The Magazine of the Thunder Bay & Area Food Strategy
PREMIERE ISSUE May
CHEFSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; LOCAL FAVOURITES GARDEN OF HOPE TRENDY VEGGIES TO GROW FRESH CHURNED BUTTER KIDS TAKE BACK THE KITCHEN GET FRESH GUIDE
SHOW YOUR CREW THE DINE OF THEIR LIFE
HERE IS WHERE I FOUND MYSELF VISITTHUNDERBAY.COM
CONTENTS N o r t h w e s t N o s h , a s a p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h e T h u n d e r B a y & A r e a F o o d S t r a t e g y, b r i n g s t o g e t h e r s t o r i e s b a s e d o n t h e s ev e n p i l l a r s i n t h e S t r a t e g y, a n d t h e g o a l s s e t o u t w i t h i n t h e d o c u m e n t . ( r e a d t h e f u l l s t r a t e g y a t t b f o o d s t r a t e g y. c a )
GOAL: Create a food system in Thunder Bay and Area based on the principle that food is more than a commodity—it is a human right— in which all community members have regular access to adequate, affordable, nutritious, safe and culturally appropriate food in a way that maintains dignity.
Garden of Hope - - - - - - - - - - - - - 6 Meet at the Market Workshop Series - - - - - - - 8 Slow Cooker Beef Recipe - - - - - - - - - - - 9 Willow Springs: Connecting Food, Art and Gardens - - - 10 Community Food Program Map - - - - - - - - 12 The Indigenous Circle - - - - - - - - - - - 13 Good Food In a Good Way - - - - - - - - - - 15 Sorry PB & J - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 16
FOREST & FRESHWATER FOODS
GOAL: Increase our region’s knowledge of available forest and freshwater foods and their sustainable harvest; protect and conserve forest and freshwater food ecosystems; and support a diverse and sustainable forest and freshwater foods economy within the region.
Groceries from the Forest - - - - - - - - - - 18 Freshwater Feast - - - - - - - - - - - - - 20 Our Blue Economy - - - - - - - - - - - - 22 A Sip of the Wild - - - - - - - - - - - - - 23
GOAL: To support the creation of a food supply chain that links local production to processing, distribution and marketing, consumption and waste management in ways that sustain the local economy, minimize environmental impact and improve people’s access to healthy food.
GOAL: Leverage procurement food spending to develop a public sector food supply chain that contributes to the economic, ecological and social wellbeing of Thunder Bay and Area through food purchases that foster local production, processing, and distribution.
What’s Your Beef? - - - - - - - - - - - - 34 Top Picks for Local Flavour - - - - - - - - - - 36 Thunder Bay Purchasing Project Goes National - - - - 38
GOAL: Protect and encourage growth in farm-scale production so that a greater proportion of food is grown, raised, prepared, processed, and purchased closer to home.
How to Start a Farm in Northern Ontario - - - - - - 40 The Hi-Tech Life of a Dairy Cow - - - - - - - - 41 Farmers Wanted! - - - - - - - - - - - - - 42 Apples of the North - - - - - - - - - - - - 43 Girls Just Wanna Have Farms - - - - - - - - - 44
SCHOOL FOOD ENVIRONMENTS
GOAL: Improve the eating habits, food skills and food literacy of children and youth in Thunder Bay and area through supportive healthy school food environments.
Student Hunger at Lakehead University - - - - - - 47 It’s Always Growing Season at R2H - - - - - - - 48 Kids Take Back the Kitchen - - - - - - - - - - 49
Lake Superior Ale Trail - - Triple Threat Restaurateur - Did Someone Say Butter? - Beer, Burgers, Jellies & Soaps Get Fresh Guide - - - - Local Farmer's Markets - - -
URBAN AGRICULTURE 25 26 28 29 30 32
GOAL: Increase food production in the urban landscape and support the participation of citizens in urban agriculture activities.
Trendy Veggies for 2018 - - - - - - - - - - 50 Community Gardens at Confederation College - - - - 53 Container Gardens for Veggies - - - - - - - - - 54 Food Security in Thunder Bay & Area - - - - - - - 57 Growing Together – Mamow Gitikaytah - - - - - - 58
FROM THE THUNDER BAY + AREA FOOD STRATEGY EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE… — W E L C O M E M E S S A G E
Welcome to the first issue of Northwest Nosh! The Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy has been a journey of many years with the support and involvement of many people. This magazine is an opportunity to share some of the stories of those who are working toward the goal of a healthy, equitable and sustainable food system right here in Northwestern Ontario.
This magazine is an opportunity to share some of the stories of those who are working toward the goal of a healthy, equitable and sustainable food system right here in Northwestern Ontario.
As Co-Chair of the TBAFS Executive Committee since 2012, we have been encouraged to see such exponential growth in the local food movement in our communities. Indeed, there are many more stories to tell, and we are already making a list for the 2019 issue! Thank you to those who have been willing to come to the table and to work on addressing food issues throughout the region. In particular, thank you to members of the Food Strategy Executive Committee, past and present, and members of the Food Strategy Council. The involvement and commitment of our entire community is truly making change happen.
Rebecca Johnson Bernie Kamphof Co-Chair Co-Chair City of Thunder Bay Municipality of Oliver-Paipoonge
Northwest Nosh is produced by:
THUNDER BAY + AREA FOOD STRATEGY Editorial & Production
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FROM THE EDITOR
Special thanks to these contributors and editors who went above and beyond for this edition:
Throughout this magazine, you will see stories of how the local food movement in Thunder Bay and area is all about connections. The Thunder Bay and area Food Strategy itself arose from a process of connecting concerned citizens with forward-thinking organizations, and expanding that connection to municipal policy-makers. For this issue, we have gathered stories of many other connections: a purchasing policy in Thunder Bay being used as an example for a national initiative; a local greenhouse operation that is helping create change in remote communities; a program that reconnects kids to kitchens.
Karen Kerk – Passionate local food supporter, wannabe vegetable gardener, and the new Thunder Bay & Area Food Strategy Coordinator. Ellen Mortfield – Northwest Nosh Editor, Lappe hobby farmer, and Executive Director at EcoSuperior. Gwen O’Reilly – Champion for Women’s rights and povertyfighter in NWO, rural homesteader, and Executive Director of the Northwestern Ontario Women’s Centre. Julia Prinselaar – Pursuer of all cool things related to nature and the outdoors, Program Coordinator at EcoSuperior, and writer for Northern Wilds and the Walleye. And thanks to the following writers, photographers and proofreaders who also contributed their time and expertise:
Thunder Bay Country Market
Charles Z. Levkoe
Tourism Thunder Bay
Northwest Nosh also arose from a connection with The Walleye, and the collaboration has allowed us to embark on an amazing adventure to seek out the fascinating stories behind the foods we enjoy here in northwestern Ontario. We thank our team of talented contributors and hope you enjoy the fruits of their labour. Our plan is to make this an annual publication, so if you have suggestions or story ideas for the 2019 edition, please email us at email@example.com . In the meantime, let’s continue cultivating those connections to local food by supporting our area farmers, asking questions about the food on our plate, and enjoying all the flavours of northwestern Ontario!
Jessica McLaughlin Northwest Nosh | 5
BY ELLEN MORTFIELD
GARDEN OF HOPE What does a high-tech hydroponic greenhouse operation have in common with a remote First Nations garden project on a piece of clear-cut land? Turns out, the shared link is people who want to feed people. Henriet Debruin is one of those people, and a chance meeting a few years ago has helped create an award-winning community garden project in the remote community of Eabametoong First Nation (EFN), also known as Fort Hope. “Feeding the north, that’s been my big dream,” says Henriet. Henriet and Arjen Debruin have spent many years building their state-of-the-art greenhouse operation into the Thunder Bay area’s largest producer of hothouse tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs. While they’ve made a life of providing quality produce to area residents, they were keenly aware of the lack of fresh food access in many communities elsewhere in the region. Henriet knew there had to be a way for her and Arjen to use their skills to help, but she wasn’t sure how to begin. A well timed meeting a few years ago with Ronnie Okeese, a member of EFN, led to an opportunity to share their expertise in a project to transform a 7-acre plot of land into a productive community farm. “We’re working with folks whose grandparents grew crops on the land,” says Arjen. “The elders had those skills, but the current generation is rediscovering how to grow food.”
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“It’s a journey to help people re-learn the skills,” says Henriet. “Our job is to walk with them on that journey, to share what we’ve learned--not to do the work for them, but to help people rediscover how to provide for themselves.” Lewis Nate, Economic Development officer with EFN, says the farming project is an important initiative for the community, in terms of employment, health and social well-being. “There’s so much talk here about the Ring of Fire,” says Lewis, “but not everyone is going to put on a hardhat and work in a mine. The farm project is not just about feeding ourselves, but possibly in the future we could sell produce to the mining camps and other communities even.” The process of transforming former forest land into a productive plot takes time and a lot of work, especially in a remote area where access to equipment and soil amendments is difficult. “Last year, they actually airlifted a tractor in from Nakina,” recalls Arjen. “Quite a sight to see! And then there’s the challenge of keeping the tractor running, and accessing parts.” Last summer marked the third year of the project, and the garden grew enough potatoes, peas and corn to share among almost all of the community’s 1,300 residents. In addition, the project received one of the first ever Rural Ontario Leaders awards from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Lewis reports that this year they hope to add an irrigation system to the farm.
“Last summer, we used the firetruck to water the plants,” he says. “When you’re in a fly-in community, you have to be creative.” Last October, Henriet and Arjen hosted a group from EFN on a tour of Thunder Bay area farms for an opportunity to learn more about harvesting, crop storage and other potential agricultural endeavors. “They were pretty excited about chickens,” says Arjen. “Plans are underway to pursue funding for a greenhouse, and a long term goal is to add livestock as well.” Lewis confirms that the farm crew is starting to make plans to raise chickens and pigs, as they will be able to feed these livestock with a more economical combination of commercial feed supplemented with locally available forage and fish meal. He also noted that the farm venture is starting to take root in the community with people adding small gardens in their own yards, as health and social services staff help people learn about growing their own food. The Debruins note that the success of the Fort Hope farm has lead to inquiries and interest from other remote communities in the region, and they are hoping to see a new project starting soon at Pikangikum. Henriet’s dream of feeding the north is literally taking root.
Rudy Waboose takes a turn on the tractor that was airlifted in with a Wisk Air Bell helicopter (left). Rudy and the late Ronnie Okeese joined Arjen and Henriet Debruin for the launch of their collaboration (right)
Northwest Nosh | 7
MEET AT THE MARKET WORKSHOP SERIES
A new workshop series aims to help introduce more people to the Thunder Bay Country Market, and learn about using market products at home.
— B Y J E S S I C A M C L A U G H L I N
The Thunder Bay Country Market, Tarrymore Farms and Anishnawbe Mushkiki partnered on the first Meet at the Market Workshop that took place Wednesday, March 21st. A few hours before the Thunder Bay Country Market opened on a Wednesday morning, Jenny Groenheide from Tarrymore Farms cooked up slow cooker beef (recipe on next page) along with 10 participants from Anishnawbe Mushkiki’s Community Programs. The group learned about cooking with different cuts of local beef, and how to adapt a recipe for what you have on hand, and everyone had a taste of this simple meal that is bursting with flavour. After the cooking demonstration, the group received a private tour of the market to know what is available and spent time interacting and learning from each other.
