Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bailey's Buying Club - Ordering is now open for July 24, 2009

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Hi Folks,

Will local food be boring some day? I'm just so excited every week about what we are able to offer. Do I sound like a broken record? I just have to tell you the exciting news for this week: We found more almost 100% local breads! And local crackers!! I found a farmer who will deliver sour cherries! We even will have local soy oil and soy sauce this week!

100% Local Bread?
Okay, let me back up and tell you how great it is that Neil from the Rundles restaurant in Stratford is going to begin using flour and grains from Arva Flour Mills this week.  So the Sourdough and Multigrain Sourdough are mostly local.  We're estimating that the Sourdough is 95%.  It may be 100% but we do not know where the rye is grown.  I'm hoping to hear back from Brant Flour Mills on this.  The Multigrain is a little less local because it has a grain mix in it from Arva Flour Mills that includes cornmeal (milled in St. Louis, MO). I'd estimate 80%.  The Olive Bread is 96%.  These are FINE breads, folks. I think I'm a good bread baker but my loaves never turn out this amazing.  Neil is also making local crackers just for us! So if you think that local crackers are a good idea, tell him by buying his crackers. He is offering a Multigrain Seminola Cracker that is 70% local. The ingredients are: semolina flour (grown in western Canada), cornstarch (not local), grain mix (here's some hard core research below for those of you who like details):
  • Large Flaked Oats - Grain Millers Canada, Yorkton, SK
  • Quick Rolled Oats - Grain Millers Canada, Yorkton, SK
  • Cracked Hard Wheat - Arva Mills, grown within 15k of Arva
  • Cream of Whole Hard Wheat - Arva Mills, grown within 15k of Arva
  • Natural Sesame Seeds - Grain Process, Toronto, Origin unknown
  • Raw Sunflower Seed - Red River Commodities, Fargo, ND
  • Corn Meal - Bunge Milling Inc. St. Louis, MO
  • Brown Flax Seed - local farmer, Lucknow,ON
The crackers also contain: flax seed, oat flour, whole wheat flour, butter, cumin seeds, and milk from Harmony.  These are not like Ritz crackers. They are more like wheat thins but a bit crunchier and heartier and I'm sure they would be excellent with goat cheese and hot peach jam but they have not lasted long enough for me to try that combination.

Sour Cherries
I just found a sour cherry farmer who I am looking forward to meeting. We've been corresponding over email and I got references from another buyer recommending him.  Their names are Duncan and Sue Smith and their farm is called Two Century Farm in Grimsby (see  They are not organic but "low-input" which means that they spray only when they need to.  Their reference said that theirs is a "heritage orchard" which means that they offer unusual hard-to-find varieties of fruits.  Some of you have been asking for sour cherries. We can get them from Duncan and Sue fresh or already pitted in pails!

Soy Oil and Soy Sauce

In addition to the canola oil from Pristine Gourmet, we are offering soy oil and soy sauce. The soy sauce ingredients are: soybeans, water, salt, brown sugar, wheat flour.  They used their own soybeans for the soy sauce and partnered with an artisanal producer to make it.  We will be picking up more canola oil and wine vinegars from Pristine so these will be offered this week as well.

New Goat Cheeses
We can now offer you Chevre, Parmesan, Brick, and Feta goat cheeses from Mornington. YUM!

We are buying high bush blueberries from two farms this year (sometimes called domestic blueberries). One is a tiny organic blueberry patch near New Hamburg, the Walkers. The other is a farm with 30 acres of blueberries near Simcoe (Langton) called EZ Grow Farms. This farm is run bythe 3rd generation of Darryl Zamencik's family.  They use best management practices and follow OMAF guidelines. It is a conventional farm. The berries are 100% hand-picked.  Blueberries are super easy to freeze (just throw into bags and freeze) so buy enough for the whole year. 

Local Tea in your Backyard
I've been experiencing such ridiculous joy at picking a handful of leaves for a pot of tea.  It is a beautiful example of a local food.  I put a pot of water on to boil and then ask whichever kid is nearest to join me in finding leaves for the tea. In the backyard we can find raspberry leaves, clover, alfalfa and mint.  I'm trying to get up the nerve to make tea with thyme and catnip. I had that at the Working Centre's cafe and it was delish.

