Northwest Nosh 2019

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2019 The Magazine of the Thunder Bay & Area Food Strategy






Indigenous Food Sovereignty in NWO - - - - - - - 6 Canada's Food Guide - What's Next? - - - - - - - 8 Supplements vs Whole Foods - - - - - - - - - 10 Chickpeas, Tahina, Pomegranate Molasses... oh my! - - - 11 Are We Food Secure? - - - - - - - - - - - 12 Recipe: Garden Fresh Giardiniera - - - - - - - - 12 Kakabeka Farmers' Market - - - - - - - - - - 13 Eating Healthy Together at our Hospital - - - - - - 15 Recipe: Crab Apple Juice - - - - - - - - - - 16 A Regional Food Charter for NWO - - - - - - - - 17

Northwest Beef Co-op - - - - - - - - - - - 48 To Be A Farmer - - - - - - - - - - - - - 50 Haywire Farms introduces Meat CSA - - - - - - - 52 Eat, Poop, Breed, Repeat - - - - - - - - - - - 53 Saving Space for a Fall Crop - - - - - - - - - 55 Farmer Profile: Dr. Dan - - - - - - - - - - - 56 Thunder Bay Spuds - Recipe: Smashed Potatoes and Tbay Potato Salad with Smokies - - - - - - - 59 Superior Seed Producers - - - - - - - - - - 60 A Day in the Life of an Egg - - - - - - - - - - 61

FOREST & FRESHWATER FOODS Dehydrated Meals - - - - - - - - - - - - 19 FWFN's "Going Back to the Land" - - - - - - - - 20 Recipe: Pickled Spruce Tips and Spruce Tip Gremolata - - 21 An Honourable Harvest: 12 tips for sustainable foraging - 22 Agroecology: Growing a movement in NWO - - - - - 23 Carried Home - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 24

FOOD INFRASTRUCTURE Little Gelato Shop with Big Dreams - - - - - - - 25 The Sweet North Bakery offers sweetness further South - 27 Cooking For Reconciliation - - - - - - - - - - 28 A Croissan-trepreneur! - - - - - - - - - - - 29 Nomad: Local Food Takes Flight - - - - - - - - 30 Thunder Bay Community Pasture - - - - - - - - 33

FOOD PROCUREMENT Collaboration in Action - - - - - - - - - - - 34 About the Thunder Bay + Area Food Strategy - - - - 36 Thunder Bay Food Charter - - - - - - - - - - 37 Get Fresh Guide - - - - - - - - - - - - - 38 Local Farmer's Markets - - - - - - - - - - - 40 Golden Carrot Award - - - - - - - - - - - 42 Nourishing a future of food for health - - - - - - 44 Dried leaves and hot water - - - - - - - - - - 47

SCHOOL FOOD ENVIRONMENTS School Foods Inventory Project - - - - - - - - 62 Helping Students Find Food Security at LU - - - - - 63 30 Days of Giving in support of local food - - - - - 64

URBAN AGRICULTURE Small Plots Grow Lots! - - - - - - - - - - - 66 How to Host a Pollinator Party - - - - - - - - - 68 Composting: Practical Magic - - - - - - - - - 71 Ode to Giardiniera - - - - - - - - - - - - 72 Are You A Food Traveller? - - - - - - - - - - 73

CONTRIBUTORS Special thanks to these contributors and editors who went above and beyond for this edition: Karen Kerk – Passionate local food supporter, wannabe vegetable gardener, and Thunder Bay & Area Food Strategy Coordinator. Ellen Mortfield – Northwest Nosh Editor, Lappe hobby farmer, and Executive Director at EcoSuperior. Victoria Pullia – TBAFS Intern pursuing further studies in food security. When she’s not chasing her dachshund, Tiberio, she’s off to Italy to taste – “La Dolce Vita!” Julia Prinselaar – Freelance writer, wildcrafter, hide tanner and passionate advocate for land-based learning. Program Coordinator with EcoSuperior, born and raised in Thunder Bay. And thanks to the following writers and photographers who also contributed their time and expertise:

Northwest Nosh is produced by:

THUNDER BAY + AREA FOOD STRATEGY Sales, Design & Production


Cover Illustration HEATHER CRANSTON

4 | Northwest Nosh

Airin Stephens Alia Wurderman Andrea Delarosbil Aynsley Klassen Barbara Parker Brendan Grant C. Koropeski Caroline Cox Charles Levkoe Cheryl Hsu Claudia Ochnicki Photography Connie H. Nelson Courtney Lanthier Dan Munshaw Diana Bockus Epica Pictures Erin Moir Geena Mortfield Gwen O’Reilly Ivan Ho J. Vaillancourt

Jen Springett Jessica McLaughlin Jodi Belluz Josh Levac Julia Prinselaar Katherine Mayer Kathy Loon Lucy Lavoie Mario Koeppel Meghan Johnny Melanie Albanese Michaela Bohunicky Michelle Kolobutin Rachel Globensky Rachel Kearns Saara Rizzo Scott McKay Photography Sheena Larson Sue Hamel Wendy O’Connor Wendy Wright

FROM THE EDITOR A few months ago when we chose our theme “Growing in the North,” we didn’t actually know if there would be sufficient support to expand our second issue of Northwest Nosh. But as we rolled closer and closer to the printing date, advertisers kept calling and writers kept writing, and here we are with 76 pages of juicy local food stories and a 50% increase in distribution! 15,000 copies will be circulating throughout northwestern Ontario and northern Minnesota. As the annual magazine of the Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy (TBAFS), Northwest Nosh brings you stories about all aspects of food, from efforts towards Indigenous food sovereignty and agroecology, to people growing their food businesses, like Haywire Farm and the Sweet North Bakery. There is also a growing awareness nationwide of northwestern Ontario’s leadership in food initiatives, detailed in an article about Nourish, a national health care nutrition project. The stories in Nosh are meant to provide you, our readers, with a closer connection to the people, places and edibles that make up our regional food system. At a time when our communities are grappling with significant issues including racism, climate change and political uncertainty, food is one thing that can unite us. TBAFS’s most important role is to bring people to the table to work together on making our food systems and our communities more equitable, sustainable and resilient. There are many ways that you can be a part of these efforts, and sharing this magazine is a good start. We are very grateful for the support from our contributors, farmers and harvesters, advertisers and members of the Thunder Bay & Area Food Strategy Council. Let’s keep the good things growing!

Ellen Mortfield

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INDIGENOUS FOOD SOVEREIGNTY IN NORTHWESTERN ONTARIO Food sovereignty describes the vision of a food system providing healthy, culturally appropriate and ecologically sustainable food while ensuring that communities (not governments or businesses) are able to make decisions about how the system functions.

As part of the project, a regional gathering took place January 22-24, 2019 in Thunder Bay. The Gathering also hosted a number of invited guests leading similar Indigenous food sovereignty work in their Traditional territories:

Since time immemorial, Indigenous communities have attained food through hunting and gathering, fishing, and farming while sharing land, water and resources. The diverse traditions around food have been treated with contempt and viewed as detrimental to colonial notions of progress and development. Today, Indigenous people in Northwestern Ontario remain actively engaged in efforts to protect and revitalize land, waters and restore Traditional food systems.

Chef Rich Francis from Six Nations of the Grand River, competitor on Top Chef Canada and a strong voice and advocate for food sovereignty was the keynote speaker.

The Understanding Our Food Systems project was established to work with fourteen First Nations in Northwestern Ontario to rebuild their food systems and work towards the goal of food sovereignty. Beginning in December 2017, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) received funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to improve food systems in First Nations communities. In fall of 2018, the TBDHU received a second round of funding to continue the project. The objectives of the second phase were to begin the development of food sovereignty visions.

Guests from the University of Saskatchewan and Pelican Lake First Nation shared their work on improving Traditional food access for urban Indigenous peoples.

This involved community visits to discuss action plans, a regional gathering, a regional scan of services, and the development of regional approaches to food sovereignty. The project used a participatory, community-engaged, action-focused methodology that involved putting the fourteen First Nations at the centre of the project. The project included researchers and facilitators connected to the Indigenous Food Circle who provided access to a diverse range of knowledge and experiences in food security, food sovereignty, community development, and Indigenous relations.

6 | Northwest Nosh

Invited guests from three northern Manitoba communities (Waywayseecappo First Nation; Leaf Rapids; Wabowden) presented on successes and challenges while providing inspiration for moving forward.

The Gathering helped share and shape knowledge across territories and built lasting relationships of learning and support. As Phase II of the project winds down, it has allowed for tangible steps in each community to be realized including planning and building of community gardens, providing infrastructure for food processing, and planning for Good Food Box programs. The Indigenous Food Circle, TBDHU, the project team and participating First Nations are hopeful for continued support for food system development in Northern Ontario. The financial support provided from the province not only contributes to the progress and success within the fourteen First Nations communities, but also diversifies and localizes the Northern Ontario food system for everyone.

“Our biggest discovery in this work is how food insecurity and food sovereignty is at the core of many of our biggest challenges. On the outside, it’s difficult to look at topics such as diabetes or suicide and clearly see that their root causes are one. But when you understand how indigenous people were actively separated from their food systems you can draw the lines of understanding. We are still very much separated from our traditional food systems, and what we have managed to maintain still are overregulated in a colonial system. Our traditional food systems were much more than the hunting and gathering that is painted in the history books. Our people were cultivators, we had intimate relationships with our food, it was filled with spirit and social systems, it was more than a means of survival, it was cyclical and interdependent. This is our vision for our community and we are looking forward to continuing this work within our community with the support of the Indigenous Food Circle.”

Shelly Livingston, Biigtigong Nishnaabeg Community Member and Community Health Nurse

—  P H O T O : C H A R L E S L E V K O E

Rich Francis cooking at the Gathering.

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One highlight of the new guide is that healthy eating is not a one-size-fitsall approach. There will be individuals who may need to adjust their eating patterns based on various factors (e.g. preference, dietary intolerances, culture, etc.). However, more detail should be provided for population groups that may have special dietary needs, for example, children, pregnant women, and elderly. There should be less room for misinterpretation. For example, specifically stating higher calcium and vitamin D needs for those over 50 to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. (Note: Health Canada states that these topics will be addressed later in 2019 as part of the Canada’s Healthy Eating Patterns publication).

2. Clarify the recommendations for general dairy consumption and the plate image

The new Canada’s Food Guide has been making its rounds in the media since its release in February, drawing both excitement and criticism. Excitement because a guide is finally here, and its development reflects the latest evidence for healthy eating. On the other hand, criticism because various concerns were raised regarding the lack of specific recommendations and confusion when interpreting the new guide. Personally, I think the new guide is a win overall (read more: However, it’s still important to consider potential opportunities to improve the user’s experience and acceptance of the new guide. Based on inquiries we have received at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU), I have three suggestions for improvements:

1. Provide more specific information for institutions and specific population groups

The food guide has been used previously in shaping menus, allocating budgets and informing programs for many public institutions. For example, the PPM 150: School Food and Beverage Policy, sets nutrition standards for foods and beverages found in Ontario schools. These cover cafeteria menus, vending machines, tuck shops, catered lunch programs, and events on school property. The current PPM 150 is based on the old food guide (2007), and there is currently no guidance on how to set new nutrition standards based on the new guide. 8 | Northwest Nosh

The new guide has combined the “Dairy and Alternatives” and the “Meat and Alternatives” food groups from the previous version to create “Protein Foods.” Although “Protein Foods” list lower fat dairy products as proteins that are healthy options, simply looking at the new guide’s healthy plate snapshot at face value may not represent this. Instead, it may be misinterpreted as all dairy foods, except yogurt, should be cut out. In addition, the healthy plate snapshot has also been misunderstood as the need to consume all the different foods shown on the plate at each meal, rather than as different options to choose from within each food group.

3. Consider translated versions of the new food guide

One of the strengths of the new food guide is the appreciation of culture and food traditions as part of healthy eating. However, there have been questions on whether the new food guide will be translated into other languages to reflect the diverse ethnic backgrounds in Canada. For example, the previous food guide was offered in 10 additional languages, and was also culturally modified to reflect dietary patterns of First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. As with any new national resource, there is bound to be a period of adjustment. As the new Canada’s Food Guide continues to be promoted, the hope is that it will be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect new knowledge, and to improve the user’s experience and acceptance.

For further information on nutrition related topics visit “Healthy Eating” in the Healthy Living Section of TBDHU.COM. Ivan Ho is a Registered Dietitian with the Thunder Bay District Health Unit. He can be reached at or 625-5956.

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Yet the results of decades of clinical considers foods as only the vitamins, with certainty that whole foods are Appreciate the social, cultural, and scientific research studies have been minerals, and other nutrients they generally the best source for all of emotional aspects of food and eating. largely underwhelming. To be clear, contain, the revolutionary holistic the nutrients we need. In developed vitamin and mineral supplements whole foods approach seeks to countries like Canada, most people Cook more often, be aware and are certainly recommended and understand the entire dietary don’t need to take any supplements critical of food and nutrition backed by strong evidence for picture. For example, the traditional – and taking nutritional supplements marketing, and enjoy your meals. special populations (e.g. older adults, approach might state that diabetes certainly can’t compensate for an For guidance and support with pregnant women, infants, those with and hypertension are the result otherwise unhealthy diet. making sustainable and enjoyable impaired absorption or diagnosed of individual nutrient imbalances, deficiencies). But in most cases, they which can be targeted for correction. So, consider forgoing the daily dietary choices for yourself or your simply don’t provide the health The whole foods approach knows multivitamin in lieu of making a family, and for personalized nutrition benefits we might expect or assume. that chronic diseases are often linked mindful effort to incorporate plenty recommendations, consider reaching They are a multi-billion-dollar to unbalanced dietary patterns or of nutritious (and delicious!) fruits, out to a local Registered Dietitian. industry rooted largely in clever lifestyles rather than one isolated veggies, legumes, lean meats, nuts, seeds, and whole grains into your Saara Rizzo, MSc, RD is a registered marketing, exaggerated health compound or food group. Dietitian and the owner of You + diet. claims, and false promises. Food, a holistic, evidence-based, Nutrition research within this We’ve now entered an exciting new context is relatively new, but Aim to eat the rainbow and diversify & person-centered approach to food & nutrition. Book online at age of food and nutrition research. actively underway. Although there your plate as much as possible. or by email: Whereas the traditional approach is still much to learn, we can say 10 | Northwest Nosh

Adoula Ali and Aya Wadi preparing garlic for the hummous as part of the Culture Kitchen.

Middle Eatern salads from the Culture Kitchen.


—  S T O R Y A N D P H O T O S B Y A I R I N S T E P H E N S

Biryani with meat and nuts.

For the past decade Roots to Harvest has focused to be transported to another place when they taste on strengthening the community of Thunder Bay, my food.” These flavours, and the culture they using food as the basis of their programming. represent, will now be available to you through Whether they’re growing it in the garden or the Culture Kitchen Dinner Dash; a weekly meal preparing it in the kitchen, Roots to Harvest is subscription served by the wonderful women of focused on food and its ability to connect people. the Culture Kitchen. Recently, the organization has developed a new employment program focused on an emerging The hope of this program is to create transformative social and economic opportunities for newcomer demographic in the region: Canadian newcomers. women facing social isolation and barriers to Through the creation of the Culture Kitchen employment here in Canada. The Culture Kitchen Training Program, 10 women from different is participatory democracy in action, and serves as cultural backgrounds have been trained in food a model for both consumers and small businesses preparation, safe food handling, recipe creation, and to directly engage in creating a dignified, equitable small business management. For many newcomer exchange with our newest and most vulnerable communities, food is a medium in which they can Canadians; a truly inclusive act that is of benefit express their unique culture in a new homeland. to us all. For more information visit: www. The Culture Kitchen is no exception. The women of the Culture Kitchen have transformed the Roots to Harvest kitchen with the flavours and aromas of Airin Stephens enthusiastically works in the the Middle East; featuring ingredients like onion, Culture Kitchen with an incredible group of garlic, tahina, pomegranate molasses, rose water Newcomer Women at the Roots to Harvest and a variety of spices that are reflective of their Kitchen. origins. As one of the women puts it: “I want people Northwest Nosh | 11


What does Food Security mean to us? Does it mean living in an area that is close to a grocery store? Having access and availability to a variety of options? Having the adequate resources to choose healthy foods that are personally acceptable? The truth is that it often includes more than just these factors and is determined by what we value as an individual or community. What we do know is that food security is highly linked to our health. The more food secure we are, the less stress we experience, our mental health improves, and we are less likely to experience chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. However, in order for this to be possible, there are environmental, social and economic barriers that need to be addressed. For example, in Thunder Bay, 1 in 7 households are not food secure with one of the main reasons being poverty. Other reasons, amongst others include, limited food skills and knowledge (food literacy), and lack of physical access or transportation to healthy foods. Currently, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit offers a list of resources and programs that can help with shorter term relief. These include emergency food programs, free daily meals, grocery and meal delivery, food for students and cooking classes, and a Community Food Program Map that shows the location for these programs. Find these resources under “Healthy Eating” in the Healthy Living section of However, it is important to acknowledge that these are temporary solutions, and the ultimate goal is finding longer term solutions that are sustainable and address the root cause. For example, advocating for adequate income for all members of our community so that poverty is no longer a major factor. In addition, supporting the work of the Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy in creating a strong and robust Thunder Bay food system that promotes the right to healthy food in a sustainable and inclusive way. For further information on nutrition-related topics visit “Healthy Eating” in the Healthy Living Section of

This article was contributed by Rachael Kearns (Nutrition Student) on behalf of Ivan Ho, a Registered Dietitian with the Thunder Bay District Health Unit.

