• Elmira Maple Syrup Festival 2011

    Local Harvest kicked off spring this year by attending the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival bright and early this past weekend. As usual, the festival was packed and the cars from out of town were lined up for miles. All had the same goal in mind:  to enjoy the festival’s feature delicacy of fresh and local maple syrup.

    Lucky festival-goers had their pick of maple cotton candy, fudge, cones, or in its natural syrup state, poured over a stack of piping hot pancakes or bottled to take home and enjoy. For those who preferred salty over sweet, a variety of local food vendors preparing back-bacon sandwiches, grilled turkey legs, sausage and fresh fries left them as stuffed as those of us with a sweet tooth.

    With a bag full of treats we headed out of Elmira, only to make one last stop at a farm selling their own freshly made maple syrup and baked goods - just in case we didn’t get enough at the festival to last us the rest of the week.

    If you didn’t get the chance to come out and enjoy the festival this year, make sure to come out next year and clear some space in your trunk for all the local goodies!

    http://www.elmiramaplesyrup.com/

  • Kolapore Spring Fish Hatchery

    Our latest Local Harvest video adventure took us out to Kolapore Springs Fish Hatchery in search of fresh, local trout. As you know from our blog post featuring this company, Kolapore Springs Fish Hatchery is nestled in the back woods of Kolapore, Ontario, a trail system on Grey Road 2 linked to the Bruce Trail. With cameras in hand, we met up with Sean Brady (owner) and Bruce Green, who showed us the art of cleaning, filleting and frying up their amazing trout.

     

    More Info

    Read about Dustin's first visit to the Kolapore Springs Trout Hatchery

    Don't forget to check out their website at http://www.kolaporesprings.com/

  • Labour of Love - Love Catering Co. – week 4

    Check out week 4 as we follow the progress of Love Catering Co., a start-up, locally focused catering company based out of Toronto, ON. If you need to play catch up, check out week 1, week 2 and week 3 of this company’s “labour of love”:

    Thank you for your patience as last week was crazy busy and flew by without a word from Love.

    Well where to begin? I guess the most important thing we should tell you is that Love Catering Co. will now be called Love Kitchen Co. Why the change of heart? Well, as you may have noticed, there is a growing trend in our work: what we have been up to isn't exactly "catering." Although that’s just the way it has happened to work out, we still love doing private caterings and will be offering them as originally planned. In fact, we have a 55-guest wedding on June 26th… stay tuned for pictures.

    We have decided on a launch day- the day that our clients will be receiving our goods to put out into the world. That date is (drum roll please...) July 1st, 2010.

    Yes, in 10 days the people of Toronto will be our most important critics. Now, the other exciting news is that we finally get to tell you about the three cafes/shops that will have Love Kitchen Co. items. We are proud to be working with:

     

    The Village Cheesemonger

    171 East Liberty Street, #151 in the Liberty Market

    Toronto, ON

     

    Blondies

    1378 Queen Street West

    Toronto, ON

     

    Sam James Coffee Bar

    297 Harboard Street

    Toronto, ON

     

    These three small businesses are run by guys who are passionate about what they do and share a soaring appreciation for food with us. We could not be happier to be working with them. I know that three places doesn't sound like a lot, but we hope that in the weeks to come, cafe and shop owners will come across Love Kitchen Co.'s food and seek outs its proprietors. At the moment, we are in negotiations with two more shops, although we can't reveal their names until everything is set in stone. What we can tell you is that one of these clients is looking for charcuterie- something we are fairly new to. So, last week we gave it a shot and made 13 sausages by hand. Aside from losing a few (because of the nature of hog casings, if you don’t tie them to the fridge tightly enough, they slip and end up on the floor,) I would say they turned out pretty good! We won't know for sure for another 5 weeks though. The sausages are composed of pork shoulder from Cumbrae Farms, sausage casing from The Healthy Butcher and garlic from 4 Life Organics in Kensington Market.

    We don’t have any good shots of the sausages but here is one of Elias and Spencer in the kitchen.