Lettuce Season
You may think it is cherry season but I'd like to declare it salad season with cherries for dessert.  This wacky cool summer weather means that we can eat sweet (not bitter) lettuce in July. So think: big chef salad with hard boiled eggs, sliced beets, ham, grape tomatoes, cucumber slices and garlic peanuts on top.  Think taco salads and "Strawberries and Almond Spinach Salad" with cherries and Boston lettuce.  Selema had to guess how much lettuce we would buy.  She has worked hard to raise lots of LOVELY heads of lettuce for us so let's thank her by featuring lettuce salads in our meals for this week, okay?  She really is very skilled at raising lettuce. I don't know of other farmers who can keep the heads so nice all year and so sweet. She has lots of romaine and Bostons.

Tortillas and Tamales
We'll be offering these items from McKechnie foods every two weeks. So when you order, order enough to last you two weeks. The whole wheat tortillas are especially soft and supple and lovely to wrap around things. I've been curious how Doug McKechnie ended up making tortillas and tamales. His uncle (or his sister's husband's uncle... I've lost track) started a tortilla business years ago so they knew that there was a market for these items.  So he started up a similar business with his sister. She is now farming full time but still makes the tortillas for him.  He has hired people experienced in making Mexican foods so that is why the tamales and such taste so authentico.

Self Check Out

Wish you didn't have to wait in line? We will be piloting a self-check out system.  This week we will shoulder-tap about 20 people to do the self-check out. Then we'll iron out any kinks and offer self-check out to all of you in the weeks to come. Watch for more details next week!

Soft, Fragile, Odd, Fruit
Just a quick reminder about the perishability of soft fruits and berries. Don't assume that they'll last. Enjoy them right away or watch them very carefully for signs of mold or spoiling.  Because we often buy fruits that are sprayed less, they spoil faster than fruits coated in fungicides and waxes.

Another reminder - All the fruit we get from Eva and Rene at Palatine are 'tree run'. We do this to avoid the sorting station that insists on fungicidal baths, fuzz removal (peaches) and paraffin wax coatings!. This means some fruit will be larger and some smaller, some more ripe and some less ripe all in the same box. Eva and Rene let our fruit ripen on the tree much longer than if they were to pick it for the shippers! The shippers want green fruit and we want tree ripened fruit!!

Cool Enough for Baking?
How about instead of complaining about the weather, bake something yummy instead.  We have more flours from Arva Flour Mills thanks to Janet who will pick up the order for us. Each one has a different story of origin.  Some are grown out West and milled here. I was sad to hear Mike, the miller at Arva, say that Canada doesn't have a cornmeal mill anymore. He can only buy cornmeal from St. Louis (US) now even though some of the corn is from Canada.  He is working on starting to mill white corn for Hominy Cornmeal and Corn Flour.  When he gets this going, I hope to connect him with Doug McKechnie who can start using this local corn flour/meal for his tortillas and tamales.  Sometimes I feel like I'm in a matchmakers role. I'm introducing suppliers and processors in hopes that they'll work together. This week we have a wonderful "romance" of Neil Baxter beginning to bake with Arva Flour Mills products! Look for flax seeds (local), whole wheat and soft flours from Arva.

Local Bubbly Anyone?
No, not champagne, sparkling apple juice! In different flavours. This lovely juice is 100% juice and made near Simcoe by the folks at The Cider Keg.  My daughter Mona has declared it her favourite juice.  I'm looking forward to trying the sparkling apple cider with rhubarb.

Last Friday went so smoothly and calmly. I don't know if it was because of the rain or because many of you tried to come later in the day, but we never had crowds or line ups.

I'm off for a few days away at my in-laws hobby farm. We are going to spend a few hours at Mapelton's and let Ezra have his first taste of ice cream (he's almost two).  If you haven't visited a local food landmark (and kid favourite farm) see for more details.  These are the folks that make our yogourt.

See you Friday,
Bailey's Local Foods

P.S. We can use your strawberry boxes and egg cartons again if you return them.

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