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My family loves my Giardiniera on sausages, in sandwiches and even as toppings on pizza. If you prefer less heat, adjust the number of jalapeños. This recipe can be enjoyed all year round!

6 bell peppers 10-12 jalapeño peppers 1 ½ celery stalks diced 1 ½ carrots diced 1 medium white onion chopped 2 c cauliflower florets ½ c sea salt cold water

2 garlic cloves minced 1 tbsp dried oregano 1 – 1 ½ tsp red pepper flakes ½ - 1 tsp black pepper 1 c white vinegar 1 c vegetable oil 8-10 450ml sanitized jars

DIRECTIONS 1.  In a bowl, combine sweet peppers, jalapeños, celery, carrots, onion, and cauliflower. 2.  Stir in salt. Fill bowl with cold water to cover veggies. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 24 hours. 3.  Drain brine. Pour white vinegar into veggie bowl and mix well. Return to refrigerator for 6-8 hours or overnight. 4.  Drain veggies in plastic (not metal) colander - squeeze out all vinegar by placing plastic wrap on top of veggies and push down lightly. 5.  Place drained veggies in clean bowl. Add oregano, garlic, pepper flakes and oil. Mix well. 6.  Fill sanitized jars with vegetable mixture leaving room at the top (½ - 1 inch). Top up each jar with additional oil and tightly secure lid. Store jars in refrigerator.


Kakabeka Farmers' Market (KFM) has come a long way since its first season in 2014, when it appeared in a field in Kakabeka Falls during the month of May, the brainchild of several volunteers. That first year was plenty of fun, attracting up to 20 vendors per Saturday, and streams of customers. However, as September wore on, everyone was getting a bit chilly! KFM then took up the opportunity to rent its current location at the Kakabeka branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, right on Highway 11/17 just outside the village. The Legion has been very helpful to the Market, and viceversa. KFM benefits from the high-exposure highway location, and the Legion’s canteen volunteers provide a popular breakfast special for KFM customers and vendors, augmenting the Legion’s fundraising. Early in the Market’s development, it became clear that it had the potential to become a local food hub, both for residents of rural Thunder Bay and for city folk eager for a scenic drive on a Saturday morning. Ontario Regulations define a Farmers’ Market as one with over 50% farm food vendors - and KFM falls well within this standard!

You’ll find a kaleidoscope of fresh veggies in season, local meats and sausages, and fresh & potted herbs at the Market. Vendors of preserves and jams emphasize local and wild-harvested berries. Local honey is always popular. Also, watch for baked goods incorporating yummy local ingredients. Other local vendors at KFM sell hand-made crafts and articles such as goat’s-milk soap, woodwork, needlework and rugs. You’ll also find bedding plants and perennials, especially early in the season. Kakabeka Farmers’ Market’s 2019 season runs from June 22 to October 12 (Thanksgiving weekend), from 9:30am to 12:30pm. Find it at the Kakabeka Legion, 4556 Highway 11/17, just outside Kakabeka Falls. See KFM’s website at

Wendy O’Connor is a local writer and market gardener, and has volunteered with Kakabeka Farmers’ Market since its inception in 2014. She currently serves as Market Manager.

Northwest Nosh | 13


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Impressive Fuel Economy The Mazda3 comes standard with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder SKYACTIV-G engine that delivers one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in its segment with an average fuel economy rating as low as 8.8 liters per 100 kilometers in the city and 6.6 liters per 100 kilometers on the highway. Come in to Half-Way Motors Mazda today and test drive the brand-new 2019 Mazda3. We look forward to meeting you today.

867 Tungsten Street • 345-2888


Change is coming to the retail food environment at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. With support from our Hospital’s Senior Leadership Council, a new hospital-wide initiative called ‘Eating Healthy Together’ will provide a supportive, informative, and healthy food environment for consumers at our Hospital. Unhealthy eating contributes to chronic disease and mortality. “In Northwestern Ontario, our rates for chronic diseases, including diabetes, stroke and heart disease, are higher than the rest of the province,” explained Dr. Stewart Kennedy, Executive VicePresident of Patient Services at our Hospital. “We need to improve our health behaviours and environments to prevent these illnesses, which includes creating and sustaining a healthy and supportive food environment. Why should a health care facility sell the very foods that contribute to the acute and chronic conditions we treat?” A healthy food environment supports people to make good eating choices. A food environment refers to the foods available and how they are obtained. The National Collaborating Centre for Environment Health states that food environments can affect people’s food purchasing and eating choices, the quality of their diets, and diet-related health outcomes. Canada’s new Food Guide also makes reference to the positive relationship between more healthy food options in food service outlets and better quality diet. The Hospital’s Eating Healthy Together policy will remove ultra-processed foods and beverages and increase the number of nutritious items sold onsite, including in Flavours Cafeteria, Robin’s, Season’s Gift Shop and vending machines. In 2016, staff and community members were asked to provide input into the Eating Healthy Together concept. The results showed that: Almost all (93%) respondents strongly agreed or agreed that the Hospital should be a role model

and leader in healthy eating; Over half (52%) of respondents said if healthier options were available at the Hospital they would buy food and beverages more often; Almost two thirds (62%) of respondents said all or almost all of the food and beverage options sold at the Hospital retail outlets should be healthy. “Although high in our region, many chronic diseases can be controlled and prevented,” explained Dr. Kennedy. “Up to 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke can be prevented by eating healthy diets, as well as being physically active. We have a unique opportunity to be a leader in the field of healthy eating for our Northwest region, while positively influencing the health behaviours of staff, patients, and visitors to our Hospital.” Eating Healthy Together has been shaped by work previously done in other jurisdictions, such as Nova Scotia, Champlain region, Alberta, and California. Brazil’s Food Guide was also a large influencer on Eating Healthy Together’s philosophy, focusing on consuming a diet of unprocessed or minimally processed foods. Guidance from outside organizations, evidence-based research, and community input were all used to steer the direction of Eating Healthy Together. Eating Healthy Together will launch in June 2019. For more details about the initiative including frequently asked questions and contact information, visit Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting change to the retail food environment at our Hospital! Northwest Nosh | 15



16 CUMBERLAND ST. S. – 807 707-3895



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Pork • Lamb • Sheep Milk Cheese

—  4 Q U A R T S ( 4 L ) C R A B A P P L E S —  2 T B S P ( 3 0 M L ) C R E A M O F T A R T A R —  5 Q U A R T S ( 5 L ) B O I L I N G W A T E R —  1 - 2 C U P S ( 2 5 0 - 5 0 0 M L ) S U G A R Method Wash apples, cut in half and place in large stock pot. Sprinkle apples with cream of tartar and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 24 hours. Pour through a strainer or cheesecloth to capture all the liquid. Compost remaining pulp. Pour liquid back into clean pot and bring to boil. Sweeten to taste and continue to boil for 15 minutes. Chill, bottle and enjoy.

363 Barrie Drive, Kakabeka Falls, ON P7K 0J6 807-475-6929 | |

16 | Northwest Nosh


The Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy is guided by the 2008 Thunder Bay Food Charter which embraces seven pillars including forest and fresh water foods, urban agriculture, school food environments, and food access, production, procurement and infrastructure. Since its inception, and with the enthusiastic support from foodoriented organizations like Roots to Harvest and The Northwestern Ontario Women’s Centre, the Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy has engaged in many activities that have improved social justice, access to culturally appropriate, nutritious local foods including community garden expansion and educational workshops on seed-saving, culinary tips and growing local foods. The well-supported Thunder Bay Country Market also provides a vital base for local farm producers and processors. In 2017, with Greenbelt funding, Cloverbelt Local Food Coop (CLFC) began a community consultation process across the region. Coordinators were strategically placed in Kenora, Rainy River, Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay where they focused on increasing awareness of CLFC and local food issues in their districts, supporting existing and creating new co-op hubs, planning and executing local food events, and working on the development of a regional food charter. The one-year grant was highly successful in increasing community participation across the region through the on-line farmer’s market and the interactive food map. Moreover, through a partnership with Loudon’s, a community-minded wholesale regional distributor who has a commitment to local food, more communities across Northwestern Ontario now have access to regionally produced and processed foods. What is left to finish is to finalize the Northwestern Ontario Regional Food Charter, building on the success of Thunder Bay’s Food Charter. Topics covered in the draft Regional Food Charter include local food production, food security, access to culturally appropriate foods, culinary tourism, and protection of wild harvest food. Developing a regional charter ensures an innovative commitment to a more resilient and sustainable regional food system. The Regional Food Charter would encourage the development of policies to support local food production, processing, distribution, procurement and infrastructure throughout northwestern Ontario. For more information, please visit Scroll down on the homepage to submit comments on the draft of the Regional Charter. Northwest Nosh | 17

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Feeding our Community Since 1963 18 | Northwest Nosh


Five years ago I signed up for a course called “Lighten Up On the Trail” at North House Folk School in Grand Marais. I didn’t know what a dehydrator was or why I might want one; I did know that I was lugging heavy fresh vegetables into the backcountry and there must be a better way. Now my meals are lighter, can be shoved into my pack without being smushed into goo, have approximately a 2-year shelf-life, and rehydrate in less than 5 minutes. There are two main approaches to dehydrating: you can cook meals in advance, place them on parchment paper, and dehydrate; or you can dehydrate individual ingredients separately. I generally choose the second approach because it allows me to buy ingredients when they are on sale, dehydrate fresh ingredients that are in-season, and then mix and match from jars to create meals. These dehydrating guidelines will help you get started:

Instead, bring a container of olive oil on the trail.

Dehydrate ingredients according to instructions below.

Prep: All foods should be sliced 1/8”1/4” thick. You can line dehydrator trays with cheesecloth or parchment paper for small foods (think: peas, corn) or sauces. For ingredients like salsa, prep using a blender.

Tofu, milk, eggs, and cheese are not prepared easily at home and should be purchased dehydrated. Fresh older cheeses (think: cheddar, parmesan, pecorino; but not brie) will have an on-trail shelf-life of days or weeks.

Some fruit and vegetables (fruit leather, apples) are done when they have the texture of leather; others (peas, corn, asparagus) should make a hollow sound when dropped in a bowl. Only the toughest vegetables, like asparagus, require pre-cooking; fruits that discolour easily, like apples and pears, should be pre-soaked in lemon juice.

Meat and fish require a dehydrator with a fan. Not all will dehydrate well; look for recipes online.

Linguine: Bring water to a boil in a pot wide enough to accommodate the full length of the pasta. Add lemon juice and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook pasta until al dente. Strain pasta. Place on dehydrator tray as pictured. When linguine has the same consistency as uncooked pasta, it is done.

By experimenting with ingredients and recipes, I’ve managed to recreate many of my at-home meals on the trail.

Lemon zest: Line dehydrator tray with cheesecloth or parchment paper. Zest lemon and place on tray. Dehydrate until zest crumbles easily.

Dehydrate any green that you would sauté: think spinach, chard, kale. No prep is required. Greens are dried when you can crumble them like herbs.

1 lb linguine (1 lb dried)

Dehydrating from canned is easy. Any food canned in water (not oil) dehydrates well. Think beyond fruit and vegetables: tomato paste and salsa can be delicious.

1 bunch (1 lb) asparagus (36 g dried)

For any grain, cook according to package directions, then dehydrate until it has the same texture as precooked.

Fresh ingredients:

Avoid foods prepared in oil and recipes with a high oil content.

Lemon asparagus linguine Juice of half a lemon, about 2 Tbsp 2 tsp salt Zest of 2 lemons (2 Tbsp dried)

1 can peas (44 g dried) 2 c spinach (16 g dried) 4 tsp dried mint

1/2 c Pecorino Romano, vacuum sealed ¼ c Olive oil, or more

Rehydrate Rehydrate meal in the Ziploc bag, a meal cozy, or a container with a lid. Boil water and pour over ingredients until just covered. Seal bag and leave for 3-5 minutes, massaging water into ingredients periodically for even rehydration; if using a container, seal with lid and stir occasionally. Meanwhile, cut cheese into the smallest pieces you can. Sample dish to confirm ingredients have rehydrated. Stir olive oil and Pecorino into the dish and enjoy.

Asparagus: Remove woody part of stems (approximately 1”). Steam until tender. Strain. Dehydrate until asparagus makes a hollow noise when dropped into a dish. Peas: Line dehydrator tray with cheesecloth or parchment paper. Place peas on tray. Dehydrate until peas make a hollow noise when dropped into a dish. Spinach: Place fresh spinach on trays. Spinach is done when it has the same crumbly texture as dried herbs. Combine ingredients Place linguine, zest, asparagus, peas, spinach, and mint in a Ziploc bag. Store cheese and no-leak bottle of olive oil separately. Northwest Nosh | 19


The Going Back to the Land program was thought of as a way to begin the process of reclamation of traditional food practices while reaching community members that may not have the financial means to get out onto the land. The event on March 12-15 brought in plenty of whitefish that were also used to teach participants filleting and storing techniques. The fish harvest was then frozen, and served on March 31st when the group hosted a community feast. The feast celebrated the teachings and food along with the success of the Going Back to the Land program, while bringing community members together to talk about food.

—  B Y R I T A C H A R L E S A N D J E S S I CA M C LA U G H L I N

Fort William First Nation community members hosted Going Back to the Land – A Traditional Food Gathering Program on their Traditional Territory on March 12-15, 2019. Community members facilitated land-based teachings that reflect the Anishinaabe cultural histories of the Fort William First Nation peoples. Historically during the months of February, March and April, the Fort William Anishinaabe would be catching fish on the shores of Kitchigami (Lake Superior) through a number of different techniques, including nets made with sinew (animal tendon) and hooks made with shells, to feed their families and community. Today, a more modern approach to historical techniques was used. Through a collaborative project with various Fort William First Nation community members, the Indigenous Food Circle and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit, modern fishing nets were purchased along with other tools to support the reconnection with fishing the shores during this integral season.

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PICKLED SPRUCE TIPS We’re a little bit obsessed with spruce tips! We first came across these when a friend of Roots to Harvest came by with spruce-tip-infused chevre and crackers for staff to try. It was love at first bite! One of our urban farm sites is surrounded by a line of spruce trees, so the next spring we harvested a bunch and have been playing with them ever since.

1 c cider vinegar ¼ c Bear’s Bees wildflower honey ½ tsp salt ¼ tsp ground black pepper 2 dried chilies

SPRUCE TIP GREMOLATA Gremolata is a condiment made from chopped herbs. This one, made from fresh spruce tips, goes best with white fish.

¼ c water

4 tbsp Pickled Spruce Tips

2 c spruce tips, tightly packed

2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest

1 500 ml jar

1 Clove Garlic grated

DIRECTIONS 1.  Place everything but the spruce tips in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. 2.  While the brine is heating, clean the spruce tips in a large bowl by rinsing in cold water. 3.  Pack the spruce tips in a mason jar.

