People ask me all the time how hard it is to find local food, and if I have to drive all over God’s creation to pick it up. The answer simply is no.
While I do make visits to local farms, producers and country grocers, I don’t really spend any more time than you do grocery shopping. I do prefer to support locally owned small grocers (like Vincenzo’s, Seven Shores and Central Fresh Market) for my weekly shopping.
I love the small stores because they tend to carry more LOCAL items. They aren’t afraid to support small local producers and they aren’t afraid to bring in specialty items their customers are looking for. The trick however (at any store) is to READ the labels (the store labels and the product labels). Find out where it’s made, and where it comes from. I tend to stay away from the big brands and gravitate towards the “unadvertised”, and I always pick up a product I haven’t seen before on their shelves and check it out…
At my favourite local store, you may be surprised to know what can be purchased (even at this time of year!) that is grown and/or produced locally (within 100miles).
…Central Fresh Market, you got it going on! (and you don’t even know it!)
Here is a list of a few of the items I buy on a regular basis:
- Steen Dairy-milk, cream, whipping cream–they are from Erin ON, and all their milk is from farms no farther than Orangeville! (…and a big plus, there are NO added preservatives to any of their products!)
- Pine River Cheese-Bruce County Baby! It’s a farm co-op, and they use only their own milk to produce these top quality cheeses!
- Local Dairy-they are from Ingersoll ON and make some of the best yogurt, crema, cultured butter and paneer cheese that I have ever had! (and…NO added preservatives!)
- Produce-there is quite a lot of produce still available from Ontario farms–but you have to read the store label (just like anywhere else)–but you’ll find a great selection of local/Ontario produce here.
- Other-you can also find locally produced Granola (Nature’s Mix), Puffed Wheat and Puffed Rice Cereals, local cold meats (Finest Meats), store made sausage, honey, maple syrup, frozen pasta and more!…there is a lot to choose from!
So all in all–it isn’t hard to find local food in the city–but you do have to know what to look for. Read the labels folks, and don’t be afraid to buy food/brands that isn’t “advertised!”
1 pkg Cheese Perogies (I like “Cheemo”)
1 pound Mild or Hot Italian Sausage (very thinly sliced or bulk)
3 green onions chopped
1 red or yellow pepper chopped
1-2 cups shredded Pine River marble cheese
Boil the perogies until the “float”, about 2 minutes. Place in a well buttered 9×13 pan.
Fry Sausage until lightly browned and fully cooked.
Add Sausage, onion and peppers to perogies, mix lightly and top with cheese.
Bake at 375 for 35-40 min, until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve with salad or green veg on the side.