    The next few posts will be really exciting as we reveal our packaging, some shots of the food and outcomes of our adventures in the eleventh hour.

    Love Catering Co.

  • Charbries

    It is funny how as a foodie, and a local foodie at that, I am always looking for the new place in town, excited to stumble upon my next favourite gem. I hardly ever take the time to step back and look around my own neighourhood to check out the places that I have walked by for years but never stopped in. Charbries located in Uptown Waterloo, ON, is one of those places. Until now! Charbries was on my ‘hit list’ of places featuring fresh local food and so in honour of my quest for all things local I couldn’t stay away any longer. Last week I finally got the chance check out the menu, chat with the owner, and sink my teeth into some awesome local fare.

    I popped by for a late lunch, which was perfect timing because the owner, Charmaine, had some time to chat with a colleague and I about the history behind her restaurant and her philosophy on local food. Charmaine is obviously very passionate about her business as well as supporting local food and goes by the philosophy that eating local makes not only business sense but also it makes “food sense”. After all when the best tasting food comes from within our region, why wouldn’t we want to celebrate it?

    For lunch we enjoyed their amazing Pickerel BLT, which featured Lake Huron pickerel with local bacon and Floralane beefsteak tomatoes. Since we wanted to taste as much as we could, we decided to split the meals in half and when it came time to give up the other half of that delish BLT, it made me sad to see it go. But then I got to have the other half of the Gerber Burger, which was AMAZING! It featured Oakridge Acres Black Angus beef with Monforte Feta & bacon. It was one of the best burgers that I had had in a long time and it made it even more fabulous that it showcased beef from Oakridge Acres, a local farm out of Ayr, ON.

    Charbries does a great job of highlighting local product when they can; their menu is literally filled with it! Next time you want to try an amazing burger in a sophisticated atmosphere, stop by Charbries. Oh ya and don’t forget to try the soup of the day; the one that we had was leek and asparagus and even on a hot day, it was out of this world.

  • Rhubarb Pie at Thornbury Bakery Cafe

    Now that rhubarb is in season, we just had to take another trip to our one of our favourite places, Thornbury Bakery Cafe. As you remember from our first post about this bakery, they specialize in amazing baked goods and we knew they would be creating some fabulous in season treats using fresh local rhubarb. Check out our Local Harvest video episodes featuring Trish Smith, Thornbury Bakery Cafe owner, showing us how to whip up a picture perfect rhubarb pie.

  • Labour of Love - Love Catering Co. – week 3

    The adventure continues… here is week 3 of local harvest following a start-up, locally focused catering company based out of Toronto, ON, called Love Catering Co. If you need to catch up, check out week 1 and week 2 of this company’s “labour of love”:

    After a crazy-busy week I’m happy to report that we now have three stores and cafes (with three more in the earlier deliberating stages) signed-on to carry Love Catering Co.'s product! We'll be supplying these businesses with terrines, charcuterie, pickled vegetables, gazpacho... and the list goes on. You might remember that this started off as a catering company that was striving to go heavy on the private functions- but turns out there’s an even bigger market for lunches. We're having a great time letting Love Catering grow organically and it’s so much fun seeing where that takes us. The next stage is a cool package design and many, many more terrine experiments. This week we are also going to try making our own sausages from scratch.

    Just so you know, the Ploughman’s Board (aka a selection of charcuterie, cheese, pickles, spread and bread) that won over the heart of our first-ever client was a pork and triple crunch mustard terrine, which we paired with 2 year old smoked white cheddar; sweet pickle and simple baguette. Made with love of course.

    We sourced the pork from Cumbrae Farms; the smoked white cheddar from The Village Cheesemonger; the baguette from Le Comptoir de Celestin. The pickles were made in our own kitchen using cucumbers from Fiesta Farms organic market on Christie.