Thunder Bay Country Market is the largest producer-based market in Northwestern Ontario. An average of 3,000 visitors shop for local meats, cheese, eggs, produce, baking, meals and crafts every week.
Anishnawbe Mushkiki is an organization that provides holistic healthcare including primary, traditional and alternative approaches. It empowers Indigenous people to achieve optimal health and social well-being within a framework of a holistic and culturally responsible health care system.
Tarrymore Farms, owned by Bill and Jenny Groenheide is a The Thunder Bay Country Market Meet at the Market Workshops family-run farm in the heart of South Gillies. Their farm offers pasture Raised Red Angus beef, free run brown eggs and is a new initiative that hopes to share knowledge and provide more opportunities to learn about the Market vendors and their seasonally available vegetables. You can find Tarrymore Farms at the Thunder Bay Country Market every Wednesday and respective products, while diversifying the market clientele. Saturday. Look for future advertising regarding upcoming workshops or contact Annet firstname.lastname@example.org if your organization is interested in hosting a Meet at the Market Workshop.
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SLOW COOKER BEEF RECIPE FROM TARRYMORE FARMS LTD — J E N N Y G R O E N H E I D E
INGREDIENTS 4 steaks (¾ – 1-inch thick, around ½ pound each) with or without bone Salt, to taste Ground black pepper, to taste Brown sugar, to taste (optional) 2 Tablespoons butter, divided 1 large onion, sliced (about 2½ – 3 cups) 1 teaspoon dried thyme or rosemary (or 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or rosemary) 1 cup broth or stock ¼ cup apple cider (no added sugar) 3 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 2 – 3 Tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 Tablespoons water
Makes 4 servings Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
DIRECTIONS 1. Season beef with salt and black pepper to taste. Either cook immediately, or cover and refrigerate overnight. (Seasoning the night before will give your meat a deeper flavour, but isn’t necessary.) 2. Heat 1½ tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan over mediumhigh heat. Sear the beef on both sides until they’re brown, approximately 3 – 5 minutes per side. Add the seared steaks to the slow cooker. (It’s OK to overlap the meat).
4. Cook for 4 – 5 hours on low or for 2 – 3 hours on high.
3. Add the remaining ½ tablespoon of butter to the sauté pan, followed by the sliced onions. Cook the onions until they begin to brown, about 3-5 minutes. Add the herbs and brown sugar and cook for another 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the broth/stock, apple cider, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce to deglaze the pan. Stir everything to combine, and make sure to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour the cooking liquid and onions over the steaks.
5. Remove the cooked beef from the slow cooker and set them aside on a plate. Whisk the cornstarch and water mixture into the cooking liquid. Return the beef to the slow cooker and cook on high until the sauce is thickened and the beef is fork-tender, about 30 – 60 minutes. (If the sauce doesn’t thicken enough, use additional cornstarch, but keep in mind that the sauce will thicken more as it cools.) Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, veggies, or your favorite sides. Northwest Nosh | 9
WILLOW SPRINGS: CONNECTING FOOD, ART AND GARDENS — B Y J U D I V I N N I
At the corner of two rural sideroads stands a historic Finnish Co-op. A place where neighbours once dropped in to pick up a loaf of bread now welcomes a much wider range of visitors, from artisans selling their wares, to children and adults learning new skills, and women enjoying a girls’ night out art class. On Friday nights all summer long, neighbours and campers can still pick up bread and many locally made foods and products from Willow Springs Market. Willow Springs Creative Centre is a progressive non-profit that incorporates art, therapeutic gardening, and food programming to meet its mission: to promote growth through creative expression and community development. Willow Springs’ food programs are employment training programs for adults and youth with disabilities who often face barriers to employment. Trainees are mentored by Willow Springs’ staff and students in Rec Therapy and Social Work. Trainees learn to prepare the food as well as develop customer service and life skills. Here are some of the current food training offerings:
PHOTO: MICHELLE MURDOCH-GIBSON
Amy, top, and Rowan, below, gain employment skills as participants in Willow Springs Soup & Bread Extravaganza program.
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Soup and Bread Extravaganza offers city and rural customers 6 weeks of homemade soup and freshly baked bread each week (fall and winter, full and half shares).
Pizza and Salad Extravaganza will roll out again in May. Customers can order a weekly share, for 6 weeks of wood fired oven pizza and delicious salad. Full and half orders.
Willow Springs Market runs each Friday from June 29th to September 28th from 3 to 7pm. Heading out to camp? Pop in and pick up some amazing local food. The market features a good variety of vendors offering produce, meat, preserves, bread, pizza, cheese, premade meals, and artisan ware. Located at the corner of Mapleward and Kam Current Roads in beautiful Lappe.
Please check out all Willow Springs activities on Facebook, Instagram or Email email@example.com
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THUNDER BAY COMMUNITY FOOD PROGRAM MAP — B Y K A R E N K E R K
Finding local food programming near you is now easier than ever. The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has compiled a great online food map showing details and locations for various local food programs including:
• Gleaning Sites (‘ gleaning’ is collecting the extra or leftover crops from farms) • Good Food Box Host Sites • Community Gardens • Farmers’ Markets • Emergency Food & Daily Meals • Community Kitchen Programs • Prenatal Programs • School Gardens & Farm to Caf • Grocery Delivery & Meal Delivery • Food for Seniors Click on the legend or one of the apples on the map to get the contact information for each program. The link to the map is: https://www.tbdhu.com/healthtopics/healthy-eating/thunder-baycommunity-food-program-map
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THE INDIGENOUS CIRCLE — B Y C H A R L E S Z . L E V K O E
People from many walks of life From these efforts, the idea for Executive Committee member The successful establishment of created Thunder Bay’s Food Charter the Indigenous Circle was born. Jessica McLaughlin took on the the Indigenous Circle demands in 2008. Public meetings, discussions The initial aim was to reduce first steps of this process, meeting confronting our shared histories, and workshops developed the food insecurity, increase food with over 40 Indigenous-led learning from Indigenous food Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy self-determination and establish organizations and organizations efforts, and engaging in actions that (TBAFS) in 2014. Today, the TBAFS is meaningful relationships with the that support Indigenous peoples. transform current relationships. This made up of over 40 organizational settler population through food. To build sustainable food systems engagement is part of a necessary representatives, ten executive Drawing on concepts of Indigenous in the Thunder Bay region that are process of trust and relationship council members and seven food sovereignty that emphasize a rooted in social and ecological building with food as a starting point. regional municipalities, yet there re-connection to land-based food justice, Indigenous peoples need has been little formal engagement and political systems, the Indigenous the opportunity to take a leadership The graphic above was completed with Indigenous organizations. Circle aims to support and develop role. The Indigenous Circle hopes to by participants at the Understanding Recognizing a unique opportunity the capacity of Indigenous peoples facilitate more discussions around Our Food Systems Gathering, March to explore food as a tool for to gather and discuss the many the topic of decolonization and has 28-29. Fourteen communities along reconciliation and resurgence, the challenges and opportunities to partnered with the TBAFS to develop Hwy 11/17 gathered to discuss TBAF Executive committee began improve food programming and and deliver culturally relevant potential solutions to their shared to focus on developing partnerships policy. programs as well as anti-racism and food access and affordability issues. with Indigenous leaders and anti-oppression trainings. organizations to better understand the barriers and opportunities to engagement. Northwest Nosh | 13
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P O V E R T Y I S T H E M O S T R E L I A B L E P R E D I C T O R O F P O O R H E A LT H .
Chronic diseases and diet-related illnesses disproportionately affect people of low socio-economic status. We need to push our work beyond emergency responses to create opportunities for community engagement, skill-building, and for action on the policies that last year led to food insecurity affecting 4 million Canadians. (Community Food Centres Canada- www.cfccanada.ca)
GOOD FOOD IN A GOOD WAY B Y G W E N O'R E I L LY
The Thunder Bay Good Food Box is a monthly fruit & vegetable distribution program that aims to improve access to good food by making nutritious, affordable produce available in neighborhoods across our city. It is intended to assist individuals with low or fixed incomes (or those who are food insecure for other reasons). GFB is administered by the Northwestern Ontario Women’s Centre, in partnership with many local businesses, organizations and individuals. Approximately 400 $15 or $25 boxes full of fresh fruits and vegetables (many locally grown) are delivered to subscribing customers at 38 sites across Thunder Bay and area every month of the year. The Centre also sells $60 locally grown/made food and craft boxes throughout the year to raise funds for running the program.
The Good Food Box Program is also a non-profit social enterprise that helps to integrate people of all incomes as active participants in and supporters of our local food economy, by purchasing from local retailers and producers and buying as much locally grown produce as possible.
The participation and in-kind (also really kind!) contributions of so many businesses and organizations are what make it possible to offer a low cost box of fresh produce in most neighborhoods across the city – the cost savings from bulk buying, delivery charges, and other overhead are then passed along to the customers. Locally grown/made fundraiser boxes are used to generate income for the operation, so purchasing them The GFB model is a community based Subscribers to the Good Food Box program supports both our customers as well food security program with the aim to as local producers and artisans. As receive a box of nutritious fruits create a consistent, and predictable, local supply and purchasing power and vegetables every month. long term solution to food insecurity. increases, organizers are increasing The program is built on a participatory model that engages the locally grown content in the regular box. And, voila! GFB customers, volunteers, agencies and businesses as equal customers get fresh, nutritious food and their dollars recirculate partners. It is powered by dozens of local agencies and partners in the local food economy! along with over one hundred community volunteers. The volunteers are the backbone of the program; they accept orders, The Thunder Bay Good Food Box is administered by the unload trucks, weigh and divide produce, pack boxes, deliver Northwestern Ontario Women’s Centre (since 2005) and receives boxes and run distribution centers (called Host Sites). In 2017, funding from the City of Thunder Bay, The District of Thunder GFB volunteers contributed over 4000 hours to the program. Bay Social Services Administration Board and the United Way Since the program’s start in 2005, the Thunder Bay GFB program of Thunder Bay. has packed almost 50,000 boxes of GOOD FOOD!
Northwest Nosh | 15
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SORRY PB & J — B Y K E L S E Y A G N E W , R F D A
RFDA SANDWICH MAKERS - MAKING SANDWICHES THAT ARE WAY BETTER THAN PB&J EVERYDAY
Peanut butter and jam sandwiches definitely still have a place, somewhere, in our society. Unfortunately for PB&J, it’s mostly within the hearts of nostalgic individuals who had them as a kid every day, not in the hands of individuals receiving the 2100+ sandwiches that are made by volunteers at the RFDA (Regional Food Distribution Association) each month. It isn’t PB&J’s potentially anaphylactic tendencies that have the Sandwich Makers using them as a last resort, they simply pale in comparison to heartier and more nourishing options like egg salad with carrots and celery. Or meat, cheese and lettuce - using the RFDA’s industrial slicer and lettuce grown in their own hydroponic tower. Word on the street (literally), is that the RFDA is where the ‘good’ sandwiches come from. Some residents at Shelter House wait up until 2AM, hoping that some sandwiches are left over after the SOS (Street Outreach Services) Team’s shift. Monday to Friday the SOS Team swings by the RFDA to pick up some of these coveted sandwiches for distribution. Knowing that a simple sandwich can actually mean so much to members of the community, reinforces the RFDA’s commitment to making the healthiest and most nourishing sandwiches possible. RFDA staff and volunteers realize that someone's biggest meal of the day might just be one of these sandwiches, so they want to make sure it has the potential to nutritionally support that individual. Contact the RFDA if you or your group are interested in volunteering as sandwich makers.
Volunteers at the Regional Food Distribution Association make over 2000 sandwiches every month. Northwest Nosh | 17
GROCERIES FROM THE FOREST — B Y J U L E E B O A N
A blueberry picker once told me, “if it’s good for the bears, it’s good for us.” Knowing that a bear can pack away an entire box of donuts, we may not want to actually eat like bears, but it’s true – there are a lot of healthy and abundant wild plants growing in our region’s forests. While most people in Thunder Bay have picked and eaten local berries, many people generally shy away from substituting commercial produce with edible wild plant alternatives.
A boreal forest bounty can include wild blueberries (above), chaga (left), morels and fiddleheads (below).
Some people worry they don’t have the identification skills required, but if you can tell the difference between lettuce and cabbage, you can learn to identify their forest counterparts. Joining a local foraging workshop and consulting with local experts are great strategies for learning which plants you should be looking for. Start with easy plants like fiddleheads and expand your selection as your knowledge grows. Some people assume that forest foods won’t taste as good as those found in the grocery store. In reality, many edible wild foods aren’t sold commercially simply because they don’t produce high enough yields or they don’t ship well. There are many delicious edible wild plants that have similar flavours to the vegetables we grew up on. If harvested with respect, foraging for edible wild plants can be environmentally responsible. Research has also shown that connecting with the land benefits our physical and mental health. Supplementing edible wild plants, in addition to produce from local farms, can help cut down on greenhouse gas emissions associated with transporting produce long distances. Foragers should be cautious about where they harvest plants. For example, it’s best to pick upstream and some distance away from industrial areas. While most edible wild plants are abundant, there are some plants that are rare or very sensitive to overharvesting. It’s also important to leave some behind for other forest creatures. When eating a new plant, even if you know it is edible, it is best to try small amounts first to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction. So forget the avocado toast, why not braised grouse on a bed of wild rice followed by raspberry torte and a chaga tea? Edible wild plants are a must for foodies in northern Ontario. Haven’t done much foraging? There are lots of great resources to get you started. Ontario Nature’s Northern Forest Foraging Guide is available for free at www.ontarionature.org. Also check out www.wildfoods.ca and www.ediblewildfoods.com.
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www.SandyAcresFarm.net | 807-939-2742 Northwest Nosh | 19
FRESHWATER FEAST — B Y J U L I A P R I N S E L A A R
PHOTOS: PAUL DROMBOLIS
Thunder Bay sits next to one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, but until recently, nearly all of the catch from the area’s fisheries was being exported. Although Liisa Karkkainen’s business east of the city has been operating for nearly half a century (more on The Fish Shop follows), two new enterprises have launched their operations to breathe more life into the local fish market. With spinoffs that benefit the environment, local livelihoods and the regional economy, the trend is catching on.
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THE FISH SHOP: A FINNISH FAMILY CORNERSTONE When Liisa Karkkainen attended an invitation-only convention to celebrate the Slow Food movement in Italy, she was the only fish producer there. That’s because she is among a handful of Canadian retailers who still smoke their fish outdoors, using a 700-year-old Finnish method to cure herring, lake trout, whitefish and walleye with green alder wood. “It’s labour-intensive, but it’s perfect,” says Liisa, who grew up with the business in the 1970s and took over operations after her mother passed away in 2004. “When they come out of our smokehouse, the fish are golden—they look like they’ve been painted with a gold brush. The flavor is moist, mild, and extremely delicate.”
EAT THE FISH: CONNECTING WITH THE CATCH Reconnecting people with freshwater foods is what inspired Paul Drombolis and Anthony Chiodo to reverse a puzzling trend. “If you look at the data, the stats would suggest that Thunder Bay eats a lot of salmon and shrimp. It’s improving now, but I think there was a disconnect between local people and the species of fish that would be available [from Lake Superior],” says Paul. Eat the Fish brings fish to the Thunder Bay Country Market whole, where Paul and Anthony fillet them on site. They use the demonstration as a learning opportunity to share information with consumers about different species and their relationship to Lake Superior.
Karkkainen sources her fish (which can be purchased fresh or smoked) from third-generation commercial fishermen on Lake Superior and Lake Nipigon. Her late Uncle Arvo was the shop’s previous supplier. Over the years, her product line has expanded to include chowders, spreads, pâté and imported seafood. You can find Liisa at the Thunder Bay Country Market, or the storefront at 1960 Lakeshore Drive.
“The mission of our business is connecting people with local fish and the stories of the fishermen that exist here,” Paul said. “I think there are a lot of benefits that come with that. People are eating the fish out of the lake, and if they’re valuing the fish out of the lake, then they’ll value the health of the lake in terms of sustainably managing the fish that are there.”
CANADIAN FRESHWATER FISH: A FIRST NATIONS FOCUS Since Canadian Freshwater Fish opened its processing plant and storefront in Thunder Bay last summer, the company has been sourcing fish from Lake Superior and First Nations fishermen from Lake of the Woods. But an opportunity to expand is on the horizon.
“We’re working on that and trying to help them to get started. It’s been so long since they’ve done it on a commercial level—there’s storage, infrastructure, food safety training—so we’re trying to help them find resources to get them set up,” he says.
“The large gap that we noticed was our First Nation fishermen up north not having a space to sell large volumes of fish. That’s Customers can stop by their retail outlet at what we’ve been trying to do is give them a place,” says Brent 402 Simpson St. Forsyth, president of the company. www.canadianfreshwaterfish.com Although the initiative is in its early stages, Forsyth is hoping it will reinvigorate sustainable fisheries in northern Ontario.
Northwest Nosh | 21
OUR BLUE ECONOMY — B Y W I L L S T O L Z
In late summer, the colour blue can be seen twinkling across the fields of northwestern Ontario. Therein lies blue gold, a precious resource coveted by those who make the journey into the wilderness. Across the region the wild blueberry economy is thriving. To the west businesses like Arthur Shupe Wild Foods harvest blueberries near Dryden, and sell them through the Cloverbelt Local Food Coop (CLFC). To the North, Aroland Youth Blueberry Initiative bring their harvest to local food markets in Thunder Bay to raise money for the youth of their community. To the east, near Wawa, is the only blueberry farm in the region, Algoma Highlands Wild Blueberry Farm and Winery. Their products can also be found on the CLFC website. The tiny wild fruits are now celebrated at annual festivals in both Sioux Lookout and Nipigon each summer. The Sioux Lookout Blueberry Festival, planned for August 3 – 12 this year, has all manner of events, from children’s activities, sports, to a Blueberry Tea, and a tradeshow. If you don’t know where to find blueberries and you are looking to get out with others to pick then the Nipigon Blueberry Blast, August 18 -19, is the place to be. Organizers offer guided trips out to the blueberry patch where people congregate to harvest wild blueberries. If you can’t get out to harvest wild blueberries because you are too busy or unable to get out into the patch, don’t worry- bushels can be purchased at many of the local farmers markets across the region, as well as roadside vendors. Don’t be fooled by those oversized berries in the grocery store; wild blueberries have been proven to have twice the antioxidant properties of cultivated blueberries.
Blueberry season may be short, but these berries maintain all their flavour in the freezer, where they keep well for up to two years. 22 | Northwest Nosh
A SIP OF THE WILD — L E A N N E W I E R Z B I C K I
FOREST TEA —— 3 S L I C E S R E I S H I (M U S H RO O M) — — 2 T B S P C H A G A ( T E A C U T, G R O U N D O R A B I G 2 ” H U N K ) —— H A N D F U L O F RO S E H I P S —— H A N D F U L O F H O R S E TA I L —— H A N D F U L O F S P R U C E T I P S —— 3 W H I T E S AG E L E AV E S —— H A N D F U L B B Q RO S E M A RY TW I G S —— 2L S P R I N G WAT E R
Add all ingredients to a large pot of spring water. Set the pot on low heat for a couple of hours. The idea is to brew low and slow, never boiling. Enjoy by the cup warm, and store the rest in the fridge to use for a smoothie base, or an iced tea in summer.
BITTERBERRY BEAUTY The signature items in this smoothie are dandelion greens and green grapes. Dandelions grow wild and free in your very own yard, so instead of killing them, grab a bowl and harvest them for your meals! They are a bitter green with health benefits that surpass many other dark leafy greens. This smoothie is a longevity inducing, antioxidant packed, detoxifying powerhouse, loaded with vitamin C and K, iron, calcium, protein and more. —— 2 C U P S F ROZ E N RA S P B E R R I E S —— 2 F RO Z E N B A N A N A S —— 1 C U P G R E E N G RA P E S —— 1 L A RG E H A N D F U L B A B Y S P I N AC H —— 2 L A RG E H A N D F U L S F R E S H DA N D E L I O N G R E E N S —— 2 T S P B E E P O L L E N —— 2 T S P M ACA P O W D E R —— 1 T S P W H E AT G RA S S P O W D E R —— 4 DAT E S —— 2 T B S P F L AX O R H E M P S E E D O I L —— 2 C U P S VA N I L L A A L M O N D M I L K
Blend and enjoy! Serves 3
Northwest Nosh | 23
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24 | Northwest Nosh
2018-05-02 10:43 AM
LAKE SUPERIOR ALE TRAIL NEW TOUR BOASTS BREWERIES AROUND THE LAKE BY KERRY BERLINQUETTE
I love scoping out the latest and greatest hotspots for the best tasting beer. Last summer, a week-long road trip around Lake Superior turned into my latest brainchild for regional food tourism: the Lake Superior Ale Trail. We created the Lake Superior Ale Trail as a complement to the world famous 2,000 km Circle Tour around our great lake. And since Lake Superior is bordered by one province and three states, it made our trek the only bi-national Ale Trail in the world. Our first stop was at Outspoken Brewery in Sault Ste Marie. Vince, the brewer, hosted us in his yard and the day was filled with sunshine, laughs and—you guessed it—talk about beer. From there, we turned into Michigan’s East Channel Brewing Co. for a deliciously tart cherry IPA before getting back on track. This section of southern Superior boasted lovely beaches and sand dunes—spectacular spaces where the scenery was calm and inviting for several lakeside stops. We made it to Marquette and enjoyed beer garnished with real blueberries. Next up was the Copper Harbour on the Keweenaw Peninsula. Copper Harbour boasts an incredible mountain bike trail system, and the scenic drive is worth the extra time. On our way there, we stopped in at Red Jacket Brewing which pumped out 100,000 barrels of beer in 1890. That’s a lot of beer! We finally made it to our destination, the Brickside Brewery, where we met the owner who is ALSO the local firefighter, paramedic and brewer in this town of 100 residents. His beer was delicious and we left feeling like we had just spent the day with good friends. The Ale Trail wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Tom’s Burned Down Café, which is a legend in itself. Located on Madeline Island, the largest of the Apostle Islands cluster in northern Wisconsin, it’s a great place to relax after a long day on the road. It’s about a six hour drive back to Thunder Bay, along what is arguably the most scenic stretch of the journey. I love the ruggedness of the Minnesota coastline between Two Harbors and the Canadian border. So many state parks feature walking trails and waterfalls that make great picnic spots. We took a leisurely pace back to our starting point, making sure to drop in at Voyageur Brewing Company in Grand Marais for one last beer and snack. It was the perfect finale to a perfect road trip. I highly recommend this adventure.
