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Local Food Resources

LOCAL FOOD RESOURCES

*** Always being updated – please check back regularly! ***
(last updated: February 17, 2010)

The following is a list of farms, markets, restaurants and so on, that I have come across in my travels and found to be great sources of the foods I enjoy.  Of note, some of the products listed below are not available locally (i.e. chocolate, spices, olive oil) so I am listing what I have determined to be eco- and socio-friendly produced alternatives for those who just can’t live with out…

Seed: Without seed, there would be no food, and there would be no us.  From that perspective seed is darn important, and so I will list this resource first!  The following list is from the collection of seed catalogues I collected at the annual Guelph Organics Conference in January.  Seeds sold are organic and often of heirloom varieties:

Hawthorn Farm Organic Seeds: Email kim.hawthorn@sympatico.ca.  I bought seeds from Kim last year and they were spectacular.  I was so happy with their germination and the health of the plants, that I bought nearly all my seeds from her this year.

Eternal Seed

Urban Harvest: Garden Alternatives

The Cottage Gardener: Heirloom Seed and Plant Nursery – Specializing in organic seeds of heirloom vegetables, flowers and herbs.

Greta’s Organic Gardens: Certified Organic Seeds

Seeds of Diversity: Seed Exchange

Community Supported Agriculture:  Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a way that urbanites can help support farmers, while sharing in their bounty at the same time.  When you join a CSA, you pay a set fee up front at the beginning of the season.  Then, each and every week throughout the growing season (May-Oct), you receive a box of produce from the farm you are supporting.  This way the farmer gets paid a fair salary for his or her work, regardless of weather and other potential crop spoilers.  Keeping farmers on their farms is of the utmost importance to our communal well-being.

Orchard Hill Farm CSA I joined this CSA for the 2008 growing season and it was absolutely fantastic.  For around $22 a week, I received more organically grown fruits and veggies – from fields plowed by horses no less – than I could possibly eat, from May through Thanksgiving.  An extremely worthwhile CSA to join.

Fairmeadow Farm CSA This is a fall-winter CSA that I joined as well.  It starts a couple of weeks after Orchard Hill CSA ends, and has the same pick-up location.  Fairmeadow Farm is run by Michelle Jory, who was an apprentice of Ken and Martha Laing for two years before renting some (organic) land from them and starting her own CSA.  Again, I was extremely happy with the wonderful vegetables and beans I received and whole heartedly endorse joining this venture.

Here is a list of other CSAs all over North America, including Ontario (at the very bottom)

Local Delivery Services and Other Creative Local Food Options

Eco-Logic Farm Run by Rick Cornelissen, a regular at the London outdoor Farmers’ Market, during the winter months when the market is cold.  Rick sends out an email early each week, you place your order, and then pick up your box of goodies on Saturday morning.  A wonderful source of local foods (veggies, apples, cider, soup, meat, eggs etc.) for the cold months.

The City Farming Project: This is an urban farming project based in London where members participate in growing their own food, and bring home a box of fresh organic produce on a weekly basis during the growing season.  Spots fill up fast (if they are not already sold out) so I encourage you to contact them soon if you are interested.

On The Move Organics: A local delivery box program of certified organic foods.  Jeff tries to carry as much local as he can.  He also has a booth at Western Fair Market on Saturdays (8-3pm).

Farms, Markets and Retailers:

Slow Food London’s Slow Shoping list of local farms: a comprehensive list of organic farms around the London area.

Greenbelt Fresh: Information on farmers’ markets in Ontario’s greenbelt

Ontario’s Farmer’s Markets: Find the farmer’s market closest to you!  A very comprehensive list of 114 farmer’s markets around the province.

McCully’s Hill Farm and Market (between Stratford and St. Mary’s): Winter hours 10-5pm Wednesday through Sunday.  They carry fresh produce, naturally raised meats, homemade preserves, baking, honey and maple syrup products.