    Spencer and I were up until the wee hours on Wednesday night making pickles of all sorts. We got a little carried away but the result was pretty delicious, if I may say so myself. First, we cold-pickled carrots- this is actually cheating (don’t tell) because the vegetables (from Square Fruit Market and Groceries) and brine are never actually cooked- this also means that they go straight into the fridge rather than being canned and stored in a pantry to age. We tried this with shallots and red cabbage as well, sweetening the brine by using fig balsamic vinegar. We pickled golden and green cauliflower, and red cabbage with apple the old-fashioned way. For the most part it turned out well, except for a few rookie mistakes: storing cauliflower in a jar that used to house peppermint tea (no matter how long you boil the jar for, your pickles will still taste of mint) and also using a Patron tequila bottle to store cabbage. "How are we going to get this out?" and "Won’t the cabbage taste like tequila?" were two questions Spencer and I ignored until about halfway through. Lucky for us, that particular pickle experiment turned out the best.

    Tonight Elias and I are so excited to be trying our hand at making these rad little dark chocolate and bacon rillettes for after dinner- if we can wait that long without having a taste! Don't tell but we totally stole the idea from Cowbell in Parkdale, an amazing restaurant that works almost exclusively with naturally-raised, organic meat and produce, sourced from local farmers. If you get a chance, check them out.

    Cowbell

    1564 Queen Street West

    Toronto, ON

    (416) 849-1095

    http://www.cowbellrestaurant.ca/

     

    Next week: the outcome of making our own sausages from scratch!

    Love Catering Co.

  • It Just Tastes Better!!!

    If I were to look into statistics (that’s if there are any!) I would say the most common activity on a summer Saturday in Ontario is BBQing. Now that great farm fresh produce is starting to pop up from region to region, I look forward to my weekends cooking up a storm after long hikes in the valley with my dog Zurich.

    My wife had a great idea to go on a local adventure to shop for fresh local products and try to make a 100% Ontario produced dinner. Spending about 5 minutes of prep time on localharvest.ca and coming up with the menu, I mapped our route and away we went.

    The Menu:

    Main

    15-17 oz Striploin to split with salt, black pepper, 3 dashes of Montreal Steak seasoning, and 1 tablespoon of mother in laws minced garlic from the garden.

    Grilled BBQ vegetables with portabella mushrooms, red, yellow, orange peppers, red onions with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sweet soy sauce, pickle juice, salt and pepper.

    Grilled asparagus with salt, pepper, olive oil, and a dash of balsamic vinegar

    Fiddleheads pan-fried with butter and garlic.

    Dessert

    Ontario Strawberries.

    Fresh baked butter tarts.

     

    Our first stop was down the street to Cutting Edge Meats were we picked out a fabulous 15 oz striploin that owner Michael cut just minutes prior to our arrival.  The beef was fresh from a supplier in Bruce Country and couldn’t ask for more local than that.

     

    Just around corner is Goldsmith Orchards a local favorite for fresh produce. They always seem to have everything I need and what they don’t grow themselves they venture around to supply their customers with the best produce from Ontario.  We grabbed our greenhouse peppers, portabella mushrooms, asparagus from Meester’s Farms in Collingwood, fiddleheads picked just off of Grey Road 13,  a pint of Niagara Region fresh strawberries, and finally one of Jenn’s favorite treats, home baked butter tarts.

     

    I learned a lot on this little adventure. All in all we were excited that everything we needed was at our fingertips and that summer was arriving, producing more and more farm fresh products each week. 6.7 km’s was our total distance and about 45 minutes of our time socializing and spending time together. After dinner was done, sipping on our drinks, Jenn and I looked at each other and realized that time is virtually irrelevant when it comes to buying fresh local products because it just tastes better.Fresh Ontario DinnerFresh Ontario Dinner

    Fresh Ontario DinnerFresh Ontario Dinner

  • Labour of Love - Love Catering Co. – week 2

    If you missed our first post on Love Catering Co., don’t hesitate to catch up and read on as we follow this “start-up” locally-sourced, organic catering company on their adventure of creating a business and growing/sourcing all of their unique product throughout Ontario. Here is what they have to say about week 2 of working on their “labour of love”:

    Since our Maiden post, we have been approached with a really exciting and unanticipated opportunity: We will be providing some local coffee shops with custom eats - check back in the next few weeks as we will be revealing their names as soon as ends are tied and terrines are sampled.

