Real food comes from real farms, a point that is brought home at Toronto's urban oasis, the Evergreen Brick Works. With a farmer's market, bike repair shop, café, wetland marshes, walking paths, and regular workshops and courses in everything from cooking to environmental stewardship, the Brick Works really is giving back to the community.
Tasty events like the recent Fresh From the Field dinner help out even more by combining both fun and fundraising. It was an evening of local fare in support of Farmers Feed Cities, and hosted by local food advocate chef Brad Long (whose Café Belong just launched at the Brick Works).
A crudite plate of fresh summer veg was served with homespun butter and pumpernickel "dirt". (Very Copenhagen.) You take a radish, dip it in butter, and then roll it in the tasty crumbs before popping it in your mouth. Dingo Farms' braised local beef brisket on a buttermilk biscuit (say that five time fast) was a juicy treat, as was the braised Mennonite chicken on a wee tostado. From the first corn of the season, served on a stick, to wild beef corndogs dipped in Kozlik's mustard, when local tastes this good, why eat anything else?
Further to this point, why not take the $10 challenge? Author Lynn Ogryzlo states in her fantastic new book, The Ontario Table (2011 Epulum Books), that "if every household in Ontario spends $10 of their weekly grocery budget on local food, there would be a $2.4 billion influx into the province's economy each year."
I plan to consciously do this. After all, what do I have to lose by eating the most delicious sweet corn, tomatoes and peaches in the entire world?
For more of my produce picks, see this gallery of my favourite summer flavours.
1-6. Amy Rosen