For the full story, visit https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/lake-superior-aletrail-kerry-berlinquette/ Northwest Nosh | 25
TRIPLE THREAT RESTAURATEUR — B Y E L L E N M O R T F I E L D
Bianca Garafolo operates three diverse dining experiences in Thunder Bay, including El Tres, Giorg, and Bight (right). 26 | Northwest Nosh
Bianca Garafolo takes multi-tasking to a whole new level. Owning and managing a restaurant is a monumental workload—imagine multiplying that by three! Bianca, along with business partners Katrina Oostveen and Allan Rebelo, has created three of Thunder Bay’s most reputable dining experiences. Bight, a waterfront showpiece for Thunder Bay; Giorg cucina é barra, a sophisticated Italian eatery; and the newest venture El Tres, an inspired Mexican place with authentic décor and open-air dining on warm summer nights.
“Supply is always an issue with locally farmed products,” she admits, “so we often have them as features rather than year round menu items. And pricing makes these a boutique product, but you need to create something special and hope people appreciate the fact that it’s local.”
The attention to detail and commitment to quality in all of her restaurant ventures has not gone unnoticed. Giorg was selected last year for an award from the Italian Chamber of Commerce, which led to an opportunity for Bianca’s team to join a That’s a lot of restaurant clout packed into barely delegation to Italy to explore new connections 5 feet of soft-spoken, self-assured entrepreneur. I with wineries and producers there. pictured someone who must have grown up in the restaurant business or was born with chef “It was just amazing for us to be able to experience aspirations, but in fact, as Bianca tells it, she the different regions of Italy; such fresh flavours actually opened a restaurant without ever having and incredible tastes,” she enthuses.
Placenzia, famous for elevating Mexican tastes at his restaurants in Baja California and San Diego, requesting a stage (a kitchen internship) for Rebelo. An invitation from Senor Placenzia soon followed, and the team went off to San Diego, immersing themselves in menu ideas and bringing back décor for the new venture as well. “We did most of the work ourselves to remake that space,” says Bianca. “One of our servers, who also happens to be an amazing carpenter, had a lead on some old barn board, and helped put together the bar, as well as building the communal table. We invited Boy Roland to do the graffiti, and I’d always wanted to do the garage door idea. From start to finish was about 7 months.”
Bianca and her team have clearly demonstrated that ideas and inspiration from around the world worked in one! Long before the local food and independent restaurant explosion hit Thunder Travel, especially to larger metropolitan centres, is combined with uniquely northwestern Ontario Bay, Bianca wrote up a business plan based on Bianca’s source of both inspiration and relaxation. flavours is a recipe for success! restaurants she’d experienced in other cities, convinced that northwestern Ontario would support the concept. That first venture was Lot 66, and she’s never looked back. When the opportunity “Funny thing is, I like to unwind came up to open a restaurant as part of the city’s by eating and drinking,” she waterfront development, she couldn’t resist the laughs, “but travelling and trying chance to create a showcase for local food with a all kinds of restaurants is also million dollar view of Lake Superior. how we stay on top of trends and new ideas.” “We saw the farm-to-table concept really taking off in other cities,” she recalls, “and I really felt Bight could be a showcase piece for the city with that approach.”
The idea for a Mexican restaurant had been on the back burner for quite a while when Bianca Bight was one of the first local restaurants to happened to drive by the former Made Fresh feature locally grown products, proudly listing area building on Red River Road. farm suppliers on its menu.
“Our first connection to the farming community was through a staff member from Tarrymore Farm, which led us to create the Tarrymore burger,” she says. Now she finds that farmers are being much more proactive and savvy about marketing their products, sending restaurants their product lists and improving their packaging.
“Something about the top of that building reminded me of the Alamo,” she notes, “and I thought, that would be perfect!” Partner/chef Allan Rebelo was keen on Mexican flavours, but wished he had more training in that cuisine. Bianca, taking the bull by the horns, quickly sent off an email to star chef Javier Northwest Nosh | 27
DID SOMEONE SAY BUTTER?! — B Y B O N N I E S C H I E D E L
Really good butter is one of life’s little luxuries. And now, you can get local butter that’s actually churned in Slate River Dairy’s on-farm dairy using its own milk. Owner Wilma Mol travelled to The Netherlands in 2016 to research churns and learn the ins and outs of the butter-making process before installing a made-in-the-Netherlands churn at the dairy last year. “It reminds me of the good old days when people enjoyed real farm-fresh dairy products,” says Wilma. Slate River Dairy is the only dairy farm in Canada that’s making its own butter on site. You can try two different kinds of Slate River Dairy butter. There’s Europeanstyle cultured butter made with whole milk with active bacteria added (similar to yogurt making), and then churned. The butter floats to the top, with no salt added. It has a higher percentage of milk fat, with less water mixed in, than conventional butter, which means you get less spattering if you use it for frying (and a little more butter bang for your buck). The dairy bottles the buttermilk left behind too. It’s like the old-fashioned buttermilk some people remember, except that it doesn’t have butter flakes in it, which would shorten the shelf life. Salted butter is made with the sweet cream that separates from whole milk, leaving skim milk behind. They churn the cream and then add just the right amount of salt—about half of what is used in conventional salted butter. Slate River Dairy imported a commercial churn from the Netherlands to start producing butter from their dairy herd.
28 | Northwest Nosh
Both butters are sold in reusable 200g glass jars. “Butter is really fun to make,” says Wilma. “You see the little butter granules starting to form and they get bigger and bigger until it’s time to tap off the buttermilk and wash the butter.” Mmmm, is that the sound of toast, waffles and piecrust calling to you?
BEER, BURGERS, JELLIES & SOAPS (OH MY!) — B O N N I E S C H I E D E L
For Sleeping Giant Brewing Company, local innovation and partnerships are part of the heartbeat of their business, right up there with pure Lake Superior water and northern ingenuity. “We want to promote local producers and showcase all the cool things that are happening with food locally,” says Matt Pearson, of SGBC. “We’re really proud of where we’re from and we get so much support from the community, so it only makes sense for us to give it back.” Check out some of the ways SGBC is working with other local food groups and producers to create fresh, unique products and services.
POINT, CLICK AND PICK UP
HAVE BEER AT SNACK TIME
Do your fresh local shopping online at Superior Head Acre Farms makes excellent jellies using Seasons Food Market and then pick up your SGBC beer paired with flavours like coffee, ginger order at SGBC (no delivery fee, woot!). Visit www. or horseradish. Ever tried “Mr. Canoehead with superiorseasons.ca and select SGBC as your pick Mustard” or “360 Pale Ale with Hot Peppers”? Find up. them at the Thunder Bay Country Market.
REMEMBER YOUR BFF
BREW YOUR BREAD Brule Creek Farms, which grows and mills its own wheat right here in the northwest, has a tasty Beer Bread mix that just needs some local beer added. The mix kits are available in the SGCB storefront.
SUDS UP WITH BEER SOAP
Spent grains are part of the natural ingredient list of handcrafted soaps made by Thunder Bay SGBC and Roots to Harvest have teamed up for a indie soap maker, Lovely Body Products. Choose monthly Food & Beer pairing night on the second from scents like lemongrass, green woods and Tuesday of each month. Roots to Harvest, a local black amber. The soaps are available at the SGCB organization that teaches youth how to grow food, storefront. prepares the delicious nibbles, and SGBC provides UPGRADE YOUR BEEF a complementary brew. Entry is by donation, Through Sleeping Giant Cattle Company, a with proceeds to Roots to Harvest. Follow S l e e p i n g g i a n t b r e w i n g . c a partnership with a beef cattle farm in Rosslyn, them on Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/ local cows get spent grains as part of their feed. events/1899036440124141/ ] for event updates. You can buy this custom beef either ground or in burger patties in the SGCB storefront. Up next: The Commissary will start using the beef to make pepperettes and sausages. Sweet North Bakery makes dog biscuits using spent grains, aka “used” grains that are a by-product of the beer-making process. The treats are available in the SGCB storefront.
DO GOOD AT DINNER
Northwest Nosh | 29
GET FRESH GUIDE
MEET YOUR THUNDER BAY AND AREA PRODUCERS!
Mama Suklo’s Farm
Pitch Creek Farm
Theresa’s All Natural
Slate River Dairy
(807) 767-8359 Vegetables Seasonal Market Vendor Mark’s Gourmet Garlic Market Vendor
(807) 621-3540 Produce Market Vendor
(807) 767-7346 Produce Market Vendor
(807) 577-6455 slateriverdairy.com Milk and dairy products
Root Cellar Gardens
(807) 577-9937 rootcellargardens.com Produce, Winter vegetables
Thunder Oak Cheese Farm
Belluz Farms (807) 475-5181 belluzfarms.on.ca PYO:Berries Produce FPP: Vegetables
Breukelman’s Potato Farm (807) 935-4040 firstname.lastname@example.org Potatoes
Mika’s Vegetables (807) 767-8112 Market Vendor
Mile Hill Farms (807) 939-7514 milehillfarms.ca Beef and Vegetables CSA Box.
De Bruin’s Greenhouses
(807) 475-7545 debruinsgreenhouses.com Vegetables
(807) 346-0618 Vegetables and Wild Blueberries Market Vendor
Gammondale Farm (807) 475-5615 gammondalefarm.com Seasonal Squash and Pumpkins
30 | Northwest Nosh
Northwest Gourmet Mushrooms (807) 621-7799 Mushroom Varieties
Sleepy G Farm (807) 977-1631 email@example.com | sleepygfarm.ca Vegetables, CSA Box
The Squash Queen (807) 939-1013 firstname.lastname@example.org FPP: vegetables, Pork
Veg•e•tate Market Garden (807) 252-0906 email@example.com
Shoots, microgreens and more
Whitefish Valley Vegetables (807) 633-0687 Vegetables
(807) 628-0175 cheesefarm.ca Gouda cheese
Canadian Freshwater Fish
Bruce and Valve Forrest
Sandy Acres Farm Inc.
bears’ bees & HONEY
(807) 286-3474 Canadianfreshwaterfish.com Freshwater Fish
473-9609 Beef and Rabbit
(807) 939-2742 sandyacresfarm.net Beef and pork
983-2341 bearsbeesandhoney.com Honey
Eat the Fish
(807) 475-6790 firstname.lastname@example.org Chicken and Pork
Brule Creek Farms
(807) 475-3138 email@example.com | tarrymorefarms.com Beef, Pork, Lamb, eggs, vegetables
(807) 933-0570 brulecreekfarms.ca Flour and Canola Oil
807-620-7431 firstname.lastname@example.org Fresh locally sourced fish
The Fish Shop (807) 983-2214 thefishshop.ca Smoked/Fresh Fish
Little Doo’s Farm (807) 935-3362 email@example.com Lamb
My Pride Farm (807) 631-9598 Veal
Walkabout Farm (807) 708-1952 walkaboutfarm.ca Lamb, Pork, Sheep, Dairy
Paradis Apiaries (807) 473-8202 Honey
Nor’Wester Maple Co. (807) 708-7346 nwmaple.ca 100% Pure Maple Syrup
Reidridge Farms (807) 935-3224 firstname.lastname@example.org Lamb and beef
Northwest Nosh | 31
LOCAL FARMER’S MARKETS WE ARE FORTUNATE TO HAVE A NUMBER OF AMAZING IN PERSON AND ON-LINE MARKETS TO GET ACCESS TO FRESH, LOCAL FOOD. CHECK OUT THESE OPTIONS AND F I N D T H E S P O T – O R S P O T S – T O H E L P K E E P Y O U R B E L LY H A P P Y…
Kakabeka Farmer’s Market
Thunder Bay Country Market
9:30 am – 12:00 pm Saturdays (June 17- October 7) Kakabeka Legion #225, 4556 Hwy 11/17, just south of the village of Kakabeka Falls
8:00 am – 1:00 pm Saturdays (year round) 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm Wednesdays (year round) CLE Grounds, Dove Building (corner of May and Northern) Thunder Bay’s largest Market featuring vendors that Make It, Bake It or Grow It. Come enjoy fresh produce, meats, dairy, cheese, eggs, preserves, flour, ready-made meals, skin care, crafts and more! thunderbaycountrymarket.com
Kakabeka Farmers' Market offers local fresh produce, meat, baked goods, preserves and other farm food products along with locally made art and crafts, and bedding plants in season. Breakfast is available from the Kakabeka Legion Canteen from 9am to noon. kakabekafarmersmarket.ca
Roots to Harvest Market Garden 10:00 am – 3:00 pm Mondays and Thursdays (July & August) Volunteer Pool Garden, 108 Martha Street @ the corner of Martha and Tupper Street 10:00 am – 3:00 pm Wednesdays (July & August) Lillie Street Garden, 125 Lillie Street behind the Lakehead Adult Education Centre Two youth-led market gardens are located right in the heart of Thunder Bay during July and August. Produce is harvested and sold fresh, right before your eyes, at the garden site. rootstoharvest.org 32 | Northwest Nosh
Willow Springs Creative Centre 3:00 – 7:00 pm Fridays (June 29th - Sept 28th) 10160 Mapleward Road, Lappe/Kam (Mapleward and Kam Current) Heading out to camp? Pop in and pick up some amazing local food. Willow Springs has an array of vendors offering produce, meat, preserves, bread, pizza, cheese, premade meals, and artisan wares.
DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN NOW ORDER LOCALLY GROWN AND PRODUCED FOOD RIGHT FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR LAPTOP OR PHONE?
Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op Online Store Do you live in rural communities in the Northwest (from Fort Frances to Kenora, Sioux Lookout and more)? Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op offers an online Farmer’s Market with weekly to monthly order cycles. Check out the online farmers market and become a co-op member to see the huge variety of locally grown and prepared foods available. Cloverbeltlocalfoodcoop.com
Superior Seasons Food Market Online Store Do you live in Thunder Bay? Check out the amazing selection of local and sustainably grown and hand-crafted items. Superior Seasons offers delivery and pick up options twice weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Now shopping at your local market is just a few clicks away. Superiorseasons.ca
inviting families to the farm since 1975
pumpkin fest Open 5 weekends including Thanksgiving Monday starting Saturday September 29th and Sunday 30th until the end of October Saturday the 27th and Sunday 28th.
6 generations of Gammonds have lived and worked in the Slate River Valley
Gammondale Farm - www.gammondalefarm.com | 426 McCluskey Drive, Slate River | (807) 475-5615
CUSTOM MEAT ORDERS AVAILABLE Try our Locally Made Beef Burgers! (807) 935-2911 | email@example.com 4754 Oliver Road, Murillo, ON
Fresh Herbs, Annuals & Perennials Organic Seeds & Fertilizers Hydroponic Supplies â&#x20AC;˘ Gift Shop & Much More
265 S. Court Street (807) 344-3551 billmartins.ca
Processing Local Meats Since 1986 Northwest Nosh | 33
WHAT’S YOUR BEEF? — B Y E L L E N M O R T F I E L D
How can you top a thick, juicy burger? Cheese, tomato and sautéed onions, of course, but best of all is to make sure it’s made with local Ontario beef. The area’s only abbatoir, Thunder Bay Meats, and a local distributor have teamed up to market their own line of ground beef patties to restaurants and businesses throughout northwestern Ontario.
“We’ve learned so much from this venture!” says Eleanora, one of the owners of Thunder Bay Meats.“Loudon’s have helped us develop our packaging and labeling so that we can get these products out to the region. And now, in turn, we can help the farmers we’ve always served to find new markets for their products too.”
34 | Northwest Nosh
The Farm to Caf project that Roots To Harvest brought to Thunder Bay area schools was the impetus that created a demand for the product. Jason Perrier, of Loudon Brothers Distributors, recognized an opportunity as well as a mission. “We absolutely have a responsibility to be a part of the local food movement,” he says. “There’s a big difference between wholesale purchasing and on-farm retail, but where it’s feasible to shift some of our local production into the restaurant and institutional market, we need to help make that happen.”
Loudon’s trucks are now delivering 4, 6 and 8- ounce frozen Thunder Bay Meats beef patties to customers throughout the northwest. “We’ve seen zero resistance to the premium price,” says Perrier, “because these are premium products that our customers take pride in serving. They like to be able to tell that story of serving a Thunder Bay-made product.”
Made Easy! Consistency | Traceability | Value
(807) 346-8388 1090 LITHIUM DR. THUNDER BAY ON
www.superiorfoods.ca As more and more people develop an interest in where their food comes from, even when eating out, restaurants and cafeteria customers are asking the questions that make these local initiatives possible. When you ask your servers where your food is coming from and start seeking out regional products, your local economy growsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and your tastebuds will thank you, too!
E OFFERING R O S ST Fine Meats, Fresh Produce, & Dry Goods
Taste the Difference
Northwest Nosh | 35
TOP PICKS FOR LOCAL FLAVOUR What local ingredient does your favourite chef love the most? — B Y R A C H E L G L O B E N S K Y
A FINE FIT CATERING Between running a household with three young kids and a home-based food business, Rhonda is a busy lady! A caterer and cooking class specialist, Rhonda offers food for many dietary needs, including budget-friendly, vegan, and gluten-free, at her home, Lakehead University, the Regional Food Distribution Association, and at various team-building events. I was lucky enough to attend one of Rhonda’s cooking classes during the winter, and let me tell you – Clean Eating never tasted so good! Rhonda prepared a fresh microgreen salad, blackened local pickerel, and chocolate donuts with a silky ganache ladled over the top. *drool* Many of the ingredients Rhonda uses daily are locally-sourced, but her current favourite is Veg•e•tate Market Garden’s pea- and sunflower-shoots, which she sprinkles liberally on vegetable pizza, tomato and mushroom bruschetta, or on fresh salads with goat cheese. http:// afinefitcatering.ca/
THE BLUE DOOR BISTRO After winning the Judges’ Choice award at the most recent Thunder Bay’s Top Chef, Craig didn't spend time resting on his laurels. The next day, he and wife/ business partner, Hollie, were back at work, creating delicious breakfast and lunch dishes for the Fort William downtown core crowd. The Blue Door Bistro is part of the local Skip the Dishes program, which will deliver freshly made gourmet food from local restaurants straight to your door; Craig and Hollie are also busy with catering, but always manage to have great house-made frozen meals, ready to be delivered to you, as well. Craig’s favourite local food inspiration is none other than Thunder Bay’s favourite sweet treat: The Persian. But, true to his inventive nature, Craig puts a savoury twist on the Bennett’s Bakery pastry classic, allowing it a place on the main plate, instead of on the dessert cart. Filled with locally-smoked candied peppered bacon, maple sausage, egg, and old Cheddar, the Persian is then grilled, and iced with the classic pink icing (what even is that flavour?!), and served! “Right deadly.” http://thebluedoorbistro.com/
36 | Northwest Nosh
RED LION SMOKEHOUSE
Born and raised in Thunder Bay (and Round Lake!), John began his culinary career in Toronto before moving to the UK to work in some of London’s Michelin-starred restaurants. Returning to Thunder Bay, John, and wife Alex Bono, opened Red Lion Smokehouse five years ago, and I’m so glad they did – where else can one munch on deep fried olives, while sampling wine on tap?! Being a big fan of BBQ and smoked meats, John’s favourite local ingredient is pork – sourced from a producer John was reluctant to name, but who is also wellknown for her regal squash… At a recent Chef’s Table event, John pulled out all the stops with his “porc-nic” plate, consisting of pressed pork shoulder, braised ribs, and pork loin, served atop squash puree, along with sides of pattypan squash, coleslaw, orzo pasta salad, and a quail egg. https:// www.redlionsmokehouse.ca/
DARLENE GREEN THE SILVER BIRCH
Having owned and operated a busy catering business and bakery in Thunder Bay for 25 years, pastry chef Darlene opened The Silver Birch in the Waterfront District five years ago. Her love of northwestern Ontario, including many of our area’s ingredients is evident in her “Northern Inspired” menu, which features pickerel, bannock croutons, birch syrup, and local honey. Windy Sunshine Farm’s wild foraged berries are Darlene’s favourite local find; saskatoons, red currants, huckleberries, and blueberries have all been woven into the Silver Birch’s menus, from appetizers, salads, entrees, desserts, and cocktails. Known for her deliciously inventive prix fixe menus, Darlene has introduced the berries in dishes such as red currant duck breast, saskatoon butter tarts, and blueberry sticky toffee pudding. http://thesilverbirchrestaurant.com/
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THUNDER BAY PURCHASING PROJECT GOES NATIONAL — B Y G W E N O ’ R E I L L Y
The Broader Public Sector (BPS) consisting of municipalities, universities, schools, and hospitals have a lot of buying power. At the core of purchasing decisions is the ability to ensure a consistent supply of food that is affordable, reliable, safe, and aligns with institutional buying mechanisms. There are few processes in place to buy locally grown, caught and foraged food directly from multiple, relatively small business people. As a result, sourcing is difficult and price becomes the bottom line, stifling innovative local purchasing decisions that could actually enhance health and long-term sustainability.
Bay is boldly moving municipal institutional food procurement in a new direction. Sustainable purchasing models have to be re-imagined to translate small and diverse local supply into a consistent large scale institutional food source. It requires new concepts such as forward contracting for local growers, and novel supply strategies utilizing local social enterprises to process locally grown vegetables. Team efforts within the City have gradually increased the uptake of local food in City-run long term care home and child care centres from about 15% in 2014 to 35 % in 2017.
