Category Archives: Shopping

Our Honest Review of the NinjaFoodi XL Pro Grill & Griddle

Even if you wouldn’t describe yourself as a minimalist, there’s something so alluring about all-in-one appliances that promise to do it all. As someone who’s finally become more confident in the kitchen, I’m always looking for more ways to save time on cooking. And so when the opportunity to review the  NinjaFoodi XL Pro Grill & Griddle came up, I couldn’t resist.  Here’s my honest review of the latest all-in-one appliance.

What’s the NinjaFoodi XL Pro Grill & Griddle?

The latest innovation in the NinjaFoodi series allows you to air crisp (AKA air fry), BBQ griddle, bake, roast, dehydrate and broil a large amount of food at once. The powerful indoor grill is the winning feature of this machine and promises to defrost foods from frozen to perfectly char-grilled in less than half an hour. 

Related: The Top 5 Kitchen Utensils Every Home Cook Needs

The Pros

Meal Prep Made Easy 

Every home cook knows that meal prep is the key to eating well throughout the week. This latest innovation of the NinjaFoodi series makes cooking large quantities of food easy (we’re talking grilling six steaks at once, easy). It’s a total meal solution, and the appliance also includes a four-quart air crisper, meaning there’s more than enough room to make batches of your go-to  side dishes, like crispy air fryer parmesan brussels sprouts

The NinjaFoodi XL Pro Grill & Griddle on a countertop surrounded by different cooked mealsNinjaFoodi XL Pro Grill & Griddle, amazon.ca, $400.

The Smart Thermometer Will Be Your New BFF 

The intelligent thermometer is my favourite part of the NinjaFoodi XL Pro Grill & Griddle. Thanks to the smart thermometer feature, the grill automatically adjusts to 9 customizable doneness levels in just a touch of a button, allowing you to set cook proteins from rare to well with ease. I like that the grill also gives you on-screen prompts from when the appliance is preheated to when it’s time to flip the meat.

Read More: 15 Recipes That Show Bone-In Meat is Better for the Grill

It’s Versatile 

Although I’ve been more than happy doing most of my cooking in my petite air fryer over the past year, the NinjaFoodi XL Pro Grill & Griddle has opened my eyes to what I’ve been missing in my tiny downtown condo kitchen.  In addition to the grill and the air crisper, I didn’t expect to love the griddle as much as I do. 

Pancakes are pretty much my love language, and in my opinion, sharing a stack of flapjacks is the best way to start a slow Sunday morning with a loved one. Making pancakes on a griddle for the first time has been game-changing (I used to make them on a pan one-by-one), and I know now I’ll never look back.  If you appreciate a pancake breakfast as much as I do, be sure to try these easy pink beet pancakes for a festive start to your morning this holiday season. 

Four parts of the Ninja Grill

The Downsides

You Need Space 

As a single twenty-something-year-old living in a 350-square foot studio, I’m more conscious about appliance real estate than most. My unit doesn’t have an oven, and my cozy kitchen stovetop only has two burners (the joys of downtown living). Since I don’t have much counter space, I need to store almost all of my kitchen devices in my cupboards when they’re not in use. The NinjaFoodi XL Pro Grill & Griddle weighs 27 pounds and measures at almost 12 inches high and 17.5 inches wide. It’s a pretty big product and I usually opt for smaller all-in-one products.

Due to its size and weight, it’s the  type of product that you should buy only if you’re confident that you want it out on your countertop long term, since maneuvering it is pretty heavy. That being said, I am moving to a bigger space in 2022, and I’m excited to host more of my family friends with the NinjaFoodi XL Pro Grill & Griddle in a new home that comes with much more room to cook and entertain.   

It’s an Investment 

I’ll never forget how I refused to buy a $15 toaster when I moved into my first “big girl” apartment at 23. I was saving for a toaster oven and money was tight as a new university grad, so I chose to sacrifice warm and toasted bread for a few months until I could invest in a product with multiple uses.

Retailing around $400, the NinjaFoodi XL Pro Grill & Griddle isn’t the most budget-friendly option if you think you might be mainly using the air crisper component or the griddle. That said, it’s worth the cost if you are the type of person that loves to fire up the grill and miss the opportunity to do so during Canada’s long and unpredictable weather. 

There’s a Learning Curve

Using new all-in-one appliances can be intimidating, and the NinjaFoodi XL Pro Grill & Griddle took a while for me to get used to before I felt comfortable using it.

Related: We Tried the Our Place Perfect Pot — Find Out If It’s Worth the Hype

As someone who doesn’t use all-in-one appliances often, I had a hard time quickly switching from the grill component to the air fryer, and since there are a lot of detachable parts to the product, it wasn’t as intuitive to switch functions as I thought it would be. The good news is that it gets better over time. After using the product for a few weeks, I’ve been able to get my sea legs with the NinjaFoodi XL Pro Grill & Griddle, and I’m confident other foodies will, too. 

The Verdict

The NinjaFoodi XL Pro Grill & Griddle was made for home cooks who frequently cook for many people. It makes the perfect gift for the grill master in your life, and anyone cooking for a family will appreciate it if you know that you’ll be using at least two components of the product, such as the grill or the air crisper, or the grill and griddle, regularly. Alternatively, you should consider this product if you’re looking to upgrade your current air fryer, griddle or grill for one product that does it all.  

Overall, the NinjaFoodi XL Pro Grill & Griddle is a win in my books. It saves you so much time in the kitchen, and it takes the guesswork of preparing proteins. 

For more fun gift ideas, be sure to check out these Costco buys for foodies

Images Courtesy of Ninja Kitchen. 

All products featured on Food Network Canada are independently selected by our editors. For more products handpicked by our editorial team, visit Food Network Canada’s Amazon storefront. However, when you buy through links in this article or on our storefront, we earn an affiliate commission.

Our Place Perfect Pot in Spice

We Tried the Our Place Perfect Pot — Find Out If It’s Worth the Hype

In playful millennial-friendly colours like terracotta pink and calming sage green, the aesthetic allure of the Our Place Perfect Pot – AKA the pot that promises to “replace your stockpot, Dutch oven, saucepot, roasting rack, steamer, strainer and braiser” is undeniable. But with a cupboard full of all of the above, I felt a tad guilty about introducing another pot into the mix, despite the many Instagram ads telling me otherwise. Still — when the opportunity to review the Perfect Pot came up, I simply couldn’t resist.

Read on for everything you need to know about the pot that just won’t leave your Instagram feed.

Our Place Perfect Pot in Spice
Our Place Perfect Pot, fromourplace.ca, $220.

The Basics

Following the viral success of the Our Place Always Pan, Our Place launched the Perfect Pot, which combines all of your essential kitchen pots into one. Most notably, unlike the Always Pan, the Perfect Pot is oven-safe, but only up to 425°F (more on that later). It measures in at 10”x5.5” and has a 5.2 litre capacity, on par with most standard Dutch ovens, but weighing significantly less at just 2 kilograms. With a nonstick, non-toxic ceramic coating interior and painted exterior, it also comes with a Beechwood Spoon (designed to nest on the pot handles) and a roasting rack that does double duty as a steamer.

Our Place Perfect Pot with Beechwood Spoon and roasting rack
The Our Place Perfect Pot comes with a custom-designed Beechwood Spoon and roasting rack.

The Good

A Delightfully Pourable Spout

The wide pour spout quickly became my favourite feature on the pot. Soup season is upon us, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve attempted to pour a pot of soup into my Vitamix for blending or into a bowl for dinner, only to have it spill all over the counter in a big chunky mess. This is not the case with the Perfect Pot – its generous spout and slick nonstick coating means that everything from broths to chowders glides effortlessly into your vessel of choice, with no mess to be found.

