Category Archives: Produce

Farm Love

I am a city mouse/country mouse. I don’t think I will ever be one or the other. I was fortunate enough to grow up with a farm life and an urban life. I feel deeply connected to the busy, moving, social world of the city and the earthy, open, quiet space of the farm and forest. These two places offer me nourishment in different ways and help me to gain perspective on the other.

I have been hearing more and more about farm centered events in the city. Musicians for Farmers, Love your Farmer, dinners hosted by farmers, and connecting producers and consumers more directly… I am so excited about this wave and look forward to learning more. I will keep you all up to date on the latest trends in Farm Love arena.

This week there will be a rally at the Turning Circle next to the Seaport Market. Saturday Feb. 26th at 11am. Come and show your support for farmers, food, and the protection of our precious farmland. See you there!

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Local Geography by Gabrielle Donnelly

“Local” is clearly not just geographical. Even at the Halifax Farmers’ market – the cathedral of all things local – I’ve watched in puzzlement when avocados make a produce experience.  This obvious vegetable outsider has led me to question the more subtle components of my local loot: what about the flour used in the pastries I indulge in regularly? Exactly how local is local? And how, as consumers of these delights, do we decide?

 

Since “local” is currently swimming in the pool of its own popularity, it is only natural for an individual like myself (who, like most of us I gather, identifies as skeptical of mainstream anything), to unpack its meaning and investigate some of its trailing assumptions.

 

Michael H. Shuman offers the kind of holistic definition of “local” that I’ve been looking for. In his book, Going Local, he states that to choose local “means nurturing locally owned businesses which use local resources sustainably, employ local workers at a decent rate and service primarily local consumers.”

 

Shuman rightly points out that local engenders a meaning much larger than a geographical location.  The word is also moored to a set of ethics. In this way, shopping local means caring about whether the ingredients are sourced closed to home and if they’re sustainably procured.  It means knowing that the people involved are treated fairly and that the wealth generated is circulating back into the communities in which we live.

 

And then there’s the reality that we clearly can’t track down the ethical composition of each and every product to buy.  There isn’t enough time in the day to be that thorough.  Instead, we have to rely on a general sense of trust that what we’re taking home aligns with our values. So what to do? How do we develop this kind of trust?

It comes down to relationships.

 

This kind of trust is not easily built within the corridors of packaged produce at big box grocery stores – even if they are making the effort to source local strawberries (I will begrudgingly concede that it’s a good first step).

 

But we can sift through this conundrum in the connections we build with our local artisans/producers/service providers. Through direct relationships with them, we have the opportunity to listen and learn about the achievements and obstacles they encounter, and as we contribute to their livelihoods we can offer our own words of encouragement, appreciation and suggestions.  In this way, we are actively creating the community that supports a holistic notion of “localism”.

 

So back to that avocado – the instigator of this post.

 

Next time I see one at the market I’m going to buy one.  During the moment of exchange, I’m going to learn about the origin of this fleshy green fruit and the life of individual selling it to me.  Perhaps she is making a profit from reselling produce at the very Superstore I frequent to feed her family? Perhaps he is starting a fledging greenhouse that employs Nova Scotians and is powered by renewable energy?  Through these kinds of moments over time we can begin to collectively create what it means to be truly committed to local, both as individuals and as communities. Now that’s a vegetable I can buy!

 

 


Dreaming of a Solstice Dinner

What will we have? Ham, chicken or a roast? Brie and crackers or maybe Solstice Sushi? Today I was inspired by one of my favorite Halifax spots, Local Source Market. I could not make it all the way to the Farmer’s Market today and so I stopped into LSM on my way home. I was very pleased with my finds: smoked bacon, delicata squash, soft goat cheese and some Propeller root beer (to try with the Ironworks Rum!). It felt great in there today, yummy smells, cheerful people picking up their CSA boxes and smiling staff. Local Source is a perfect place to but holiday house gifts, maple syrup is always a great choice or a homemade chutney or relish. Also a good plan? Plan your winter meals around what is grown here in Nova Scotia and what is in season… Very easy with the right inspiration.


Everyone needs a cup of Local Jo

Well if you have ever been to Local Jo you probably know it is my second home. My children crawl on the floor, play with the toys and eat marvelous pizza and lemon poppyseed shortbread cookies. I drink latte’s and always take home some sweet williams sausage or a fresh loaf of bread. There is nothing this place can’t do! Warm, child friendly, local gift ideas, yummy food, great coffee and they even have cheesecake and Dee Dee’s Ice Cream. I think every hood should have its own version of Local Jo. A meeting place where you can find a good lunch and the local staples you need to make dinner. They also provide a space for your events… I guess I will see you there.