1 tsp Brule creek canola oil

Combine ingredients in a small bowl and use right away. The flavours are best the first day.

For a decade now, Roots to Harvest has collaborated with local food producers to engage young people through alternative food-centered education initiatives. Expanding on their many programs, Roots has created Forest Meets Farm; a celebration of the wild and cultivated foods of Northern Ontario. In a series of four hands-on workshops designed for local high school youth, Forest Meets Farm explores many aspects of the local food system, highlighting foraging, hunting & fishing, farming and preserving.


Serving size | 1 500ml Jar

4.  Once the brine reaches a boil, carefully pour into mason jar. 5.  Leave jar to cool on counter stirring 3 or 4 times in the first few minutes to ensure all spruce tips are submerged in the hot brine. 6.  Once cool, cover with a lid. Will store in a cool dark place for months or years in the fridge.

Northwest Nosh | 21



Foraging for wild foods can be a rewarding experience, but with all its popularity in today’s mainstream media, ecological stewardship is a critical component of foraging best practices. Without this knowledge, it can be easy to impart harmful harvesting techniques and to put pressure on local ecosystems— especially if certain foods are being gathered for markets or wholesale. If you’re itching to get out and forage, here are some tips to help you and others enjoy wild foods for years to come:

1. Attend an organized plant walk. It’s

worth taking the time to do your research and seek out dialogue before jumping in. For beginners, plant walks are great ways to get out into the field with a credible expert to ask questions and identify plants correctly.

2. Grow your own. Many wild plants can be

cultivated in backyard gardens, alleviating an area of ecological pressure while boosting convenient access for you. Late summer and fall are good times to go out and collect seeds.

3. Location, location, location. Be respectful

of private landowners and the traditional territories of First Nation communities. Ask permission to forage in these areas. If you’re on public land, be aware of any legislation for harvesting. Conservation areas and provincial parks should be off limits.

4. Give thanks. Be mindful that you are

harvesting gifts from the land, and this is a sacred practice. Expressing gratitude honours this relationship in a good way. Take only what you need and can use, and give a gift in reciprocity for what you have respectfully taken.

22 | Northwest Nosh

5. Consider existing land use. Many plants

are dynamic accumulators, gathering toxins from the soil and storing them in their tissues. Learn about the history of the land, including its past and present uses in the immediate and surrounding area.

6. Know the ecology. Think about the plant’s

life cycle. How quickly does it propagate, how rare is it, what part of the plant is being harvested? Your answers should inform the timing, quantity and technique of your harvest—and this may mean that none, or very little, should be taken at all. Some wild foods, such as the chaga mushroom, are extremely slow-growing, yet chaga’s surge in popularity means it is being over-harvested.

7. Never take the first, never take the last.

Keep in mind that animals may use this plant for food, and other foragers may harvest from this area, too. If you’re in doubt of a plant population’s health or abundance in a given area, don’t collect.

8. Tackle invasives. A great place to start

foraging is with invasive species. Garlic mustard is abundant, incredibly healthy, and you can take as much as you like.

9. Roots and shoots. Wild foods are prized

for different parts: roots, leaves, bark, fruits or the entire plant. Some take years to reach maturity. A good place to start is harvesting leaves of things that grow in abundance.

10. Know the look-alikes. Many plants

and edibles, including mushrooms, have poisonous look-alikes. Be sure to crossreference with at least two credible field guides and consult an expert to confirm a plant or fungus identity.

11. Eat the weeds. Many unwanted plants

are edible and turn up in backyard gardens. Purslane, chickweed, dandelion and lamb’s quarters are all common but incredibly nutritious “weeds.” John Kallas’ book, Edible Wild Plants, offers unique recipes and cooking techniques for many of these greens.

12. Be humble. Remember, having some

experience with a certain plant or mushroom doesn’t make you an expert. Bear in mind that a big responsibility comes with teaching others about these foods. So take your time, go slowly, and harvest just enough to enjoy wild foods with your friends and family.

Ta r l o k S a h o t a a t t h e L a k e h e a d University Agricultural Research Station (photo by Charles Levkoe)


following a list of predetermined trials; and, the Thunder Bay and In Northwestern Ontario, the practices, this approach is based on Area Food Strategy’s ongoing work Nishnawbe Aski Nation and the – GROWING A integrating social and ecological to support healthy, equitable, and Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy MOVEMENT IN values with scientific research and sustainable food systems that participated in consultations and NORTHWESTERN lived experiences. By considering the contribute to the region’s economic, advocated to ensure that health, whole food system and the wisdom ecological and social well-being. sustainability and equity are core ONTARIO of the people that bring food to our elements through supporting small —  B Y C H A R L E S L E V K O E plates, agroecology can support local Supporting agroecology in Canada food providers, sustainable regional Growing interest in agroecology has economies while also increasing requires local, small scale initiatives food systems and the use of food as a tool for reconciliation with, and the emerged in response to a global planetary health, sustainability and but also policy changes at the government level. The idea of resurgence of Indigenous peoples. food system that is more focused on social justice. Around the world, profits than on the health of people agroecology has generated benefits developing new policies aimed at By integrating and implementing and the planet. Industrial modes for producers including greater expanding agroecology run counter to a long history of the governments the science, practice and politics of of production and harvesting that resilience to environmental stress, agroecological food provisioning became popular in the early 20th decreased exposure to economic focused on supporting industrial and building alliances with farmers, century aim to create the highest uncertainty, and more independence. methods and increasing exports. fishers and foragers, organizations, yield at the lowest cost. While there Across Canada and in Northwestern Agroecology must be specific to researchers and consumers, we can has been an increase in the amount of food available, this approach each place and group involved. In Ontario, there have been a number generate collective pressure to has resulted in negative social Northwestern Ontario, there are of grassroots efforts to engage ensure our food systems are more and environmental consequences many promising examples we can food providers and food systems equitable and sustainable today and like soil degradation and water look to and learn from. To name only advocates in a different kind of into the future. contamination, greenhouse gas a few: Sleepy G, a small farm located policy making. For example, in emissions, loss of biodiversity, land on the Sibley peninsula producing 2017, the Government of Canada Charles Levkoe is the Canada appropriation, low wages and food organic food for the region; Roots to launched consultations to inform Research Chair in Sustainable insecurity, and diet related disease. Harvest, a non-profit organization in a national food policy. While not Food Systems, the Director of the Ultimately, this has resulted in a Thunder Bay using urban agroecology everyone agreed on what this new Sustainable Food Systems Lab less resilient food system and poses as a tool for experiential education policy should look like, a range and an Associate Professor in the major long-term risks to our food and youth employment; Cloverbelt of organizations and networks Department of Health Sciences at Local Food Coop, an online farmer’s compiled recommendations rooted Lakehead University. He is also a supply. market supporting regional food in a food systems perspective, the member of the Thunder Bay & Area Agroecology offers an aspirational producers; the Lakehead University right to food, and socially innovative Food Strategy executive committee. and practical solution by applying Agricultural Research Station’s solutions combining technology, ecological concepts and principles partnership with the Bauta Family scientific research and communityto the design and management of Initiative on Canadian Seed Security based knowledge. food provisioning. Beyond simply conducting agroecological seed Northwest Nosh | 23


Phil McGuire (center left) with his son Roger and brothers Ron and Pat at Camp 43 Dam.

24 | Northwest Nosh

Every spring, along a stretch of the Black Sturgeon River northeast of Thunder Bay, it gets crowded.

childhood days when the Black Sturgeon River flowed freely. “People put the dam in there without any regard of the consequences.”

As seasonal water temperatures rise, schools of fish funnel into the river’s mouth at Lake Superior’s Black Bay to make their annual pilgrimage up this inland waterway. For 16 kilometres the fish migrate freely, until they come to a stop at a 53 metre-long concrete wall.

Until he received his Indigenous status card, Phil couldn’t do anything to help fish and amphibians move further upstream. With that in hand, his team carried about 500 walleye and 24 lake sturgeon, in addition to speckled trout, bass, frogs, minnows and tadpoles, over the dam last year.

Constructed around 1960 to drive raw timber downstream for the logging industry, Camp “Whatever I see is going over,” says Phil, noting 43 Dam was later modified to control the that he hasn’t picked up a single sea lamprey. movement of invasive sea lamprey, which His efforts are more than moving fish upstream, decimated native fish populations throughout he tells me over a cup of coffee. It’s about the Great Lakes in the first half of the 20th moving food. century. At the same time, the structure cut off Phil describes rivers as lifelines—arteries to access to upstream spawning habitat formerly the interior of the forest—carrying fish and available to migratory fish. their eggs, which provide valuable nutrients to The aging dam, which no longer meets support life further up the food chain. provincial safety standards, was the subject “I know what it was like before they put the dam of a draft environmental study in 2017. Over in, and I want it to come back to the way it used the decades, debate over its removal or repair to be.” has drawn polarizing views among locals and This spring will be their fourth year carrying fish special interest groups. over the dam, and already Phil says he is seeing Organizations like the Ontario Federation of results. Anglers and Hunters fear that removing the “I’m sure some of them are multiplying,” he said. dam opens the gates for invasive sea lamprey “What I saw last spring were lots of little wee migration further upstream, while others argue pickerel [walleye], and I even saw two little that native fish populations would be given the baby sturgeon. I’ve never seen that up there opportunity to bounce back. Prior to the dam’s before. When I first started throwing fish up construction (and other contributing factors like there, they were all big ones.” over-fishing and habitat loss), Black Bay once supported the largest population of walleye in Phil and his team are starting to track fish this Lake Superior until the stocks collapsed in 1968. year, realizing that the fish they have carried can always pass through the dam and end up Meanwhile, as the fish gather at the base of the downstream again. dam, Phil McGuire is standing with them. “Am I catching the same ones? I don’t know that,” Clad in a pair of gumboots, he is joined by his he said. son and brothers who spend the first weeks of spring netting hundreds of fish to carry over the The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has yet to decide what it will do with Camp 43 dam. Dam. In the meantime, Phil will return to the “When we were kids, we were at the river all the Black Sturgeon River each spring to mend the time,” recalls Phil, now 72. As a lifelong resident break in the cycle. of the Nipigon-Red Rock area, he remembers his


On the corner of Red River gelato, while supporting pushing our sales outside of principles around local and Cumberland sits a little programs for Indigenous our storefront, and outside food and environmental gelato shop with a big dream youth. “We are really excited of our city,” says Anne-Marie. impact. They are hoping to – to create a premium gelato about this partnership and “That’s why we went forward have their products in a with nationwide reach. Since seeing it grow in years to with pursuing a Dairy Plant range of specialty grocery opening in 2016, Prime come,” says Anne-Marie. License.” The Dairy Plant stores across Ontario. And, Gelato has expanded its License is not easy to get in keeping with their local And, true to the company’s reach to thirty-six retailers or maintain -- it involves food and environmental across Ontario and counting, slogan, “Politely Sweetened stringent regulations around focus, growth for Prime spanning as far west as with Maple Syrup,” every kitchen infrastructure, means a stronger food flavour they make contains Dryden and east to Orillia. handling practices, labelling, system for Thunder Bay and Ontario maple syrup. If they and more. But it allows Northwestern Ontario. From the beginning, Prime can find an ingredient locally, Prime to manufacture gelato focused on highlighting they use it. They have used to be sold at other retailers Furthermore, social and local ingredients. “The cows everything from local carrots or restaurants. “Currently environmental impact that produce our milk graze for a carrot cake gelato, to we’re in nineteen locations is built into every step 35 kms away, the flour in our local beer for a featured in Thunder Bay, and then a of their decision making. graham crumbs and cookies Chocolate-Stout Beer gelato. smattering more in fifteen Anne-Marie says, “From the is grown and milled 45 kms In the words of Executive other cities in Ontario,” says start, we wanted to make away,” says owner, Anne- Chef, Sandra Henderson, Sandra, “but that’s just the sure that our business was Marie Calonego, “For us, local “We really prioritize beginning.” both economically and food isn’t just something we ingredients that highlight environmentally sustainable.” talk about, it’s a key pillar of northwestern Ontario, and Beyond making beautiful, Prime switched to certified our business model.” pursue a Foodland Ontario delicious gelato for local fair-trade and organic cane designation for our products consumption, Prime is sugar and chocolate last Since 2018, Prime has been whenever we can.” interested in growing fall, feeling that it was an partnering with Aroland First their number of wholesale important change to make Nation to sustainably harvest “When we first opened, we accounts while continuing to reflect their principles wild blueberries for their knew that we wanted to be to hold true to their around food sourcing. The

business is woman-owned and operated, with all management positions currently held by women and a majority female staff in both the storefront and kitchen. With a strong commitment to both quality product and ethical sourcing, Prime is excited about what’s to come in 2019. They are pursuing a B-Corp designation alongside their specialty grocery store expansion plan. You can follow along on Facebook and Instagram, or stop in at their storefront at 200 Red River Rd.

Meghan Johnny is a recent transplant to the Thunder Bay area. When she’s not taste-testing gelato, you can find her knitting hats or growing vegetables at her home in Pass Lake. Northwest Nosh | 25


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Erinn DeLorenzi distinctly remembers eating a lemon scone so warm from the oven that the butter melted on it. It is the memories like this one and preparing and eating food around the family kitchen table that continue to inspire the experience at The Sweet North Bakery. “We will never stop using butter and whipped cream, and you know, the good stuff, because that’s what you use at home—when you are baking for someone you love, you want to use the best ingredients,” says the co-owner of The Sweet North Bakery and mother to three boys. On November 21, 2018, exactly four years to the day that The Sweet North Bakery opened in the Ruttan Block on Court Street, the Bakery unveiled a second location in Intercity Mall. The mall was an unexpected opportunity, but its accessibility was appealing. “It’s closer to a lot of our customers that can’t get [to the Court Street location] and it has allowed us

to be open Sundays, Mondays and evenings, which “We actually have a story, we’re not trying to be the we have had a lot of requests for,” Erinn explains. next Starbucks or Tim Hortons—we are The Sweet She is sitting in the Bakery’s office, where there is North,” she says, “we’re just a Canadian bakery in a half-eaten chocolate croissant on a plate beside Thunder Bay and we’re not trying to be something her. we’re not.” A shopping mall is the ground zero of corporate competition and consumerism, where mass consumption and mass production converge. But, Erinn maintains that a second location does not compromise The Sweet North’s unique qualities.

On a visit to The Sweet North in Intercity, I asked staff member Adam Luoma, who was working that evening, about the atmosphere of the site in the mall.

“It has a different vibe,” he told me, pausing from “We don’t ever want to be that type of corporate the cup of tea he was making to survey the space. coffee shop or lunch place where everything is “There isn’t so much of the hustle and bustle that obviously vacuum packed and warmed up,” she the bakery has.” says. So fresh baking from the Court Street location is transported at least twice a day to the Intercity But the chalkboard menus and the way that the sunlight pours in through the front wall of site. windows recalls the subtly curated features of the Admittedly, Erinn is wary of how a move into a downtown Bakery. It’s the essence of The Sweet shopping mall by a small business is perceived in North Bakery pared down to its essentials. a sea of fast start-ups and chain companies. Northwest Nosh | 27


—  B Y C H E F R A C H E L G L O B E N S K Y

On a mild January day, as I drove into the parking lot of the Regional Food Distribution Association (RFDA), I saw a handful of people standing around a fire pit, talking with a man as he stoked the pyre. That man was Rich Francis, celebrity chef, and I was nervous as a schoolgirl to meet him! Upon approaching the fire, I saw Rich preparing a pan of onion, bacon, thyme, and sage ‘relish’ to be cooked on the fire alongside some locally caught trout. Bystanders were asking questions about the ingredients, and Chef Francis was answering easily, while stirring cranberries into the relish. At the second ‘Understanding our Food Systems’ gathering, jointly organized through the Thunder Bay District Health Unit and the Indigenous Food Circle, members of 14 First Nation communities were invited to participate in a two-day meeting to develop community-led, food-based initiatives, furthering Indigenous food sovereignty. Rich Francis was a perfect choice to prepare food for the 100 delegates – and I jumped at the chance to help in the kitchen! Of Gwich’in and Haudenosaunee heritage from the Six Nations of the Grand River in Ontario, Rich Francis has garnered quite the following over the past few years, working hard to bring Indigenous food to the culinary forefront. His food philosophy centres on the theme of reconciliation, preparing and presenting foraged and hunted foods beautifully, and with purpose. A look through Rich’s social media photos will leave you 28 | Northwest Nosh

drooling over arctic char ceviche, moose chorizo, and Saskatoon berry salsa. He often infuses his dishes with the flavours of Indigenous medicines such as sage, tobacco, cedar, and sweetgrass.