A closeup of the wide spout on the Our Place Perfect Pot
A closeup of the wide pour spout on the Our Place Perfect Pot

The Super Light Weight

While I adore my classic Dutch oven, sometimes just the thought of lugging all 7 kilograms of it out of my cupboard is enough to turn me off using it. At just 2 kilograms, the Perfect Pot feels like a feather in comparison, and even full to the brim of thick soup or boiling pasta, it’s manageable to carry. This feature is especially useful when pouring hot liquid into the aforementioned Vitamix.

Related: Top 5 Kitchen Knives Every Home Cook Should Own

A Clever Spoon Rest

I’ll admit – the spoon rest aspect of the handle and specially designed wooden Beechwood Spoon felt a bit gimmicky to me at first. That said, it quickly became one of my favourite features. The wooden grooves on the back of the specially made spoon lock into the pot’s handles in two different ways, so you don’t have to worry about dirtying a spoon rest or searching the kitchen for wherever you last placed your spoon.

A closeup of the Beechwood Spoon resting on the Our Place Perfect PotThe custom-designed Beechwood Spoon resting over the Our Place Perfect Pot.

The Slick Nonstick Coating

Apart from making the cooking process easier, the super nonstick interior of the Perfect Pot also means it’s much easier to clean. A gentle scrub with the provided Our Place sponge is enough to wipe this surface clean, no overnight soaking required. Another added bonus of the super nonstick surface is that you can use significantly less oil to coat the Perfect Pot’s entire surface.

It’s *So* Pretty

We eat with our eyes first, and cooking up something delicious in this gorgeous pot feels extra special. The delightful aesthetics also mean that if you’re entertaining, you can serve straight out of the pot and still impress your guests. Whether your kitchen is minimalist white or full of quirky colour, this pot makes for a chic accessory and comes in seven different trending colours including Lavender, Sage and Blue Salt.

Related: Time-Saving Kitchen Gadgets and Must-Haves for Foodies

The Bad

The Metal Handles Get Hot (Like, Really Hot)

Despite two clear stickers warning me that the handles on this pot could get hot, my natural impulse to touch them won out while cooking. Although Dutch oven handles get hot too, these handles seemed to get particularly hot even while cooking over medium-low temperatures, so they need to be handled with oven mitts at all times. While not necessarily a deal-breaker, it’s definitely an adjustment you need to make in the cooking process when using this pot.

Our Place Perfect Pot coming out of the ovenCareful – those handles are hot!

It’s Awkward to Store

The gorgeous aesthetics of the domed pot lid come at a price – the pot measures in at 8.5 inches tall with the lid on, and unless you have a lot of extra cupboard space, that means it’s hard to store. Since the pot also has a delicate nonstick coating, it also means you have to be a bit more careful to avoid piling your other smaller pots inside it, too. That said, leaving my pot on my stovetop at all times has been my easy solution.

That Slick Nonstick Coating Comes With a Price

While the nonstick coating has many perks like cleaning and pouring, it’s also quite delicate. The company recommends only using wooden utensils on its surface, and even following all of the instructions, I still managed to make a deep scratch in the bottom of my pot while being careful. It’s also important to recognize that sometimes, sticking is a good thing: For many braised recipes, deglazing the bottom of the pot can be essential in incorporating caramelized flavours into your dish to give it depth.

It Has a Low-Temperature Limit

One of the best features of a Dutch oven is that it can be used seamlessly between stovetop and oven, a feature that’s endlessly useful when cooking roasts or other braised delights. It’s also a go-to for beginner breadmaking (which so many of us got into in 2020). The Perfect Pot misses the mark slightly on this one – with a max temperature of 425°F, you may have to turn down your temperature slightly to use it for that roast you had planned. Depending on the type of bread you’re making (many recipes call for a range of 450–500°), you’re probably better off opting for your trusty Dutch oven.

Our Place Perfect Pot on a stovetopThe Our Place Perfect Pot at home in my kitchen.

The Verdict

While I’m in no rush to get rid of the eight pieces of cookware that the Perfect Pot claims to replace, it has become a staple in my kitchen. Something delicious simmering away in my Perfect Pot sparks more joy than my trusty old stainless steel pots ever could, and thoughtful little details like the wide spout and nonstick coating make a lot of aspects of cooking (and cleaning) genuinely better. At $220 CAD, it’s certainly a more expensive option than a lot of its competitors, but makes for a particularly lovely present to add to your wish list (just in time for the holidays!) or to gift your favourite foodie, especially if they’re just starting out their cookware collection. If, like me, you already have a well-stocked cookware collection, the Perfect Pot is probably a luxury you don’t need, but it’s one you’ll absolutely enjoy.

Looking for more foodie gifting ideas? See our best foodie gifts from small Canadian businesses.

farm boy thanksgiving dinner 2021

We Tried 4 Canadian Thanksgiving Meal Kits, Here’s How They Really Turned Out

Whether you’re getting together with extended family or having an intimate dinner for two, the thought of making a complete Thanksgiving feast can be daunting even for the most seasoned home cooks.

Thankfully,  there are solid meal kit options on the market that can take the planning, shopping, and stress out of the equation so that you can focus on cooking (or heating up) something impressive and delicious. To help guide your Thanksgiving meal planning, we tried four of the most popular Thanksgiving meal kits on the market. Read on for our comprehensive thoughts, and see how the meal kits actually turned out compared to the pictures.

Related: We Tested 4 Popular Canadian Meal Delivery Kits. Here’s How They Compared

chef's plate thanksgiving dinner

Left: Chefs Plate’s Thanksgiving Turkey & Mushroom Sauce with Maple-Bacon Brussel Sprouts. Right: Our attempt at the meal.

Chefs Plate: Thanksgiving Turkey & Thyme Mushroom Sauce with Maple-Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Perfect For: An Intimate Dinner For Two

Price: $9.99 per serving (minimum order of two servings)

Availability: Order Canada-wide via chefsplate.com by October 7th for delivery from October 8th-15th.

Why it’s great: Roasting a whole turkey for two people just doesn’t make sense. For an intimate Thanksgiving feast, the turkey dinner for two option from Chef’s Plate is the perfect solution. With gourmet touches like truffle salt mashed potatoes and maple-bacon Brussels sprouts, this turkey dinner can double as a luxurious date night meal. Bonus: this kit is available to order for 2-16 people, so you can order it even if you’re having a larger gathering.

How it compares: Despite having Thanksgiving touches like turkey and mashed potatoes, this meal kit tasted decidedly less Thanksgiving-y than the other kits (likely because of the mushroom gravy and lack of classic flavours like cranberry sauce and stuffing). Still, it’s a delicious meal that feels subtly festive, and the maple-bacon Brussels sprouts were a real standout.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Turkey Cooking Times

hello fresh thanksgiving box

Left: Hello Fresh’s Thanksgiving Box. Right: Our attempt at the meal.

Hello Fresh: The Thanksgiving Box

Perfect For: A Crowd-Pleasing Turkey Dinner with All the Fixings

Price: $23.33 per person (boxes starting at $139.99)

Availability: Order Canada-wide via hellofresh.com by September 29th for delivery on October 7th.

Why it’s great: Hosting a crowd? Hello Fresh has you covered with their Thanksgiving Box that comes in two serving sizes to feed 6 or 10 people. If you’re looking for a complete turkey dinner with all the fixings, this is it! The kit includes ingredients for sage-roasted rolled turkey with gravy, roasted butternut squash with maple syrup drizzle, garlic-infused mashed potatoes, green beans with butter and almonds, dinner rolls with herb garlic butter, cranberry sauce with orange zest, and a dessert of graham cracker crust pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

The comprehensive instructions guide perfectly times out your cooking process, so you know exactly when to simmer that cranberry sauce mash those potatoes, all while your turkey roasts in the oven. If it’s your first time making Thanksgiving dinner or you simply do not have the energy to put together a menu and buy all the ingredients (we don’t blame you!) but still want to cook something special, this is the kit for you.

