Another Postcard from Toronto: a Snapshot of Toronto Food Culture (the Field part)
So, Toronto Part 2! And another CN tower shot. I couldn’t resist.
Back from Niagara, I visited some local farmers and get a feel for the Toronto food culture from the roots up. Field to Fork and Nose to Tail.
I met Hannah from matchbox, a relative newcomer to the farming scene. An ex chef with a passion for good ingredients, Hannah set up Matchbox with her husband and grows approx 100 different crops from chillies to cabbage.
Mainly heirloom products, selected for flavour, with some sourced at the last Slow Food Terra Madre in Italy. Hard work, no doubt, but she does it with aplomb. Brilliant produce comes out of there.
I now need to get me some blue cabbage seeds.
Dingo farms was next.
A small family run farm just outside Toronto run by Denis & Denise with their 5 children pitching in. Cows and pigs are the focus of their operation with some rabbits too, a pet project of their son.
Denis & Denise do everything on site, even growing and drying their own feed. Naturally, their produce is in fierce demand from chefs in Toronto. They supply half or whole carcasses to them usually, to be used usually in a nose to tail manner.
Finally Cookstown Greens, from David Cohlmeyer, previously a food columnist at the Toronto Globe and Mail.
In his own words “For a lot of reasons, I concluded that “cheap-food/chemical-agriculture” cannot continue providing nutritious, satisfying food. So in 1988, with the support of several leading Toronto chefs, I set out to demonstrate a natural Canadian alternative.” Cookstown Greens is a magical spot with a wonderful selection of products.
Constantly innovating (in a natural non-invasive way) and sourcing new products, David supplies many of Torontos restaurants with his terrific heirloom tomatoes, pumpkin flowers and other edible flowers, purpole potatoes and many other ingredients.
Thanks to Tourism Toronto & Slow Food Toronto for helping arrange these visits. It was an education, and I loved seeing these producers names pop up on menus as I visited restaurants and trying them again, this time on a plate with a chefs touch as opposed to straight out of the ground.
Lots to think about, I think we could learn a lot from these guys.