Chefs aren’t often known for their patience and tolerance during hectic prep or service times, but Rich was tremendous to work with – explaining and teaching, smiling broadly and laughing often.

Over the two days of the gathering in January, Chef Francis led his eager crew of kitchen helpers in preparing delicacies such as rich sweetgrass-steeped moose and caribou stew, Three Sisters (corn, squash, and beans) soup with a bacon-y Winter Bruschetta, roasted root vegetables with a rich demi-glaze, and oven-baked bannock topped with caramelized onion, fresh cranberries, and thyme. And then, there was the wild rice. We cooked oodles of it, so in addition to using the grain as a base for the mouth-watering microgreens, goat cheese, and pomegranate salad he had planned, Rich charged me with inventing a dessert! Did I make a wild rice pudding? You bet I did – warm bowls of creamy pudding, decorated with fresh blueberries and cranberries – perfect for January in Thunder Bay! The food highlight of the conference for me was the tacos made with beaver meat. Braised all morning and pulled apart just prior to service, the rich, dark meat was quite strong in flavour, but paired perfectly with toppings of fresh salsa, cilantro, and spicy crema.

Rich has a deep respect for land-based knowledge, and travels from coast to coast to coast, learning from elders and drawing inspiration from the land.

A third-place finisher on Top Chef Canada in 2014, Rich Francis’ passion and creativity was evident to us right out of the gate; it was his easy-going nature and coolness under pressure that left a lasting impression.

“Food tells the lost stories of Turtle Island’s original inhabitants, before Colonization,” he says. “I believe food is the natural means for introducing these stories to new generations.”

Offering Cooking for Wellness and Reconciliation workshops to students and community groups, Rich hopes to instill the importance of Indigenous food systems, culture, and sovereignty. Currently, he’s working to open a restaurant in Ottawa featuring wild meat and Indigenous foods and will soon star in a new docu-series, Red Chef Revival: a People’s Story on a Plate.


The road to success is rarely a straight path. Most often, it’s a series of twists and turns and ups and downs, but when you get there, you know the journey was worthwhile. That’s how Emily Smith felt when she decided to launch The Bakeshop on Boundary. After a few tries at university, an apprenticeship program, time spent in Scotland and then southern Ontario, Emily landed in a little farmhouse in Neebing Township, just around the corner from where she grew up. The Bakeshop on Boundary marks a milestone in Emily’s journey, a place where she is able to give her children the kind of country life she was raised on, and a base from which to build on the baking expertise she has developed since then. It’s perfect, just like the perfect pastries she prepares by the dozens each day. Picture trays full of creamy lemon tartlets, flaky croissants, golden fruit-filled scones, sweet scented cinnamon buns and crusty quarters of focaccia loaves, packed into logoed brown paper bags. These are just a few of the items that are leaving Emily’s ovens for the Upshot Coffee House, and catering events around town. The girl who once hauled beef cattle around the ring at the Royal Winter Fair has come a long way, but she’s back here in the neighbourhood building a delicious new business! “My goal for Bakeshop on Boundary,” says Emily, “is to employ all traditional, small-batch, artisanal methods and ingredients.” She uses real butter (but substitutes margarine for vegan options), incorporates local fruit and produce from Belluz Farms and cheese from Thunder Oak Cheese Farm, and blends Brule Creek Flour into her breads and buns. She also uses beef from her father’s small herd, and Dr Dan’s Divine Bovine in meat pies, tortieres and chillies. “My favourite thing to bake is croissants,” she adds.“It’s taken many years to develop my own style and approach with the recipes, but I’m confident now in what I create.” She plans to expand the bakery to include items people can take home and finish baking – like frozen croissants, French tarts, pies and breads. There are also thoughts of a mobile bakery kitchen in the future. With two growing boys, Huxley, 8 and Roscoe, 5, who also enjoy time in the kitchen, Emily’s journey in the world of baking is sure to be continued.

Courtney Lanthier, Economic Development Officer Intern with the Municipality of Neebing, advocate for women in business. Northwest Nosh | 29



Thunder Bay’s local food scene has just taken off! NOMAD, the latest offering from Pinetree Catering, is Thunder Bay International Airport (TBIA)’s vision to showcase the eclectic local cuisine our region has to offer. Located just past security, NOMAD allows the departing traveller one last taste of Thunder Bay before travelling onward. A wide selection of locally gathered offerings includes freshly made pastries and breakfast fare, sandwiches, unique salads, and local charcuterie and cheese plates. All coffees are the result of an extensive collaboration between Pinetree Catering, St. Paul Roastery and Rose N Crantz Roasting Co. Beers from local brewer Sleeping Giant Brewing Company are available to enjoy in the licensed lounge as well. After launching Pinetree Catering in 2013, co-owners Nikos Mantis and Shawna Deagle have been striving to bring the best of Northwest Ontario’s flavours to locals and visitors alike. Building on this vision, Nikos, Shawna, and Ed Schmidtke of TBIA conceptualized NOMAD to not only allow travellers to taste local offerings, but to allow for a trickle-down benefit to local suppliers. By showcasing locally produced foods and merchandise, there is a direct economic benefit to locally owned companies such as Heartbeat Heart Sauce, Chocolate Cow, International House of Tea and many more. Sourcing local foods for the discerning traveller certainly presents challenges for NOMAD that may go unbeknownst to their patrons. All food is gathered from local suppliers, farmers and producers and then assembled offsite in Pinetree’s kitchen facility. After adjusting for all the variables that may affect flights, the last step is assembling all the products to go through the same security checkpoint as the travellers, a great effort that you get to enjoy the next time you fly. So the next time you’re preparing for take-off, grab some local grub or that last-minute Thunder Bay gift.

30 | Northwest Nosh

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When we purchase beef, we don’t often think about the amount of time and effort that goes into ensuring we receive high quality, good tasting beef. However, managing a herd of beef cattle and preparing them for market requires a lot of thought, care and work on behalf of farmers. During the dirty thirties, the government responded to struggling beef farmers through the development of community pastures. These parcels of land were available to farmers to ‘rent’ for their cattle to safely graze and mature on. The idea was that farmers did not need to purchase additional land, which would in turn save them money. The need and response to community pastures was strong, and they continued to be well used for decades. Community pastures also helped to reclaim land that was seriously eroded during the Prairie drought. Almost a century later, community pastures are alive and well. They exist across the country, with Ontario hosting 11 alone, including one here in O’Connor Township. The Thunder Bay Community Pasture opened to farmers in 1967. It covers 977 acres over 4 separate parcels of land, which are all fenced and monitored by a Pasture Manager. The theory behind community pastures is simple, but clever. Farmers can consign their cattle to the pasture for the summer season (early June to October). They pay a rental fee for each head of cattle they bring to the pasture; and out of the fees collected the pasture is maintained. All cattle are weighed, vaccinated and receive a pregnancy check prior to entering the pasture, and are weighed when they leave in the fall. Consigning cattle to the community pasture gives farmers time to rotate their own pastures instead of buying more, while giving them the opportunity to increase the livestock they raise and as a result increase their revenue. Rotating cattle also helps to maintain the flatland eco-system. The Thunder Bay Community Pasture is well used; the past couple of years it has been full, which represents about 8-10 farms consigning cattle to the pasture. Our local Pasture Manager, Larry Bockus, regularly checks in on the cattle, identifying ones that are not looking well, may require a vet, or are being unruly (they have had cattle jump the fence and wander down the highway!). In the past, there has been a cow moose hanging around in the pasture, which was of no concern to the cattle who happily co-existed with the big beast. Some farmers bring a donkey to pasture with their cattle, as donkeys will chase predators. Community pastures continue to be a source of economic value through the development of local jobs and consigning profits, as well as increased revenue among local farmers and profits. Northwest Nosh | 33


—  B Y M I C H A E L A B O H U N I C K Y

HEARTBEAT HOT SAUCE + DEBRUIN’S GREENHOUSES Al Bourbouhakis and co-founder Nancy Shaw have been operating the small-but-growing venture of Heartbeat Hot Sauce since 2015. The two have been players in the city’s restaurant scene for years, and with DeBruin’s Greenhouses being a steady supplier of fresh tomatoes, herbs and lettuce, the two businesses were no strangers to one another. It didn’t take much for a casual conversation about DeBruin’s growing peppers for Heartbeat to turn into a full-fledged partnership. Heartbeat’s unique production process sets them apart from other hot sauce makers. They ferment the red habanero peppers separately before their incorporation into the sauce, instead of the common practice of aging the combined ingredients in barrels as a final step. This allows them to bulk up on peppers during the short growing season and draw from the fermented stock throughout the year. Additionally, using traditional lacto-fermentation provides natural stability to the peppers, averting the need for heavier preservatives or stabilizing agents.

For this upcoming growing season, there are plans for DeBruin’s to grow more peppers (both hot and sweet) as well as herbs for the hot sauce operation. Al and Nancy’s goal is to source as many ingredients as they can from the greenhouse. “We’re a small community here with so many amazing people creating unique products. Small business working with another small business really gets noticed; not only are we able to be part of that but we’re getting a superior product,” Al reflects.

The Township of Gillies A Growing Community

Also unique is the fact that the greenhouse is located just a few kilometres away from where the sauce is made. This enables Al and Nancy to watch their product grow—an intimacy that so many processors rarely witness. “On any given day I can hop over [to the greenhouse] and walk around, look, touch, smell the peppers; it’s like waiting for Christmas,” Al shares. According to Arjen DeBruin, growing hot peppers hydroponically has been challenging given Thunder Bay’s northern climate, but something he and his family were nevertheless excited to take on. Al had his own uncertainties early on, but found that sourcing peppers locally-grown hydroponic allows for new and welcomed characteristics. “We were surprised that [the peppers] were phenomenal: hot, beautiful colour, big, amazing flavour profile…everything you’d want in a pepper,” he said. 34 | Northwest Nosh

(807) 475-3185

AROLAND YOUTH BLUEBERRY INITIATIVE + PRIME GELATO Last year at a Roots to Harvest meeting on local food and food sustainability, Anne-Marie Calonego found herself sitting next to a friend of Sheldon Atlookan’s. Anne-Marie had been trying to reach Sheldon, a volunteer with Aroland Youth Blueberry Initiative, to see if the group would be willing to supply blueberries to Prime Gelato, her artisanal gelato business in Thunder Bay. Aroland Youth Blueberry Initiative is a volunteer-run, non-profit, nonhierarchical foraging enterprise tied to the Ojibwe culture and history of Aroland First Nation. The initiative, which began in 2008, is based on the premise of purchasing surplus blueberries from local pickers. Berries are then sold at various locations, including independent grocers, the country market, and online buyers in Thunder Bay. Funds directly support youth initiatives in Aroland. Anne-Marie asserts that Aroland’s blueberries are far superior to those available from other suppliers. Last summer, Aroland’s fresh blueberries were purchased and featured in two flavours of Prime’s gelato: Wild Blueberry Sorbet and Wild Blueberry Cheesecake. She was also shocked at the volume of blueberries Aroland had. “We would get flats upon flats every couple days; they came in with a lot more than I had ever been able to get my hands on,” Anne-Marie recalls. Sheldon reasons that larger purchasers like Prime reduce the amount of running around volunteers have to do during trips into town. For Anne-Marie, Prime’s partnership with Aroland is one that she is especially proud of. “We don’t just want to make any gelato; it’s awesome to be able to contribute to a community where we’re actually making an impact. Partnerships like this are the reason we exist!” Though Prime is growing in partnerships, retail locations and certifications, there is a commitment to continue sourcing ingredients as locally as possible. Sheldon shares that he is proud to be able to contribute to one Northern Ontario product with another.

--Though these partnerships are undoubtedly unique, they are not happening in isolation. In the past decade or so, Thunder Bay has seen tremendous growth in coordinated community food efforts and policy supports. These advancements have been born out of the Thunder Bay Food Charter of 2008 and advanced through renewed commitment to local procurement by the City and through the invaluable work of countless local individuals and organizations, all woven together by the Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy. Northwest Nosh | 35





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.


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.


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 well-being of Thunder Bay and Area through food purchases that foster local production, processing, and distribution.


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.


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.


GOAL: Increase food production in the urban landscape and support the participation of citizens in urban agriculture activities. Karen Kerk and Victoria Pullia, Food Strategy Staff

The Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy is a comprehensive effort by concerned citizens, municipal representatives and organizations to work towards community food security. In 2014, the Food Strategy’s Strategic Action Plan, Connecting Food and Community, was formally endorsed by the City of Thunder Bay and all surrounding municipalities: the Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge, O’Connor Township, The Township of Gillies, The Municipality of Shuniah, The Municipality of Neebing and Conmee Township. 36 | Northwest Nosh

The Thunder Bay + Area Food Since 2017, the TBAFS has Strategy lays out the general supported the establishment of the direction that the community can Indigenous Food Circle which is take in order to create a healthy, led by Indigenous organizations in equitable, and sustainable food pursuit of food sovereignty and selfsystem that contributes to the determination. economic, ecological, and social The Food Strategy is directed by the wellbeing and health of the City of Food Strategy Council which meets Thunder Bay and area. We work to twice a year to share information bring local food players to the table across sectors and provide strategic to take a coordinated approach in advice to the Executive Committee. achieving food security through the implementation of pertinent research, The Executive Committee oversees the implementation of the Food planning, policy, and program Strategy, supported by the Food development. Strategy Coordinator (Karen Kerk) and Food Strategy Intern (Victoria Pullia).

The Food Strategy is supported by the City of Thunder Bay, Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge, Township of Gillies, Municipality of Neebing, Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, and also partners with the Community Economic Development Commission, The Chamber of Commerce, Thunder Bay Ventures, the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre, the Thunder Bay Country Market, and Research & Innovation, Lakehead University on projects.

A copy of the original food charter document that was signed in 2008, and led to the development of the Thunder Bay & Area Food Strategy.

Thunder Bay Food Charter Given that the Government of Canada has formally endorsed the right of every individual to have food security, which means that everyone has access to enough safe and nutritious food to stay healthy and have energy for daily life; And that governments at all levels have recognized the need for food systems planning, and the need to establish principles to govern decisions regarding food production, distribution, access, consumption and waste management; And that Community Food Security is a comprehensive approach that integrates all components of the food system, from producers to consumers, which emphasizes the health of both the environment and local economies and promotes regional food self-reliance; And that a sustainable local food system promotes social justice, population health, and reflects and sustains local culture and environment; Therefore, the City of Thunder Bay endorses the following principles as the foundation of a comprehensive food security framework for research, planning and policy and program development:

Build Community Economic Development

Celebrate Culture and Collaboration

• Prioritize production, preparation, storage, distribution and consumption of local food as an integral part of the Thunder Bay economy.

• Acknowledge that food represents our diverse cultures and sharing traditions is a key strategy for community connection and collaboration.

• Develop collaborative urban and rural food security initiatives to sustain local agriculture and rural communities.

• Protect and encourage access to wild foods obtained by fishing, hunting and gathering as they are an important part of northern culture.

• Support a regionally-based food system to enhance food security and self-reliance.

• Support efforts to raise awareness and promote respect for traditional and cultural food history and diversity.

Ensure Social Justice • Recognize that food is a basic right, not a commodity. • Design or amend income, education, employment, housing and transportation policies to facilitate access to nutritious, affordable and safe food in a healthy and dignified way.

Foster Population Health

• Recognize in public policy that a healthy diet contributes to the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being of all residents. • Provide access to information and skills development regarding nutrition in order to improve individual food security. • Incorporate basic elements of food security into strategies to reduce and treat chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. • Incorporate food security, the provision and the distribution of food, into local emergency planning.

Preserve Environmental Integrity • Encourage regional and local food self-reliance in order to reduce the use of fossil fuels and build sustainable communities. • Encourage food production methods that sustain or enhance natural environments and biological diversity, and that make effective and sustainable use of local resources. • Preserve and maintain local waters and agricultural lands and designate land and support for urban and community-based agriculture. • Preserve and sustain Boreal forests and watersheds in order to maintain local traditions of hunting, fishing and gathering. • Introduce environmentally sound methods of food waste management such as composting and reclamation programs. • Recognize that access to a safe and sustainable water supply is an integral part of the food system.