Dan is also attempting to assist in the development What if there was a way to connect the of a commercial Indigenous food supply chain purchasing power of BPS institutions to local along with partners across the food chain. The food options? And, better yet, what if the food city is expanding its efforts to include traditional in these institutions actually helped people to foods in its food purchasing program. It is also heal and learn? Or, what if the food at the arena exploring the concept of social procurement which concession helped Indigenous kids connect with could incorporate buying from Indigenous sources. their culture? If that food was local, it could also Currently, they are looking at ways to incorporate improve the sustainability of our society, economy traditional Indigenous fare into municipal venues, and environment. such as the Delany Arena Healthy Food Canteen Project. Dan is directing a local fish supplier Enter Nourish, a nation-wide collaborative funded to source from Indigenous harvesters. He is by the McConnell Foundation, that believes also trying to forge relationships with remote food is fundamental to health and healing. This communities to learn more about traditional meals Pan-Canadian initiative wants to address the and find or create new sources of Indigenous raw institutional disconnect between food and health, food ingredients. and have developed five national project areas to make this happen. Two of these focus on Values But that’s not all. By “just doing his job” Dan is Based Procurement and Indigenous Food Ways. also researching and developing mechanisms to Dan Munshaw, Manager of Supply Management for reliably measure the percentage of locally grown the City of Thunder Bay is one of the leaders of food purchased by municipalities, as well as Nourish’s National Food RFP Model project. He has lobbying for government to make BPS Agencies been quietly working away to change how The City more accountable for their commitment to local of Thunder Bay purchases food. Working so hard, food procurement. in fact, that in 2017, Dan was declared a Local Food Through Dan’s efforts, the City of Thunder Bay is Champion by the Greenbelt Foundation. modelling a values-based procurement process Today, the City of Thunder Bay buys about $1.1 for the entire country. million a year of food. Contracts in hand, Thunder 38 | Northwest Nosh
*AND BEER *AND ICE CREAM *AND PLENTY OF VEGETARIAN OPTIONS
Specializing in a wide variety of
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Located just west of Thunder Bay at 3523 Hwy 11-17
Feeding our Community Since 1963 Northwest Nosh | 39
HOW TO START A FARM IN NORTHERN ONTARIO
— B Y E L L E N M O R T F I E L D
So you want to be a farmer? Before you invest in coveralls and rubber boots, check out a new on-line training course developed by Boreal College and Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO). The free program can be accessed anywhere, anytime, in English or French, from the Beef North website, and features practical, relevant and accessible information delivered in a modular format. You can choose the topics that are most relevant to your current situation or go through all the content on your own time. The course is designed to help increase the number of farmers in the north, where land prices are more conducive to people entering the farm business. Ontario currently imports nearly 50% percent of beef consumed in the province, most from western Canada. While northwestern Ontario’s climate can be a limiting factor in agriculture expansion, grass grows very well here, and grass-fed beef is a strong opportunity. 40 | Northwest Nosh
Katherine Fox, Senior Policy Advisor with BFO, says “The model we’re promoting for the expansion of Ontario’s beef industry is a pasture-based cow/calf operation, already most common on family farms, so the course includes details specific to the north, such as over-wintering cattle, windbreaks, balefeeding and the like.” While the course content is directed to livestock operations, there is a great deal of general information on climate, purchasing land, and other topics that will be helpful for any type of farm venture. According to Barry Porter, Development Advisor with OMAFRA, more than 140 people have enrolled in the course since it was launched in January. Chantal from Silver Creek Farm in Kakabeka recently completed the course and took the time to thank BFO:
“Thanks so much for putting this course together! While I have already started a farm, I found the information very useful and learned a few new things. I feel that this will be a very useful course for many people. Thanks!” http://www.beefnorth.com/training-andeducation
Thunder Bay and area is losing farms and farmers. The 2011 census showed 239 farms; by 2016, there were 202, and the number of farm operators dropped from 360 to 295.
THE HI-TECH LIFE OF A DAIRY COW — B Y B E R N I E K A M P H O F
I’ll admit it. I really like cows. Cows In my old barn, one of us would are awesome because they eat plants gather the herd early morning and that people can’t - and turn these late afternoon to attach the milking forages into something nutritious machines. With my employees or for us. I have always tried to improve myself milking there was often the lives of my cows wherever and some variation in how the task was however I am able, and they quite performed but cows, in nature being often return the favour by producing prey animals, prefer consistency more of what my farm sells – milk. and are wary of change. With the Over the years, my farm and all robots, a cow chooses to enter the of my neighbouring dairy farmers milking stall on her own and she is have built, modified, renovated and never surprised as the computer in adjusted our barns and equipment control always performs the milking to continually try to make our cows procedure in exactly the same way. more comfortable and productive. Nutrition, veterinary care, housing, The robots are waiting at all hours and milking equipment have of the day and night for the next evolved over time with these goals cow to come in for milking. The cows set their own schedules and in mind. have adapted from everyone being In 2011, my farm made a huge leap milked twice per day in the old barn forward in making cows happier. to averaging over 3.5 milkings per With the construction of a new barn day with some cows milking up to and installation of robotic milking six times per day. Many cows prefer stalls, my herd is now better able to to be milked in the middle of the express themselves as individuals night, when I prefer to sleep, and and the barn is designed to work now they can be accommodated. with the natural instincts of the animals.
As the cow enters the robotic milking stall, a tasty treat is dispensed to her and the milking process begins. The cow’s teats are located by a laser scanner and thoroughly cleaned, the milking unit is attached and the entire exercise of harvesting milk is completed in about six minutes. As the milk is flowing towards the barn’s large storage tank it travels through sensors that can detect the cow’s body temperature, how healthy her udder is or if she has any nutritional issues I should be aware of. The cow is then free to exit the milking stall to have a bite to eat of healthy locally grown forage crops, relax in a comfortable bed or socialize with her herdmates. Since installing the first two milking robots in 2011, my herd has grown and an addition was built onto the barn in 2016 to accommodate a third robot. The 165 milking cows are now more productive than ever before – every day each cow produces about 34 litres of milk, allowing my farm to send over 5000 litres of milk to the
dairy processor, which then goes to store shelves, and soon ends up in your fridge. From my farm and one other local farm investing in this technology seven years ago there are now six area herds allowing the cows to milk themselves with robots. Another farm is midway through construction of a new robotic barn and several other farms are planning to build or renovate existing barns to be able to give their cows freedom to be milked whenever they would like. Thunder Bay area cows are reaping the benefits of new technology, and that points to a bright future for agriculture in our region! ***
Bernie Kamphof can usually be found hanging out with his cows, but he sometimes gets out of the barn to attend meetings as a member of the Food Strategy Executive Committee or in his role as a Councillor for the Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge. You can also often find him on Twitter - @cows4milk
Northwest Nosh | 41
FARMERS WANTED! As in many areas of the country, farming in northwestern Ontario is on the decline, although many efforts are underway to reverse that trend. The good news is that our region has plenty of affordable land available, and while our northern climate limits some opportunities, that is of course changing too. Still, the statistics are alarming when you consider how much we, as a region, depend on food that is trucked or shipped in from elsewhere. Area consumers and businesses have caught the “eat local” bug, but truly local food is still in short supply. The province is continuing efforts to encourage local food purchasing as part of Ontario’s Local Food Act, introduced in 2013. Earlier this year, the province proclaimed the final requirement of the Local Food Act: to encourage public sector organizations, such as hospitals and schools, to use more local food, opening up huge market opportunities. Other measures in the Act include establishing the first full week in June as Local Food Week, creating a tax credit for farmers who donate to local food banks, and establishing local food literacy goals.
FARM FACTS • Total gross sales in 2016 from Thunder Bay and area farms was over $27 million, down from $32 million in 2011. • OMAFRA estimates the number of acres in production has dropped by more than 10,000 acres since 2011. • The average age of area farm operators is 55. • The number of hog farms in the area has doubled since 2011 (now 4); poultry and egg farms have risen to 7, and vegetable production is up to 13 farms, but the amount of farms producing all other livestock and crops has continued to fall. • The number of registered beekeepers in the area has risen from 45 in 2016 to 50 in 2017.
42 | Northwest Nosh
APPLES OF THE NORTH — B Y E R I N M O I R
“They’re a classic fruit,” says Paul Hyatt, retired owner of Hyatt’s Greenhouses and northern apple connoisseur. When Paul and Ruth Hyatt opened Hyatt Greenhouses in 1985, after Paul’s 30 year teaching career, they wanted to make sure they could offer customers products that would thrive in our northern climate. They set out to do some research and discovered great work happening at the University of Minnesota where experiments were taking place to cultivate ‘a good apple’. From here the Hyatt’s discovered a number of great varieties that they could offer to customers and share with family and friends. The goal was to grow and sell apple trees that were late to mature and known as a fall fruit, rather than an early summer apple that was more susceptible to worm infestations. The Hyatt’s grew, and still do today, many hardy varieties including the Goodland, the Fall Red, the Minnesota 447 (now known as Frostbite), and the Norland. Each species was specifically bred to grow in Climate Zone 4 of the Prairies (Saskatchewan and Manitoba) with the exception of the Minnesota 447 which was developed in Minnesota. Our climate zone 3 here in Northwestern Ontario also seemed to be a hospitable environment for these apple breeds, especially compared to breeds grown in the southern and eastern parts of Ontario. In zone 3 there are greater than 6000 HDDs (heating-degree days, or daily averages below 18°C) and the higher the HDD value the colder the climate. After 22 years of business, Hyatt’s Greenhouses closed the gate one last time a few years ago. Today the property is still scattered with apple trees, and 12 great-grandkids enjoy the fruits of their labour. If you missed the opportunity to try the Hyatt’s apple stock, you can always get a hint of their passion in the taste of Roots to Harvest fall apple cider, reflecting a special partnership between apple tree owners and Roots to Harvest. The non-profit group will come pick unwanted apples, tidy the trees (to prevent nuisance animals) and turn it into cider for sale! It’s a win-win for all.
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GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FARMS Marcelle Paulin and her partner Brendan started Sleepy G Farm in 2009. Here is the story of her journey towards becoming the accomplished farmer she is today Photo: Howard Mortfield I realized early on working in food preparation and service that food was my vehicle for creativity, and a way to make positive change in the world. Trying to source local foods sparked an interest in agriculture, and that detour led me to Mackin Creek Farm in BC where I learned mixed farming techniques. A few years later, after purchasing a farmstead in Pass Lake, I got involved in Thunder Bay’s Food Security movement and was hired as the coordinator for the Thunder Bay Good Food Box program. From there I transitioned to full-time farming with Brendan.
process involves detailed record keeping and an annual inspection to ensure Sleepy G production methods are compliant with Canadian Organic Standards.
early frosts, among others. But one of our biggest challenges came in 2015 when Brendan was severely injured in a farm accident and was unable to walk or work. I was instantly the sole farmer at Sleepy G, and had to step When I first moved to Pass Lake, I up and become both the crew and had very little experience growing farm manager. I had to delegate, pla,n vegetables or animals. Since then, and prepare for the first delivery of I have improved my skills through our vegetable season. Friends and reading, seminars, and on-farm members generously offered their trial and error. The most important help. I learned to use equipment elements for me are among those and do tasks that had always been that have made our business Brendan’s responsibility. I have to say successful: business planning, staff I was happy to turn field work, bed management, scaling up the farm, forming, irrigation, and cattle feeding plant propagation, and cut flower back to Brendan when he was back on In 2010 we started our summer production. Being a farmer means his feet in 2016! Although I wouldn’t Community Supported Agriculture that I can apply my skills everyday in want to repeat that experience, I Program with 20 families subscribing creative, productive, and active ways impressed myself with what I was to a weekly delivery of fresh, local and I am able to produce products able to accomplish. vegetables. Each year since, we and services that are otherwise have expanded the membership unavailable in the Thunder Bay I continue to be a mentor to new as well as our staff, infrastructure, District. farmers at Sleepy G. We have and equipment. In 2013, we chose trained several young people to to pursue organic certification and Farming here is not without plant, maintain, harvest, and market our vegetables have been certified challenges: a northern climate with vegetables. Many of these individuals organic since 2015. The certification cold late springs, cool nights and are also women, all of whom are still
44 | Northwest Nosh
involved in agriculture today. We work closely with Roots to Harvest (R2H) youth, welcoming them to the farm for education, experience, and some hard work! This year, in the spirit of solidarity and reconciliation, I am planning an on-farm information and cultural exchange with Indigenous youth from R2H. In addition to my farm life, I work as a Director and Women’s Advisor with the National Farmers Union - Ontario. NFU’s position on agricultural, environmental, rural, and gender issues reflects my commitment to a just and sustainable food system for all people in Canada. My role is to advocate for policies that support women involved in farming or farm families. My wish is that both my on and off-farm advocacy work will help more people, especially women, to become farmers. To make this happen, our government needs to support family farms, and we need to continue to grow community support for local produce.
