Monday, August 18, 2008

Bailey's Buying Club Aug 22

Hi Eaters,

I was struck again this morning by how good it feels to give my kids
peach slices that are not laced with chemicals. I've never been able
to do that before. The woman I buy the Niagara fruit from told me that
with this extra wet season these lovely peaches are not as
exceptionally lovely as usual. The peaches are a little less sweet
because they are more full of water and more prone to insects and
rotting because of the lower sugar content. If the peaches are even
better than this next year, they'll be amazing! None of our peaches
made it in the freezer this week. I'll have to order two boxes this
week. I'm determined to freeze some this year.

Niagara fruits for this week are Red Haven peaches again and the first
of the white flesh peaches which have a bit of a honey flavour to
them. Also Red Plums (Burbank) and the first of the blue plums are
ready. The blue plums are not the prune variety but the kind that are
very good for fresh eating. Finally, the first pears! French Bartlett
pears. I love pears. If I get organized, I want to can peaches in pear
juice. Hmmm, that may be unrealistic with a one year old hanging on my
legs. I've wanted to do this ever since I bought peaches from ValuMart
that were in pear juice. The were delicious - but from South Africa!

I've also been marvelling over the canteloupe from last week. It is
the first organic canteloupe I've offered and it is so flavourful and
sweet. I can easily eat a half of one for a snack. I'm glad I ended up
with eight to enjoy this week : ) We ended up with more vegetables
than we could fit into the fridge last Friday so Matthew chopped up a
pile of them for a vat of soup. We've eaten it every day and he froze
enough for a couple quick lunches.

I've found a few more local foods for us! All-local pasta is coming!
Vincenzo's is making it just for us. Carmine said if I bring in the
bags of local flour, his pasta master, Rosa, will put it through their
machine and sell it to me wholesale. The reason Vincenzo's pasta
really does taste better than others is that they dry it over three
days rather than three minutes. So as soon as the hard flour is ready
(next week), the pasta making will begin! I'll be able to offer it in
bulk, too, for those of us who are tired of those teeny tiny plastic
packages of pasta from the store that are not enough for supper and
leftovers the next day.

The other exciting find has been canola oil that is smaller than a
1,000 litre container yet bigger than a tiny glass jar that costs a
pretty penny. A farm near Port Dover makes and sells organic soy and
canola oil in 4 litre and 10 litre containers. AND (more good news!)
Selema's sister Erma is going to make preserves for us. Local Ketchup!
Can you imagine? As well as BBQ Relish, Chili Sauce, and a variety of
pickles! She and I are discussing recipes right now. Do you have a
tried and true really good recipe for any of these things (and salsa)?
If so please share it with me and your good recipe can be shared with
all the families in the buying club. The pickles and sauces that Erma
gave me to sample are too sweet so I'm eager to find other recipes but
only want ones that are tried and true favourites. I need the recipes
right away as it is time to make the pickles. Thanks for your help!

This week you can order sausages from Stemmlers. I know it's on the
schedule for next week but I can't wait that long. I'm hungry for the
farmers' sausage. Next week we'll be offering the 100 Mile Deli Meats
(All-Natural Roast Beef, Turkey, and Black Forest Ham) just in time
for school lunches.

This week is also your chance to order local beef from Jeff Stager
again. How have you been enjoying your steaks and roasts from him?
The next time beef is offered is Sept 19. I don't like steaks much
but a slow-cooked roast with root veggies is a favourite simple meal
at our house. We also chop the roasts into the borscht that we eat all
Winter. Speaking of borscht, now is your chance to plant dill if you
want to harvest it before Winter. It will just grow enough to harvest
it young and tender before it gets too cold. We plant lots (bulk packs
of seeds are $3 at OSC and last a couple years) several times in the
summer and then pick large handfuls to freeze. We just put it in a
plastic bag and freeze it. Very easy. The frozen dill is much more
flavourful than the dried and way more local (and cheaper) than buying
fresh dill in the Winter.

Speaking of freezing. Betty, a buying club member, informed me that
sweet peppers can be frozen whole (even easier than chopping them!)
and then to use them in the winter just rinse the pepper with water,
and core/chop it for cooking. I'm going to find out when sweet corn
will be available in bulk because I promised myself I'd freeze over 20
dozen this year. Last year we did 14 dozen and the corn was like GOLD
in our soups and stews (and scrambled eggs). The best was a vegetable
chowder with sweet corn. The corn was gone by Christmas. I'd love to
have enough to even serve it as a side dish once in awhile. I heard
rumour there is a tool made for cutting the corn off of the cob. Do
any of you have one of these? I have to research this.

Will I see any of you at this year's Taste Local! Taste Fresh! event?
I'll have cards about it on Friday. I'm proud to say I planned the
first one five years ago. Now I'm looking forward to not doing any of
the work, just hopping on our bikes and taking the Iron Horse Trail to
Victoria Park for an afternoon of deliciousness. It is expensive if
you think of it as going to a restaurant but much cheaper than a
weekend of going to TO or even camping ($55/ticket). You could stay
close to home, go on a long bike ride with a picnic on Saturday and on
Sunday go to the TL!TF! and call it a "weekend away". Plus (bonus!)
the event supports Foodlink - an organization that is doing a lot to
strengthen our local food system.
See you Friday,

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