Mayor Lynn Peterson City of Thunder Bay In accordance with City Council Resolution

Northwest Nosh | 37





B&B Farms

Gammondale Farm

Pitch Creek Farm*

The Squash Queen*

Prime Gelato

(807) 939-1446 thunderbayspuds Potatoes

(807) 475-5615 Seasonal Squash and Pumpkins Vegetables

(807) 939-1013 Vegetables, Pork

(807) 344-1185 Gelato

Theresa’s All Natural*

Slate River Dairy*

(807) 767-7346 Vegetables

(807) 577-6455 Milk and dairy products

Pura Vida Farms*

Belluz Farms

Hanna Road Veggies*

(807) 629-2926 Vegetables

(807) 475-5181 Pick Your Own & Fresh Picked Fruit,Vegetables

(807) 474-3296 Vegetables

Root Cellar Gardens*

Breukelman’s Potato Farm (807) 935-4040 Potatoes

De Bruin’s Greenhouses* (807) 475-7545 Greenhouse Vegetables

Farmer's Harvest* (807) 252-1789 Vegetables

Jems Strawberries* (807) 629-2326 gemsstrawberries@ Strawberries

Mama Suklo’s Farm* (807) 767-8359 Vegetables

Mika’s Vegetables* (807) 767-8112 Vegetables

Northwest Gourmet Mushrooms (807) 621-7799 Mushroom Varieties

38 | Northwest Nosh

(807) 577-9937 Vegetables, Winter CSA

Vanderwees Garden (807) 767-3666


Sleepy G Farm (807) 977-1631 Vegetables, CSA

Tarrymore Garden* (807) 475-3138 Vegetables

Veg•e•tate Market Garden*

Thunder Oak Cheese Farm* (807) 628-0175 Gouda cheese

(807) 252-0906

Walkabout Farm*

(807) 708-1952 Sheep’s milk cheese

Year-round microgreens, salad greens, mixed vegetables

Whitefish Valley Vegetables* (807) 633-0687




Eat the Fish*

Corbett Creek Farm

(807) 620-7431 (807) 475-8783 eatthefishcanada@gmail. com Pork, Beef Fresh locally sourced fish, smoked fish Dr. Dan’s Divine Bovine (807) 475-6929 The Fish Shop (807) 983-2214 Beef Smoked/Fresh Fish Forrest Beef 473-9609 Beef and Rabbit

Giantview Farms

...AND MORE Little Doo’s Farm

Sandy Acres Farm Inc.*

bears’ bees & HONEY*

(807) 935-3362 Lamb

(807) 939-2742 Beef and pork

(807) 983-2341 Honey

My Pride Farm*

Stanley Hill Bison

Brule Creek Farms*

(807) 631-9598 Veal Bison

(807) 933-0570 Flour and Canola Oil

Northwest Beef (807) 889-1441 Bulk beef

Rainy River Elk*

(807) 621-3046 Beef, Pork, Goat, Eggs Elk

Haywire Farm*

Reidridge Farms

(807) 475-5790 Chicken, Pork, Turkey, Eggs

(807) 935-3224 Lamb and beef

Tarrymore Farms* (807) 475-3138 Beef, eggs, vegetables

Nor’Wester Maple Co.* (807) 708-7346 100% Pure Maple Syrup

Walkabout Farm* (807) 708-1952 Pork, Lamb, Dairy

* Indicates Market Vendor Northwest Nosh | 39






Kakabeka Farmer’s Market

Thunder Bay Country Market

9:30 am – 12:30 pm Saturdays (June 22- October 12) 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)

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.

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!

Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op

– Online Market

Do you live in a rural community 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.

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 - September) 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 the summer months. Produce is harvested and sold fresh, right before your eyes, at the garden site. 40 | Northwest Nosh

Willow Springs Creative Centre 3:00 – 7:00 pm Fridays (end June – end September) 10160 Mapleward Road, Lappe/Kam (Mapleward and Kam Current)

Superior Seasons Food Market

– Online Market

Superior Seasons is an online farmers market and local food box program. Check out the amazing selection of local and sustainably grown and handcrafted items. Superior Seasons offers delivery and Heading out to camp? Pop in and pick up some pick up options twice weekly on Wednesdays and amazing local food. We have an array of vendors Saturdays. Now shopping at your local market is offering produce, meat, preserves, bread, pizza, just a few clicks away! cheese, premade meals, and artisan wares.


25th Annual


pumpkin fest

inviting families to the farm since 1975

Open 5 weekends including Thanksgiving Monday starting Saturday September 28th and Sunday 29th until the end of October Saturday the 26th and Sunday 27th.

6 generations of Gammonds have lived and worked in the Slate River Valley

Gammondale Farm F - | 426 McCluskey Drive, Slate River | (807) 475-5615

Eat Eat In In ororTake Take Out Out

Homemade Sandwiches



Daily Specials, Fresh Juices & Smoothies


201 Algoma Street South, Thunder Bay

Full Menu at

Kay Lee Photography

local, pasture raised chicken and pork.



Squash Queen

Greenhouse • Garden • Pasture Raised Pork

Find us at the Thunder Bay Country Market 807-627-4144 Haywire Farm

(807) 939-1013 Proudly grown in South Gillies, ON

Find us at seasonally at

Thunder Bay Country Market & our Gillies Gardens Northwest Nosh | 41

For all of your local Thunder Bay ingredients, visit the Market twice weekly!


—  E L L E N M O R T F I E L D

No red carpet or paparazzi in attendance, but The Golden Carrot Award had its premiere at the Fall 2018 TBAFS Council Meeting, in the country chic setting upstairs at Thunder Bay Country Market! The executive committee created The Golden Carrot Award to be given to a community member whose food initiatives support the regional food system and uphold the TBAFS’s mission: “Creating a healthy, equitable, and sustainable food system that contributes to the economic, ecological and social well-being and health of the City of Thunder Bay and area.”

Thunder Bay Country Market We Make It, Bake It, Grow It

What Local Food is Available? 7 Kinds of Local Meat

(beef, lamb, pork, chicken, elk, rabbit, veal)

Honey, Cheese & Dairy

(yogurt, butter, milk, and more)

From an outstanding field of nominations, Chris Borutski, Food Services Supervisor at Pioneer Ridge Long-Term Care was selected as this year’s winner. In addition to his duties as Nutrition & Food Services Supervisor at Pioneer Ridge, Chris oversees food production for Meals on Wheels, Jasper Place, Cityrun after-school programming and event catering. Chris and his team are plating over 800 meals per day. He and his staff are strong advocates of local and healthy foods greatly contributing to the City’s 38% local food spend, all within a $9.54 daily per diem budget. Dan Munshaw, Manager of Supply Management at the City of Thunder Bay, highlighted a recent success story: “Chris worked closely with a local veal producer, local abattoir and local sausage maker to create a breakfast sausage patty specific for Long Term Care resident needs. This sausage patty is now part of the regular menu cycle.” “Chris works closely with area growers to incorporate local products,” adds Dan. “He’s adjusting menu cycles to reflect in-season products and encourages his cooks to try new recipes incorporating local ingredients.”

Watch the TBAFS website for nominations to open in September for the next Golden Carrot Award! 42 | Northwest Nosh

Pickles & Preserves, 100’s of Varieties of Jam, Kombucha Kimchi, Fresh Baked Bread, Bagels, a Wide Variety of Sweet & Savoury Baking, Fruit & Meat Pies, Perogies, Flour & Mixes, Granola, Chocolate, Spice Mixes & Hot Sauces, Dips, Locally Roasted & Fresh Coffee, Chai Teas (hot & blends), Hot Meals & Breakfasts, Prepared Foods, Ethnic Foods (Thai & Polish delicacies), Fruits & Vegetables, Local Sprouts & Lettuce, Eggs, Fresh & Smoked Fish, Soups, Vegan Meat & Cheese-Style Alternatives, 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

We can help you grow your business! Come see us for: • • • • • • •

Free consultations with a qualified business consultant Internet and computer access for business research and planning Review of your business plan Assistance with grant applications Up-to-date, leading-edge information geared to the needs of the entrepreneur Workshops and seminars Guidance on licenses, permits, registration, regulations and other forms and documents required to start and build your food business • Import and export information • Information on patents, copyright and trademarks • Mentoring and networking opportunities The Entrepreneur serves Atikokan – Thunder Bay – Toll Superior – Greenstone Contact usCentre for a free Consultation 807.625.3960 Free:North 1.800.668.9360 Northwest Nosh | 43


“When you think about healing, you have to think of food as medicine. Food can provide comfort, and it can provide healing physically.” -- Kathy Loon, Traditional Programs Manager, Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre. When Dan Munshaw and Kathy Loon met for the first time at a wintry retreat centre in Quebec, they had no idea what to expect. Other than the fact that they had both been recruited as part of a national program around food in health care, the only thing they knew they had in common was that they were neighbours. While the other 23 cohort members represent hospitals from across Canada, from Haida Gwaii, British Columbia to Gander, Newfoundland, Dan and Kathy both come from northwestern Ontario. Dan works as a Supply Manager for the City of Thunder Bay, and Kathy Loon works as the Traditional Programs Manager for the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC). In the vastness of Treaty 3 and Treaty 9 in Northern Ontario, they counted as neighbours. Dan and Kathy are participating members in Nourish: The Future of Food in Healthcare, a national movement of health care institutions 44 | Northwest Nosh

across the country working to it supports their physical, emotional Manager of Supply Management, City innovate around food in health and spiritual healing. It makes them of Thunder Bay care. Both individuals were unusual feel like their culture is respected When Dan and Kathy saw each other recruits insofar as they don’t come and valued. again over a year later at the next from a hospital food service and dietetic background like others: Dan was profoundly inspired by Nourish retreat in British Columbia, Dan isn’t an expert in designing Kathy’s passion and dedication. Dan shared wild venison in exchange menus or cooking food, but he’s He knew that his region in for Kathy’s Chaga fungus. Their passionate about the power of public northwestern Ontario was home to friendship was cemented through a procurement to create value in 22% of the Indigenous population powerful moment of collaboration local supply chains. Kathy manages of Canada, living in both urban and when Kathy mentioned to Dan the the traditional programming for remote settings. Over the course hurdles the Ministry of Natural SLMHC, which includes the Miichim of the Nourish program, Dan was Resources and Michelle Beaulne, (Traditional Foods) program, serving determined to serve Indigenous SLMHC’s Director of Corporate traditional foods like local moose, and traditional foods at the City of Support Services, were facing fish and blueberries to their patients. Thunder Bay’s stadiums and arenas, in establishing a food-sharing by buying foods like wild fish from partnership. Many moose are Warming themselves next to the traditional suppliers, growers and confiscated by the MNR, explained fireplace at the retreat, Kathy harvesters. Kathy, and rather than them being had long conversations with Dan thrown out and wasted, Beaulne and and other innovators about why “City Supply is striving to raise the MNR were working on a process culturally appropriate foods need to awareness, explore opportunities that would allow uninspected be served to patients when they are and engage with Indigenous meat and wild game such as this healing -- when Indigenous patients suppliers. We are trying to leverage to be donated to the hospital. But can eat a comforting bowl of moose public spend to influence regional even with strong collaborative stew cooked traditionally the way economic development and social efforts between the two parties, their Kookums (grandmas) make it, contribution. “ -- Dan Munshaw, change was slow coming. Due to an

Currently, four billion dollars of the health care budget is spent annually to serve meals to patients and residents three times a day. This may seem like a lot, but it is still only 0.02% of the total 242 billion dollars of health care spending in Canada. This speaks to enormous potential in the purchasing power of healthcare institutions, where they can intentionally choose to procure Dan Munshaw (left) and Kathy Loon (right) are both innovators in Nourish, a national project aiming to elevate food as a fundamental food from and build relationships part of health and healing in Canada. with local farmers and Indigenous suppliers in order to create more exemption written into the Ontario hospital by donating confiscated social, economic and sustainable Food Premises Regulation 493/17, meat and wild game. With this new value in the supply chain. SLMHC is now granted status to partnership, the Sioux Lookout Meno serve uninspected meats and wild Ya Win hospital has a steadier flow As part of his work in the Nourish game as part of their traditional of moose and wild game that has leadership program, Dan Munshaw foods program. They are one of the enabled them to double the amount has been one of the leaders working only hospitals in Canada permitted of Miichim meals that they can serve on a national collaborative project to do so. Kathy emphasized to Dan to the patients on a weekly basis. focussed on developing values-based how these moose donations could language that is policy compliant to impact the hospital and its patients “ K A T H Y A N D I H A V E B U I L T be integrated as criteria into Request and asked if there was any way he A F R I E N D S H I P : I H A V E for Proposals (RFPs). The goal is to could help out. WILD VENISON AND SHE’S create a publicly available tool that

toward reconciliation. This project is focused on engagement with local community members and elders, and aims to understand how to best address deeply embedded colonial mindsets around food and wellbeing. The team sees food as medicine, and as a pathway to reconciliation. Nourish is building a movement where the true value of food can be recognized as fundamental to health and healing. Dan and Kathy’s relationship is emblematic of the type of collaboration and innovation that Nourish is intent on weaving into the Canadian health system. Their achievements are evidence of the value of shifting the health system as neighbours and as friends, and finding ways to collaborate in order to achieve greater outcomes, together.


Dan acted quickly: he first reached out to another First Nation group-Red Rock Indian Band--and told them that the hospital needed moose meat. They managed to pull together a lot of moose meat and arranged for it to be shipped to Kathy in the interim. However, Dan agreed with Kathy that they needed a longer-term solution cultivated with the MNR office, so he contacted past Provincial Ministers that he knew (including then-Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP Bill Mauro, now the City of Thunder Bay Mayor) and talked to them about SLMHC’s situation. This effort, combined with SLMHC’s ongoing communication and dialogue, finally cemented the food-sharing partnership between the MNR and the health centre. Not long after, Dan got an email from Kathy excitedly announcing that the MNR could now support the

public institutions can use as in order to shift procurement towards R E LAT I O N S H I P T H AT I S healthier and more sustainable food B A S E D O N M U T U A L T R U S T .” purchasing. MUSHROOMS - THIS IS A


These critical moments of collaboration, as well as the friendships built through trust and mutual support, are the backbone of the Nourish community, where innovators across Canada work tirelessly to advocate for food to be valued as part of health and healing in the health care sector. The group wants to shift the culture from one where food is just seen as an ancillary cost centre in hospitals, to a mindset that embraces the opportunities around food to enhance patient experience, anchor community wellbeing, and promote planetary health.

The values-based procurement project is just one out of five other national Nourish projects. The others include testing a national tool to measure and benchmark the patient food experience across Canada; a Guide for Sustainable Menu development in hospital food service and policy efforts to advocate for baseline measures around local food purchasing to be included in the Ontario Local Food Act. A final project that Dan and Kathy both also participate in is one to build capacity in Canada’s health care sector to deliver traditional food programs in a culturally safe way, as part of a broader national project

Kathy Loon, Manager of Traditional Programs (left) sharing a Miichim meal of moose stew and stewed blueberries with a patient at Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre.

Northwest Nosh | 45


Over 15 Varieties of Gouda Storefront & Café

Try our Locally Made Beef Burgers! (807) 935-2911 | 4754 Oliver Road, Murillo, ON

611 Boundary Drive Mon-Sat 9am to 5pm

TF: 1-866-273-3329 | Local: (807) 628-0175

Weekly at the Thunder Bay Country Market!

Processing Local Meats Since 1986



(807) 623-8775 or 46 | Northwest Nosh


Tucked into the heart of the Bay and Algoma district is a new tea shop that doesn’t have stacks of to-go cups. “Our whole tea shop kind of vibe is to sit down around the table, like a kitchen table, like you would with your family. To just sit down and talk and exchange ideas,” says co-owner Denise Atkinson. Denise Atkinson and Marc Bohemier opened Tea Horse last year, naming it for the Tea Horse Road, an ancient trade route comprised of a network of paths through the mountains of Southwest China. The business partners, who are also partners in life, created Tea Horse out of a need to re-connect people to the simplicity of tea in a culture that applauds workaholism. “As much as you see people lining up at drivethroughs for coffee and stuff, I think there is a growing movement of people that are really concerned about eating local, and maybe taking some time to relax once in a while,” Bohemier explains.