    What’s more exciting is that we have finally gotten approval to use a small commercial kitchen - which basically means that we have a Health and Safety certified place in which to work. After typing it out, I now realize why this small achievement might not seem worth the embarrassing victory dance that happened in our living room this morning, but it is an achievement nonetheless, and we're so excited to have it.

    Unfortunately promises of a peek at our "fresh new logo"- see last weeks post - can't be fulfilled this post. It is still in the works. Next post, hopefully we'll have something cool to share with you.

    And without further ado, the results of Thursday's local bread-tasting mission:

    Three local bakeries provided three different breads for our "tasting" last Thursday, which really just turned into a lunchtime massacre of olive oil and fleur de sel, anyway. Lesson 1: everything tastes good when you are hungry. Thus, tasting bread for future use, on an empty stomach, will not produce the most accurate results. However, having tasted it again (this time après dinner) each loaf proved a lively contender: the Russian marble rye tangy and dense; the Parisienne baguette was perfectly crusty-on-the-outside-chewy-on-the-inside - as one should be; and the Challal was beautifully sweet and moist. But it’s not just taste that needs to be considered - I wish! - We have to take into account the proximity of the boulanger to our neighbourhood; the density of the bread - will it stand-up to brine-soaked pickles?; and finally the availability of the bread - does the boulanger make this particular bread daily? Are they open Sundays? The bread tasting mission has developed far beyond a "tasting." Of course there is also the question of ingredients, whether they are organic and locally sourced or otherwise. In the end, though, we decided that each loaf was worth its salt (and oil,) so we are going to mix it up and use all three. We might even recruit more bread, should we feel the need. That’s the wonderful thing about having your own business: you can have all the bread you want!

    We sourced fantastic bread from these 3 local businesses:

    The Harbord Bakery

    115 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON

    http://www.blogto.com/bakery/harbordbakery

     

    Venezia Bakery

    951 Ossington Avenue, Toronto, ON

    http://www.blogto.com/bakery/venezia

     

    Le Comptoir de Celestin

    623 Mount Pleasant, Toronto, ON

    http://www.blogto.com/bakery/celestin

    Next week: outcomes of our terrine tasting, and making our own pickles at home

    http://lovecatering.tumblr.com/

  • Local Harvest Launches New Web Video Series - Local Harvest TV - part II

    After our interview with Tim Barrie of Barrie Brothers Local Food Company, we met up with Michael Hodgson, Executive Chef of Wildcraft Grill Bar and The Bauer Kitchen, in Waterloo, ON. Mike gave us a glimpse into his creative culinary world and showed us some simple yet amazing recipes showcasing Tim’s fresh, local asparagus. The asparagus was picked right from the field and no more than 20 minutes later it was transformed into 3 simple yet delicious dishes, including asparagus soup with truffle oil, grilled asparagus salad, and asparagus and goat cheese fettuccine. It just doesn’t get more fresh than that! And don’t worry, the recipes will be available shortly so you can cook up your very own asparagus extravaganza.

    Enjoy!

     




  • Local Harvest Launches New Web Video Series - Local Harvest TV

    Welcome to Local Harvest TV! We are very excited to be launching what is only the beginning of an ongoing video web series promoting local farms, farmers, restaurants and chefs who are as passionate about local food as we are.

    Our first Local Harvest episode features asparagus from Barrie Brothers Local Food Company beautifully transformed into 3 fresh, seasonal dishes by Michael Hodgson, Executive Chef of Wildcraft Grill Bar and The Bauer Kitchen.

    Stay tuned for upcoming videos showing you where to get the best local food in Ontario and some amazing suggestions on how to prepare it while celebrating the unique freshness that you only get when you buy local. After all when it comes down to eating local food, it just tastes better!

    Enjoy!

     

    If you want to watch the video in HD, make sure you select it in the YouTube player.