– By Product –

Dairy

Harmony Organic – Milk available in glass bottles, cartons or bags.  Their chocolate milk is the best I’ve ever tasted.  And the eggnog… out of this world.

Organic Meadow – More widely available than Harmony and can be found in most grocery stores.

Pinehedge Farm – This farm is not quite local to me as it is located eastern Ontario but there is no other yogurt (or keffir) that I have ever eaten that compares to theirs.  I go through 3-4 liters a week.  They are not only organic, but biodynamic.  And soon this yogurt will be produced using Biogas, a new technology for renewable energy.  How can I not stretch my rules for these products?  Oh, I buy them at Fieldgate Organics in Covent Gardens.

Meat & Eggs

Fieldgate Organics – Before developing direct relationships with local farmers, I bought a large portion of my meat here.  I still shop here regularly, getting most of my dairy, some meat and some ‘dog’ food (i.e. meat for the dogs).  Located in in a number of places around Ontario, I shop at their Covent Gardents location.  More expensive than buying directly from farmers, they offer convenience and 7 day a week availability.  A great organic resource also carrying a variety of fruits and vegetables (although not always locally produced).

McSmith’s Organic Farm: St. Thomas – Organic chicken, eggs, pastured beef, and veggies.  Click on the link to check out their website.  I stopped by for the first time recently and picked up some delicious eggs and enjoyed a tour of the farm.  They even have a straw bale house!

Grain

Arva Flour Mills This is a fascinating historic location!  Be sure to ask for a tour of the mill when you’re done shopping.  The last time this place was updated was 1901!  Now that’s durable technology!  Commercially milled wheat is ground at such high speeds that it is scorched, and must be bleached and “enriched” to put the nutrients back in after processing.  Not so with wheat from this mill.  Much of what they process is locally grown, and some is organic.  Just ask and they will tell you what is which.

Beans, Grains and Things A terrific little shop in downtown London (click link for address & map) filled with organic beans, herbs, grains, nuts, honey, dairy, biodegradable soaps and lots of fascinating information.

Fruit & Vegetables

Oh, so many options!  Start by going to your local farmers market.  Click this link to find a market near you.  There are many not listed here, however, so if you can’t find your town listed, try Google or just asking around.  For example, Aylmer (now my closest suburban centre) has two markets – one Tuesday and one Saturday – yet neither is listed.  When shopping at a market, get to know the vendors – always ask if the produce they sell is their own, where it comes from, and how it’s produced.  Some markets are producers only, other allow vendors who bring in stuff from all over.

Herbs

Heritage Line Herbs: An herb farm with many organic and heirloom options, located near Aylmer ON.  I have really enjoyed my visits there and my garden is now full of their herbs.  They have a tremendous variety and their seedlings are healthy and strong. They also offer  many interesting workshops and a tea room for lunch or high tea!


Nuts

Grimo Nut Nursery Niagara-On-The-Lake. Who knew you could grow nuts in Ontario?  I have a freezer full from this place.  I bought them in the summer, and all they had left was black walnuts.  I’m looking forward to getting a wider variety next time I am in the area.

Rhora’s Nut Farm and Nursery: Wainfleet (Niagara Region).  I haven’t been here yet, but will check them out in the spring.   They grow: Heart nut, Carpathian walnut, Hazelnuts (filberts), Chinese Chesnuts, American Chesnuts, Pecans and edible Pines.

Spices

Equita is the only company that I know of so far that brings fair trade organic spices to Southwestern Ontario.   They carry: Cinnamon, Curry, Cloves, Nutmeg, Pepper and Ginger.  You can visit their website for a list of stores that carry their products, and you can also find them at the Guelph farmer’s market.  The easiest place to find these spices is at any 10 000 Villages store.

Oils

FlorAlp Farms Organic Sunflower Oil – cold-pressed organic sunflower oil produced in Mitchell, On.  A great replacement for olive oil.