Atkinson and Bohemier are the kind of people who Tea Horse also sells Nilgiri, a black tea from Tea take the time to compost spent tea leaves, spent Studio, a project that provides local tea growers months refurbishing all the decor in the shop, with a high-tech building designed for crafting and studied the history of tea and the knowledge high-quality specialty teas. The workforce of and passion of artisans in the tea industry before Tea Studio India, where the Nilgiri tea is from, is opening a business. They care. managed and run entirely by women—something that’s unheard of in the male-dominated tea “We honour the people who grow and gather this industry. tea. We don’t deal with this big corporation out of Toronto who is affiliated with this big company out By inviting people to consider the history of tea of Germany. Our suppliers are smaller-scale, and as well as the complexity of the countries where meet the people who gather the tea,” Atkinson says. the tea comes from, Tea Horse introduces the idea of thinking about tea in ways that the standard In the tea shop, Bohemier gives me an oolong tea North American tea bag—a generic commodity to taste called Dong Ding Mr. Chang, named for the steeped in the processes of colonization and mountain in Taiwan where it’s grown. It’s a rolled industrialization—doesn’t truly encourage. tea, he tells me, pointing to a dish of tight forest- Challenging our assumptions about tea in this green curls beside us, which in hot water, unfurl way requires us to respect the people who are into beautiful, flavourful whole leaves. involved in the tea industry—their expertise, their knowledge, their culture. “Some of our teas, we can actually trace right back to the person who picked it and the person who “We hope that we are part of a value chain that sorted the leaves. And we’ll talk to our supplier brings high level tea and starts changing the and they’ll know the names of the people,” he palates of people and maybe starts [getting notes. people] exploring the world of tea,” Bohemier says. “If we are just a little bit of a part of that, then that would be kind of neat.” Northwest Nosh | 47


Supported by Local Food & build a stronger supply chain. LITTLE; TOGETHER WE Farm Co-ops (LFFC) network The model will lead to more C A N D O S O M U C H .” and the Beef Farmers of Ontario, product development, consistent - HELEN KELLER. the Northwest Beef Co-op has quality and availability, and keep brought together over a dozen our local processing facilities With just under 100,000 cows farms across NWO to change the strong. and calves raised annually in face of the local beef industry. Northern Ontario, and nearly Working together, they hope to Brent Cadeau of Wolf River 6,000,000 kg of beef consumed increase local knowledge about Farm was elected to lead the in Northwestern Ontario alone, feeding animals efficiently to Northwest Beef Co-op, and he you might conclude that this is market weight, and support passionately supports the vision. a great place to be a beef farmer. each other to overcome shared With a family farm that’s grown Yet walk into a local grocery challenges. to 80 head of cattle, he’s eager store or restaurant, and you to support progress in the local will struggle to find any locally They have embraced innovative beef industry that contributes to sourced beef. The disconnect? strategies, such as their pre-sale a stronger local food system for Most of the calves born here are process which allows purchasers this region. sold into western or southern to reserve beef at the calf stage, Ontario markets, much to the which helps farmers decide how detriment of our three regional many calves to hold back for local abattoirs, all struggling to stay customers. This process will help afloat.

“A L O N E W E C A N D O S O

48 | Northwest Nosh

“Our goal is to reconnect the people of Northwestern Ontario back to the land, its farmers, and the food they produce.” Learn more at:

We’re open at our brand new location at 16 Cumberland St. S.

Northwest Nosh | 49

Photo: Howard Mortfield


—  B Y B R E N D A N G R A N T

Whenever I meet new people, the job particularly arduous or difficult. Regardless of the type of farming conversation usually leads to a So what then, if anything, sets (vegetable, livestock, dairy, cash question about what I do for a living. farming apart from most other crops, etc.) there is always a huge When I tell them that my wife and occupations that evokes an almost investment in infrastructure and I are farmers, they virtually always universal sentiment that farming equipment involved in running a farm remark that farming is hard work. is tough work? This very question business. Despite good equipment, While fundamentally I agree with is something that I have pondered infrastructure, staff, management their comment that farming is hard many times over the years while or marketing, the unpredictability work, I would argue that lots, if not working through various challenges of weather and natural forces make most of the jobs that people do to on the farm. I’d like to share with you farming less like manufacturing and make a living are hard work. How some of my thoughts on the matter. more like gambling. When a crop about working in an office all day, or fails, it is a total loss of time and maybe long haul truck driving? Ever First and foremost it must be said that money invested in production up work in a hospital caring for sick or farming is a risky occupation. It is a until that point. Generally there is dying individuals, or as a telemarketer well-known fact that farms provide no way to “break even” or salvage where you are subjected to verbal ample opportunity for injuries and that type of loss. All we can do as abuse over the phone each day? The fatalities. From dangerous machinery, farmers is look forward and move on. point is that there are lots of jobs in to unpredictable livestock, to simply society which fall under the “hard continuing to work past the point Given the challenging nature of work” category, and I take my hat of exhaustion, farming has a level farming, it stands to reason that off to anyone who gets up each day of inherent danger that statistically there are certain qualities that and goes to work to perform a job to exceeds that of most occupations. farmers need to possess in order to the best of their ability regardless of Farming is also a business that do the difficult job of raising crops the circumstances which make the involves a high level of financial risk. and livestock. Essentially, when 50 | Northwest Nosh

people remark that farming is hard work I think what they are really alluding to is that, in addition to the broad range of technical knowledge and skills farmers require to do their jobs, they must also posses the following qualities as individuals in order to cope with the vagaries that come with trying to “make something from nothing” for a living. All farming enterprises start with a vision – a goal to strive towards, and something to help bring organization to planning and decision-making. After all, a vision without a plan is nothing more than a dream. When the farming plan is finally put into motion determination suddenly becomes the currency with which things are acquired. A lack of determination ultimately leads to distraction, indecision, or

indifference - all of which detract from bringing that vision to life. Because farming is such a dynamic endeavor, it requires a healthy dose of ingenuity and creativity to help with the constant act of impromptu problem solving and decisionmaking. From figuring out how to remove a seized or rusted bolt on the tractor, to streamlining the efficiency of harvesting and washing produce, these two qualities serve us farmers well as we go about our day-to-day jobs on the farm. Things often go terribly wrong on the farm despite our best efforts and intentions. From torrential down pours, to pest outbreaks, to equipment failures, to disease and death of livestock, from time to time things will go wrong. These challenges range from annoying

to absolutely heart-breaking. To continue to cope while not losing sight of the farm vision takes tenacity. Often when we are challenged on the farm we need to dig deep and use humour as a coping mechanism Humour also helps topup the tenacity and determination “fuel tanks” so we may carry on the work of realizing that vision. Every farmer I have ever met is at heart, an optimist. You don’t stick with farming unless you have enough optimism in you to think that the next growing season is going to be better, or that you believe you’ve figured out a better way to do something. Optimism is also the key source of inspiration needed to foster one’s ingenuity and creativity. Lastly, humility is an attribute that goes a long way on the farm. From

the appreciation of being able to eat quality food when so many in the world cannot, to having the physical and mental ability to engage in work that we love, to the recognition that there is always more to know than has already been learned. Farming is not only an occupation for us, but also a process by which we grow as individuals.

of both the idyllic side of farm life, and the heart-breaking side. We are passionate about the work we do. We understand that despite our selfreliant nature it takes a community to keep a farm strong. We are proud of the food we produce, and are grateful to those who choose to buy it. We all agree that farming is hard work but possess just enough of the qualities described above to keep doing it!

Over the years I have visited many different farms and had long conversations with countless Thunder Bay has many great farmers farmers. One thing that is clear to who work hard to produce a broad me is that no two farmers farm the range of agricultural products same way. Despite that however, for area residents. Northwestern we farmers do have many things in Ontario is not the easiest place common with each other. We have to produce food, yet with a bit of all learned that hard work is the only determination and a lot of support way to keep our farms viable. We from local customers we continue to know that money can’t always buy make local agriculture a highlight of our way out of a tough situation. economic activity in our region. We have an intimate understanding

Northwest Nosh | 51

Photo: Sheena Larson

Chicken leg quarters from Haywire Farm make a great family meal!

“We’ll raise as many birds as ethically “We’re really excited about our new CSA possible on pasture within the means of meat option,” says Ericka. “Subscribers our Artisanal licence,” says Ericka, “and will receive a box of frozen chicken, pork Zach will be transporting birds in nine and beef selections every three weeks, batches over the summer to Emo or designed to provide three local meat Oxdrift for processing.” meals per week.” Since there is no local abattoir certified for processing poultry, getting table-ready birds to Thunder Bay is quite a venture. Having invested in a refrigerated trailer, Haywire Farm can now make fresh chicken available to shoppers at Thunder Bay Country Market, instead of just frozen.


Thunder Bay’s local food scene is full of innovators and trailblazers, and Haywire Farm in Gillies township is a great example of that can-do attitude.

“It’s something our customers really wanted,” she adds, “And we’re now able to offer cuts of chicken as well—bone-in breasts, leg quarters and wings.”

Haywire Farm also offers pasture-raised pork, including ham and bacon. Cattle are also on the farm, and beginning this summer, Haywire is offering a whole new Ericka and Zachary Reszitnyk were the first in the area to access an Artisanal way to buy meat. license from the Chicken Farmers of Ontario, making pasture-raised chicken available for local consumers.

CSAs, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a subscription-based system more commonly used to market produce. Subscribers pay upfront for a full season of farm-fresh products. It’s a way for consumers to help support local farmers with guaranteed sales, and it also simplifies menu planning and grocery shopping. Haywire’s CSA meat option will be available starting in June, with pick-ups every 3 weeks at the Thunder Bay Country Market till the end of October. Stop by their booth for pricing details, or contact them through Facebook.

Serving up some of the best eats in Thunder Bay at the Country Market Cafe Dinners Wednesday

Evenings 3:30-6:30pm Breakfast Saturday

Mornings 8:00am-1:00pm 52 | Northwest Nosh


die or go dormant. Failure to keep the biology adequately fed will lead to declining microbial populations and impaired nutrient cycling— arguably the biggest challenge for organic farmers in Northwestern Ontario. While Northwestern Ontario is slightly disadvantaged by having a mere 100 days per year for soil biology to do the important work of eating, pooping and breeding, the amount of sunshine we receive during the summer helps to boost productivity. Consequently, our region’s farmers often work frantically between May and October.


As Canadians, we are blessed with abundant natural resources. The term natural resource usually reminds us of fresh water, forests, fossil fuels, precious metals and even wildlife in a given region. However, there is a less obvious resource that is fundamental to human life and found in nearly every corner of the world. It is also one that we often fail to recognize despite our utter dependence on it: soil.

Our climate can feel cruel at times, but the silver lining here is that prolonged extreme cold temperatures are actually an advantage to area farmers. In fact, many of the common insect pests that plague farmers in other regions won’t survive the average Northwestern Ontario winter.

help of water, a process known as “nutrient cycling.” If you’ve ever made beautiful black compost It is easy to credit farmers for their hard work, from your yard waste or kitchen scraps, you have skill and perseverance in producing the food that we all rely upon. But the truth is that most of the witnessed nutrient cycling first hand. credit for producing healthy crops belongs to the Farmers depend on healthy microbial populations hardworking microbes beneath our feet. To that to inhabit soils, which in turn feed the crops that end, humans have a vested interest in caring for grow on the surface. This is particularly true in living soil—our most precious natural resource, and an organic farming system where raw organic one we should never treat like dirt.

fertilizers and minerals are incorporated into the While many people use the words “soil” and “dirt” soil for microorganisms to eat, digest and excrete interchangeably, they are, in fact, distinct. Dirt nutrients that can be taken up by plants rooted is the stuff you wash from your hands before in the soil. Organic farmers therefore focus on eating supper, while soil is the building block feeding soil biology, which in turn feeds the crop. that sustains life on Earth. Trees and plants use soil to photosynthesize and create oxygen, in turn The key principle of an organic farming system providing food for humans and animals alike. Soil is rooted in the understanding that all life forms is literally the most important resource to us all. need to eat, drink, breathe and poop. Everything that organic farmers do must encourage natural Specifically, “living soil” is what we all depend on. processes to work in concert with other components Farmers are most familiar with the term “living in the system. Furthermore, the number one soil”—full of billions of microorganisms such as priority is to ensure that the nutritional needs of fungi, bacteria, protozoa, nematodes and other each living system are being met. Second, farmers invisible life forms that makes it alive and vital. must try their best to mitigate the damaging While most of those organisms are not visible to effects of tillage, harvest and other unavoidable the human eye, they digest organic and inorganic operations involved in producing a crop. materials in the soil, breaking them down into their elemental components. Once transformed, Soil biological activity is at its greatest when plant roots uptake nutrients from the soil with the the soil temperature is above 10 degrees Celsius. Below that temperature and soil microbes will Northwest Nosh | 53

looking for a place to grow roots? Place. It is at the centre of our lives. The place we choose to live, to work, to create. It impacts the quality of our daily lives, our physical and emotional health. My role is to help people transition between places; to find the place they love; the place that is right for them. Whether you’re buying or selling, urban or rural, I will work with you to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Put me to work for you!

P. 807.683.9871 | C. 807.632.3635 |


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2018-05-02 10:43 AM


Oh, the anticipation that comes with the spring thaw. Salad greens! And fiddleheads! And radishes! In no time at all, we’ll be out working in the garden with windburned cheeks and awakened muscles – you know those forgotten ones that speak to you again after a good long day in the garden. Anything is possible on a perfectly sunny spring day. “This will be the best growing season ever,” I will more than likely declare at some point. During this optimistic time, it’s easy to fall victim to the allure of planting ten different varieties of heirloom tomatoes or four different varieties of bush and/or climbing heritage beans. However, if you want to eat from your garden for as long as you possibly can, consider incorporating a fall crop into your garden planning. In more moderate climates (where lucky folks enjoy a long growing season) a fall crop would be one you plant in the middle of summer with your crop maturing in November or even later. Here in Northwestern Ontario, we typically have about 90 guaranteed frost-free days. That means that many vegetables are naturally “fall crops” for us – it takes our entire growing season for many vegetables to reach maturity. But the point remains that if you have a cool basement/root cellar to store a bit of veg for the winter or if you

just want to eat from your garden until there’s a bit of snow on the ground, you’ll have to start planning for it now. The first step in that planning is to consider our growing season. A growing season is the time between the last spring frost and the first hard frost in the fall. Although our seasons have been highly unpredictable over the last few years, it’s still helpful to think of the first week of June as being “safe to plant” and of the first week or two in September as a “risk of hard frost”. But don’t be too afraid of that first hard frost. Root crops that have their “shoulders” tucked into soil or covered with a bit of straw or mulch can withstand it. Brussel sprouts benefit from a good frost before harvest. Broccoli, kale, swiss chard and celery can be covered with a bit of row cover. You can harvest a whole range of vegetables from your garden in late September and October with a bit of planning ahead. The next step is to figure out when you’ll need to sow your seeds so that you are harvesting your crop at peak maturity. Read the back of your seed packages for the maturity date of each crop, choose your anticipated harvest date, and then count backwards to determine your seeding date.

For vegetables with long maturity dates (100120 days), you’ll have to either start your seeds indoors or purchase transplants from a local greenhouse. Onions, celeriac and broccoli fall into this category. Other crops have mid-range maturity dates. Depending on the variety of carrots or beets, you’ll find maturity dates around 55-80 days. For summer eating, you’ll want to sow these seeds outdoors just as soon as you can. But for fall eating, you’ll want to wait to sow until maybe the middle of June. Salad greens tend to have short maturity dates (30-40 days) and can be sown throughout the summer and into fall for a continuous harvest. The last step is to measure your plot and create your garden layout on paper. This step is crucial in ensuring those extra five heirloom tomatoes don’t creep in and replace what could have been a fall crop of carrots (those tomato plants can be hard to resist!). When the cool, crisp days of autumn approach and you can still head out to the garden to get inspiration for that night’s dinner, you’ll be so glad you saved room for a fall harvest.

