In the early, still dark days of spring 2014, I went to a Real Dirt Dinner. No, dirt was not on the menu, but fare grown in local soil was. The sold-out event was a fundraiser for Durham Sustain Ability. The lure? A chance to nosh at the newly opened Bistro ’67, and hear guest speaker, Harry Stoddart, an ex-industrial farmer, and author of Real Dirt.
While I was there, I had the pleasure to chat with two of Durham Region’s longtime sustainability champions, and board members of Durham Sustain Ability, Gail Lawlor and Terry Green. They raved about the menu at Bistro ’67, which aims to have as much local and in-season produce as possible, and that led to a conversation about local agriculture. I did know that Durham Region has some of the best farmland in Ontario, but what I didn’t know was how slim the margins are on a farmer’s profit–as slim as 1%! What does this mean for you and me? It means that when we shop and eat local, it really can make a difference.
So now that spring is actually here, as in I’m not wearing my parka anymore (completely ignoring the snow falling outside. . .), and the grass is turning green, my thoughts are turning to gardening, farmers markets, and the outcome–local food that is picked, prepared and tantalizing your taste-buds in mere hours or at the most, a few days.
Given that Earth Week is next week, I thought I’d share some of Terri and Gail’s favourite picks for local food, along with a few nature-lovin’ events and picks I’ve discovered on my own.
First, the time sensitive items:
April 16th Order a rain barrel for $60 as a fundraiser for Durham Sustain Ability
April 26th Orchard Design and Grafting Workshop at the Foggy River Farm
April 26th Xeriscaping: Water Efficient Gardening Workshop with the City of Oshawa
May 24th the Oshawa Garden Club’s Spring Plant Sale
Here are the faves:
Pickering Farmers Market (Gail’s pick. She loves the mix of food and arts, and that it’s walking-distance for many people.)
Harrington’s Quality Butcher (Terry’s pick. Harrington’s in Port Perry sells only local and growth-hormone-free meats. He enjoys them at home, and at Harp and Wylie’s Grill House.)
Svetec’s Country Porch Store, north Bowmanville
Willowtree Farm Market and Community Shared Agriculture (CSA), Port Perry
Durham Integrated Gardeners – D.I.G, community gardens and events all over Durham Region
I’m sure there’s many, many more! Leave your suggestions below in the comments, or tweet me!