How it compares: This is by far the most labour-intensive meal kit, but it really pays off with a whopping eight dishes including dessert (and nine if you add on the vegetarian main of Mushroom and Leek Stuffed Squash). While some of the sides are more simple (like the buttered green beans) compared to the sides in the other kits, it still makes for an exceptionally satisfying complete turkey dinner experience.

Left: Goodfood’s Chicken Thighs, Brown Butter and Spiced Cranberry Sauce. Right: Our attempt at the meal.

Goodfood: Chicken Thighs, Brown Butter and Spiced Cranberry Sauce with Roasted Broccoli, Onion and Squash Mash

Perfect For: The Last-Minute Get-Together

Price: $9.98 per serving (minimum order of two servings)

Availability: Order Canada-wide via makegoodfood.ca by 12 pm EST for same day delivery in select markets by 8 pm EST from October 4th-10th.

Why it’s great: So you forgot to pick up Thanksgiving dinner fixings? No problem! Goodfood’s Thanksgiving dinner kit can be ordered for same day delivery (yes, really!) in select markets including Toronto and Vancouver so you can decide to host in the morning and have an impressive meal on the table that same evening. While this is the only kit that doesn’t offer turkey, it still satisfies those traditional Thanksgiving flavour cravings with its cranberry sauce and squash mash.

How it compares: This kit was by far the easiest to cook, coming together (as advertised) in just 30 minutes. The combination of colours between the squash, red onion and broccoli was also especially stunning and made for a really enticing plate.

Related: These Pumpkin Pie Squares With Candied Pecans is the Fall Dessert You’ve Been Craving

farm boy thanksgiving dinner

Farm Boy Thanksgiving Turkey Indulgence Dinner for Two. Right: Our plating of the meal.

Farm Boy: Thanksgiving Turkey Indulgence Dinner For Two

Perfect For: The Hands-Off Chef

Price: $79.99

Availability: Order within Ontario via farmboy.ca, by October 3rd for in-store pick up from October 8th-10th.

Why it’s great: If cooking isn’t your thing but you’re still craving the smell of roasted turkey with stuffing wafting through your home, the Farm Boy Thanksgiving Dinner is your best bet. A complete Thanksgiving meal that you can heat up in 30 minutes is a pretty wonderful experience, and this meal kit features Ontario turkey with savoury turkey gravy, cranberry ginger sauce, cranberry apple sausage stuffing, chive mashed potatoes, honey roasted carrots, maple bacon Brussels sprouts and a buttery Cranberry Pecan Tart for dessert. Farm Boy also offers their Thanksgiving Dinner in larger formats for 6-8 people priced at $169.99.

How it compares: Unsurprisingly, this prepared meal comes with the highest price tag per serving, an important factor to keep in mind. That said, the price tag is reflected in the presentation and organization: each dish comes individually packaged and beautifully arranged with straightforward heating instructions. While you can certainly remove the turkey, stuffing, mash and veggies from the packaging, we opted to keep them in the packaging because it was already so nicely plated.  Bonus: Farm Boy is extra generous with the servings of stuffing. And the dessert, a Cranberry Pecan Tart, is drizzled with dark chocolate and is simply divine

Availability: Farm Boy Indulgence Dinner for Two, farmboy.ca, $79.99. Order within Ontario by October 3rd for in-store pick up on October 8th, 9th or 10th.

