Eating local on vacation, from Halifax to Vancouver

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Eating local on vacation, from Halifax to Vancouver

I love summer. Don’t you? People are in a good mood, the birds and the bees are out and about, the hot sun gives us vitamin D for our souls giving it an instant glow, and our nights are moment for that perfect campfire – most of all? Our food is the freshest it can be! (Psst! All the products showcased in the pictures are products sold at the Balwin park market, in Montreal – I talked about them below in my blog…)

Think about it – what is the best time of the year to eat good food? Not in winter when everything is imported left and right to fill our supermarket shelves. What I’m talking about is good, fresh, simple, wholesome food, grown, produced and fished right here in Canada, by our own farmers, fishermen and growers.

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Why do I know the difference in between fresh and transformed food? I grew up around the masters…of good food production that is! If you haven’t heard of the village of Ste-Clotilde de Chateauguay, don’t take it personally (I would be impressed if you did) – but in a nutshell, this area has an abundance of black earth – renowned for its rich, high volume producing attributes, giving us wholesome, fresh fruit and vegetables grown right here. You can’t get closer to the farm than that. As an example, we never bothered growing carrots and onions in our home garden as they were in supply all summer!

Why would you NOT buy local? We have all been tempted to (and do so!) buy those California strawberries, for example, in the dead of winter (or even now at $1.00 a crate). What about that salad or even berries… Yes, some produce we will never be able to grow in Canada such as peanuts, almonds, avocados or pineapples – but what we are able to grow, is so worth the wait!

Want a concrete example? Those California strawberries…generationgreen.org
You asked for it! Know about the California strawberry scandal? California strawberry growers need to use pesticides to compete and make more money (your wallet, your health and quality of life end up paying). “Methyl bromide” (the best known pesticide of this type), was phased out by international treaty but is still used in California, which produces 88% of the nation’s strawberries, or 1.6 billion dollars annually (also imported into Canada).

Photo credit generationgreen.org

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What strawberries to eat in the winter? Wait for it….the freshly Canadian grown ones of course! Freeze them or transform them into compote, jam, coulis, sauce…yummy any time of the year!

Back to eating local, the simple and affordable way
There is absolutely no better way to eat local this summer, especially while on vacation in our gorgeous country, than in our local farmer’s markets and food festivals. I know, I know, you have enough on your plate with planning and packing and all, so I made it easy for you…you have no excuse! Wait a minute; I have an idea – how about you make your New Year’s resolutions now? Eat simple, local and above all wholesome and I’ll bet you by the time the New Year rolls around, your resolutions for 2014 will have nothing to do with food. I dare you to try…

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Example of growing and giving to the community, across Montreal (self serve urban gardens)

Eating local supports more than just farmers and growers, it helps local communities!lefoodbox_marché_balwin
I love this market, and what a great example of solidarity. All summer long, the local organisation Marché Frontenac hosts 2 local markets showcasing products bought every week from growers producing in less than 100 km from Montreal! Their first booth is at the Frontenac metro from Wednesday to Sunday, and their second booth is at the corner of Rachel and Fullum (open on Sundays from 11 am to 3 pm). Where do their profits go? 100% back to the Centre-Sud community collective kitchens, feeding children and the elderly, bringing greater awareness and education tools for all the generations, and so much more. Isn’t that the best reason for supporting them! Good local food, giving back and a huge potential for a model of the future. Want to know more about them? Check out their web site (in French only). You know of a market like this one in your area? Tell us about it so we can also discover it and talk about them!

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Have an insane simple food living, vacation

With July coming to an end and it’s vacation time for most of us, we send you off to our Canadian farmer markets and food festivals, from Nova Scotia’s lobster and the Cabot Trail, Prince Edward Island’s and Newfoundland’s crisp salty air, New Brunswick’s warm water and gorgeous beaches, Quebec and its festivals and food obsessions, Ontario and it’s warm Niagara breeze, Manitoba’s and Saskatchewan’s special ingredients, Alberta’s cowboy ways and traditions and British Columbia’s West Coast abundance.

Let’s celebrate our heritage, traditions, and above all unity for one thing we all have in common: we only get 4 months of good, abundant and fresh food – let’s take advantage of it and bon appétit!

