what asparagus her family couldn’t eat and the success of the all-natural asparagus in a jar was the start of their canning business. Now they make over 23 types of pickles, some of them certified organic as well as green beans, garlic, carrots, beets, jalapeno peppers and sweet relish. All of their products are grown on their farm. You can buy from them at the farm or on-line or perhaps there’s a store near you that carries Sunshine products. R R #5, 30043 Jane Rd. Thamesville


The Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers represent over 600 vegetable growers and manage 13 vegetable crops for the purpose of processing them at various facilities. The vegetables are tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet corn, green peas, green and wax beans, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, beets, peppers, pumpkins, squash and lima beans.

SERVE IT Add a tin of beans to your favourite soup, a jar of sliced beets will brighten up a salad and tins of tomatoes, seasoned or not simmer into a luscious sauce. For a greater listing of Ontario’s processed foods, see The Ontario Table, Ontario Pantr y section, page 298.



januar ys seasonal dishes

Beet Cakes Porchetta 1butcher made Porchetta half or whole Porchetta can be made from the loin, the belly or the shoulder. Massive amounts of herbaceous flavours and seasonings are layered on top of a butterflied piece of pork, rolled tightly with skin, sewn together into a roast. You get the most delicious bits of crackling on the skin on the pork; it’s like candy. The pork is rich, luscious, very savoury, sexy, succulent and – a total herbaceous blast when you bite into it. Start with a room temperature porchetta and fill the bottom of the roasting pan with white wine – no more than a bottle, no less than ½-inch on the bottom. It should not touch the bottom of the Porchetta. Cook it at 500F (250C) for 40 minutes to an hour. Turn the oven down to a low 300F (150C) and cook for 20 minutes per pound. It will take approximately 4 hours for a whole Porchetta. Do not open the oven door and baste it. When it is done, remove it from the oven and let rest for 30 minutes. The skin keeps it hot inside so more resting time is necessary. Use a very sharp knife for carving, the meat is so tender you will tear it apart with a dull knife. The pan juices make a delicious gravy.

1 tin whole or sliced beets 1 large potato, peeled, cooked and chilled 1/2 onion, peeled and cooked 1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh parsley 1 farm fresh egg, beaten 1/2 cup (125 mL) all purpose flour Ontario salt 1 cup (250 mL) seasoned breadcrumbs Put the beets, potato and onion into a food processor with parsley. Pulse 10 times or enough to create a chunky texture. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add the egg, mix well. Add flour and season well with salt. Mix together until the mixture is stiff enough to handle. Add more flour if necessary. Pour breadcrumbs into a dish. Scoop a bit of beet mixture into your hands and roll it into a ball. Put it in the breadcrumbs and flatten it into a disk with the back of a spatula. Cover the entire beet cake with breadcrumbs and press slightly to adhere the crumbs. Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and repeat with the remaining beet mixture. Bake in a preheated 350F (160C) oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and serve warm. Makes about 12 beet cakes.




pressed from Ontario’s finest fruit


Ontario is Canada’s richest wine province and January is the season for icewine. Even though 2012 has been a very warm winter, mother nature never fails to give us frigid weather and the perfect conditions to harvest a wine that is the envy of the entire world. Enjoy your winter sipping.

This is a unique wine made from frozen pears that is not technically an official icewine, but I love it just the same. Anytime is the perfect time to sip on a glass of Sunnybrook Farm Iced Pear ($27.95). Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery 1452 Lakeshore Rd, Niagara-on-the-Lake Niagara

Equifera Icewine is luscious and over the top with flavour, yet one of the most elegant and refined bodies in an icewine ($49.00). Equifera Icewine Niagara


This is the first VQA Icewine of Prince Edward County and it’s already an award winner. A must try for icewine lovers Waupoos Vidal Icewine ($46.95). Waupoos Estate Winery 3016 County Road 8, Picton Prince Edward County

Imagine an entire winery dedicated to icewine. Winemaker Jamie McFarlane is well skilled in setting icewine standards in Canada. Try their unique Ice House Cabernet/Dornfelder. ($70.00). It’s a icewine that lingers long. The Ice House Winery 14778 Niagara Parkway, Queenston Niagara



FARM & COUNTRY CONVIVIALITY As each person buys a copy of The OntarioTable cookbook at a book signing event, they sign a tablecloth in support of local food. To date, there are 14 tablecloths full of proud signatures, $10 a week pledges, thoughts on local food and stories of favourite local food places. It is now over 100 feet long. Join us this summer as we roll out the tablecloth and feast on local food at a farm or down a village street. Dates will be announced soon.