Zatoun Olive Oil – if you just can’t live without olive oil, this is a fair trade organic option, now available at 10 000 Villages.

Tea and Coffee

The Algonquin Tea Company: This is a wonderful company that makes organic teas from wild herbs picked near Algonquin Park.  The teas are delicious and come in beautiful boxes.   They also offer workshops on sustainable living that I would love to take someday soon!

Las Chicas del Cafe: Coffee – I have yet to try their coffee, but I look forward to doing so as soon as I visit one of the places I can buy it at.  Their story is quite fascinating!

Fire Roasted Coffee Company: Offering Fair Trade, organic coffee, including a Swiss water decaf that is also fair trade and organic.  The only one I’ve found to date, and incredibly smooth and tasty!  In fact, one of the nicest decaf’s I’ve ever had.  And that’s coming from a reformed caffein addict who still likes the occasional cup ‘o joe.

Treats (chocolate, baking etc)

Bakeries:   Village Harvest Bakery in Wortly Village, London.  They use local flour to make their bread and I have chose to buy my bread here as I just don’t have time to make it myself these days.  Their bread is delicious, as are their other products I’m sure.

Chocolate:

Cocoa Earth: Outstanding hand made chocolates, including truffles and brownies.  They use all fair trade, organic chocolate and whole, fresh ingredients purchased locally and organically when possible.

There are several companies that now carry fair trade organic chocloate.  The most widely available source is Cocoa Camino.  Equita also carries FTO chocoloate.   There’s also a fascinating small business in Toronto called ChocoSol Traders that I came across at the annual Guelph Organics Conference. Well worth a peak at their website or – even better – a visit to their cocoa loft next time you’re in Toronto.

Wine

Here’s a great one-stop shopping map of wineries in Ontario.  I think I may need to set up some wine tasting tours this summer!

Miscellaneous

Rice: Equita also carries organic fair trade Jasmine rice.  You can buy it at 10,000 Villages and I have occasionally found it in Zehrs’ organic section!

Restaurants

The Only on King

This higher-end restaurant has an incredible philosophy of sustainability, including purchasing nearly all their products locally from sustainable producers, doing their own recycling (London doesn’t have a recycling program in the downtown core, if you can believe that such backwardness is still possible in this country…), and even returning their green waste to the farms that they purchase from.  In other words, the leftovers go to the pigs and composters of local farms, who in turn sell pork and veggies to the restaurant.  A symbiotic cycle of life – what an amazing business!!  And not only that, they were voted the #6 new restaurant in the country.  So ethical and tasty.  What more can you ask for in a restaurant!

8 Responses

  1. Bos Meats in Strathroy sells beef, chicken and pork that is drug free. Not organic, but local, drug free, and very reasonable for the quality… thanks for the AWESOME site, especially the CSA tip!!

  2. Thanks Andrea! I will be sure to check Bos Meats out as soon as possible!

  3. I definitely second the recommendation of McSmith’s Organic Farm. I have known them personally for years and they are great people with real passion for sustainability. They recently built a straw-bale home that is heated with solar power, with a big wood-fired cook stove in the kitchen. They are my idols 🙂 And their veggies, eggs and meats are delicious, to boot.

  4. RE: Ontario Wine

    This may be much like the Product of Canada label you mention and might be worth looking into.

    Someone I consider knowledgeable told me that the rule is that the wine must contain 5% Ontario grapes and the rest can be from outside the country. His understanding is that most Ontario wines are 90%-95% foreign grapes.

    Really like your site and all the info and narrative – fun to read!

    But I have to strongly disagree about Village Harvest Bakery and their sloppily made and flavorless bread.

  5. […] ALL about being a locavore (yes, the 100 Mile Diet even has its own hip new term!). The website,  Southwestern Ontario Locavore is constantly being updated they say. Oh this is getting easier by the minute. A quick search on […]

  6. Wow this is an incredibly comprehensive link-list. I love it! What an awesome blog!

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