Jodi Belluz is a mother, farmer and food enthusiast. Jodi and her husband, Kevin, own Belluz Farms and Superior Seasons Food Market (an online farmer’s market). She can be reached at Northwest Nosh | 55


—  B Y E L L E N M O R T F I E L D

Thunder Bay and area farmers produce top quality meat by taking good care of their livestock. An important part of that care is veterinary service to help with nutrition and reproductive issues, as well as illness or injuries within the herd. When there’s a cow in trouble with a difficult birth, a pig that’s lost his appetite or sheep injured by a stray dog, it’s usually Dr. Dan who gets the call. Since few can get their tongue around Dr. Matyasovszky, he’s universally known as Dr. Dan, and his mud-splattered pick-up truck puts on a lot of miles on the country roads around here. Raised on a dairy farm in the Slate River valley, he returned to this area to open Slate River Veterinary Services in 2001. 56 | Northwest Nosh

His practice is still based out of the family homestead, but he and wife Kelly purchased another nearby farm where they are raising their two children, Aidan and Quhyn. The clinic offered services for both small animal pets and livestock for many years, but in 2017, the small animal practice was discontinued, and now the focus is solely on large animal care, including cows, horses, sheep & goats, pigs, llamas and alpacas. As the only full-time large animal veterinarian in the region, Dr. Dan’s schedule is jam-packed on a daily basis, and unexpected emergency calls often wreak havoc on that schedule. I’ve seen first-hand how his calming voice and empathetic nature help animal owners through tough times

and hard decisions. Dr. Dan helped me say good-bye to a failing old horse in his twenty-ninth year, has sewed up a gaping wound in a new, accident-prone horse, and answered another call for help when said horse showed up with a lip full of porcupine quills! Livestock is part of the farming business, but strong ties are built with individual animals, especially those raised from birth or treasured into their senior years. Having a veterinarian who knows and appreciates every animal’s value is a great asset to the farming community. He not only helps many farmers maintain their herds, but also puts time into his own beef operation.

“I’ve always loved cows,” he admits. “They are such a resilient and hardy animal, they can weather just about anything and give us so much.” And on the science side, Dan loves the reproductive aspects, breeding carefully planned crosses and seeing the result. “Every calf born at our place feels like Christmas!” “We started with 11 purebred Simmental cows as a bit of hobby,” he says. “I had a young farmer helping me with chores, and eventually he started adding a few of his own cows and it grew into a good partnership.” Sunset Ridge Cattle Company now runs about 180 Simmental and Angus cross cattle, shipping the majority of calves to auction. But in recent years, they’ve

built a small feedlot and have started keeping around 30 calves to finish and market locally. At close to a year old, these calves are selected and moved to the feedlot where they will enjoy a carefully monitored diet of barley and baleage (those rows of white wrapped bales that look like giant marshmallows lined up in farmers’ fields—that’s the high-moisture hay called baleage). After six to eight months, they will have reached market weight with well-marbled flesh and will be transported to the Thunder Bay Meat Processing plant. Packaged and frozen, they’ll be labelled with a very memorable brand name: Dr. Dan’s Divine Bovine! Marketing that locally produced beef can be a struggle with full-time work in addition to farm chores and a busy family. Dan’s wife Kelly, who created the brand name, also looks after sales to customers and deliveries to a few retail locations. Some selected beef cuts are sold from their home as well. “Most of our sales are through word of mouth,” says Dan. “It’s not easy to bridge the gaps between consumers and the farm—people who are accustomed to buying fresh cuts of beef in a grocery store don’t always see the advantages of buying locally produced beef from the freezer. And not everyone has enough freezer space to purchase a half or quarter of beef.” A true champion of local food production, Dr. Dan and his veterinary practice are a vital part of agriculture in Thunder Bay and area. And he’s passing his passion for local food to the next generation, helping his children start up an egg business with 80 hens and another unique brand: Aidan’s Devilled Eggs. With Dr. Dan on call, the future of farming is in good hands.


What does “grass-fed beef” really mean? Dr. Dan explains that true grass-fed beef requires a different process than how beef is produced in most of Canada, and isn’t all that feasible in our region. “We don’t have the right kind of grass, our pasture season is too short, and our winters are tough,” he says. “It also requires a different kind of cattle—our beef is bred to grow quickly.” Traditional beef that we are accustomed to eating has significant fat marbling which adds to the flavour and tenderness. That marbling is produced by “finishing” the cattle with high-protein grain during their final months and sending them to the abattoir at 2 years of age or less. “Grass-fed beef has a different taste and texture,” adds Dan. “Not everyone appreciates the difference.” To produce grass-fed beef, cattle are grown slowly on rich pastures and forage, with winter hay ideally produced from the same land they graze in summer. To reach market weight on nothing but grass usually requires keeping the animal over two winters, which adds to the expense of producing grass-fed beef. Of course, technically all cattle eat grass, and grain-finished beef is sometimes marketed as “grass-fed.” To be sure of what you’re getting, ask if the beef is “grassfinished.”

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. l a c o l t a E . l a c o l k n Ba

Food brings people together. And knowing where your food comes from makes it that much better. Locally grown, locally sourced and locally enjoyed. At Rapport Credit Union, we also “think local�. Our team of financial advocates are here to help you with your financial needs, whatever they may be. All so you can be true to yourself, true to your community and true to your money. Visit one of our local branches:

Kakabeka Falls 43 Clergue Street (807) 475 4276

James Street 405 James Street South (807) 626 5666

Campus Hill 1072 Oliver Road, Unit 2 (807) 346 2810


If there is one local food that is readily found in every grocery store, it’s Thunder Bay potatoes. Local brands are always on the shelf, right next to others from PEI and elsewhere in Canada. Data on just how many tonnes of potatoes are grown in this area seems to be hard to find, but every backyard gardener will tell you that potatoes do very well here, no matter what soil type you have. They are just as satisfying to grow as they are to eat—toss half of an old potato into the ground and just weeks later you can dig up a whole basketful of starchy goodness. And you can grow a whole rainbow of colours and shapes, from bright red-skinned Norlands, to yellow-fleshed Yukon Gold, and even blue- and purple-fleshed varieties. Fingerling potatoes are long and tubular, great for slicing into stews and soups. The classic Russet potato is best for baking, especially when wrapped in foil and tossed into the campfire coals. Whether you grow your own or buy at the market or grocery, potatoes are among the most versatile foods produced here in northwestern Ontario. Here are a few easy ways to enjoy them.



1 lb small red new potatoes, ¼ c coarse-grain mustard halved 3 tbsp cider vinegar 1 lb small yellow new 3 tbsp sugar potatoes, halved ¼ c vegetable oil 3 tbsp cider vinegar 1 tbsp kosher salt 3 - 4 smokies, sliced (choose mild or spicy to taste)

SMASHED POTATOES 1.  Use new baby potatoes, or the smaller ones left at the bottom of the bag! 2.  Boil potatoes whole in a large pot of water until tender (15-20 min) 3.  Place potatoes on a non stick baking sheet. Press each potato with a spatula or potato masher until flattened. 4.  Drizzle each potato generously with olive oil, sprinkle with minced garlic, chopped green onion and your favourite grated cheese (smoked gouda or old cheddar are yummy!) You can also add chopped crisp bacon if you like. Finish with salt and pepper. 5.  Bake at 450 degrees F. until crispy, about 15 minutes. 6.  Serve plain or with sour cream, as a side dish or as an appetizer/ finger food.

Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt ½ c torn fresh parsley or chopped dillweed 2 tbsp thinly sliced green onions In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan combine potatoes, 3 Tbsp. cider vinegar, and 1 Tbsp. kosher salt. Add water (about 4 cups) to cover potatoes. Bring to boiling over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, just until potatoes are tender when gently pierced with a fork. Drain well. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes before adding dressing. For Grainy Mustard Dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the mustard, 3 Tbsp. vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt. In a steady stream, whisk in oil until well blended. Transfer potatoes to a mixing bowl. Add Grainy Mustard Dressing all at once. Mix gently to avoid breaking potatoes. Gently mix in sliced smokies. Season with a generous pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Add parsley and green onions. Serve warm or at room temperature. Northwest Nosh | 59


—  B Y G W E N O ’ R E I L L Y

Superior Seed Producers is a collective of local Thunder Bay area growers who promote the saving and distribution of locally adapted, sustainably grown, open-pollinated non-GMO seeds in Northwestern Ontario, while educating and supporting those who want to learn more about saving seeds. Thunder Bay’s annual Seedy Saturday event was where it all began with JoAnne Henderson and a group of intrepid seed savers who called themselves 2B or not 2B Seed Savers, a Shakespearean take on the difficult climatic zones in this area. JoAnne and others were members of Seeds of Diversity Canada. SODC is a national seed bank set up to preserve open pollinated varieties of plants, and engages gardeners across Canada to grow out and save seeds of these heritage varieties. Seeds are the beginning and end of most agricultural crops. These days, there are many threats to the gene pool of food crops. Efforts to genetically modify food plants; climate change and the accompanying environmental variability and increasing pest and disease pressure; patenting of old and new varieties so that they 60 | Northwest Nosh

cannot be legally reproduced; and agricultural monocultures that narrow most of our food crops to a few varieties with a dangerous lack of genetic diversity. We are putting all our eggs in one basket! In 2012, news of the Thunder Bay Seedy Saturday events reached Kate Green of USC Canada, an organization working globally to preserve traditional varieties of food crops. She asked if 2B or Not 2B Seed Savers would like to participate in a seed security project funded by Gretchen Bauta. With the support of the Bauta Foundation, the group of seed savers started growing in more ways than one – aside from Seedy Saturdays, they have organized seed saving and cleaning workshops, farm tours and field days, built seed cleaning equipment, and talked about scaling up. The critical leap occurred when Roots to Harvest became involved, offering the services of their interns and the possibility of larger scale seed cleaning, germination testing, packaging and sales. Superior Seed Producers was born, and now consists of a cooperative of local growers who get together to produce a diverse offering of locally

grown and adapted, open pollinated vegetable, flower and herb seeds. Growers are reimbursed a percentage of seed sales; Roots to Harvest also gets a cut to offset their costs. And Thunder Bay and area gardeners get access to varieties that grow well in this climate and preserve genetic diversity. Win, win, win, win! Leave it to seed savers to sow success. Check out the website or the Superior Seed display at your local retailer.



—  B Y W E N D Y W R I G H T




production begins

Albumen-Egg white Magnum-The area in the hen’s reproductive system where the albumen is produced and formed around the yolk Isthmus-The area in the hen’s

reproductive system where membranes are formed after the white


Chalazae-Stretchy, spiral strip joining yolk to outer membrane through the albumen

Cuticle Air chamber

Ova- The yolk of the egg where the egg


Blastodisc-Small white dot on the surface of the yolk; this is where fertilization would take place. Blastoderm-Fertilized blastodisc Bloom or Cuticle-Antimicrobial layer added over outer shell Cloaca or Vent-Exit area for

reproductive and digestive tracts; separate chambers within keep these things apart

Eggs are amazing--perfect in their simplicity and useful for many recipes, encouraging ingredients to rise, fluff and bind together. It takes approximately 24 hours for a hen to produce one egg from start to finish, and here is the story of that amazing journey. Hens begin life with all the yolks they will produce over their lifetime. These are the ova. Once the hen is about 6 months old, a yolk will be released from the ovary about every 24 hours, and begins its journey to becoming a whole egg. The yolk travels into the oviduct, which is like a circular conveyor belt where each step in the process takes place. If a hen drops two yolks, the result is a double-yolker. If there is a small red spot in the yolk, it may have been a little stuck and a small amount of blood or tissue came with it. No, it is not the beginning of a chick! And a rooster is not necessary for egg production—he’s only needed if you want to hatch baby chicks.

Protoporphyrin-Chemical responsible for brown tinted eggs

Yolks range in colour from pale to dark yellow, sunny yellow, orange and beyond. The colour of the yolk depends on the hen’s diet. A pastureraised chicken that is foraging and eating a robust diet including a variety of plants, grains and protein will develop a bright golden yolk, especially if she’s eating lots of plants containing carotenoids.

out white. The pigment is added near the end of the process depending on the colour and shade. Brown eggs have their colour applied late in the process and therefore the inner shell is still white. With blue eggs, the pigment is applied earlier and has time to permeate the white shell and therefore the inner shell is blue. A green egg comes from a cross between blue and brown egg-laying breeds. A speckled egg may have been rotating a little off kilter while having colour applied. This is all normal and adds variety to your farm fresh eggs.

Next stop is the magnum where the white (albumen) of the egg forms around the yolk. In the isthmus, two shell membranes are formed that hold this “soft” egg all together. Two white, stretchy spiral-like strips called the chalazae run from the yolk The egg assembly is almost finished. to the membrane holding the yolk One last thing to add to the outside roughly in the centre of the white. of the shell is called the bloom or cuticle. An egg shell has many Shell production happens next, and it is the most time consuming part at tiny pores in it to allow for air and around 20 hours. This takes place in moisture movement. The bloom the uterus of the hen where the shell protects the egg from microbes and bacteria that could use these same gland is located. All egg shells are made of calcium carbonate and start pores. This is important as eggs are

Biliverdin-Chemical responsible for blue tinted eggs

laid from the same opening as the hen excretes everything else. Yes, it’s true, there is only one opening for everything that exits the hen. The hen has the ability to extend her uterus, with the egg inside, out through the cloaca/vent to bypass the tract where excrement is. Only one of these “tubes” can use the exit at a time, eliminating any chance of contamination. The hen now nestles down into her nest box and lays her egg. This remarkable process occurs nearly every day for a hen, and she often celebrates with loud squawking. Eggs truly are amazing. And who’s kidding who, so are the chickens!

Wendy Wright lives in the country and is a rather proud crazy chicken lady. Northwest Nosh | 61


—  B A R B A R A P A R K E R A N D M A R I O K O E P P E L

Students are eagerly waiting in the cafeteria line to get a veggie burger with Greek salad for lunch. The delicious meal has been planned and prepared by some of their classmates who are currently enrolled in a culinary arts class. In a different school, a table with delicious looking fresh mini bell peppers draws the attention of children who grab the sweet and tasty vegetables which are available today. These are two scenes we encountered in 2018 while conducting the School Foods Inventory Project. The School Foods Inventory Project was an initiative of the School Food Environments Working Group of the Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy. Our project looked at existing food programming and initiatives in elementary and high schools in Thunder Bay to understand the context of school food environments in our community. We heard from Principals and Vice Principals from 50 schools about their school’s innovative programs and approaches to food.

62 | Northwest Nosh

We learned that there is a wide variety of food programming in our schools because of the close collaboration with local organizations such as Roots to Harvest, Our Kids Count, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit, and the local Red Cross. Community-led programs play a crucial role enhancing students’ food access and food literacy, and provide critical education about the importance of sustainable, nutritious diets and access to healthy, local foods. While schools are already doing a lot, there is room for improvements. Schools face structural issues such as precarious funding or reliance on volunteers to run programs. We need more awareness and access to cultural and traditional foods to promote the healthy development of children in our diverse school environments. There is also no universal school food program resulting in drastically varying programs and initiatives among the schools. Find the full report at


—  B Y J O S H L E V A C

Mario Koeppel, a fourth-year international student The university has also been part of health and from Switzerland, sits in a classroom at Lakehead budgeting sessions and food literacy workshops, University Thunder Bay over reading week, where students learn how food affects them and listening to a presentation about eating well on allows them to voice concerns on areas that are a budget. important. Involving the university community allows the committee to maintain a dynamic The talk is part of an engaging day where students approach to food literacy in the face of an evercan interact with experts from two Lakehead changing and diverse set of students and issues. departments – Student Health and Wellness and Student Awards and Financial Aid, to learn more The committee was also instrumental in about what it takes to create healthy meals and establishing a connection with Lakehead alumni snacks on a budget. who generously supported the cause of food security on campus. Some of the support has “I like to eat, it ties me to my culture and tying translated into weekly fresh vegetables given in budgeting is important,” Mario says. “The to the on-campus food bank, a new refrigerator importance of budgeting is lost on many students, to replace the old dying one, the sponsorship but if done correctly, it can help you make the best of weekly lunches, and providing quick healthy of a situation. It puts you in control.” snacks during exam time. Shortly after the presentation, participants hop on a bus to visit Walmart, The Real Canadian Superstore, or the Thunder Bay Country Market – to put what they learned to the test. This is one way that Lakehead is helping students find food security during their studies.

