Fruit Tree Project Up and Running!

Fruit Tree Project is starting up for 2008! The goal of the Fruit Tree Project is to pick the fruit in and around Hamilton, and distribute it to the homeowners, volunteers and foodbanks. But we need volunteers! We have funding now and hired a new co-ordinator, Juby who will oversee the project. Currently, we are looking for both picking leaders and volunteers. We are hoping to start picking by late July and to keep on picking until the fall. Email Juby at or call her at Environment Hamilton: 905-549-0900 if you are interested!

Top Ten Reasons to Eat Locally

1. Eating local means supporting the local economy. A dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy. When businesses are not owned locally, money leaves the community at every transaction.

2. At farmers’ markets, most local produce has been picked inside of 24 hours where it comes to you fresh, ripe and full of flavour. While produce from the supermarket has been in transit or cold-stored for days or week.

3. Meet the farmer that grew your food, ask questions, see how it’s all grown and build relationships with farmers.

4. Meet your neighbours. Studies show that people shopping at farmers’ markets have 10 times more conversations than their counterpoints at the supermarket.

5. Learn to eat what’s in season. Eat foods when they are at their peak taste, most abundant and the least expensive.

6. Discover new flavours. There may be many foods that you have never heard of that can be found at your local farm or farmers' market.

7. Explore your home where you can become a tourist in your own region by visiting local farms.

8. Be healthy by eating more fruits and vegetables at their nutritional peak while eating less junk food and processed food.

9. Supporting local farmers supports responsible land development, decreasing urban sprawl. When you buy local you give those with local open space an economic reason to stay open and undeveloped.

10. Eating local is better for air quality and pollution as your food doesn’t need to travel an average of 1,500-2,000 miles to your plate, reducing carbon emissions.

Learn to Preserve

Much of the produce found in our grocery stores is imported from great distances with a huge environmental price tag. "Knowing how to grow and preserve your own or locally grown produce is an environmentally friendly, economical and nutritional alternative. Learn cold and hot packing for various late harvest fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes and pickles at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton/Burlington. The Late Harvest preserving program is on Tuesday, August 12 from 7 to 9p.m. at the RBG Centre at a cost of $28 for Members and $32 for Non-members. The registration deadline is August 4th. Check out the link for a variety of programs offered at the Royal Botanical Gardens.

Cooking In Season

Here's a chance to cook strawberries and apples when they're in season!

At Dundurn Castle learn how to plant, grow and care for both modern and historic varieties of strawberries. You will also have the opportunity to pick your own strawberries from the garden and make delicious treats in the historic kitchen. Saturday, June 21 from 9:00a.m. -1:00 p.m. for ages 18 and older at a cost of $45.00 per person.

Another cooking workshop at Dundurn Castle is where you can learn about the apple varieities from the 19th century and prepare interesting dishes with Autumn's fresh bounty. Saturday, October 18 from 9:00a.m. - 12:00 p.m. for ages 18 and older at a cost of $45.00 per person. Reservations are required.

100-Mile Diet

In the Spring of 2005, Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon of Vancouver decided that they would try an experiment where for one year, they would buy or gather all food and drink from within 100 miles of their home in British Columbia. “The 100-Mile Diet is one about learning by doing where you can get to know the seasons, where our food comes from, where to buy locally and at what risk to our health and to our environment. For the year, Alisa and James ate only the freshest food that traveled the shortest possible distance and was eaten or preserved at its seasonal peak”. They preserved enough food for the winter so that they rarely had to buy groceries. They admit it was a real challenge to find local food sources, to make food from scratch, to do canning for the winter etc. “There are places where it’s easier and places where it’s harder but never impossible. When the average North American sits down to eat, each ingredient has typically traveled at least 1,500 miles”. Around 100 people from the town of Mission, B.C. are currently challenging themselves to eat locally for 100 days. This challenge started on June 1st and a camera crew is taping their progress for the Food Network. A more realistic approach to attempt is to plan a single 100-Mile meal with friends or family. Make your next holiday such as Thanksgiving a 100-Mile diet meal. On their website you can type in your postal code and have your 100-mile radius mapped out for you, as well as learn tips to help you eat locally.

