The 1st day of spring, it’s finally here! It’s the spring equinox, this means that the sun is shining directly on the equator, this makes the days and nights nearly equal in all parts of the world ( I looked it up!). Of course here in Toronto it’s overcast and supposed to rain….figures!
I’ve mentioned before how much I love spring, it’s a new beginning to the year. All the new shoots coming out on the trees and the bulbs popping up, I noticed that the little pink buds on my rhubarb plant are peeking out of the cold earth reaching up towards the sun. I can’t wait for that, 1 of my favorite pies is Strawberry/Rhubarb!
It’s my sister-in-law, Maria’s, Birthday! Happy Birthday Maria! I’m sure she’s busy in her garden, it’s her time of year. She runs a locally organically grown awareness garden that she uses to teach people about eating locally grown organic foods. She also does dinners under the name of “Guerrilla Gourmet”, she is very involved in the Toronto local organic scene and she’s certainly taught us quite a bit over the years.
When I was little, my Grandparents had a huge garden in their back yard. In the spring my Grandfather would til and seed the garden with the veg he and my Grandmother had picked, for weeks before this the barn and the basement would be covered in flats of seedlings, for things he didn’t seed himself he would buy the small plants at the farmers market.
Early evenings in the summer, we would go down and work in the garden. I remember picking the tomatoes still warm from the sun to have with our dinner, there were always beans, peas, cucumbers, radishes, squash, corn and potatoes and lots of other veggies. There was the year that my mother convinced my Grandfather to plant zucchini – this was back in the early 70’s and it was a “new” vegetable to our family. It grew so fast and my Grandfather didn’t know to pick it when it was small, we ended up with 3 foot zucchini’s and all sorts of new recipes on how to use it. To this day I can still make a mean zucchini bread!
I grew up buying locally grown foods, eggs from the farmer down the “way” and fruit, visits to the farmer’s stand for the few things that my Grandparents didn’t grow. When I moved to Toronto I worked close to the St. Lawrence market and would shop there every week, and yearly trips to Niagara to get peaches, cherries and different available fruits filled out our pantry. My in-laws have a large garden filled with veggies and fruit trees that supplement our summer dinners.
I’m always amazed that people to this day don’t realize that you should buy local fruits and veg, they don’t seem to realize how much better everything tastes. Yesterday I bought some strawberries at the grocery store (not local yet!) the cashier remarked that she wondered if they tasted any good, they looked good, but she found that she gets better fruit in the states! I couldn’t believe that she had said that, I told her to go the farmers market and buy some real Ontario fruit and veg that she didn’t need to go to the states!
Of course I’ve been up against this in PEI. You would think that this would be the perfect place to get locally grown fruits, veg and meat but it’s a struggle for them, the large corporations have commissioned most of the farmers fields to yield potato crops to make french fries. The few farmers who do have other crops are finding it difficult to get the word out. Most of the fruits and veg in the supermarkets come from the US.
Last year I spent a fair bit of time on the island, I did a lot of research and buying of locally grown foods, some “organic” some “traditionally raised” , I frequented the farmers markets introduced myself to the farmers and am looking forward to seeing them again this year and learning more about what they have to offer. The lucky thing about PEI is that lobster and mussels are a locally grown food, yum!
Spring brings the potential for all this to happen, my mouth is watering just thinking ’bout all the good things to come.