Eat local, from Halifax to Vancouver

When on vacation this summer, take advantage of the fresh ingredients across our country, and savour simplicity! Double whammy: you’ll feel amazing with real energy, while supporting a local farmer or producer – whether its local meat, vegetables, fruit, wine, cheese, jams, chocolate, roasted coffee, desserts or whatever tickles your fancy – you have my permission to enjoy yourself to its fullest!

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So, stay in Canada this summer & get back to the basics. Have an amazing summer!

Oh my salty Maritimers, youlefoodbox_Fish_papillotte

I love the Maritimes. I travelled a few times to Nova Scotia, and the smell of the salty ocean gets me giddy every time. I also took time to travel everywhere in that province, not forgetting the Cabot trail. There is a bonanza of seafood. Rest assured, for a Montrealer, I was in heaven – a must to see, smell and feel! Family friendly camping and the great outdoors, the Maritimes are the perfect area to visit and get back to the basics: Lobster, crabs, shrimp, fresh fish…yum!

Newfoundland
St-John’s farmers’ markets
stjohnsfarmersmarket.org/

Lester’s farmers’ markets
lestersfarmmarket.com/

Prince Edward Island
PEI’s farmers’ markets

PEI Flavors
peiflavours.ca/

Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia’s farmers’ markets
farmersmarketsnovascotia.ca/

Eating local, all year
novascotia.com/

Halifax’s Seaport farmer’s market
halifaxfarmersmarket.com/

New Brunswick
Fredericton farmer’s market
frederictonfarmersmarket.ca/

Moncton’s market
marchemonctonmarket.ca/

St-John farmer’s market
sjcitymarket.ca/

Edmunston farmer’s market

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Let’s put aside our differences and meet around a table of local food and fun, and celebrate our unique blend. If you have a chance to visit la Belle Province, do not worry if you don’t speak French – you’ll feel right at home, no matter what language you speak!

Quebec public markets association (in French only)

For complete map of every public market in the province of Québec

Ontariolefoodbox_m_8
The abundance of fresh produce like fruits and veggies, are clearly Ontario’s forte – and this thanks to the warm Niagara climate – from wine to peaches, fresh farm produce, meats and cheeses, Ontario offers an admirable portfolio of homegrown treasures that will change the way you see this province (and taste it!). And the people are pretty nice too!

Directories of all farmers’ markets in Ontario
farmersmarketsontario.com/
edibletoronto.com/

ontariofarmfresh.com/

Manitobalefoodbox_m_5
Often forgotten, but right in the middle of our multicultural country are two provinces that don’t really come to mind, when thinking of food. However, canola, pork, chicken, mushrooms and much more, come from Manitoba! Check out what else they produce!

Manitoba’s farmers’ markets
diginmanitoba.ca/
fmam.ca/

Saskatchewanimage2
Canada’s capital of wheat, barley, oats, canola, flaxseeds and much more – without the dry Prairies, we would not be one of the biggest producers and exporter of Canola oil in the world! Did you know that many crop growers in Saskatchewan complement their income with beeswax and honey?

General directory

Yorkton’s farmer’s market
yorktonfarmersmarket.ca/

Saskatoon’s farmer’s market
saskatoonfarmersmarket.com/

Regina’s farmer’s market
reginadowntown.ca/u

Albertalefoodbox_m_7
Not only is Alberta my second home because my sister moved out there 13 years ago, but I also have a special place in my heart for our Rockies. Very impressive, especially when you come from Eastern Canada. Good food is part of Alberta’s core values, as well as being the biggest cattle producer in the country.

Alberta’s farmers’ markets
albertamarkets.com/markets/
alberta.farmersandfleamarkets.ca/farmers-markets/

Map to all of Alberta’s farmers’ markets

British Columbialefoodbox_m_3
Our eating local across Canada finishes with the warmest province in the country – with an abundance of seafood, fruit, vegetables, wines, cheeses and so much more. Because of the warm climate, BC is a must visit at least once in your lifetime. Check out the food that BC produces!

BC’s farmers’ markets
bcfarmersmarket.org/
hellobc.com/

Vancouver’s farmers’ markets
hellobc.com/vancouver

Victoria’s farmers’ markets
victoriaexplorer.com/
victoriapublicmarket.com/

Eat local and simple this summer, your body, mind and soul will thank you for it!

Have a great vacation,

Valerie

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