Eat Local Recipe Series: Iced Coffee

Ingredients

1 bag of coffee from Ironwood Coffee Company (I love their Espresso Blend for this)

Maple syrup from Beaver Valley Maple or Miner’s Maple Products

Milk of your choice (try some Oat Milk from Neal Brothers, Whole Milk, Chocolate Milk or even Coffee Milk from Miller’s Dairy)

Cinnamon or cocoa to sprinkle on top (optional – from ONFC or A&E)

Ice Cubes

500mL Mason jar with lid

One of my very favourite summer treats has to be iced coffee. It’s just so cool and refreshing – plus a mid-morning caffeine boost on a hot day can be a real game changer. This recipe is so quick and easy, it’s barely a recipe at all! Follow these steps and you’ll be sipping in no time.

Makes 1 x 500mL mason jar of coffee.

Procedure

There are a couple different methods that I use to make iced coffee at home. My favourite way is to make a concentrated brew of coffee in my french press or stovetop espresso maker and then to pour it over ice. Brewing a concentrated batch of coffee ensures it isn’t watered down when poured over ice.

Make a stronger-than-your-usual batch of coffee. If I am using my french press, I typically use an extra scoop per every couple of scoops of ground coffee I would normally use when brewing. Allow to steep for around 4 minutes before pressing.

Grab your mason jar and pour in 1 tbsp of maple syrup and about ¼ cup of your milk of choice – of course these amounts can be altered based on your own tastes and preferences. I usually drink black coffee, but when I’m making iced coffee, I love for it to be a little sweeter!

Fill your mason jar to the top with ice cubes.

Pour your strong coffee over the ice, twist on your jar lid and shake! This helps to quickly cool the coffee and to incorporate your milk and maple syrup – it also creates a little temporary layer of foam on top which to me, makes it feel decadent and luxurious!

You can also save leftover coffee or make a fresh batch, wait until it cools to room temperature and then store in the fridge until you are ready to drink it. If you are using this method, I suggest freezing some of your coffee in an ice cube tray (once frozen, store in a container in the freezer). Use these coffee ice cubes and your regularly brewed coffee to create an iced coffee that isn’t diluted by using regular ice cubes.

Enjoy!

Check out our many awesome producers here and let us know if you try it out!


Eat Local Recipe Series: Frittata

Frittata is just about one of the quickest and easiest meals to whip up – especially once you have a handle on a solid recipe. It makes for great leftovers and is a good way to feed a larger amount of folks in an economical way. Serve hot with a hunk of buttered bread, with a nice big salad on the side or eat cold the next morning with toast – arguably even tastier than next-morning cold pizza.

Frittatas are also super versatile ingredients-wise. It’s really the ratio of ingredients that’s important. If you don’t have the greens or veggies listed below, just use 2 cups of whatever you have on hand – this is an awesome way to use up any wilting or sad-looking but still edible veggies at the bottom of your fridge or pantry. Same goes for the cheese, if you don’t have feta on hand, just replace with another cheese, grated or crumbled. This recipe includes bacon but hold the meat and you have a delicious vegetarian dish. 

Ingredients

This recipe makes a generous meal for 2 that’s very likely to generate leftovers. It can also serve up to 4-6 people if you whip up a side to go along with it.

6-8 Eggs depending on size (the bigger the egg, the fewer you need!) from Stoeckli Organics, Poechman Family Farm or Lena Landei

¼ Cup of cream or full-fat milk from Miller’s Dairy

½ Cup of feta cheese from WoolDrift Farm (sometimes I like to use their olive feta if I want to get a little fancy!)

½ Cup of shredded gouda, havarti or cheddar from Millbank Cheese & Butter

2 Cups mixed hearty greens (try any kind of kale, rainbow chard, beet greens, collard greens, etc.) from Burdock Grove, Persephone Market Garden or Sideroad Farm – to name a few! Many of our producers grow beautiful, delicious greens!

Bacon! Optional but delicious from Twin Creeks Farm, Cirrus Hill Farm, Pheasant Hill Farm

Handful of fresh herbs (try tulsi or lemon basil, thyme, chives or dill – the possibilities are really unlimited when it come to fresh herbs) from Stoeckli Organics, New Life Farm, Burdock Grove, Persephone Market Garden, Stewart’s Fresh Produce

Salt & Pepper

Procedure

If using bacon, roughly chop and add to a preheated pan over medium-high heat. I prefer to use a cast iron pan here so that I can transfer it from stovetop to oven without having to first transfer it into an oven-safe dish. One-pot cooking = less clean up too!

While bacon is frying, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Crack eggs into a bowl, add milk or cream, whisk to combine.

Roughly chop veg and herbs.

Grate cheese and crumble feta.

If not using bacon, add some butter or oil to your pan. Once bacon is mostly cooked you can siphon off some of the bacon grease or use what’s there, add veggies and saute for a few minutes until they start to sweat – for this version, I’ve only added greens to the pan so the cooking time for these would be less than if I added a vegetable like carrot or broccoli or some alliums like scallions or garlic that might take an extra minute to soften.

Once veggies are cooked, add egg to pan, then add cheese, let cook over element for a minute or so, then pop into your pre-heated oven. Cook for 10-15 minutes, checking for runniness in the middle as a sign of done-ness. Broil the top. 

Take out of the oven, let rest for a minute or two, cut into wedges and serve!

Store in the fridge in an airtight container for a day or two if eating later.

Enjoy!

Check out our many awesome producers here and let us know if you try it out!

Eat Local Recipe Series: Tropea Onion Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of olive oil from Rallis Olive Oil or Ontario Natural Food Co-op

1 generous pound of tropea onions from Persephone Market Garden

A pinch of chili flakes

A scant ½ pound of a starchy potato from Twin Creeks Farm, Cirrus Hill Farm, Stewarts Produce, Bruce Huron Produce Auction, Sideroad Farm or Burdock Grove

2 ½ – 3 cups of water

Salt & pepper

Hearty bread for serving – check out Aster Lane, Thornbury Bakery, Rising Sun Bakery

 Pecorino cheese (optional)

This soup is so savoury and so comforting – it’s a delicious, warming dish, great for serving on a cool fall evening. An Italian recipe, this soup is similar to the familiar French onion soup, but the addition of grated potatoes in the broth makes it more hearty and more filling. 

The Tropea onions make this soup less punchy than your typical onion soup, lending a sweeter, more delicate flavour. If you like, you can use another onion variety but be prepared for it to taste more “onion-y” and less smooth.

Toast up a hunk of hearty bread, pop it right into the bowl, on top of the soup and grate pecorino or parmesan over top. Leave out the cheese to make this a vegan meal.

Serve with a nice fall salad on the side – think brussels sprout slaw with roasted squash, sweet apples and creamy dressing.

Serves 4 or 2 with leftovers.

Procedure

Slice your onions and grate your potatoes – I just used a regular cheese grater for this.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions, pinch of chili flakes and a bit of salt. Stir occasionally, allowing the onions to brown, making sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot too much. This step takes about 15 minutes or so, but it’s worth the wait to get a little caramelization!

At this point, add your grated potato to the pot with the onions. Stir everything together and cook for just a couple of minutes, then pour in the water. Stir and scrape the bottom to release all that tasty caramelization and incorporate it into the broth.

Simmer your soup for 30 minutes, allowing the potato to cook down and release the starches, thickening the soup. Check on it frequently – about part way through the simmering, I noticed a lot of the water had evaporated and added a little more to make it more soup-y.

Once all the way cooked, let cool slightly and then ladle into deep bowls. Toast up a nice slice of hearty bread, place it in your bowl of soup and sprinkle grated cheese on top.

Eat & enjoy!

Check out our many awesome producers here and let us know if you try it out!


Eat Local Recipe Series: Bean Salad

Ingredients

Beans – Use your favourite kind of bean! This time I decided to use canned chickpeas from Neal Brothers and some lentils I had on hand at home, but you can use black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, green lentils – any kind of legume, really! I used canned beans this time around but when I have the foresight and time I have also made this salad with dried beans that have been soaked, boiled and cooled. A&E, ONFC, Neal Brothers, Blackshire Gardens and Annex Distribution carry a variety of dried and canned bean options.

Veggies – Check what’s in season – cherry tomatoes, candy onion, green onion, celery, diced carrots, shelling peas, snow peas, shredded beets, cucumber, thinly sliced kohlrabi, even roasted sweet potatoes or the stalks from some rainbow swiss chard! I love something with a little crunch to contrast the creaminess of the beans.

Nuts or Seeds – sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chopped almonds, etc. Try Jewels Under the Kilt, A&E or ONFC for some nut and seed options.

Fresh Herbs – Use whatever is available; tulsi, lemon or regular basil, thyme, dill, chives, oregano. Check out Persephone Market Garden, Burdock Grove, Stewart’s Fresh Produce, Stoeckli Organics, or New Life Farm.

Something Pickled – I always like to throw in something pickled for a little extra bite and saltiness. Try pickled beets, preserved lemons, minced jalapenos, garlic dills from Funky Ferments or Backwoods Preserves.

Cheese – Totally optional but quite delicious. Try some olive or regular feta, chopped cheese curds or cubes of vegan greek cheese from WoolDrift Farm, Millbank Cheese & Butter, or the Frauxmagerie.

Dressing – Make your own or check out the dressings from Huron Sun, like their organic Sundried Tomato & Basil dressing or perhaps Miners’ Maple Products’ Maple Raspberry Vinaigrette.

Salt & Pepper

This is an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kind of recipe. I like to make a bean salad when I’m not feeling super creative and when I have no desire to actually follow a recipe. It’s the perfect way to use seasonal veggies – you can literally put almost any vegetable in here! Same goes for nuts and seeds – use up the dregs in your pantry that are just short of that amount you might otherwise need for baking or snacking.

The ratios and amounts are yours to decide. When I know I want to get a few days worth of meals from my bean salad, I’ll make sure to use 2 cans of beans and throw in as many veggies as my little heart desires. This is the kind of dish you can taste as you go without worrying about your nibbles impacting the recipe’s outcome. The only thing I am really consistent with is making sure to throw in a ton of fresh herbs for lots of flavour.

Bean salad gets better with time, making it a great fit for a make-ahead packed lunch or other meal prep routine – on top of that it’s easy to transport, filling, and yummy! 

Procedure

Drain and rinse your beans and toss them into a large mixing bowl.

Chop up your veggies and herbs and add them to the bowl.

Toss in your nuts and seeds. Add cheese if using.

Dress & Toss

Super easy!

Store in an airtight container for 2-4 days in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Check out our many awesome producers here and let us know if you try it out!


Why Does Local Food Cost More? Does it Really?

One of the biggest and most impactful shifts that supporting local food systems can provide is moving away from consumer cultures that embed themselves in narratives of competition and individual notions of rights towards responsibility. It is almost impossible to govern food chains as “public commons” when notions of

A common thing we hear about local food is that it is more expensive than food you would find at the grocery store. While this may be true in the immediate purchase of some products, there is a much bigger picture to this discussion of cost. Ecological and regenerative farming practices enable the land and soil to be healthier while supporting biodiversity and potentially leading to fewer climate impacts. Local based food systems inject money into the local community, support a more sustainable food future, enhance food security, and provide high-quality products to eaters.

Social costs need to be included in understanding the costs of food – for a sustainable future depends on it. When you have a direct connection to the farms that are producing your food, you have the ability to ask the farmers important questions such as how their workers are paid and treated and how their mental health is given the pressures and stress of farming in our current climate.
Rebuilding a local, ecological food system from scratch will take time as many elements of local value chains need to be rebuilt simultaneously. Eat Local Grey Bruce is committed to connecting eaters with local growers and or food makers that empowers all its members to participate in equitable and vibrant food culture. We provide an efficient and cost-effective food distribution system in Grey, Bruce and Simcoe Counties.


Local Food Systems Series: Supports Community Resilience

Resilient, in our view, means that the food system can withstand external shocks. Having systems in place that create stability when processing plants close down, extreme weather events occur, having a reliable labour force that has the skills required etc. Eat Local supports creating local systems that rely more on community relationships and responsibilities that extend beyond financial gain and lean more to collective well being and the cooperative spirit. 


How Local Food Supports a Local Economy

This one is pretty simple! Food produced within the community means that money gets put back into the local community to support more localized financial security. When you choose to spend money on locally grown food, it keeps your money in your community. Instead of supporting large supermarket chains, you can support individuals in your own community and help them prosper. Furthermore, local food producers can supply their meat and produce to other local businesses, such as restaurants, schools and hospitals. Many people today choose to eat at particular restaurants because they use local food. In turn, restaurants become more successful and further grow the local farming economy.

By challenging what can be called “Power centralization in food value chains”  that cause unequal sharing of benefits throughout the food chain that tend to be enormous in scale – promoting independently owned food chain elements (processors, distributors) in order to reduce reliance on “power chains” ensures that local food chains can internalize external costs. This means that more money comes back into the local community. There is a lot more to this – but this is a start! 

By supporting Eat Local Grey Bruce, you are supporting 40+ local producers, farmers, and makers livelihoods, and helping maintain the local economy! We have producers all over the region, and it is because of Eaters like you that they can continue to do what they do. 


Local Food System Series: Ugly Food is Good Food

Over the last few years, as discussions around ugly food have become more prominent, people are thinking twice about the food standards they apply in their grocery stores, farm shops, and at home cooking. 

Although there is more traction in this movement, there is still a lot of work to do. At Eat Local we really try to reduce food waste at all costs. If we have been given too much of a product that is perfectly fresh, have leftovers from an event we have run, or some of our items have a best by date that is only a few days away and needs to be used soon, we donate it to OSHARE or other local food spaces in the region to get food to those who need it. However, we still find ourselves sometimes questioning if food that tastes great and is completely fresh will result in some upset customer calls because of the way it looks. 

As you may know – a lot of organic foods sometimes have some bug pals that come along for the ride in delivery, some spots that are purely blemishes due to the absence of pesticides, and some vegetables just have a mind of their own when it comes to the shapes they try to grow in organic or not. Eat Local is dedicated to shifting social norms around what food is “supposed” to look like, why we have been socialized to think that conventional shapes for strawberries, for example, taste worse than the beautiful ones you see on advertising campaigns, and how to shift that logic! 

Pfenning Organics has done some amazing blog posts about this exact issue, go check them out! We would love to hear your thoughts.

Here is to all that ugly, perfectly fresh and delicious food in our futures!


Black Futures Month 2021

Black Futures and History Month 2021 at Eat Local! Year-round, we strive to connect people with local, affordable and fresh products, and this month we’re exploring how the local food movement is connected to food justice and racial justice. How is it all connected? Access to food has been a tool of white supremacy and colonialism. There is a long history of systemic racism in food systems, including theft or destruction of land and water, removal of peoples from their lands and from their traditional foods.

In June 2020, we made a commitment to do better. Our Board of Directors and Staff have stepped into a process of collective learning. We are learning more about the complex history of Black and Indigenous peoples in our region, and how Eat Local can make changes to repair damage done to these communities. For Black History Month this year, we will focus on three key areas: Education, Access, and Elevation.

EDUCATION
We are running a film series that takes a deeper look at systemic racism within our food system. Two films set to launch in Fall 2021 will focus specifically on Black farmers’ experiences, they are just in the final editing phase.

ACCESS
We will soon launch a solidarity share model to support low-income folks within our community. This will enable low-income folks, who are disproportionately Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour, to have access to the same healthy, local and fresh products that more privileged and often white folks in our community have. Stay tuned for details!

ELEVATION
We will be highlighting Black farmers, producers, distributors, and local businesses in our region and surrounding regions to elevate their important work, and contributions to the local food movement.

If you are a local Black farmer producer, distributor or local business and would like to be highlighted on our page send us a DM or email eatlocaloutreach@gmail.com


Cooking Grass-Fed Meat

Basic Principles

There are 4 basic principals to cooking grass-fed meats:

1. Put away the timer, get a good meat thermometer and use it.
2. Turn down the heat.
3. Learn when to use dry-heat cooking methods and when to use moist-heat methods.
4. Ease up on the seasoning and sauces.

Adapted from The Grassfed gourmet cookbook by Shannon Hayes. Highly recommended!

1. Put away the timer, get a good meat thermometer and use it

Grass-fed meats are significantly lower in fat than the meats you find in the grocery store. Since fat works as an insulator, it changes the way your meat cooks. Lean roasts will cook in the oven faster than roasts that are higher in fat. Although recipes often provide you with some time estimate, the only way to know if the meat is done to your liking is to use a high-quality meat thermometer. In most kitchen stores you can find a digital meat thermometer that has a probe connected by a long wire to a digital readout that sits outside of your oven. Make sure you put the probe deep into the cut.

2. Turn down the heat

In general, grass-fed meat is lower in insulating fat. If the heat is too high when grass-fed meat is cooked, the moisture and the fat will exit quickly, which will toughen up the protein. Until you are more familiar with cooking grass-fed meats it’s best to set the heat a little lower when you are grilling and frying, and to set the oven temperature a little lower than you’re used to.

3. Learn when to use dry-heat cooking methods and when to use moist-heat methods

This is a tip that works for all meats both conventional and grass-fed. When cooking meat, there are two methods. The dry heat method is the process where fats and water are pulled from the meat, thus firming it up until it reaches the desired doneness. Dry-heat methods include pan-frying, broiling, roasting, barbecuing, grilling, stir-frying, and sautéing. Dry-heat cooking methods are appropriate for tender cuts of meat (loin cuts for example) those that come from the parts of the animal that do the least amount of work. When you press down on a rib-eye steak it’s soft and squishy. The job of the cooking process is to remove the water and fat until the steak toughens just enough to make it firm but juicy.

The dry cooking method will do this. The moist-heat cooking methods are used for tougher cuts of meat and include braising, stewing, crock-pot cooking, and boiling. Tougher cuts come from the animal parts that do a lot of work, such as the shoulders. When muscles do a lot of work they form a connective tissue protein called collagen, which makes the meat tough. The chef’s job is to break down the collagen making the meat tender. Some cuts that work with moist-cooking methods also work with a dry-heat method called Super-slow roasting. Super-slow roasting can be used for tougher cuts such as shoulder roasts, beef chuck roasts, steaks, top rounds, and eye of rounds. In this method the cuts are put in the oven at 170 degrees F and allowed to roast for several hours. The resulting meat is extremely flavorful and juicy, because the juice does not escape at such a low temperature.

4. Ease up on the seasoning and sauces

Trust that grass-fed meats have sufficient flavour to stand on their own.