Monday, May 29, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, May 29, 2017

Beer & Grilled Cheese Sandwich 
I attended Green Drinks Saskatoon on Friday evening and thoroughly enjoyed the setting, the beer, and the grilled cheese sandwich. 9 Mile Legacy Brewing Company is a very pleasant spot for a visit with friends and I appreciate their support for community events. I really enjoyed their sessional beer brewed especially for the NatureCity Festival; next time I plan to try their tasting menu so I can sample some of the wide range of beers they brew.

Dapper Dane Gourmet Grilled Cheese food truck was parked outside 9 Mile so I was able to pick up a freshly-grilled sandwich for supper. The Caprese was excellent – fresh tomato and basil, pesto, and cheese is a great combination. The food truck is named after their two Great Danes and there is a jar with dog biscuits on the counter.

Brightly Coloured Beehives 
Calories restaurant – with help from Monique Martin, fine arts students from Georges Vanier and St. Phillip’s schools, and Dr. Barry Brown – has installed beehives on the roof of their building. I love the brightly-painted boxes.

Saskatoon Food Forest Initiative 
The Saskatoon Food Forest Initiative has obtained a site for a small food forest pilot project this summer.

Ukrainian Pickles & Soup 
I’m really enjoying the Beet Salad and Sauerkraut that I picked up at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market (middle aisle across from Kaleidoscope Vegetable Gardens) and I’m looking forward to trying the Borscht – it comes in a jar, just add water, and heat.

Oatmeal Cookies & Porridge are Good for the Planet 
Seems to me that, to be a superfood, a food’s got to deliver more than nutrients. It has to be cheap, versatile, good-tasting, not too onerous to prepare and not so perishable that you end up tossing it. It also has to perform on the environmental front. It has to be able to play in the kind of responsible, productive agricultural system we’re going to need if we expect to feed almost 10 billion people by 2050. . . . Oats have an important job in fixing what ails our agricultural system. Just about everyone who works in agriculture says they believe that our current system, based disproportionately on corn and soy, would work better if we grew a more diverse suite of crops.”

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

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

Monday, May 22, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, May 22, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 15, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, May 15, 2017

Devour every Hour spring rolls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Collective Kitchen

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

2017 NatureCity Festival Has a Local Flavour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 8, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, May 8, 2017

Food Truck Saturdays in front of the Saskatoon Farmers' Market

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lovely garden plants from Mistik Acres

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Purdy's Chocolates: Tasty, Local, Sustainable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 1, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, May 1, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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