Strawberry Summer Solstice with Margaret Webb

STRAWBERRIES AND SUMMERTIME UNDER THE STARS: This special event is sure to appeal to all of your senses. a very special evening with author and journalist Margaret Webb, whose recent book Apples to Oysters: A Food Lover's Tour of Canadian Farms has inspired the first ever co-presentation of Slow Food Hamilton and the local chapter of The Canadian Organic Growers. Brian Prince Booksellers will be on-hand providing books for purchase and signing by the author!

This lovely event is scheduled for Saturday, June 21st (the longest day of the year!) at Old 99 Farm, 1580 Old Hwy 99, Copetown

Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door, $25 for COG and Slow Food members. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Karen Burson:

The Goodness that Grows in the Greenbelt

The Greenbelt has over 7000 farms that produce a wealth of fresh vegetables, fruit, meats, dairy and specialities that range from mushrooms, to wines, herbs, ciders, and garlic. Here you will find internationally acclaimed cheeses and wines from the Niagara Region while York and Hamilton Regions are growing Asian cabbages, melons, and an assortment of other new ethno-cultural varieties. Numerous farms also offer organic or ecologically-grown options. More and more farmers than ever before on the Greenbelt are employing environmentally-sound practices that restore biodiversity on their lands, benefitting us all. The many Buy Local programs found in various regions on the Greenbelt support locally grown food, the local farmers and a sustainable future. To see how you can Buy Local and support these systems, check out this link to find farmers’ markets, on-farm sales, tours, wineries, fairs and festivals and more!

Sunday Supper at Carluke Orchards

Hamilton Eat Local and The Ancaster Old Mill are pleased to announce the first annual
Sunday Supper at Carluke Orchards.

This delicious and ambitious partnership of area chefs, farmers and artists will be held on Sunday August 17 at 6:00 pm, under the stars and apple trees at Carluke Orchards, 2194 Shaver Road S, Ancaster Ontario.

Tickets are $150 per person, including wine, tax and gratuity.
Please join us on August 17th at Carluke Orchards where 100 guests will gather for dinner in the apple orchard with local farmers, artists and one of the region's best chef's, Jeff Crump. Jeff will be preparin a meal inspired by locally grown, sustainable food that highlights the best of the region.
The goal of Sunday Supper is to spark conversation and create awareness betwen farmers, artists and chefs. The dinner will celebrat the bounty of Hamilton's rich harvest of food and art and reveal the vial role farmers and artists have in the life and nurture of our city.
To reserve your plce or for more information:
The Ancaster Old Mill
phone: 905 648 1827

A Pig's Tale

From November to May, reporter Steve Buist and photographer Barry Gray chronicled the life of a pig from birth to table. Buist is a two-time winner of National Newspaper Awards in the Investigations category, and was nominated last year for a third NNA, in the Politics category. He was also named the Ontario Newspaper Association’s Journalist of the Year in 2004, and has been nominated 18 times for ONA awards in the past six years. Gray grew up on a farm in southern Ontario. He is a former NNA Sports Photography winner, and has been the Ontario, Eastern Canadian and Canadian News Photographer of the Year. He is a multiple winner of Ontario Newspaper Awards, including Photojournalist of the Year. You can contact Steve Buist at (905) 526-3226 or at

Canadian Government Prepares to Change Food Labelling Laws

Backgrounder - Updates to Canadian Content Food Labelling
Deadline for submission of comments on the legislation is June 11.

21 May 2008 Ottawa, Ontario
Canadian grocery store shelves are lined with food products marked "Product of Canada" or "Made in Canada." Shoppers recognize these labels and seek them out. They assume, as they should, that products bearing these labels are grown or caught, processed, and packaged in Canada.

The federal government first introduced these Canadian content food labels in the early 1980s. The guidelines, which haven't been altered since their introduction, require two basic criteria be met before manufacturers can use the "Product of Canada" and "Made in Canada" labels:

* the last substantial change of the goods must have occurred in Canada; and
* at least 51 per cent of the total direct costs of producing or manufacturing the goods are Canadian.

However, in the past twenty years, Canada's food supply has become increasingly global in nature. The way food is produced, processed, packaged, distributed and sold has changed significantly. This means a product could be grown in one part of the world, processed in another, and be packaged here in Canada, yet still qualify to use one of these labels.

Canadians have told us that allowing claims such as "Product of Canada" on food products that are manufactured in Canada but contain only 51 per cent Canadian "value-added" may not be consistent with what they understand or expect. Not surprisingly, Canadians are confused, frustrated, and have lost trust in these food labels.

We have developed a plan to update and redefine the familiar "Product of Canada" and "Made in Canada" food labels to better reflect the true origins of products in the modern marketplace.

Product of Canada
The proposed guidelines for the use of this label shift the definition of "Product of Canada" from the direct cost or value of a product to focus on the contents and ingredients
of a product. In order that a manufacturer be allowed to use the "Product of Canada" label, "all or virtually all" of the contents of the product must be Canadian. Therefore, all
significant components, ingredients, processing and labour used to make the product would need to be Canadian. There would be very little or no foreign content, with the exception of minor additives or spices which may not be available in Canada. This is similar to the approaches used
in a number of other countries.

Made in Canada
The term "Made in Canada" with a qualifying statement could apply to virtually every other product produced in Canada. Therefore, if a food product is manufactured or processed in
Canada, regardless of the origin of the ingredients, it could use a "Made in Canada" label. Products would use either "Made in Canada from domestic and imported
ingredients" or "Made in Canada from imported ingredients." This recognizes the importance of the value added by Canadian ingredients and processing and helps consumers identify when they are supporting Canadian jobs and the Canadian economy.

We're seeking feedback from Canadians on our proposed initiative. Over the coming days and weeks the Minister of Agriculture and Canadian Food Inspection Agency officials will meet with a wide range of key stakeholders including farm groups, processors, retailers and consumer groups. Ordinary Canadians are also invited to submit their comments by visiting The timeline for consultations is May 21 through June 11, 2008.

It is a key federal responsibility to ensure the foods and products that Canadians buy are safe, yet federal laws and guidelines on food and consumer products have been untouched for decades. That is why our Government has taken swift action to introduce our Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan designed to improve our safety and our health, make Canadian
brands more competitive among global consumers, and boost confidence at home as a country whose safety standards are second to none.

Highlights of the legislation include:

* cracking down on negligent manufacturers, importers and
retailers who knowingly endanger their customers;
* a new power for the federal government to order recalls
of unsafe consumer products;
* dramatically increasing fines for violation; and
* providing better safety information for consumers.

More information on the Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan
is available at:

Ontariolicious at Boo's Bistro

Join Chef Boo, Thea, Naomi and the wonderful staff at Boo's Bistro - 164 James St S - every Wednesday evening from April to October for Ontariolicious.

A three course priz fixe dinner featuring fresh Ontario produce paired with a selection of Ontario wines

$25 - food only

$37 - including wine

$42 - premium wine


Contact Boo's Bistro for more information or to place a reservation. Tel: 905 296-7598,,


I have a lot of experience with these tasty green spears – more than I care to admit. I have spent countless hours on my parents’ farm bent double cutting in the field, mind blank, on guard for bees; then washing; trimming; bundling; shipping and marketing. It's gruelling work, but the memories (perhaps now they are just that) are fond and asparagus remains one of my favourite vegetables – the harbinger of spring and hard work.

Surrounded by thousands of pounds of asparagus every spring, I have discovered dozens of delicious ways to enjoy the spears, classic and new, and I never get bored. Here are two of my new favourite recipes from

Click here to find asparagus near you!

Bon Appétit!

Concession Streetfest

Erin, Hamilton Eat Local's summer student, and I braved the 30+ weather on Saturday, June 7th to attend the Concession Streetfest. We were happy to be near the live entertainment and enjoyed watching the crowd that turned out. We even received some nice compliments about the map! However, it quickly became apparent that our stand was lacking what most of the other stands had: Shade coverage! It made for a very hot day and a minor heat rash! Here's Erin with our sad-looking stand: