Archive for November, 2010

Announcement: Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sale!

Friday, November 26th, 2010


The perfect time to stock up on seeds for spring or gather some stocking stuffers for the gardeners in your life.

From Thursday, November 25th, 2010 To Monday, November 29th, 2010 use etsy coupon code BLACKFRIDAY2010 to take 20% off your entire order. Our prices always include free shipping.

Enjoy even better deals with our package deals and grab bags.

And our surprise grab bag is a great deal 20 packs of our choice for only $35.00!

More good news, we’ve been on the front page twice today!

Wordless Wednesday: Unseasonably Warm Weather

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
What started out as a perfectly idyllic autumn day with our new-to-us slide and flash:
quickly turned into this:

Recipe: Really Really Dill Pickles

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

After posting the photos of the pickles I’ll be giving to friends and family over the holidays, I realized that I never got around to posting the recipe for these great dill pickles.

This recipe is adapted from the Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving Favourite Dill Pickles recipe.  I doubled this recipe without any issues.  I used the 8 & 16 oz Ball Jar Elite, which are sort of a funny shape for pickles, hence the untraditional dill slices.  They’re a hit though, excellent on or with a sandwich. This recipe should make about 8  x 16 oz jars, the spicing is written out for the 16 oz jars, just half it for the smaller ones.

Although I really like the taste and the crispness is fine, next year I’ll brine them over night in the refrigerator. It just makes a better pickle and its really not that much extra work.

16-20 small pickling cucumbers (about 3lbs/1.5kg)
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
2 tbsp pickling salt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 head of fresh dill per jar
1 small clove of garlic per jar          
1/2 teaspoon of mustard per jar

 Cut your cucumbers up into the desired shape, slices, hunks, it doesn’t mater.

Combine vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan and bring to a boil.

Prepare your hot jars. Place 1 head fresh dill, 1 clove garlic (I used the little bit of garlic I grew this year) and ½ teaspoon of mustard seeds (I found two different colours at the Big Carrot, their organic spice section is phenomenal) in each pint jar. 

Pack cucumbers into jars and pour boiling vinegar mixture over cucumbers to within ½ inch of rim.  Process for 10 minutes.  Please be mindful to follow good canning practices and don’t eat anything that you suspect hasn’t been processed properly.

I’m really pleased with these pickles.  They really pack a punch.  Even though I reduced the spice in the small jars, they’re really dilly.  

Adventures in local food: Our visits to the Royal Winter Fair

Saturday, November 20th, 2010
This post is really one week late, but this week has been a little nutty, filled with Foodland Ontario videos, babies who attack with scissors and appearances on Etsy’s front page.
The Royal Winter Fair takes place in Toronto for 2 weeks every November.  I haven’t been for a few years; I think first year at OCAD was the last time Ryan or I went. I have such fond childhood memories though; the goats (I love goats), food coloured chickens, little pieces of wool, and butter sculptures.  This year did not disappoint, we actually went twice despite the steep entry price.
We took the GO train. I’m so glad I figured out that this was the way to do it.  Only two stops, a 20 minute trip, lots of room for Rebecca to move around, a view of our old studio, and baby’s first train trip.
Like at the farmer’s market, what’s really great about the fair is talking to the farmers.  On our first visit, Rebecca and I nursed with a goat-farming mother of 3 whose baby wore a bib reading “in case on emergency, feed me goat’s milk”.  Surprisingly, there are few places to nurse a baby while surrounded by engorged show cattle.  We talked about goats, gardens and empathy for the cows.  I wish I had gotten the name of her farm.
We also had a nice chat with a farmer who explained that the big cattle auction was that night.  Everyone was in high gear getting the cows ready.  Cow hair spray remains a mystery.  He also wanted to make sure Rebecca liked cows milk but said you could eat fish instead of beef if you liked.  Hilarious.
On our second visit we asked another farmer about that night and he told us that 1000 farmers and their families drank $10, 000 worth of beer, stayed all night with the dairy cows and there was dancing on top on the stalls.  Some of these calves went for $20,000.
Here’s a photo of a cow named Becca.
We met up with some friends and went into the petting farm.  Rebecca used her excellent dog feeding techniques to befriend the goats.  She also ate quite a bit of the feed.  Seems she’s outgrown her soy-intollerence.
She also really likes sheep. Like mother like daughter, and fibre artist grandmother.  These photos are from both visits.
Here are some brand new piggies.
We went upstairs and bought dinner; delicious little British pies and quiches from Simcoe Ontario, more Montforte Goat curds, lots of veggies and talked to some more farmers.  We visited the award winning jams (Congrats Sarah) and the Toronto bee keepers.  We bought some honey comb and raw honey with bee propolis.  Can anyone tell me about this?  I’ve never had it before and have just been putting it in my coffee.  It tastes like sunshine coming through a small dusty crack in a wooden cottage.  Deeply satisfying.
We also saw all the giant vegetables and I picked up two giant pumpkin seeds.  We’ll try them in the front this year.  Anyone want to do a giant vegetable grow-along?
Santa was there on our second visit, which was a nice touch.  He had a real beard and everything. All signs are pointing to Becca really being into Christmas.
On our way out, we let Rebecca have some hay time.   Her I love Dirt button was a nice touch, thanks Gayla.

A farmer saw us a declared that we needed a cow.

I took a bunch of photos of these prize-winning goats with their teenagers in front of the CN tower on the way out.  I’d love to send a copy to them but can’t find an address or email, so if you know how to reach Frankhaven Goat Dairy from Tesswater Ontario, please send them my way.

My name’s Laura and I’m passionate about local food!

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

I am so excited to share this with everyone!

I have a minor twitter addiction and one day decided to tweet my beet recipe at Foodland Ontario.  Well, one thing led to another.  The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs tracked me down, and to make a long story short, they made this great little video featuring yours truly:
My garden is in October shambles but I love how well it demonstrates just how great and easy it is to grow your own food. Those are touchstone gold beets I’m pulling out of our very hilly front yard in Toronto’s Beach. 

I was working on my mac & cheese post when they were here and Rebecca was eating all the tomatoes from this Wordless Wednesday post.

This was shot the day of the last East Lynn Farmer’s market of the season, which is a great urban farmer’s market.  Rebecca and I met up with Catherine & Penny and Jen & Poppy and it was a lovely visit filled with baby wearing, Monforte Dairy, buffalo meat, and harassing the guys from Belanger Organic Farms about what can only be called the great beet/milk hypothesis of 2010. My fridge was seriously stocked as we had just picked up our good food box and as a personal highlight, I also had not one, but two varieties of blue potatoes from S Fetts Farm.

There’s a series of these videos on the Ontario Newsroom youtube channel so check them out, and if you’re on twitter you should follow me and everyone involved or featured in this project.  I’m thrilled to be in their company: