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eating local - a long report


Restaurants & Bars 3

eating local - a long report

pinstripeprincess | Jun 1, 2006 11:54 AM

It is the start of June and the "end" of my eat local adventure. I wanted to thank everyone who was supportive and provided suggestions/solutions for my eating. I've been able to take advantage of most but still haven't checked out places that are further than my usual travelling space due to lack of transport or time. Someone asked before that I do a quick round-up of my results so here goes:


Phil Mathewson's - St George the Martyr Church (Stephanie & John St)
All his or his neighbour's organic and local products as well as some items from major organic companies to fill in the holes created by the season. Currently from him I saw asparagus, ramps, sunchokes, wildflower honey and meats. Fish is pickerel and caught from Georgian Bay, beef and pork are from his neighbours. The pigs actually feed of his organic products, sounds like they eat better than most of us ;) I expect that his local specific offerings will increase rapidly soon. I found him just a touch more expensive but all the worthwhile. Open only Saturdays from 9am - 2pm.

St Lawrence Market - Jarvis & Church
Yes, I'm sure you're all very aware of this market and how it's pretty much 100% local in the South block. However trying to look for local and organic provided a tougher challenge. The two places I tend to flock towards are Marvin Garden's and the hydroponic produce tables. Monforte cheeses are also nice and a good source for goat cheese curds. You can definitely get away with food for a steal here. Just saw purple potatoes come in last weekend. Farmer's Market is only open Sat 5am - ? If you end up there at about 2pm, everyone is just trying to go home and you can get nearly anything fresh for half off. Granted you don't have much choice either at that point.

4 Life - Kensington Market (Nassau and Augusta Ave)
Is primarily an organics store but they also get some items from the farmer's that go to the Riverdale and Dufferin Grove Market. Everything is clearly labeled to tell you where it is from and will list the farm if it's Ontario. They also receive a weekly shipment of fresh fish caught by Natives... the grand secret is that it comes in on Saturdays and will be put in their freezers shortly thereafter. I saw a huge pail of beautiful wild leeks there last weekend and some plump wild shitakes. Fair pricing.

Fresh From the Farm - somewhere on Donlands
Selling general organic goods from some major players as well as Amish and Mennonite farmers. All the meat is precut and noticeably cheaper than that you can get at organic butchers, it might be best to pre-order the meat if you're getting large quantities. There didn't seem to be any produce but the dry goods, dairy, meat and grains are plentiful. It's a very small store that's neighbourhood friendly and supports growth of small businesses and anyone else doing anything similar to them. Open Thursday - Sun.

Whole Foods
If you want organic goods, then sure go here... but if you want local goods, you'll be in for a bit of a struggle. They were ok at labelling the produce and terrible with anything on the shelves.


The Healthy Butcher - Queen W after Spadina
I only really ended up going to this butcher consistently. The quality of the meat was great and everyone was incredibly helpful and answered all my questions. Albeit a bit more expensive than I would have liked. Very tempted to order their exotics for a dinner party sometime soon.

Eating Out

JKWB - 9 Church St
I love their food, so thankfully pretty much everything there was organic and anything that was out of season was preserved in jars on their walls. Let me tell you, after shopping at the markets it was pretty easy to tell what was seasonal and what was not and they won big points for this. The only tricky area would be meats and especially seafood. The kitchen was really busy that night so I didn't have an opportunity to ask questions. I did veer off in terms of wine... a Pinot Noir from Italy I just couldn't miss.

Guerrilla Gourmet - Kensington Market
A shiatsu therapist who is trying to reconnect the general public to their food. She cooks wonderful brunches, lunches and dinners ($25, $10, $40, respectively) but you have to RSVP with her on the dates. I went to a brunch that had spelt herb scones, a violet celeriac salad, millet cup with pear apple sauce and strawberry jam, fiddleheads, wild shitakes with wild leeks, and scrambled eggs with feta. She knows where all of her food comes from (garden, farmers, friends or organic store) and can tell you what essentially nutrients she's feeding you as well. website is

Hillebrand - Niagara-on-the-Lake
Pretty much anything in Niagara will fall within local and probably organic. Hillebrand was a huge hit and their simple handmade linguine topped off with halibut in a broth (some wild leeks and green and white asparagus also made it in) was absolutely fantastic. I'm looking to try to recreate it.

I think that's everything I have to report on right now... I didn't find the restaurant scene to be incredibly abundant, unfortunately, and hope that things may start to go a little more this way because there is a lot to be said for the wonderful flavours I have tried as of late.


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