For all of your local Thunder Bay ingredients, visit the Market twice weekly!
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Pickles & Preserves, 100â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s of Varieties of Jam, Kombucha, Fresh Baked Bread, a Wide Variety of Sweet & Savory Baking, Chocolate, Dips, Local Sprouts & Lettuce, Spice Mixes & Hot Sauces, Locally Roasted & Fresh Coffee, Teas, Perogies, Prepared Foods, Hot Meals & Breakfasts, Fruit & Meat Pies, Fruits & Vegetables, Bagels, Garlic, Ethnic Foods (Thai, Iranian, Polish delicacies), Eggs, Fresh & Smoked Fish, Soups, Granola, Flour & Mixes, and Much More!
Visit Us: Open Year Round on Wednesday 3:30-6:30pm & Saturday 8:00am-1:00pm Find/Follow Us: CLE Grounds - Dove Building Northern & May Street
www.tbcm.ca Northwest Nosh | 45
LUNCH & DINNER APPETIZERS PASTA TAKE OUT AND MUCH MORE! Contact Us for a quote today:
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STUDENT HUNGER AT LAKEHEAD UNIVERSITY — B Y B A R B A R A P A R K E R
The stereotype of the ‘starving student’ is one trope that needs closer examination, which is exactly what Lakehead University researchers Barbara Parker and Kristin Burnett, in partnership with the Lakehead University Student Union (LUSU), are doing through a year long survey that looked at the experiences of Lakehead University food bank users. The survey found that international, Indigenous, and students parenting children under 18 experienced severe food insecurity, regularly missing meals, often not eating until satiated and, in some cases, going more than a day without eating. It also found that domestic undergraduate and graduate students also lived with moderate food insecurity, or had to compromise their meals because of very limited finances. These findings complement our understandings of the prevalence and depth of post-secondary student food insecurity and student poverty at Lakehead University, which Meal Exchange, a national student-led organization highlighted in their 2016 report, Hungry for Knowledge. Through in-depth interviews, students who used the campus food bank talked about not having enough money to buy food to eat. Their stories shared common themes such as experiences of poor physical and mental health, and problems with academic success as they struggled to concentrate and do well in their courses when constantly worrying about food and where their next meal was coming from. The stress of juggling these worries was even more pronounced in individuals with specific dietary needs (for example, Celiac and allergies) and students with disabilities. They talked about the challenges they faced finding adequate food (wheat or dairy free) and the difficulties of simply accessing the campus food bank and city food banks because of mobility issues. For Indigenous and international students, the problem of finding culturally appropriate or traditional foods was enormous. Students also shared some of their coping strategies, which included intense planning and configuring of schedules to find free food (like attending on campus events that included food), borrowing money from family and friends, delaying or staggering purchases of academic supplies such as books, putting food purchases on credit cards, working longer hours at their jobs, delaying bill payments, selling possessions, and even in some cases, stealing food. Significantly, many of the participants talked about sharing food with others who faced similar challenges. Recently, Lakehead University formed a Food Security Committee, whose goal is to address the problem of student hunger on its campuses. The committee is also working with LUSU and Meal Exchange to find solutions. Drs. Parker and Burnett are collaborating with these groups and organizations and will continue their research on post-secondary student food insecurity at Lakehead University. For more information or to talk about your experiences, please contact Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kristin at email@example.com
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IT’S ALWAYS GROWING SEASON AT R2H by Kim McGibbon Most roots go to sleep during the winter months, but not the folks at Roots to Harvest. They have so many amazing projects underway that they are hard at work 365 days a year. In case you haven’t yet heard about this dynamic organization, Roots to Harvest provides transformative educational and employment opportunities for youth to engage with local agriculture and cultivate healthy communities.
GROW TOWERS R2H are still growing food in the winter months, they just use aeroponic grow towers to do it. The towers are great for growing greens such as lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, kale, and herbs. They haven’t had as much luck with flowering plants such as cucumbers and tomatoes, but that has proved to be a great chance to talk about the role of pollinators! The grow tower programs were piloted at Dennis Franklin Cromarty school and the Lakehead Public Schools Connections program. Students and young parents alike have had the opportunity to taste test the produce, make salad dressings from the herbs and learn a little bit more about growing their own food. Some generous supporters have made this possible: Loyalty One donated four grow towers last spring and others were purchased Healthy Kids Community Challenge at June Steeve Lundrum, and at Limbrick through a partnership with Dilico.
CLASSROOM COOKING FOR THE GET FRESH CAFÉ This fall, R2H expanded the Get Fresh Café program into Hammarskjold and Superior High Schools. The Café offers fresh, from scratch meals and snacks using local and Ontario food, every day. R2H staff have been working alongside teachers and students in Food and Nutrition classes to engage students in food preparation and to help them understand where their food comes from. Students prepare fresh and flavourful menu options such as homemade soups, pizza dough, muffins and stews. To find out more about the program check out this great video: http//:www.rootstoharvest.org/education.html 48 | Northwest Nosh
NEW KITCHEN This November, Roots to Harvest got some new digs. They moved in with some great neighbours from Community Living Thunder Bay over at the former Monty Parks site at 450 Fort William Road. “With the new space came an opportunity to create the kitchen of our dreams!,” says Executive Director, Erin Beagle. “We began cooking up yummy food and relationships in early January with our own youth preparing granola; the Cooking for Credit program; and some wonderful, tasty meals with the Multicultural youth crew.” In addition to all that great programming, the organization has been renting out the kitchen to entrepreneurs, so that they can prepare delicious treats which are being sold at the Thunder Bay Country Market. If you are interested in finding out more about renting the space contact Kim at 285-0189.
COOKING FOR CRED A new partnership and experiential learning opportunity with the Lakehead Adult Education Centre launched in January 2018. The program invites adult learners trying to complete their high school diploma to earn a co-op credit in the kitchen. In four afternoons per week, they learn about food and cooking and get a glimpse into where our food comes from through tours of local farms and food production facilities such as the local grain mill. The goal is for students to know that the food industry is a possibility for future employment when they finish high school. Each student receives Safe Food Handling training to build their resumes, but the guest chefs are everyone’s favourite part of the program. They bring energy, enthusiasm, and expertise into the kitchen. Most days the group cooks and eats together, and this is definitely my favourite part!
Kim McGibbon is one of the Rock Stars behind the scenes at Roots to Harvest.
KIDS TAKE BACK THE KITCHEN — B Y G L A D Y S B E R R I N G E R
In years past, most schools had kitchens and cooking classes (also known as Home Ec), but those programs have all but disappeared from the curriculum. Our Kids Count (OKC) has stepped in to fill the gap with a unique opportunity for students in elementary schools to learn about cooking, food, and nutrition through their Take Back the Kitchen Program. Take Back the Kitchen is a cooking, nutrition and gardening program that empowers students in elementary schools to take charge of their health and wellbeing through experiential learning. Each week a group of students from local schools attends a kitchen program offered at one of the Our Kids Count program sites or OKC staff attend the school and work in their space. Over the past year, students from Ogden, McKellar, St. Judes, Sherbrooke, St. James, St. Ann’s and Westmount participated in this program and the response far exceeded expectations. The cooking classes are vegetable and fruit focused and emphasize cooking from scratch, trying new foods, and understanding both the personal and social impacts of how we eat. Students learn many skills through this program that enhance their regular curriculum in areas of numeracy, literacy, teamwork, listening skills, coordination, social and emotional wellbeing. Throughout the program students learn where food comes from, and then have a chance to get their hands dirty in learning how easy it is to grow your own food.
Each week, the students work together to prepare food that they take home for their family. Students are so proud of being able to bring home food to share, and to talk about what they learned that day. At the end of the program they receive a cookbook with the recipes they learned and a few others to try and enjoy at home. A brief survey of program participants asked the kids “What is one thing you learned about cooking?” and here are some of their answers: “That you need exact measurements--it’s easy and measuring matters!” “I learned that lentils are awesome and good in food.” “To wash your hands after touching your hair!” “How to make soup, and how to cut an onion” “That you can hide health food to make the food more healthy!” Currently the program is in St. James and St. Martin’s school. Our Kids Count will be reaching out to other schools to continue this dynamic program.
Gladys Berringer is the Executive Director for Our Kids Count
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TRENDY VEGGIES FOR 2018 — B Y P A M T A L L O N
Half the fun of growing your own vegetables is the chance to try new varieties that you just don’t find in the grocery store. Every year a few unique veggies show up in gardens that are so much more exciting than the others. And this year is no different. 2018 has brought us a great lineup of trendy treats to fill our gardens (and bellies) with.
CUCAMELON This adorable mini cucumber, also called “Mexican Sour Gherkin” and “Mouse Melon”, is excellent in containers, quick to grow and can be eaten fresh or pickled. Harvest when they are about 1”, and before the seeds form, for a crunchy snack. For best results, keep these in a more tropical setting like a sunny south wall, or simple greenhouse.
HULL-LESS SEED PUMPKINS
PEACOCK WHITE KALE
Anyone who hates shelling pumpkin seeds will love these. Breeders now have a small number of different pumpkins with easily served hull-less seeds. As a bonus, many of these pumpkins are just as nice baked up into pie.
Often considered ornamental, White Peacock Kale is edible and can be used in the same recipes as any other kale variety. Showy, eye pleasing and effective in any garden, this is one to enjoy late into the season and is sweetest after cool weather or a light frost.
KALETTES Kalettes are what happens when you cross Kale and Brussel Sprouts. Also called “Kale Sprouts”, CULANTRO these grow on a stalk like a brussel sprout, but BLACK PEARL CHILI PEPPERS appear flower-like instead of the compact sprout. Often mistaken for a typo, Culantro is not the same Attractive on dinner plates, these are sure to start plant as Cilantro. Also called “Mexican coriander”, This is a pepper for true pepper lovers. Not to this fun little plant has a similar flavor and aroma be confused with the famous ship from Pirates conversations. to cilantro and does belong to the same family. It of the Carribean, this pepper plant is a stunning is often used as a fresh herb, but leaves can be cut specimen. The leaves are a dark purple to almost and dried and retain most of the flavor for a long black with lovely purple flowers. The hot (10,000time. 30,000 SHU) peppers start off mild looking like dark pearls, but ripen to a spicy crimson. Great for pickling and accenting meals.
This for most intents and purposes a standard Chinese Cabbage (sui choi) except for the fact that the leaves are bright red and it lacks a bitter taste. A crowd pleaser when added to salads, it can also be grilled on the BBQ or used in a stir fry. 50 | Northwest Nosh
Thank you to more than 40 local food service businesses and their customers for participating in The Last Straw Thunder Bay! Find out more at ecosuperior.org/laststraw
PURPLE PEAS Just as easy to grow as other peas, Capucijner (cap-ou-SIGH-nah) Peas differ in having a stunning blue pod, and showy bi-colour flowers. Best eaten when very young as a snow pea, these peas can be eaten as shelling peas, or dried as a soup pea.
Make the most of our Northern Way of Life “Country or city, let me help when you’re ready to Buy or Sell”
Moe Comuzzi Sales Representative
Photo by Will Gregorash Photography
1141 Barton Street, Thunder Bay, ON
Direct: 624.7307 Office: 623.5011 firstname.lastname@example.org
RAINBOW CARROTS Looking for something easy and fun? Carrots come in many colors, so pulling a fresh handful of orange, red, purple, and white from your carrot patch to cook up is exciting and satisfying. You can make your own mix from different seeds, or you can buy pre-mixed collections of seed
REGIONAL FARM MARKETS
Thunder Bay Kenora Sioux Lookout Red Lake
Local Beef Products and Artisanal Chickens Straight from the farm www.cornellfarms.ca
With all these fun veggies to try, it should be a good year in the garden! Let’s hope everything grows well, and that the Thanksgiving Tables are loaded with colour!
Pam Tallon runs Growing North™, with the focus of inspiration and education to help others overcome the challenges of growing in northern climates, and gain interest in sustainable food options. Aside from an experimental year-round urban backyard greenhouse, Pam is also happy to give seminars and talks to help more folks get started with their own growing projects. www.growingnorth.ca
Find Us at the Thunder Bay Country Market Wed 3:30-6:30pm | Sat 8am-1pm (Located in the CLE Dove Building)
Elk Meat & Leather
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Greenhouse • Garden • Pasture Raised Pork
(807) 939-1013 email@example.com Proudly grown in South Gillies, ON
We are Local!
Chef Craig Vieira is always working with our local food producers to bring you new and exciting dishes featuring local food.
Find us at seasonally at
Thunder Bay Country Market & our Gillies Gardens
Locally & Ethically Raised
VEAL • Nutritious and delicious •
Available at the Country Market Tantalize your taste buds by trying it at Thunder Bay’s fine dining restaurants: every Wednesday & Saturday!
The Silver Birch, Tomlin, Lot 66 & Giorg
My-Pride Farm Mike Visser Owner
3386 Oliver Road, Thunder Bay www.redheadandthechef.com (807) 631-9598 | firstname.lastname@example.org
52 | Northwest Nosh
FOLLOW THE FARM ON:
Featured food producers and suppliers: Debruin’s Greenhouses, Belluz Farms, Sandy Acre Farms, Sleeping Giant Brewery, Thunder Oak Cheese, Northern Unique, Maltese Grocery and many more!
735 Hewitson St, Thunder Bay www.caribourestaurant.com
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2018-04-20 10:35 AM
Romaine, kale, beets and carrots thrive in community garden plots at Confederation College.
GREEN THUMBS ARE SPROUTING WITH THE CONFEDERATION COLLEGE COMMUNITY GARDEN — B Y R O B Y N G I L L E S P I E
The Confederation College Community Garden is entering its One group that’s been around since the start is the Academic sixth year of providing a great growing space for gardeners in the Upgrading Department at Confederation College. Growing from community! Located on the grounds of Confederation College, the two plots in its first year to six plots in 2017, the space has garden boasts 34 plots that are available for rental to students, provided an opportunity for students and staff to garden over employees, community members and community groups on an the summer and learn a new set of skills. The group produced annual basis at a cost of just $20 per plot. Behind the formerly numerous fruits and vegetables this past year including: known Fitness Centre bubble, the garden is completely fenced cabbage, potatoes, carrots, beans, and much more. At the end in to protect plots from campus deer. Gardeners have access to of the growing season, the department hosts a Harvest Feast water during the entire gardening season and various tools are a pot luck lunch with each food dish containing an ingredient available. Gardeners of all experience levels enjoy taking part in from the garden. the garden each year - some are just starting out, while others have such a green thumb that they’ve run out of space at home The Confederation College Community Garden is a great and are looking to expand their harvest. The garden and its growing space for the College and community to enjoy! membership has increased steadily since being introduced in For more information and to request your plot, visit www. confederationcollege.ca/garden. 2013 as part of the College’s commitment to sustainability.
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CONTAINER GARDENS FOR VEGGIES — B Y P A M T A L L O N
Not all gardens are large expanses of land. You can have a gorgeous garden in the smallest of spaces using beautiful containers. Balconies, sunny windows, or a deck can all give you a praise-worthy garden full of veggies all summer long. The main thing to keep in mind is once you isolate a plant from the bigger environment, you have to provide everything it will be missing. In the ground, the soil around a plant is tended to by worms and other tiny creatures, making sure it is loosened, moistened, and has plenty of air, nutrients, and drainage. In a pot, these helpers do not exist.
SOIL Always use a proper potting soil, generally a premade triple-mix of 1/3 soil, 1/3 compost, and 1/3 peat or coir. Using only soil from the garden will choke your plant as it compacts and dries inside the pots.
WATER Your plants all need a certain amount of water to grow. Choosing the right pot can help. Bare clay pots wick water away and dry the soil quickly which could be helpful in rainy spaces. Plastic or glazed pots hold more water and are good in sunny locations. If you dislike watering multiple times a day in the hot summer, try to get the largest pots you can (more soil = more water retention), or go the extra mile and get self-watering types.
DRAINAGE The pot must allow excess water to drain out through holes or your plant will suffer. Stones added to the bottom do not help, they only reduce the amount of soil available to the roots. If you want you can add some mesh, old fabric, or a coffee filter before filling with soil to keep it from escaping. If it is a wet season outside, you can raise a container on some small stones to help it drain, or if it is dry you can put a shallow tray beneath to slow the drainage. If it’s extremely dry, you can always take smaller containers and sit it in a sink of water to soak before setting it back in place. Indoors, the amount of water is controlled entirely by you, so placing a tray underneath to prevent spillage is a good idea. 54 | Northwest Nosh
FERTILIZER Not all fertilizer is created equal. Use a combination of slow release (ie. compost) and instant (ie. fish emulsion) fertilizers – and often. Compost is excellent to mix with the soil, but it releases nutrients slowly and it will be used up quickly as the plants grow. Watering with a half-strength soluble fertilizer will ensure the plants can always get enough to be healthy and vibrant. For vegetables, be sure to use natural fertilizers so you will not have greens loaded with chemicals.
PLANTS Not every plant grows well in a container. When shopping, look for container varieties marked on the label or seed package, or ask the nursery staff if you are unsure. Some veggies or fruits that do very well in smaller 1-5 gallon containers include: Strawberries, Spinach, Arugula, Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Radishes, most herbs, Snap Beans, Dwarf Peas, Cucumbers, and Onions. Plants that want a 5 gallon pot or larger include: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kale, Collard Greens, Beets, Potatoes, Eggplant, Peppers, Tomatoes, Pole Beans. Small Pie Pumpkins, Container Zucchini, Turnips, and Carrots (for depth).
HAVE FUN Always remember to have fun and try new things! One beauty of containers is if the plant is just not thriving, you can move the pot to a new location, and rearrange to have a whole new garden as often as you like.
TasTtreue of the North
Stanley Hill Bison Bison Bourguinon Bison Burgers
Pam Tallon runs Growing Northâ&#x201E;˘, with the focus of inspiration and education to help others overcome the challenges of growing in northern climates, and gain interest in sustainable food options. Aside from an experimental year-round urban backyard greenhouse, Pam is also happy to give seminars and talks to help more folks get started with their own growing projects. www.growingnorth.ca
28 North Cumberland Street (807) 345-0597
thesilverbirchrestaurant.com Northwest Nosh | 55
100% Homegrown Proud to be a partner of the Thunder Bay + Area Food Strategy
Over 15 Varieties of Gouda Storefront & Café 611 Boundary Drive Mon-Sat 9am to 5pm
TF: 1-866-273-3329 | Local: (807) 628-0175
Weekly at the Thunder Bay Country Market!
For reservations 622-4448 2201 Sleeping Giant Parkway Marina Park, Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay’s Local Health Food Store
Local Sourced Products
Eat Well, Live Strong! Open 9am - 7pm Monday - Friday Saturday 9am - 6pm
www.thewalleye.ca 56 | Northwest Nosh
Juice Bar, Natural & Organic Foods Farmer's Market, Meats & produce Gluten Free/vegan/raw Foods Cruelty Free Body Care Eco-Friendly Household Products Natural & Organic Pet Foods
160 Waterloo Street N., Thunder Bay, ON
FOOD SECURITY IN THUNDER BAY & AREA
The most recent Stats Canada census indicates that in 2015, about 13.8%, or 16,235 people live below the poverty line, an increase of 1,135 from 2015 figures.
The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has found that the cost of a nutritious food basket for a family of 4 has decreased slightly, from $886 in 2016, to $866 in 2017.
There are 19 food banks in Thunder Bay and area, serving approximately 10,000 meals each month. The number of people using food banks here has risen from a monthly average of 3447 in 2015 to 4680 in 2017.
53 schools in the area provide student nutrition programs
— B Y A M B I L I K . R A J A N A N D C H A R L E S Z . L E V K O E
In 2015, the Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy (TBAFS) released its inaugural Thunder Bay and Area Food Community Security Report Card. The TBAFS Report Card considers the food system as a whole by establishing baselines around the Seven pillars of the Food Strategy. By measuring the progress towards community food security, the goal is to create a more just, healthy and sustainable food system for all. Access to safe, sufficient and nutritious food is an essential part of a healthy and dignified life. When people do not have access to good food (i.e. food
insecurity) it is generally a result of poverty, where they do not have enough money to buy the foods they need. There is also evidence that lack of access to traditional lands, knowledge and self-determination for Indigenous people is a major contributor to food insecurity.
that aims to impact food access is the basic income pilot project launched in spring 2017 by the province of Ontario. Thunder Bay was chosen as one of the pilot regions where selected lowincome residents would receive a regular and unconditional income to meet their basic needs and live with dignity.
In 2015, 10.2% of the population reports living with moderate Another positive development to severe food insecurity, yet is the increase in minimum we know that this number is wage in Ontario that will put likely much greater since food more money in the pockets of insecurity is often underreported the people that play a role in and official statistics do not bringing food to our plates. include people living on reserves. One promising development
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GROWING TOGETHER – MAMOW GITIKAYTAH — B Y M E G A N B E L L I N G E R , T H U N D E R B A Y D I S T R I C T H E A LT H U N I T
One of the programs initiated through the Healthy Kids Community Challenge in Thunder Bay is the Growing Together Program. It began as a small community garden for children in the Limbrick housing complex, but transformed into much more. With partnerships between several organizations in Thunder Bay, a comprehensive program was created. The overarching goal is to increase vegetable and fruit consumption in children, but the program also aims to increase food skills, access to fresh vegetables, awareness of food and culture, as well as help to build a sense of community through the garden. Much of the program surrounds the garden itself – learning about where food comes from, how plants grow, and how to tend to a garden. The children are also involved in preparing foods, focused around vegetables and fruit, especially the foods that they grow. This includes salads, smoothies, pita pockets, homemade applesauce, and much more! Another major component of the program is learning about culture. Through stories, art, and traditional teachings, the children involved in the program explore and learn about indigenous culture. Throughout the winter, they’ve continued growing and learning indoors with a tower garden. This aeroponic growing system allows the children to grow vegetables indoors throughout the winter, without soil. This provides consistency for the children involved, and allows for year-round gardening, cooking, and cultural programming.
Children in the Limbrick neighbourhood plant seeds as part of the Growing Together program that links food literacy, gardening and cultural teachings.
One of the program coordinators, Maria Dobson, who is a SNAP Child and Family Counsellor with Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, says “It’s been amazing watching the curiosity ignite in the children as they learn about food, animals, seasons, and the connection we have with the rest of creation.” This coming growing season, the program will be expanding the garden with two additional raised beds, which will allow the children to explore, learn, and grow together even more!
Video created highlighting the program: https://youtu.be/yg5Dchjg5IM
58 | Northwest Nosh
Northwest Nosh | 59
591 Central Avenue Thunder Bay, Ontario, P7B 5R5 (807) 344-9700 | www.downtownvw.com