Food insecurity is not going to disappear overnight, but as the committee and the university continue to build robust community relationships, a sustainable future is in store. Reflecting on his time at Lakehead, Mario is hopeful yet cautious about the changes that have occurred on campus.

In 2016 Lakehead University’s faculty, staff, students, and community partners came together to help combat food insecurity experienced on “I’ve seen a shift in food culture on campus during campus by creating a committee that focuses on my time, but it’s also important to recognize there students. The Lakehead University Food Security is much more we have to do to address the root Committee helps ensure that food options on causes of food insecurity.” both campuses are healthy, equitable, culturally appropriate, affordable and sustainable. In a If you want to help support the food security broader sense, the committee helps provide initiatives at Lakehead University, you can learn food literacy through awareness, identification of more here: supports, advocacy and building partnerships. ____________________________________________________ Since the committee formed, reaching out to students has become paramount. Food Josh Levac is the Manager of Student Awards and programming such as weekly cooking sessions, a Financial Aid at Lakehead University and a member grocery bus where students travel to local stores, of the Lakehead Food Security Committee.

Amy Koop, LUSU Foodbank Coordinator standing in front of a new fridge full of apples, carrots, eggs, and yogurt graciously donated by Lakehead University alumni.

and weekly lunches offered by the student union are some ways the committee has helped. Northwest Nosh | 63


—  B Y V I C T O R I A P U L L I A

1 Support School Gardens

Volunteer for summer maintenance at the school vegetable garden in your neighbourhood.

8 Support Our Students

$25 to Lakehead University Student Union or The Student Union of Confederation College helps food-insecure students.

15 Food For Seniors $40 gift to Meals on Wheels provides 5 hot meals to housebound seniors.

2 Stop Food waste

3 Share your time

A $30 outdoor composter from EcoSuperior closes the loop!

Volunteer at Meals on Wheels to help deliver hot nutritious meals to seniors.

9 Empower Female 10 Support Food Farmers

Promote the Women Entrepreneur Program from Farm Credit Canada.


Donate to the Regional Food Distribution Association (RFDA)

Learn more about Wake the Giant movement at

17 Defend the


A donation to Ontario Nature will protect our environment for sustainable foraging.

24 Food Literacy is

11 Reduce Your

Teach a young person to cook and bake to pass on your food literacy skills.

Get a 3-pack of three Huggers Bees wax food wraps for $20 at EcoSuperior or TBCM.

18 Learn New Skills


23 Support Food

Security in NWO

Learn about Indigenous communities in Northwestern Ontario addressing food insecurity in A Land Not Forgotten. $28 at

$20 to Willow Springs Creative Centre for food prep training.

64 | Northwest Nosh

Read about an Indigenous Sustainable Economy in Unsettling Canada. $30 from

Inclusive Food System

Host an anti-oppression training in your workplace or community group.

with Special Needs

Indigenous Food Sovereignty

16 Promote an

22 Be a Good Host

29 Empower Adults

4 Support

30 Be a Member Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Boxes offer fresh farm-raised food: Root Cellar Gardens & Mile Hill Farms; Sleepy G Farm; Haywire Farm.

Plastic Waste

Take a cooking class at A Fine Fit Catering: $70 all-inclusive dinner-style. 807-708-3509

25 Support Local Farmers

By shopping at local markets: Thunder Bay Country Market, Kakabeka Market and Willow Springs.

5 Promote Food

6 "Meet" at the

7 Act

cultivate member

Free workshops where you can learn about seasonal foods.

Write a letter to local MPP & MPs on the impacts of poverty and food security. Stand up for sustainable funding!

12 Empower Local

13 Save the Seeds

14 Become a Savour


For $20/month be a Roots to Harvest


A $35 travel mug by Be Natural Pottery at the Country Market replaces 100s of disposable coffee cups!

19 Nourish a Family Purchase a $5 or $10 coupon to offset the cost of a monthly Good Food box for a family in need.


$4 Superior Seeds packets are locally adapted, sustainably grown varieties for your garden. At Roots to Harvest store.

20 Save Cook Time Blue Door Bistro’s Home Meal Replacements and Breakfast Lunch & Deener’s custom meals are local options to skip meal prep.

Help a community garden by donating time, tools, seeds or plants.

A $50 gift to Sleepy G Farm’s CSA fund gives a low-income family half-price Savour Membership.

21 Support

Community Kitchens

$30 to the Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre supports their community kitchen.

26 Garden Like a Boss


27 Grow a Row Share harvest from your garden with local food banks and community members.

28 Cook for the Community

Volunteer at the Shelter House Soup Kitchen (474-4352) and Dew Drop Inn (632-2885)

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622.2824 ~ Northwest Nosh | 65


—  B Y E L L E N M O R T F I E L D

Not many have successfully produced apricots in Thunder Bay, but these came from a tree Jesse Vaillancourt grew from seed! Photo – J. Vaillancourt 66 | Northwest Nosh

For many urban gardeners, the annual garden plot is about experimenting with a few fruits and vegetables to supplement the grocery and market purchases. But some local gardeners have earned the right to call themselves urban farmers, producing surprisingly large quantities on their city property.

amount of food they manage to produce is still an amazing achievement. “When we first started many years ago, we were very concerned about our food supply,” recalls Lucie. “Now there is much more organic and local vegetables and fruits available to buy. We’ve always been committed to food that is good for us and good for the earth.”

Chris Koropeski has been steadily increasing production on his 66 x 198 As vegetarians, Lucie and Ken work to lot in the Grandview neighbourhood. produce the majority of what they eat. Apparently inheriting good gardening They have a small greenhouse which is genes from his grandparents—“Their used to start plants and grow tomatoes. garden went right from the back door to the back fence,” he recalls—Chris continues Every year, they plan their gardens and plot out each planting area on a map. Crop to expand his garden while still leaving a rotation is limited due to space, so they bit of children’s play space in the yard. In often rotate the soil instead of the crop, the south-facing side yard, he has added adding copious amounts of compost and two terraced levels of raised beds where manure (horse & chicken) that they get the heat-loving crops (tomatoes, peppers, from friends in the country. cucumbers) reside. An intensively planted traditional garden bed hosts peas, beans, “We don’t tend to experiment much potatoes, carrots, and more. He makes anymore,” says Lucie. “We’ve figured out good use of space to grow a few varieties what works best, and we count on getting of pole beans, and trains the cucumbers a sufficient amount of food for ourselves, on vertical walls as well. so we tend not to take risks with what we’re growing.” “We put away a lot of food by canning, freezing and pickling,” says Chris. “We grow about 300 cloves of garlic each year, In order to have enough starch in their diet, they grow several varieties close to 100 pounds of potatoes, and 200 of potatoes. About 120 plants in total pounds of tomatoes, which goes quite a provide about 70 pounds of potatoes, ways in feeding our family of four.” enough to last right through till July. Chris recently purchased a big 10-gallon “Not a lot of people do drying beans,” says crock and hopes to try salted beans this Ken, “but we harvest about 40 litres each year, a method of preserving that dates year. We also froze 10 litres of shelling to pre-refrigeration days. He’s also added peas after eating our fill and another 10 a small orchard, with six apple trees and litres of raspberries, 60 litres of onions, two plum trees. and 10 litres of pickled beets, with more beets in winter storage.” Not far away, on the downhill side of Port Arthur, Lucie Lavoie and Ken Deacon are Across town near the East End, Jesse well-known for their amazing gardens, Vaillancourt is focusing on fruit production which now span three backyards after with a backyard full of trees. they acquired two neighbouring houses as rentals. While their motivation for food production has changed somewhat, the

The Koropeski family cans and preserves an impressive array of their garden produce. Photo - C. Koropeski

Ken Deacon picking peas in an intensively planted backyard garden. Photo – L. Lavoie “It’s my microforest,” he says proudly. “I’m taking advantage of the microclimate in this property to see how far I can push the boundaries.” Believe it not, in addition to apples, plums, cherries, pears and grapes, Jesse has successfully overwintered bamboo plants outside. He grew an apricot tree from seed, that flowered and fruited in three years. “They were so delicious! But the tree didn’t survive the next winter. I’d like to experiment with grafting apricot branches onto other hardier fruit trees,” says Jesse. Fruit trees take several years to come into full production, but Jesse reports about three milk crates full of apples last year, a crate full of plums, about three crates full of grapes, plus strawberries, haskaps, Saskatoon berries and blueberries. Not everyone is up to the amount of work and dedication that is required, but these urban farmers are proof that serious food production can be achieved in your own backyard.

Northwest Nosh | 67


—  B Y E R I N M O I R

When there’s a party in your garden, all the insects, birds and other pollinators should be on the VIP list. If you’re thinking about planting plans for your garden beds, it can be beneficial to consider who might visit your backyard, and how a few simple actions can create a symbiotic relationship. Birds, butterflies and bees top the list for some of the most important pollinators in our region. Not only do they add to the beauty of your yard, they also contribute to the sustainability of our food system by spreading pollen. In fact, one out of every three mouthfuls of food we eat is made possible by pollinators. In our neck of the woods, pollinators are the backbone of apples, pears, cucumbers and berry crops. Like people, pollinators require access to food, water and shelter. To ensure your yard is pollinator-friendly, follow these simple tips: 68 | Northwest Nosh

Establish a food supply

Provide and protect shelter:

Plant a variety of native flowering species—they have coevolved with their pollinators. Different types of flowers with different colours attract a diversity of pollinators.

Many native bee species live solitary lives in ground burrows. Leave bare, mulch-free ground in sunny, well-drained areas to help protect nesting sites.

Plant flowers in clumps or groupings. Pollinators are less attracted to single plants.

Allow leaves and broken branches to remain in your garden or yard. They provide important overwintering habitat for many beneficial insects.

Aim for three seasons of flowering to support pollinators that are active early and/or late into the year.

Make water available: Provide a shallow container filled with small pebbles or coarse sand that rises above the level of water. A pond with a gently-sloped bank can also work.

Check out A Landowners Guide to Conserving Native Pollinators in Ontario by Sue Chan; www.; or www.pollinationcanada. ca for more information.

Erin Moir is a program coordinator at EcoSuperior.

Northwest Nosh | 69

Gastropub Fare

local ingredients 220 Red River RD 807-343-9277 Tues - SUN UNTIL 2AM BRUNCH SUN 11AM - 3PM

Local, Canadian, and imported, artisanal cheese, charcuterie, chocolate + more! Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm 198 Algoma St S Thunder Bay | 807-286-1082

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For more info/to get involved:

tel: (807) 345-7819


281 Bay Street Thunder Bay

(807) 630.8292

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Noon to 10pm Closed Wed & Sun


Local Beef + Free Run Eggs TARRYMOREFARMSLTD@GMAIL.COM | (807) 475-3138

70 | Northwest Nosh

COMPOSTING: PRACTICAL MAGIC By Aynsley Klassen Composting - and the “black gold” this practice yields - is practically magic. This natural process of turning organic waste – most commonly food scraps and yard waste – into a nutrient-rich soil amendment is a simple, powerful tool for waste reduction and the mitigation of greenhouse gases.

For magic to happen, a compost requires four elements: air, water, heat, and time. Using a pitchfork to turn and stir the pile a couple of times a month helps ensure adequate air flow. Closed bin composts generally require water to be added on a regular basis. Try adding a few cups to your scraps bucket each time you empty it into the pile. Then sit back, enjoy the heat of summer, and allow time to turn into results! This amazing black gold can then be applied back onto yards or gardens to add nutrients, improve water retention and aeration – all while reducing the waste sent to landfill and cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions.

In Ontario, about 30% of household waste includes organics. When sent to landfill, these organics contribute to the production of methane, a greenhouse gas that is about 100 times more potent than CO2 during the time it stays in the atmosphere. Depending on the source, Ontario’s waste is cited to generate anywhere from 5%-15% of our province’s GHG emissions. These numbers If you fear foul smells, flies, or the possibility of don’t account for the approximately 30% of rodents – fear no more. EcoSuperior offers free Ontario’s waste that is exported to the US. 1-hour workshops throughout the year that dispel myths and provide practical troubleshooting Composting is simple. Start by selecting the type of advice for all sorts of composting queries. bin that is right for you - one that suits the size of your family and fits with your yard. Next, locate the Greens bin in a sunny, well-drained location that is easy to FRUIT & VEGGIE PEELS AND CORES access. Place a thin layer of sticks in the bottom to EGG SHELLS promote the flow of air and voila – you are ready C O F F E E G R O U N D S & F I LT E R S to make magic. TEA BAGS C U T F LOW E R S

The first trick to composting is to create layers of “greens” and “browns”. Nitrogen-rich materials, Do Not Compost: Meat, bones, dairy, oil, human or pet waste, charcoal or coal ashes, or “greens”, are the wet food scraps like fruit and inorganic materials such as plastic vegetable peels. Carbon-rich “browns” include dried leaves and shredded newspaper. Storing a bag or two of leaves in the fall will ensure you have a generous supply of browns throughout the Aynsley Klassen is a program coordinator at EcoSuperior. year.


Northwest Nosh | 71



—  B Y M E L A N I E A L B A N E S E

Long before you were relished, before the blending had begun, A whispered prayer went up to the holy trilogy – the soil, the water, and the sun. A symphony of elements conducted by practiced gritty hands, Leading each organic movement to the natural rondo she had planned.



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ARE YOU A FOOD TRAVELLER? A Small Taste of a Growing Tourism Industry —  B Y S U E H A M E L

All mammals love food. Not surprisingly, #food (and #love) are currently among the planet’s most popular Instagram hashtags. However, just because you love food (and drink), and travel at least across town to fulfill cravings, does that make you a food traveler? Or, if you offer, or produce food for humanity (thank you), does that make you a ‘food travel professional’?

There is some debate as to what is, and is not, considered food tourism. For example, agritourism includes farm stays and u-pick experiences all growing in popularity and demand, though may not be considered food tourism per se. Clearly however, there is no food tourism, without our beloved farms and farmers. Agriculture, not to mention the earth and people behind it, is what makes cuisine possible.

According to the World Food Travel Association, ‘food travel’ or ‘food tourism’ is “the act of traveling for a taste of place, in order to get a sense of place.” Food tourism, is currently the world’s fastest-growing travel industry niche, yet the term was only coined in 1999, by Lucy Long. There are other terms in use, including ‘culinary tourism’ (criticized for a limiting perception of being ‘elitist’), and ‘gastronomy tourism’ (mostly used in Europe).

Whether you agree with the everevolving industry terminology or not, truth is, people have become more interested in how their “Shake the hand who feeds you.” food is produced. Businesses and – Michael Pollan communities around the world are benefitting from aligning with the food tourism industry, and travelers Whether in your own city, or travelling to a faraway destination, look for: are benefitting from the ever- FOOD TOURISM EXPERIENCES FOOD TOURISM EXPERIENCES Guided Food Tours growing memorable experiences Farm Tours Cooking Classes being offered in destinations Farm Stays and/or Farm Meals/Dinners worldwide. For example, more and Food/Wine/Beer Festivals Harvest Festivals + Farmers Markets more cities and regions are offering Food Trails U-Pick/Gather/Grow/Process experiences guided food tours, and food-related

festivals or ‘trails’ that invite a more intimate experience of place and culture. The invitation is open to all of us to become, if we aren’t already, ‘food travelers’ - specifically seeking out meaningful food and drink-related experiences that enrich and connect us, leaving our farmers, communities and earth the better for it.

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things” – Henry Miller

Sue Hamel loves food, stories, adventure, and being on or near water with kindred spirits. Seek Adventure & Tours is a soulful tourism business offering walking food tours and guided outdoor adventures.

Northwest Nosh | 73

Fresh Herbs, Annuals & Perennials Organic Seeds & Fertilizers Hydroponic Supplies • Gift Shop & Much More

265 S. Court Street (807) 344-3551

Irresistible dishes with a spectacular view of Lake Superior

(807) 346-5139

74 | Northwest Nosh

Northwest Nosh | 75

Downtown Volkswagen


Downtown Volkswagen

591 Central Avenue Thunder Bay, Ontario, P7B 5R5 (807) 344-9700 |