Craving more Thanksgiving inspiration? See our best Crowd-Pleasing Recipes for a Holiday Potluck. 

the best new farm boy products for fall 2021

The 7 Best New Farm Boy Products to Try This Fall

If you’re anything like us, you’re already completely obsessed with Farm Boy – also known as Canada’s answer to Trader Joe’s. While we’d be remiss to write this article without shouting out our all-time Farm Boy favourites (the lemon-garlic dressing, chocolate almonds, and spicy kale edamame dip to name a few!), it’s time to say hello to Farm Boy’s latest crop of game-changing products. Here are our top picks for fall:

farm boy cream soda caramel corn

Farm Boy Cream Soda Flavoured Caramel Corn, $3.99/280g

Cream Soda Flavoured Caramel Corn

Caramel popcorn and cream soda is the unexpected snack mashup you need in your life. With notes of banana swirled into the pink cream soda drizzle, it lends the classic sweet snack a welcome note of nostalgia. Who needs to choose between popcorn, soda pop and candy when you can have all three?!

farm boy truffle pepperoni sticks

Farm Boy Truffle Pepperoni Sticks, $8.99/150g

Truffle Pepperoni Sticks

Truffle lovers, rejoice! These truffle pepperettes contain real summer truffle (none of the synthetic stuff!) and have a rich umami flavour that would be right at home on a luxe charcuterie board beside a thick chunk of brie and some herb-studded crackers. While we’re certainly fans of this truffley creation, they aren’t for the faint of heart – opt for the equally delicious Olive Pepperettes if you plan on sharing with kiddos or the truffle-averse.

farm boy tostadas

Farm Boy Tostadas, $3.49/350g

Tostadas

Looking to switch up your Taco Tuesday routine? These certified gluten-free tostadas are the answer, and contain just four simple ingredients: yellow corn flour, water, sunflower oil and salt. Supremely sturdy with just the right amount of crunch, you can pile them high with your favourite taco toppings. Bonus: we have a feeling they’d make for an *excellent* addition to at-home version of a Crunchwrap Supreme.

farm boy tomatillo and jalapeno salsa

Farm Boy Tomatillo and Jalapeno Fire Roasted Salsa, $4.99/300ml

Tomatillo and Jalapeno Fire Roasted Salsa

You’d never guess that this sophisticated salsa comes from a jar. With an inviting deep green colour and complex smoky flavour palate, this is not your average salsa! Keep this alongside a bag of corn chips in the pantry to serve when unexpected guests arrive and they’ll be impressed by your gourmet hosting abilities.

Organic Cucumber Melon Sparkling Water

Farm Boy Organic Cucumber Melon Sparkling Water, $1.49/1L

Organic Cucumber Melon Sparkling Water

Farm Boy’s organic sparkling waters are always an instant add-to-cart (we’ve been known to buy five cases of the Orange Vanilla at a time), so we were delighted to get our hands on their latest flavour. It tastes like a fizzy sparkling hybrid of cantaloupe and watermelon, and we’re officially hooked.

farm boy seafood paella kit

Farm Boy Seafood Paella Kit, $6.99/255g

Paella Kit

ICYMI: Paella is trending right now, and you don’t have to be a pro chef to make it at home! Farm Boy makes it easy with this straightforward kit that contains traditional ingredients like olive oil, bomba rice, and delicate saffron for quick prep, all you have to do is add in your favourite seafood and veggies.

farm boy fruit and vegetable wash

Farm Boy Fruit and Vegetable Wash, $4.99/496ml

Fruit and Vegetable Wash

While there’s nothing wrong with washing your fruits and veggies  the old fashioned way, this all-natural, fragrance-free alternative helps the process of removing pesticides, and eliminating bacteria without the soak time. Just spray and rinse!

Vendors selling produce at a booth in the Afro-Caribbean Farmers' Market in Toronto

An Afro-Caribbean Farmers’ Market is Helping Revitalize a Toronto Neighbourhood

Farmers’ markets have become a draw in cities across Canada, offering fresh, locally grown produce, baked goods and other artisan products, but the price points make them cost-prohibitive for those on a fixed income. Toronto’s newest market is changing its surrounding community for the better, breaking down barriers and making it a welcoming place for all.

The Afro-Caribbean Farmers Market is located in the Little Jamaica-Afro Caribbean Cultural District at Eglinton West and Oakwood. Anyone familiar with the area knows that it has been a sea of construction for close to a decade because of the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown light rail line. Shops were shuttering even before the pandemic, and it’s only gotten worse since.

We spoke with Lori Beazer, Market Manager for the Afro-Caribbean Farmers Market, about its origins and how it’s already making a difference by injecting life back into the neighbourhood and reminding the city that this important cultural hub is still open for business.

The Afro-Caribbean Farmers Market in the York-Eglinton West neighbourhood of Toronto, Canada

The market first ran as a pilot project in 2017 in a different area of the city, but it didn’t have a home until a chance encounter between Beazer and Toronto City Councillor, Josh Matlow. “I bumped into Councillor Matlow in 2020, introduced myself and pitched the market,” Beazer told us. “He loved it, so we started working on it.”

Related: Food Activist and Dietitian Rosie Mensah Looks at Nutrition Through a Social Justice Lens

Fast forward to the market’s July 2021 launch in partnership with Councillor Matlow and the York-Eglinton BIA, where it found a home in Reggae Lane and the adjacent parking lot on Eglinton West. “Here we are, a year later, and it’s been well-received. Its success shows what the area was craving for so long,” said Beazer.

Visitors to this unique market can shop for clean, culturally appropriate fruits and vegetables from the Caribbean and continental African countries along with clean produce grown by local urban farmers, baked goods, fresh juices, sauces and other artisan products. “We use the word clean instead of organic because this produce is clean of any pesticides, and is grown using diatomaceous earth,” Beazer explained. “The market features clean foods that are locally grown by people that look like them. And I think for them, that’s important.”

Vendors selling homemade condiments at the Afro-Caribbean Farmers' Market in Toronto, Canada

Until this point, many farmers’ markets across the city exude a sense of exclusivity and elitism, but this is where the Afro-Caribbean Farmer’s Market is breaking the mold. “In having conversations with many of our vendors, they’ve felt a sense of racism when shopping at or even vending at other farmers’ markets,” Beazer disclosed. “We have created a platform where they’re not only able to sell their products, they’re selling out.”

Related: The World’s Biggest Rooftop Farm is in Canada — and Growing Fast

They’ve even gone as far as providing a program for those facing food insecurity called Callaloo Cash, making this farmers’ market accessible to more people, especially those in the neighbourhood. From the earliest stages of planning, the program was always going to be an important facet of this market, according to Beazer.

“I understand this area and a good majority of our population of the African diaspora rarely go to farmers’ markets because they can’t afford it. But we have urban Black farmers who need a space to sell their wares. They’re not travelling a long distance and can get to the site using less mileage and expense, which lowers the cost of their produce. Having the Callaloo Cash subsidy program allows people from the community to walk out of the market with bags of food that they paid little or nothing for. They can go home with all of these wonderful things that they know are local and clean.”

Related: Allison Gibson Talks Launching Food Businesses and Reclaiming the Term “Ethnic Food”

Since the July launch, the market is quickly becoming a destination for people in the neighbourhood. “It has become important to the community,” Beazer shared. “They’re grateful to have something to do on a Sunday in this area. They can invite family to their homes and go to the market together for coconut water and sugar cane, or some jerk chicken with rice and peas.”

Vendors selling produce at a booth in the Afro-Caribbean Farmers' Market in Toronto

A market does so much more than provide food and a sense of community. Farmers’ Markets Ontario, the organization that represents over 180 markets across the province, has researched and proven that real estate values increase in neighbourhoods following the launch of a farmers’ market, something that Beazer has already witnessed in the area. “The community members, homeowners, and business owners have already seen the benefits of the farmers’ market being mentioned in their postal code. And that’s incredible.”

She continued, “The community wants the market here because they see the benefits. The stores see the benefits and open if they’re not typically open on a Sunday. The foot traffic has been close to a thousand people every Sunday since it started, many of who wouldn’t have normally visited Eglinton West. Our vendors sell out of their products, which has never happened to them at other farmers’ markets in the city. It’s a great place to be with a fantastic vibe.”

Related: How Food Injustice Inspired This 23-Year-Old to Start Her Own Farm, Plus Her Advice for You

Despite support from Councillor Matlow and Ontario MPP Jill Andrew, the Toronto Parking Authority, which owns the lot where the market takes place, hasn’t been supportive according to Beazer. “Every farmers’ market has its challenges and we have ours. This market is dealing with some really ugly things because of this space that we’re in. The Toronto Parking Authority is not doing what they need to do for the space. They’re disrespecting the vendors by not keeping the lot clean for us.”

In fact, Beazer has taken on the site clean-up since the first day of the market and tearfully described the human waste that she faces each week when she arrives. “Every Sunday at 8AM, I head to the market site with anxiety because I don’t know what I’m going to find. Without fail, I have to clean it up myself before the vendors arrive.”

An assortment of freshly baked bread for sale at the Afro-Caribbean Farmers' Market in Toronto, Canada

Ideally, Beazer wants this market to happen annually, and as part of that, she would love to see this space returned to the community. She envisions it as a hub for art shows, yoga classes, movie nights, children’s activities and so much more beyond the farmers’ market. “This project was really supposed to help change the attitudes of people that live in the area that haven’t come to Eglinton West for 15 years because they were afraid. By bringing food and culture to this neighbourhood through the Afro-Caribbean Farmers’ Market, we can start to change that footprint.”

Related: Vegan West African Peanut Lentil Stew: The Comfort Food You Need

Beazer also believes that there is magic in this space, especially in the Reggae Lane mural created by artist Adrian Hayles. “When the sun comes out and hits the mural, it comes to life. The talk of the community is that the elders from the mural that have transitioned join us at the market.” She added, “Hayles is creating another mural on the opposite side. Should the market happen again next year, the whole space will be filled with beautiful art.”

The Afro-Caribbean Farmers’ Market runs every Sunday from 11AM to 3PM until October 3 in Reggae Lane and the Green P Carpark at 1531 Eglinton Avenue West in Toronto.

Four Andy Warhol-inspired Campbell's soup cans in bright colours

Campbell Canada Launches Limited Edition Andy Warhol-Inspired Soup Cans

Sixty years after the late Andy Warhol first drew his iconic Campbell’s soup can, Campbell Canada and The Andy Warhol Foundation have teamed up to bring Warhol’s vision full-circle. In a bid to spread joy to Canadians, Campbell Canada is releasing limited edition Andy Warhol-inspired soup cans with four distinct bright, colourful labels and two flavours — cream of mushroom and tomato.

Andy Warhol-inspired Campbell soup cans

The inspiration behind the cans is Warhol’s belief that “art is accessible to all,” and to his point, that means even a soup can is a worthy canvas. “These special edition soup cans serve to remind us that there is joy, warmth and light that can be found in simple things around us. We look forward to bringing this concept to life through our campaign by sharing examples of real life pop art inspired by the cans – there are always new and creative ways we can brighten up our days,” said Mieka Burns, vice-president marketing at Campbell Canada.

Related: 10 New Food Products You Can Buy in Canadian Grocery Stores This May

Keeping with the spirit of Warhol’s pop art movement that everyday items could be transformed into minimalist works of art, Campbell Canada is challenging several Canadian artists and influential content creators to come up with colourful, everyday inspiration from the limited edition cans to produce their own version of pop art-inspired content, by following the #CampbellsxWarhol hashtag.

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“In 1962, Andy Warhol changed the trajectory of contemporary art by depicting Campbell’s soup cans on canvas,” said Michael Dayton Hermann, director of licensing, marketing and sales at The Andy Warhol Foundation. “It is only fitting that we pay tribute to the enduring legacy of these two icons by coming full circle and bringing his art back to the Campbell soup cans that provided him with inspiration.”

Photo courtesy of Campbell Company of Canada