Saturday, August 2, is Food Day Canada. The event was founded by Anita Stewart in 2003 to promote Canadian farmers, fishers and other food producers. Let’s celebrate by enjoying the diversity and quality of local and Canadian-grown food. Here are some ideas.
1. Do a Canadian dinner date
Go out for dinner at a restaurant featuring local fare. In Guelph and Wellington County, Farmalicious runs until early October, each week spotlighting an eatery with a featured local dish or full menu. It begins Food Canada day at Enver’s of Morriston offering a table d’hôte menu, $50 per person. Among the local items are quail eggs and honey from Chassagne. The Food Day Canada site can point the way to restaurants in other areas.
2. Visit a farmers’ market
3. Preserve it
Throw a canning fest. It’s hard to maintain a local diet in Canada through the winter. We can improve the situation by freezing or preserving fruits and vegetables while they’re in season. Now is the time to buy local sweet corn and berries to freeze, cucumbers and other vegetables for pickling, and fruit for preserving jams, jellies and chutneys. The Danish Schnapps website has ideas for flavouring vodka with fruits and herbs, and brandy also works well.
4. Throw a party
Host a games day or barbecue and invite a few friends to share the bounty. It’s easy to assemble a plate of crudites from local vegetables like zucchini, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and snap peas with dips like hummus or guacamole. Include some Canadian artisan cheeses, smoked salmon or trout, and Ontario or other Canadian wines.
5. Grow your own
Make it even more local using produce from your own garden.
Now is the season when resourceful city foragers can find ripe mulberries and rosehips. Read my post about foraging for summer fruit on the Japan Farmers Markets blog. If you’re new to foraging, start by learning the ethics. Attend a workshop or talk to an expert in wildcrafting, like Guelph’s Scott Reid.
7. Try these summer harvest recipes
Here are some more ideas for ways to use those local vegetables:
- Try one of my midsummer harvest soups: tomato chicken soup Provençal, borage soup or gluten-free New England clam chowder.
- Vegetarian lasagna takes advantage of this season’s harvest.
- Have an abundance of summer sqaush? Mine are barely starting, but I can hardly wait. Check out my six great ways to use zucchini. My favourite is the slightly decadent basil margarita shrimp.
- Speaking of basil, here’s a recipe and some ideas for how to use basil pesto.
8. Tell others
Go to the Food Day Canada page on Facebook to share your ideas and experience of the day. The Food Day Canada website has more information about Canadian products, restaurants according to region and numerous recipe suggestions. Stop by here, too, and let us know. But most of all, enjoy eating.