Tag Archives: produce

Metis Herbalist and Educator Lori Snyder on Urban Foraging and Food Sovereignty

If you seek to better understand urban foraging, in all its intricacies, Metis herbalist and educator Lori Snyder can show you the path.

But when it comes to urban foraging, what exactly is on the menu? Think: wild plants and weeds growing in the city or suburbs that you could easily come across while out for a stroll.

“We need to be mindful of creating foraging corridors in our cities,” Snyder explains. “How can we be put all this really fantastic food and medicine in our backyards, back alleys, schoolyards and on the edges of parks? We could be growing tons of food that would also benefit insects, birds and other creatures. You have to reconsider what is in your garden that you didn’t realize you could eat, like dandelions and horsetail — stuff we think of as weeds, but our ancestors ate.”

While Snyder points out that there are some potent plants that could do major damage if you’re unfamiliar with them, the majority of the edible and medicinal ones can be found in city parks and right outside our front doors — and each comes with its own unique flavour and texture that we should teach ourselves to acclimate to.

“We’re all about sweetness and the sugar and why is that?,” she muses. “It’s probably because we’re not cultivating enough sweetness in our life. Very gently I remind people that sugar is a colonized food — it actually has a horrible history involving slavery. So here we are eating this part of history that is really very dark. So now I educate my palate about different flavours that aren’t so common in our diet, but were common in our diet once because they’re the wild foods our ancestors ate.”

We recently chatted with Snyder about her urban foraging journey, the meaning of food sovereignty and the one woman who influenced her life’s work.

Related: The Dark Side of Trendy Superfoods (and What You Can Do to Help)

Tell us about the path that led to your journey as an herbalist and educator.

I was born and raised in Squamish, just outside of Vancouver. Where my parents built their house was the beginning of a housing development and behind our home was an incredible forest. We had all kinds of wild animals coming into our yard – like bears and stags. Our next door neighbours who bought the lot beside us were Danish and Irish. My sense of Mrs. [Maude] Bruun, because she was from Ireland, was that she didn’t know the plants that were growing here on this continent. What she would do is walk us kids up through the back trails and introduce us to the cottonwood tree, the salmonberry, the miner’s lettuce, the birch tree — all the incredible species and diversity of plants that grow in this part of the world.

When I do teachings I’m always sharing more pathways for people to discover. [The documentary] My Octopus Teacher shows us that the world around us is always in service of teaching us how to be as two-leggeds. What I’m seeing is that we have moved away from our true way of being on the planet. So I’m really grateful for Mrs. Bruun for imprinting that introduction. Once we start to learn to identify plants and other creatures, we get more curious and want to learn more about them. Once I get to know who they are [the plants], then it’s about ‘can I eat you or use you for medicine?’ Although I don’t like that word ‘use’ — it’s more ‘how can I get in relationship with you so that I can honour the gifts you bring.’

In Indigenous cultures, we didn’t have anything written — it was all oral. It was about using all of our senses so that we understood the world. I didn’t grow up knowing about my Metis history and ancestry. We could ask our own selves, how have I been colonized away from this deep relationship my ancestors have carried since the beginning of time? We’re talking about urban foraging — the reason that is starting to happen [more often now] is because we’re getting more curious [about the land we live on]. It’s either ego-centric or eco-centric. That’s what we’ve been – we’ve been so self-absorbed and distracted by entertainment that we haven’t even noticed someone has been cutting down the forest behind us.

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

What are some common cross-Canada plants that are edible and/or medicinal that many of us aren’t even aware of?

Stinging Nettles [pictured above] are an amazing plant. They are hard to find in Vancouver because we get rid of it — because people think it stings and it’s a weed. But when you take the time to learn about her you realize she’s a superfood. It’s got tons of vitamins and minerals — and it’s so delicious when you cook her, it’s unbelievable. You can get fibres made with her, you can harvest the seeds and it’s considered an adaptogen. It’s also great for the prostate gland and inflammation – and this is just a snapshot of what she can do. The other piece that is so important is that she’s a host plant for five different species of butterfly here in this region. When we don’t [take the time to] understand the native plants, we destroy their habitat.  [Stinging nettle] tastes earthy and woodsy. It’s such a unique flavour.

Saskatoon/Serviceberry we can find across the country. [They resemble blueberries and are both sweet and nutty like almonds in flavour. They’re also high in fibre, protein and antioxidants.]

Strawberries – oh my goodness, what an incredible medicine they are! They help regulate our menstruation — they’re good for cramping. What are us women taking? We’re taking pharmaceuticals which can be hugely detrimental to our health and can have side effects, but can also stay in the body because so many of them are fat-based. Plants are water-soluble, so they move through the body.

Purslane is [a green, leafy vegetable] like a succulent and it’s crunchy. It’s so good for the brain and, of course, there are a ton of vitamins and minerals.

Oxeye Daisy — her leaf is out of this world [delicious] and indescribable. To be able to add her to your salads [or desserts]  would be amazing. The weeds outside our door just offer so much.

Rosehips — now here’s a plant people could be looking for right now all across the continent. [pictured above] They’re abundant, go harvest them. They are beautiful and high in vitamin C, iron and zinc. There’s your coffee right there — a nice stimulus that is good for the heart and good for the muscles and repairing collagen. And she taste beautiful as tea, syrup, jelly or jam.

Related: What is Food Insecurity? FoodShare’s Paul Taylor Explains (Plus, What Canadians Can Do About It)

Can you speak to food sovereignty and its link to injustice in the food system?

Food sovereignty appears to me to be political in its design. When you kill off all the buffalo or chop down the forest you impact Indigenous communities’ ability to feed themselves. We are not children asking for handouts. We are strong, capable people who can feed ourselves as we have done prior to the arrival of a new order. We see this tactic again and again all over the planet. All people need to take back their responsibility in their relationship to the land which feeds and nourishes us. We might consider growing our own foods, sharing the bounty, saving the seeds, teaching our children this ancient art of growing food. Not only do we grow food, but we grow a living ecosystem around us that feeds all life. Let’s deal ourselves back into the web of life and drastically reduce our food footprint by transporting food all over the planet. We can do this — take the power back and have sovereignty again for all nations all over the planet.

I don’t want anyone having power over me. I want my autonomy. I want sovereignty in how I’m eating, I want sovereignty in the choices I make. I don’t want to be a consumer, I want to be a citizen. We are consuming because we think we’re not enough. We are the ones we have been waiting for. Let’s wake up, my friends.

Related: Vegetable Garden Planners to Help You Grow All Year Round

What is the biggest takeaway you hope people have from your work?

We’ve been colonized away from nature and for us to really cultivate our reverence and gratitude and know that we’re just part of the web, I have this responsibility. I’ve had people tell me they look at the plants everywhere they walk now… that they’re seeing the world differently now… and of course it sets them on a culinary exploration. It opens you up to all these amazing possibilities.

Want to learn more about plants and urban foraging? Lori Snyder recommends:

The book called Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. The braiding of sweetgrass involves three strands — scientific knowledge, Indigenous ways of knowing and plant wisdom. [Kimmerer] refers to the plants and animals as our older brothers and sisters which, to me, makes complete sense because they were here before we ever arrived. If we look at Indigenous ways of knowing, so much of that comes from the land and the animals.

There’s also a beautiful book called The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival by Katrina Blair. Wild weeds are essential for our human survival. I take so much [knowledge] from others that are sharing this important way of being.

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

Photo of Lori Snyder courtesy of Belinda White at Apple Star Photo; plant photos courtesy of Getty Images

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How to Make Apple Juice and Other Questions About Fall’s Favourite Fruit

Move over, pumpkin – it’s time to talk about that other autumn classic: apples. Whether you’re looking to whip up a piping hot cider or want to get your bake on with a fresh batch you recently picked from the orchard, there’s a plethora of ways to incorporate apples into your everyday meals. One of the most important factors, however, involves proper preservation. (Say goodbye to the dreaded browning).  From cider recipes to apple-related hacks, we answer some of your biggest questions about everyone’s favourite fall fruit.

How to Make Apple Juice

If you’ve already had your fill of apple pie and apple dumplings in recent weeks, it’s time to satisfy your cravings with the season’s fruit favourite another way: homemade juice. (Psst, it’s also a lot easier to make than you’d think — and doesn’t involve a blender or juicer).

1. Wash, quarter and core the apples, making sure to remove all the seeds. Peeling isn’t necessary, it’s baker’s choice.

2. Add apples to a pot of water (just enough liquid to cover the fruit, otherwise your juice will turn out too watery). Boil the apples for 20-30 minutes, until soft.

3. Slowly pour contents from the pot into a mesh strainer with a bowl underneath, gently mashing the softened apples with the back of a large spoon or ladle. The juice will be filtered while the apple mush remains behind.

4. Once the juice is cooled, add sugar or cinnamon, depending on personal preference.

5. Keep refrigerated and enjoy within one week of making.

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Irresistible Apple Desserts

How to Make Apple Cider

If you’ve been apple picking lately, grab the largest pot you own and get simmering! (Hot tip: if you like your cider sweet, opt for the Fuji, Gala or Red Delicious varieties, while those who prefer their cider tart should go with McIntosh, Granny Smith or Pink Lady apples).

1. To start, add quartered apples, one sliced orange, one piece of peeled ginger, one tablespoon of black peppercorns, two cinnamon sticks, two teaspoons of cloves and a half cup of brown sugar to an oversized pot.

2. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Let it simmer for at least two hours. Alternatively, you can do this in your slow cooker for up to five hours. Although there are 15-minute variations for apple cider, more time in the pot or slow cooker will allow all the flavours blend together and will leave your kitchen smelling divine.

3. Strain apple mixture through a sieve, discard solid pieces and serve hot. Bonus: freshly made apple cider can last for up to two weeks in the fridge! Find more apple cider recipes to try this fall.

Want to try the “grown up” version? Get the recipe for Nancy Fuller’s Sparkling Apple Cider or if you’ve got extra time on your hands, try the Slow Cooker Hard Cider variation pictured above.

Related: Refrigerator Rules: How Long Do Leftovers Last?

How to Freeze Apples

If you’ve picked more than your usual amount of apples from the orchard this year, don’t let all that fine fall fruit go to waste. There’s a simple hack that will preserve your leftover apples for up to a year!

1. Peel and core apples, cutting them into thin eighths or bite-size chunks – baker’s choice.

2. Once all the slicing and dicing is done, give them a five-minute soak in a water and lemon juice mixture – the lemon will help prevent browning.

3. Once drained, arrange each piece on a baking sheet (to stop them from sticking together) and freeze overnight.

4. The next day, transfer the slices or chunks to an eco-friendly freezer bag or container labelled with the date. The beauty of this food hack is that you can freeze your apple slices for up to one year and it won’t dilute the taste!

Get the recipe for Hasselback Apples Topped With Coconut-Oat Streusel

Related: This Clever Trick Will Prevent Freezer Burn for Good (and Major Food Waste)

How to Keep Apples From Going Brown

Ah, the dreaded browning process. Think of how many apples it’s ruined over the years. Luckily, there’s more than one simple hack that’ll help you preserve fall’s most iconic fruit.

1. For same-day usage, soak sliced apples in lemon juice – the citric acid will help slow down the browning process leaving your apple pieces looking fresh and crisp for several more hours.

2. Out of citrus? Another option is to soak the apple slices in a bowl filled with one cup of cool water and ½ teaspoon of salt. Let them float for about 10 minutes before storing in an airtight container for up to a week. Worried about a salty aftertaste? Fear not! That leftover brine comes off with a simple tap rinse.

3. If you’re looking to pack or use an entire apple, slice it into quarters and then put it back together before wrapping a rubber band around it. The band will ensure your ready-to-eat slices aren’t exposed to the air.

Get the recipe for Bobby Flay’s Apple Pancake Bars With Brown Butter Crumble Topping

Related: 10 Brilliant Ways to Use Fruit That’s Going Bad

Don’t know the difference between butternut and acorn squash? Our ultimate squash guide breaks it down for you. You can also keep your green thumb happy this autumn by learning how to grow fall vegetables.

First two images courtesy of Unsplash.

Cheyenne Sundance of Sundance Harvest

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

Food is political and should be rooted in justice. That’s the message that’s at the core of the work of 23-year-old urban farmer Cheyenne Sundance.

Sundance Harvest, started by Cheyenne when she was just 21, was created based on a void she saw for farms operating in an ethical lens in the for-profit farming industry. “What farm would I want to see when I was younger? What farm would I want to work at and learn from? And I literally just created it from that,” she says of her Toronto-based urban farm.

Her farming career began after she turned 18 and worked on a socialist farm in Cuba. Working with many Afro-Indigenous and Black Cubans, she was introduced to the ideas of food justice and sovereignty. “Access to food is affected by someone’s health status, socioeconomic status. There’s data from U of T that correlates food insecurity and food injustice to Black and Indigenous people being the most systemically affected. So I started understanding those things and noticing these trends,” Cheyenne says.

Cheynne Sundance of Sundance Harvest holding up a box of greens

Related: What is Food Insecurity? FoodShare’s Paul Taylor Explains (Plus, What Canadians Can Do About It)

Can you tell us about how Sundance Harvest came about?

I could not find a farm that existed in Toronto with those same values, that also respected the workers, paid them a fair wage and was actually trying to further food justice.

I wasn’t really thinking so much about “Is this the most profitable farm?” because for Sundance Harvest, it’s my full-time job and has been for a year and a half, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t just having a farm that exists in a vacuum. I want to have a farm that is planting the seeds and all these other small farms are grown from my farm and that’s why I started a program called Growing in the Margins as soon as I started Sundance Harvest.

I didn’t want to be a farm that relies on grants and I didn’t want Sundance Harvest to be a not-for-profit. I wanted to make sure my farm was profitable, so I have a CSA three seasons of the year and I also sell at farmers’ markets year-round.

Mentorship is at the core of your work. Can you tell us more about the farming education programs you’ve developed?

[On Growing in the Margins] It’s a free urban agriculture mentorship for youth who are BIPOC, queer, trans, two-spirit, non-binary and also youth with disabilities. Youth who are marginalized and low-income within the food system have the ability to take [the program] Growing in the Margins for free. They either want to start their own farm, have a career in urban agriculture or start their own food sovereignty movements and I teach them everything I know about the basics of starting a farm. Growing in the Margins is not for gardeners, because it’s primarily focused on mentorship.

[On Liberating Lawns] When COVID hit, the city of Toronto was not opening community gardens and I am part of a group that was trying to lobby to have them open them. If we hypothetically can’t get community gardens to open, what are ways that I can have people grow food? The easiest way is private land. Working with the city is like watching paint dry, so I decided to start Liberating Lawns, which basically matches up landholders with growers. My next intake is this fall, in September.

Related: 10 Facts That Will Shock You About Racial Injustice in Canada 

What are some of the challenges you faced with racism/sexism/ageism within the food system and how did you address them?

One is big corporate farms that operate on colonial and white supremacist ideals. There is a corporate farm in Toronto — also a couple of the non-profits — that is actively harming the food justice movement. It was so hard starting Sundance Harvest. Finding land and basically competing with corporate farms who have really wealthy investors and backers to help them get these large properties that I don’t have the privilege to because I don’t have those connections. I would also say corporate gentrification of urban farming in Toronto which exists and is happening very rapidly [and] is really scary because a lot of community land is turning into corporate farms, probably in the next couple years.

It makes it really hard for someone who’s in a position like I am, who does face intersectionality oppression. Because I have no wealthy parents, I have no investors, I don’t have a degree. I don’t really have anything to start my farm off of. What would really help in the future would be grants, subsidies and the city zoning for urban agriculture, because there’s currently no zoning for urban agriculture. One of the biggest hurdles was the total lack of support [from] the city. [Access to] land is also one of the biggest issues.

Sundance Harvest greenhouse

Related: Ren Navarro on Diversity in the Beer Industry – and How Companies Can Improve

What advice can you offer to Canadians interested in growing their own food?

One of the easiest ways to start gardening is to do container growing. [It’s] super easy and you don’t have to worry about making sure you have the right soil and if it’s draining enough because that’s a whole other issue.

For people who are Black or Indigenous, the best thing I can say is to reach out to other people who are Black and Indigenous or both in your area who are doing the work already because they’ll know who to connect, who to talk to, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked. I’ve found that creating a community has really helped me in expanding Sundance so quickly. I started Sundance Harvest a year ago. I doubled the size of my greenhouse to a production that is 2,600 square feet and bought a 2.5-acre farm. I’ve done all that in a year. It’s really helped me connecting and getting tips, because farming while Black, it takes a lot of lived experience to do it right.

What other actions can non-farming Canadians take in their everyday life?

The first and most obvious one is purchasing your produce from a CSA. It’s a produce box you get each week. When someone buys a CSA, they usually buy it in the springtime and what that does is gives the farmer money upfront to buy seeds and equipment. If you can purchase a CSA, it’s great to buy one from a POC. Purchasing from a CSA helps small farms — and the more small farms we have, the more youth that can be trained on those small farms and they’ll get experience and start their own.

The second is to look into your neighbourhood (or town or city) and see what’s being done about urban agriculture. If you can, volunteer at a local non-profit that does urban agriculture and ask them, “What would you like to be seeing?” Once you know that from the people that are in the industry, write to your MPs or your city councillors and say that you value urban agriculture.

Cheyenne Sundance with her leafy greens

What are your favourite crops to grow and why? Do you have a favourite recipe you make from your produce?

I’m going to say the easiest one – kale. Kale is the easiest crop to grow, same with Swiss chard. I like making a kale Caesar salad. I swap out Romaine for kale because it’s way more nutritionally-dense. You can marinate it overnight and have it as a cool dinner party dish. With Swiss chard, I love substituting it for lettuce in sandwiches because it has a thicker crunch.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Photos courtesy of Cheyenne Sundance

What’s in Season? Your Ultimate Guide to Canadian Fruits and Vegetables

Crisp lettuce and juicy tomatoes in your favourite salad. A ripe peach fresh from the farmstand. Sweet, earthy leeks in a creamy soup. Is your mouth watering yet? As Canadians, we have a plethora of seasonal produce at our fingertips throughout the year and knowing what and when to buy seasonally empowers home cooks with the best local flavours possible. Whether you are looking to shop local or support Canadian farmers coast-to-coast,  make food shopping a breeze all year round with our Canadian seasonal produce guide covering January to December.  Grab your tote bags and get shopping – bounty awaits!

potatoes-white-red-in-basket

What’s in Season in  Winter

The dead of winter brings the blahs for most of us. Winter fare, however, can be quite inspiring. Think warm soups and stews, gorgeous roasts with luscious mashed or roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash and rutabagas. Fry onion rings and add sautéed garlic to everything. Braise cabbage or roll it around meat and rice filling for cabbage roll perfection. Dream even bigger with a moist, cream cheese frosted carrot or parsnip cake (yes, parsnip cake!) or rich, dark and dreamy chocolate beet cake. With dishes like these, winter won’t seem long enough!

What’s in Season in December:

Pears, Brussels Sprouts, Rutabagas / Turnips, Beets, Carrots, Cabbage, Red Onions, Garlic, Leeks, Potatoes, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Pears

What’s in Season in January:

Rutabagas, Turnips, Beets, Carrots, Cabbage, Red Onions, Garlic, Leeks, Potatoes, Squash, Sweet Potatoes

What’s in Season in February:

Rutabagas, Turnips, Beets, Carrots, Cabbage, Red Onions, Garlic, Leeks, Potatoes, Squash, Sweet Potatoes

What’s in Season in March:

Rutabagas,  Turnips, Beets, Carrots, Cabbage, Red Onions, Garlic, Leeks, Potatoes, Squash, Sweet Potatoes

asparagus-cooked-sauce

 

What’s in Season in Spring

As the seasons change so does the fresh produce. Asparagus arrives – April in British Columbia, May in the rest of the country, continuing into July towards the East Coast –  along with fiddleheads, radishes, spinach and later peas, beans, cauliflower and broccoli. We begin to see fresh lettuce and radicchio along with celery and fennel in British Columbia, following in July in the rest of Canada. Fruit also begins with outdoor rhubarb as well as strawberries and cherries in May, continuing into July. Make the most of these months with light pastas, simple salads, pies, tarts and where weather allows a little grilling.

What’s in Season in April:

Asparagus, Radishes, Fiddleheads, Spinach, Fava Beans,  Rhubarb, Peppers (greenhouse), Tomatoes (greenhouse)

What’s in Season in May:

Asparagus, Radishes, Fiddleheads, Spinach, Rhubarb, Kale, Salad Greens, Morel Mushrooms, Arugula, Swiss Chard, Green Onions, Peas, Cherries,

What’s in Season in June:

Asparagus, Radishes, Spinach, Rhubarb, Kale, Salad Greens, Arugula, Beets, Lettuce, Green Onions, Gooseberries, Saskatoon Berries, Strawberries, Broccoli, Celery, Swiss Chard, Garlic (Fresh), Peas, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Turnips, Zucchini, Fennel, Cherries

fresh-strawberries-in-a-basket

What’s in Season in Summer

As summer hits, things kick into high gear with seemingly unending produce options. Stone fruits like peaches, plums, apricots and later nectarines burst onto the scene, tending towards an earlier arrival in British Columbia, soon ripening across the country and finally arriving in the Atlantic provinces in September. Berries also arrive this time of year, making it the perfect opportunity for crumbles, preserves and general good eating. Melons are now in full bloom, begging to be soaked in summery sangrias, wrapped in prosciutto and added to salads. And early pears and apples make their way onto the scene in late August, rounding out fruit season. Vegetables like homegrown corn, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and rapini are now in their prime, and it’s the start of leek and eggplant season in August.

What’s in Season in July:

Gooseberries, Saskatoon Berries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Currants, Cherries, Blackberries, Apricots, Nectarines, Green Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower,  Celery, Swiss Chard, Cucumber, Garlic (Fresh), Leeks,  Lettuce, Green Onions, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes (New), Radishes, Rhubarb, Salad Greens, Spinach, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Turnips,  Zucchini, Beets, Peaches, Watermelon, Kale

What’s in Season in August:

Raspberries, Currants, Cherries, Blackberries, Apricots, Apples, Crab Apples, Blueberries, Gooseberries, Melons, Nectarines, Pears, Plums, Prunes, Strawberries, Artichokes, Green Beans, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower,  Celery, Swiss Chard,  Corn, Cucumber, Garlic (Fresh),  Leeks,  Lettuce, Green Onions, Parsnips,  Peppers,  Potatoes (New), Radishes, Rhubarb, Rutabagas,  Salad Greens, Shallots, Spinach, Summer Squash,  Tomatoes, Turnips,  Zucchini, Beets, Eggplants, Grapes,  Peaches, Watermelon, Kale, Pears

fall-apples-on-a-cutting-board

What’s in Season in Fall

We end our big season on a high note with pumpkin, leeks, eggplant, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, crabapples and the continuation from August of muskmelon and grapes. We begin to crave in-season apples and pears, and as cool weather approaches so does the need for warmer dishes. Back indoors, get set for roasting, holiday feasting and all of the apple desserts.

What’s in Season in September:

Cranberries, Apples, Crab Apples, Blueberries, Grapes, Melons, Pears, Plums, Prunes, Artichokes, Green Beans, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower,  Celery, Swiss Chard, Corn, Cucumber, Garlic (Fresh),  Leeks,  Lettuce, Green Onions, Onions, Parsnips,  Peppers,  Potatoes (New), Pumpkin, Radishes, Rutabagas, Salad Greens, Spinach, Tomatoes, Turnips,  Zucchini, Beets, Eggplants, Nectarines, Watermelon, Kale,

What’s in Season in October:

Cranberries, Apples, Crab Apples, Pears, Quince, Artichokes, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower,  Celery, Swiss Chard, Corn, Garlic (Fresh),  Leeks,  Lettuce, Green Onions, Onions, Parsnips,  Peppers, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Radishes, Rutabagas, Salad Greens, Spinach, Turnips, Beets, Eggplants, Kale

What’s in Season in November:

Cranberries, Pears, Quince, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower,  Leeks, Onions, Parsnips, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Radishes, Rutabagas, Turnips, Apples, Beets

mushrooms-crimini

What’s in Season in Canada Year-Round

Don’t forget about options available regardless of the season. Take mushrooms, for instance, which are grown year-round and across the country. In addition, many greenhouse farms are using methods that help cut down on waste and reuse water, soil and energy, producing year-round. Cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and lettuce are excellent greenhouse-bought options in winter when local outdoor choices have dwindled so you can enjoy a taste of summer, whatever the weather.

Make the most of your market haul any time of year with all of our in-season recipes.

spring galette

Say ‘Goodbye’ to Winter with These 5 Springtime Galettes

After a long winter of root veggies, we can’t help but get excited over the beautiful bounty of spring produce nature brings. Asparagus, rhubarb and fresh peas are among the first delights of the season, and that’s a delicious reason to celebrate!

You don’t need to make an elaborate meal to harness the goodness of these spring flavours. A simple galette is an easy and excellent way to make the most of spring. These five, no-fuss recipes will have you and your guests overjoyed to officially say ‘goodbye’ to winter.

Spring pea and leek galette

For The Pastry:

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into chunks
1 Tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp or more cold water

Directions:
1. In a food processor, mix flours, salt and sugar. Add in butter and pulse until butter is evenly dispersed into pea-size pieces. Add vinegar and pulse. Run the food processor as you add water 1 tsp at a time through the spout on the top. Dough will come together into a smooth ball.
2. Roll out on a floured surface until dough is between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick. Refer to recipes below for shape.

Leek, Pea and Egg Galette:
Chop 3 leeks into 1/2-inch rounds. Heat 2 Tbsp butter in a large pan. Cook leeks in pan with 1/2 tsp of salt until fragrant but not soft, about 2 minutes. Let cool. Roll out dough into a 12 inch circle. Toss leeks with 1/2 cup freshly shucked peas. Place mixture in the centre of dough leaving a 3-inch border from the edge. Create a 3 inch divot in the center of the mixture. Crack an egg inside the divot. Fold the edges over mixture and brush pastry with heavy cream. Sprinkle fresh thyme and ground pepper over pastry, egg and leeks. Bake on a lined sheet tray in a 400°F oven until pastry is golden brown, about 35 minutes.

spring--asparagus-tart

Asparagus and Lemony Ricotta Galette
Trim 1lb of asparagus and blanch. Roll dough into a 12×8-inch oval. Mix 1 cup of extra smooth ricotta with 1 tsp of lemon zest. Spread mixture into centre of dough leaving a 3-inch border around the edge. Toss blanched asparagus with 1 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange asparagus spears side by side over ricotta. Fold over edges of dough and brush with heavy cream. Sprinkle 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese over pastry and asparagus. Season with salt and pepper. Bake on a lined sheet tray in a 400°F oven until asparagus is bright green and pastry is golden, about 35 minutes.

Fig and orange galette

Fig and Orange Marmalade Galette
Roll dough into a 12-inch circle. Quarter 3 cups of black mission figs. Microwave 1/4 cup of orange marmalade for 20 seconds. Gently toss figs in marmalade to coat and place in the centre of the circle, 3 inches from the edge. Fold over edges of dough onto figs. Brush dough with heavy cream and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp of turbinado sugar. Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake in a 400°F until pastry is golden, about 35 minutes.

strawberry rhubarb galette

Strawberry Rhubarb Almond Galette
Roll out dough into a 12-inch circle. Mix 1 cup of quartered strawberries with 2 cups of sliced rhubarb, 3 Tbsp granulated sugar, 1/4 cup almond flour, 1 Tbsp of corn starch, and 1/2 tsp salt. Place mixture in the centre of dough leaving a 3-inch border around the edge. Fold over edges and brush with heavy cream. Sprinkle 3 Tbsp sliced hazelnuts over pastry and filling. Bake in a 400°F oven on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment until pastry is golden, about 35 minutes.

pear-galette

Pear, Lavender and Black Pepper Galette
Slice 3 small ripe pears in half. Remove core with a spoon then place pears cut side down on surface. Slice the pear halves vertically being careful to leave the top 1 inch uncut. Roll out pastry into a 12-inch circle. Place pear halves cut side down in the centre of the dough.
Press on pear halves gently until they fan out. Brush 1 Tbsp of melted butter over pears then drizzle 2 Tbsp of honey. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of lavender and season with black pepper. Fold over edges of dough and brush with heavy cream. Bake in a 400°F oven until pastry is golden, about 35 minutes.

Looking for more spring dishes? Try our 40 Fantastic Spring Cake Recipes.

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Cory Vitiello on How to Make Fruits and Veggies Last

By night, you may know Cory Vitiello as an expert on Chef in Your Ear, but by day, he’s a popular Toronto chef and restaurateur. He’s also a serious purchaser of fruits and vegetables. Produce is important at his Toronto restaurant, Flock, which is just as famous for its fresh salads as its antibiotic and hormone-free rotisserie chickens. “We probably go through $20,000 worth of produce in a week,” says Cory.Cory Vitiello

Here, he shares his tips for which fruits and veggies will last the longest, how to store them for optimal longevity, and what to do with them when they’ve started to wilt. These tips are a great starting point for getting the most from your fresh goods, but as always, trust your senses and don’t consume food that looks or smells off.

Apples
Last for: up to 3 months in the fridge.
Store apples in the warmest part of the fridge in a sealed bag, says Cory. Apples tend to absorb flavours, so avoid putting them next to fragrant items like cheese. If they’re starting to overstay their welcome, peel them, cut them into slices and toss them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. From there, you can “use them for smoothies just like you would bananas,” says Cory.

Tip: A plastic bag helps keep apples (and bananas) well segregated from other produce; apples release ethylene gas, which can cause premature ripening in nearby produce.

beets-raw-wholeBeets
Last for: 2-3 weeks in the fridge.
Although beets last quite a while in the fridge, they tend to lose their sweetness over time. Cory recommends keeping them at room temperature as long as possible to maintain optimal flavour. As long as they’re firm — “I mean very firm, you should not be able to bruise them” — they can be stored in the pantry. “If you’re looking for a nice salad beet, you definitely want to use the firm, fresh ones,” says Cory. When the skins start to get leathery, move them to the refrigerator, or better yet, roast them. “Keep the skins on — you don’t have to peel them. Just give them a good scrub and roast them with your apples that are about to expire.”

Cabbage
Lasts for: up to 2 months in the fridge.
“Cabbage is probably one of the most underrated vegetables,” says Cory. “As long as it’s stored in the fridge, you’re golden.” Peel off wilting outer layers to reveal crisper leaves below, and don’t be afraid to branch beyond coleslaw. Cory likes chopping a cabbage in half, dicing it against the grain, and stir-frying: bonus, cooked cabbage goes nicely with your roasted or sauteed aging beets, apples and carrots.

carrots-orange-yellow-purpleCarrots
Last for: 2-3 weeks in the fridge.
Trim the green tops off carrots and store them in water with their skins intact so they stay fresh and juicy. “I like to leave the skins on, scrub them down and roast them whole,” says Cory. “I love that rustic, natural look on a carrot. What I don’t like is a perfect carrot stick on a plate. I think that looks tacky and 1980s.”

Celery
Lasts for: up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
When the base of celery goes limp, do like “everybody’s mom” and cut the base off, and revive celery sticks in a cup of water in the fridge. Or simply remove the flimsy outer stalks to reveal the heart, “which is the best part anyway.” And don’t forget to use the inner leaves — Cory likes to toss his in fresh salad as he would with other herbs. “It’s really nice, tender and sweet.”

Garlic
Lasts for: 3-6 months.
“All garlic will age to a certain point, but you want to keep it in a dark place, in a paper bag,” says Cory. Keep it away from fruit to avoid flavour transfer, but you’ll know it’s nearing the end when it starts to sprout. To use up a bunch of garlic at once, peel and roast in olive oil on low heat until just browned. Store the roasted cloves submerged in olive oil in a jar in the fridge.  “Use it for pasta, sauces, anything you’d use garlic for — it’ll last for a month after you roast it,” says Cory.

Onion and Shallots
Last for: 2-3 months.
Like garlic, onions and shallots are best stored in paper bags in a dry, cool place, encourages Cory. Sprouting will indicate that they’ve started to turn; as with beets, if they start to wrinkle or can be easily squeezed like an orange, cook them. Whether you roast them for a dip, caramelize them for burgers or at them to soups, “any kind of cooked preparation is fine,” says Cory.

pomegranatePomegranates
Last for: 3 -4 weeks in the fridge.
Pomegranates can last quite awhile as long as they’re intact. Once you remove the seeds from the fruit, however, they need to be eaten within a couple of days. “The seeds have an incredibly short shelf life and will lose their juice, go pale and won’t taste as sweet,” warns Cory. He suggests sprinkling them on your morning yogurt, or trying them in salads. If you crack into your pomegranate and find some of the seeds are brown and slimy, don’t eat them, but do go ahead and pick out the good ones.

Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
Last for: 2 – 3 months.
These famously long-lived staples are good to eat until they start sprouting, says Cory. Like beets, the starch and sugar levels will fluctuate according to storage methods. “If you store them in a cool, dark place,” says Cory, “that will prevent the sugar levels from building up. Then you’ll get a nice, dark roasted potato, and not a limp one that tends to burn quickly or is flimsy when you fry it — that’s because of too much sugar. When you store them in the fridge, they build up too much sugar.”

Winter Squashes
Last for: up to 3 months.
“This is definitely one of the most versatile and longest lasting ingredients,” says Cory. “It takes a long time for winter squash to break down. I like eating winter squash raw — I’ll peel and shave it really thin on a mandolin or vegetable peeler, and it gives a really nice, unique crunch in a salad. But when in doubt, just roast it whole — cut it in half, smear with butter and some spices.”

watermelonWatermelon
Lasts for: 2-3 weeks in the fridge
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen an expired watermelon,” says Cory. But if you’re looking to use up your watermelon quickly, he suggests scooping out the flesh and tossing it in the blender with your favourite tea. “Watermelon iced tea is the ultimate summer drink,” he says.

12 Farm-to-Table Restaurants Celebrating Canadian Cuisine

This Canada Day we should be celebrating the restaurants highlighting the fresh and local ingredients surrounding them. A hyper-local menu (very similar to local food and is in many ways the same thing) will taste differently on the west coast of Canada compared to the heart of the prairies, but our vast and diverse landscape is what makes this country so great.

Here are 12 must-try restaurants from coast to coast that do right by the farm-to-table approach and serve some pretty tasty food, too.

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Chives Bistro: Crab Cakes

Chives Canadian Bistro (Halifax, NS)

One of the institutions of the Halifax dining scene, Chives Bistro and owner Craig Flinn have always stayed true to the “work with what’s around you” mentality when it comes to their menu. Naturally, you’ll find some fresh East Coast lobster being offered here, but also a ton of local produce, Nova Scotia cheeses and more.

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Fable Kitchen

Fable Kitchen (Vancouver, BC)

With a name like “Fable” that merges the words “Farm” and “Table” into one, you’d better hope that the restaurant places an emphasis on knowing where their ingredients come from. Top Chef Canada’s Trevor Bird and his kitchen team work with a long list of B.C. producers onshore and offshore, receiving whole halves of beef or lamb and butchering them down in-house. Getting a side of the signature house-made bacon is a must when you’re popping by for brunch on the weekend!

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Farmhouse Tavern

Farmhouse Tavern (Toronto, ON)

When it comes to a meal here, diners looks to a chalkboard with an ever-changing list of options that go along with the season. In terms of libations to enjoy with the hyper-local menu, expect local craft beers and a nice list of VQA wines from the Niagara area.

Fusion Grill (Winnipeg, MB)

Though the name may not really imply it, Fusion Grill’s thought process with food is “local, local, local,” through and through. On the menu you’ll find Manitoba grass-fed beef (a protein that is not overly common in the city), pike, bison and even a variety of cold-pressed canolas used in various dishes that are specific to the Manitoba region.

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Fusion Grill

Langdon Hall (Cambridge, ON)

Hyper local has never looked quite as beautiful as (if you don’t believe me, check out his Instagram right this second: @langdonhallchef) the food coming out of Langdon Hall’s kitchen. If you’re looking to splurge a bit on local, foraged and good quality cuisine, then head to the proper restaurant, but those looking for something a little more casual then Wilks’ Bar on the same property, which has the same mentality but with more approachable fare.

Mallard Cottage (St. John’s NFLD)

Top Chef Canada season one alumnus Todd Perrin embodies Newfoundland cuisine in an old character cottage that (through much blood, sweat and tears) was transformed into a restaurant just outside the heart of St. John’s.
Like Farmhouse Tavern, the menu is ever-changing, but don’t be surprised to see uniquely Newfoundland ingredients like seal or salt beef popping up on the menu. To stay up-to-date with what Perrin is cooking up, check out his Instagram: @mallardcottagechef.

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Mission Hill: Halibut

Mission Hill Winery (Kelowna, BC)

In terms of location, the Okanagan offers one of the best growing seasons in Canada, which also means having access to locally grown produce almost all year round is sort of like a chef’s dream come true. Aside from working closely with a long list of Okanagan producers, the winery restaurant chef Chris Stewart also cares for the large on-site garden that has everything from herbs to peach trees and huckleberries (say, what?). All of these things will end up on the menu at Mission Hill in some shape or form.

It’s also pretty tough to beat the view while dining on the terrace here, especially when the sun begins to set and a light breeze comes up from Lake Okanagan.

Prairie Harvest Cafe (Saskatoon, SK)

I’ve mentioned this cozy Saskatchewan restaurant before because of their great weekend brunch, but one of the main reasons why most Saskatoonians (myself included) love Prairie Harvest is because they work closely with the city’s farmers’ markets to use local products like beef, pork, lake fish like trout and more.

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River Cafe: Fiddlehead Soup

RGE RD (Edmonton, AB)

The name of the restaurant itself is an ode to the country roads (range roads) that you can find in the Prairie Provinces; roads that cross over hundreds of kilometres of farmers’ fields. As it implies, RGE is all about using the best ingredients Alberta has to offer on the plate and showing you how tasty the province can be.

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River Cafe: Octopus Salad

River Cafe (Calgary, AB)

One of the first restaurants in Western Canada to embrace a “local” mentality and definitely the first in Calgary, River Cafe has been a staple of the dining scene since the 1990s. Being around for that long, you’d think the restaurant might have a hard time keeping up with what’s new and trendy, but the food remains as contemporary as ever, and the restaurant continues to be rated as one of the best establishments in the city for years.

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Rouge: Tartare 

Rouge (Calgary, AB)

Much like River Cafe, Rouge has long been a leader in the sustainable sourcing food movement in Calgary. A great sourcing ethic paired with one of the largest and most lush backyard gardens in the prairies means you’ve got a culinary experience worth trying. In the summertime, sit on the restaurant’s back patio while you watch Chef Jamie Harling and his kitchen staff pop in and out of the heritage home, picking greens and small vegetables to garnish plates with. Garden-to-table — it really doesn’t get fresher than that.

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The Wolf in the Fog

The Wolf in the Fog (Tofino, BC)

When you’re only a few hundred feet from the Pacific Ocean, it would be a real shame if you didn’t opt for using the beautiful (and sustainable) bounty that’s underneath the waves. The Wolf in the Fog, enRoute’s best new restaurant in Canada for 2014, is big on utilizing local oysters, more meaty underwater delicacies like Humboldt squid, as well as foraged mushrooms from the many forests that surround the beautiful little coastal town that is Tofino.

Dan-Clapson-Avatar Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.

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