Eating Locally

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

ApricotsToday, we walked to the farmers’ market at Nathan Philips Square, the first time that I’ve visited the Wednesday market this year. As far as I know, you’re buying directly from the farmers here, or at least their Toronto agents, and everything is very fresh: I’m sure that corn was picked this morning.

The first purchase was two bunches of the largest radishes that I’ve ever seen: I’ve eaten apples that were smaller than these. The greens on the top are very fresh, and I plan to saute them with a little garlic for dinner tonight. The same stall had both green and yellow beans, so I bought a small basket of the yellow ones, although not sure quite what I’ll do with them yet, besides eating them raw.

Next was the cheese stall, which boasted only Ontario cheeses, including cow, goat and sheep’s milk varieties. I chatted with the proprietor about Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, the new goat cheese-making facility in Prince Edward County, and ended up with a small slice each of Vigaroso, a pecorino-style sheep’s cheese washed in Baco Noir, and Tomme de Gaston, a country-style cheese made of raw sheep’s milk. While I was chatting and making my selection, Damir wandered to the next stall and bought a bag of freshly roasted unsalted peanuts in the shell; many of the tobacco farms of southwestern Ontario converted to peanuts when tobacco sales became less lucrative.

We continued on, buying field tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, and peaches-and-cream corn on the cob until our two canvas bags were full, then walked home through the garden at Osgoode Hall and along Queen Street, eating peanuts from the shell as we walked.

After stopping in the front garden of our condo to pick fresh basil, I made a salad of sliced tomatoes, basil and a bit of the crumbled Vigaroso cheese dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and lightly cooked the corn. With the exception of the oil and the vinegar, both of which are from Italy, our entire meal was produced in Ontario. At this time of year, it’s easy to eat really well from local producers. Three months from now, that won’t be the case, so enjoy it while the summer’s still here.

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