Category Farm, Farm Market, Farmers’ Market

Olive Collingwood Farmers Market

What a lovely morning Olive had on Saturday, visiting Collingwood Farmers’ Market with my Dad, sister, and her adorable grandchildren.

This vibrant market is brimming with fresh local produce,

flowers, and well-crafted, small batch, gourmet foods.

The organic produce from Mansfield Heritage Farm is gorgeous! We will be enjoying radishes and purslane salads all week.

I didn’t know that purslane is one of the most nutritious greens and because it is a succulent, it keeps well in your fridge. I haven’t tried it yet but I’ve heard it is delicious: a bit crunchy with notes of lemon.

Look at the flavourful, superfood combinations in these heart-healthy salads, from My Little Chickpea Gourmet. If you can’t make it to Collingwood, My Little Chickpea products (hummus, falafels, salads, and dressings made with fresh, nutrient-dense ingredients) are available in many fine stores across Ontario (click here to find one).

I swear they ate the whole thing themselves without any sacrifices like “Oh honey, it might be really hot. Let me try if first so you don’t burn yourself”. Cabin Bistro, you sure make good corn dogs.

Who doesn’t love dipping a chunk of freshly baked, artisanal bread into a steaming bowl of homemade soup on a crisp fall day? What a great menu from SoupHerb Soup. Darn, I wish I had brought my cooler.

Ooh, la la! My hubby’s favourite childhood treat, freshly baked pain au chocolat: buttery, flaky pastry hand-rolled around a big chunk of fine dark chocolate. You can find French-trained Executive Chef Patrick Bourachot’s delicious hand-rolled croissants (including butter and almond) at the market and a wide variety of his gourmet frozen foods on his website: Chef Patrick’s Gourmet Foods.

But the star of the market has to be Oliver. Be sure to visit his old-fashioned lemonade stand for a pucker-up-perfect glass of lemonade. This charming entrepreneur is raising money for The Hospital for Sick Children. Thank you, Oliver; you are a Sick Kids hero!

Summer may be over but our farmers’ markets are still going strong. Not for long though, most finish up in early October.

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Staycation: Summer in the City

Olive loves traveling around the GTA west, unearthing fine global flavours, and sharing her finds with you. Being the #snaphappy girl that she is, Olive loves the instantaneous power of instagram. But those of you who aren’t on instagram are missing out, so here’s a snapshot of her finds from this past week.

As much as she cherishes the time she is lucky enough to spend with family in Muskoka and Montreal, a staycation in the city is pretty nice too.  These boots are made for walking, so that’s just what Olive did this week…from one end of the GTA west to the other.

Georgetown Farmers’ Market with one of my besties on Saturday morning. Read why I love Georgetown Farmers’ Market here: http://olivetoeat.com/2014/07/georgetown-farmers-market-olive-it/

Thiessen Farms #georgetownfarmersmarket #olivetoeat #unearthingglobalflavours #gtawest #iloveartichokes

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And then Jerkfest in Etobicoke with our families Saturday night. What a great night that was!

#isthislovethatimfeeling

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And a celebration lunch at Jamie’s Italian at Square One with my husband and son. How do you celebrate summer?

Guess where I am? #Sauga #jamielove

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Spirit Tree: Exquisite Wood Fired Pizza

Sneaking in a little instapost about a lovely evening I had last night with a friend at Spirit Tree Estate Cidery, in Caledon. I didn’t plan on doing a post and only took two instagram photos but the food was so good, I have to share.

Friday and Saturday nights (between 4pm and 8pm) are pizza nights at Spirit Tree. Laura and I made plans late last fall to go to Spirit Tree on the first warm Friday evening in spring for their hand-tossed, wood-fired pizza. A drive out in the country and exquisite pizza shared with a friend was the perfect way to celebrate warm spring weather.

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The Hammer: Catch You on the Hip Side of Hamilton

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If you haven’t heard the buzz – or didn’t believe it – Steel City has transformed into a cool place to hang out.

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James Street North is a vibrant, culturally diverse mix of food, art, and unique retail that ranges from old-fashioned to modern, in such a hip way (that’s my inner urban geographer speaking). My inner foodie says that Hamilton is the grassroots of where young chefs hone their skills with their own set of rules; so refreshing and impressive. Remember, this is the city that put the wheels in motion for the local gourmet food truck trend.

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Start off at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market (inside Jackson Square, corner of James Street and York Boulevard). There’s plenty of cheap parking right across the street.

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Sensational Samosa offers an impressive variety of international foods: savoury and sweet finger foods, curries, chutneys, salads, and soups.

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I started my morning off with a healthy bowl of protein-packed Persian Ash soup: chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, yellow split peas, pearl barley, dill, parsley, cilantro, onions, garlic, and turmeric. Garnished with yogurt and crispy fried onions.

On a recommendation from a local, I brought home the World’s Best Samosas, mint-cilantro chutney, and mango chutney; what a nice treat after driving home in the snowstorm. Health-conscious, vegan, and gluten-free options available.

I met the lovely Ed Wong of Henry Brown’s Small Batch Ice Cream. He and his partner have been at the market since last July, having fun playing around with flavour combinations.

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Flavours range from bold (Black Sesame and Curried Carrot) to childhood favourites (Toasted Marshmallow and Peppermint Candy Cane) and oh so many tempting ones in between. Move over green tea ice cream, Hong Kong Milk Tea is my new favourite: I love how the tea balances the sweet creamy bliss. Prepared on-site in small batches, fresh every market day, additives not required. Flavours rotate. Plan to come back for an afternoon scoop or bring your cooler to take a tub home. But be sure to ask for a taste in the morning because your favourite flavour may be sold out later.

Next time, I’ll try a poké bowl at the Pokeh Bar (Canada’s first poké bar). When I returned to the market for an ice cream, the mid-afternoon crowd was a clear indication that these healthy, Hawaiian-influenced raw fish bowls have quickly gained popularity with the locals.  Like sushi in a bowl: choose from fresh ahi tuna, salmon, or shiitake/tofu on cucumber noodles or rice, with Asian sauces, and over 20 healthy toppings.

After the market, walk one block east on York to James Street, turn left and head up James Street North. If the stores aren’t open (some not until noon), grab a coffee at Mulberry Coffee House. Or walk up to Murray Street to Chris’ Store Fixtures, a kitchenware and restaurant supply store where I rubbed elbows with Hamilton’s hot young chefs.  At Mixed Media, I lusted over the art supplies, laughed my guts out at the cards and scored the hard-to-find, cult-favourite foodie magazine, Lucky Peach.

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Satisfy your morning chocolate fix with a wee sample at Chocolat on James; you won’t come out empty-handed.

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Admire the local art, whether on a wall…

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or in the window of a gallery (you me gallery) or vintage shop (Chaises Musicales).

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Check out the AGH Design Annex: an extension of the Art Gallery of Hamilton that shows experimental exhibitions, stages intimate performances, and houses a home and office design store.

There are two really good vintage clothing shops on this strip. Hawk & Sparrow is a gorgeous, well-curated, upscale vintage, pre-loved, and new clothing store that also sells on etsy. Olive is in love all over again with these boots.

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And with these boots from Newold’s Vintage, just up the street; a great shop with lots of inexpensive gems.

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I am so tempted to return to this charming little shop to learn how to sew (Needlework). And isn’t this a pretty window (i fiori)?

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When your stomach starts to growl, you’ll find Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, Portuguese, Indian, and Italian restaurants along this strip, interspersed with restaurants such as Saint James Espresso Bar & Eatery, Saltlick Smokehouse, Mesa, Lake Road, Jack & Lois, Charred, and The Green Smoothie Bar.

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I ended my morning on James Street North at a recommendation from a friend. Thank you, Casey, The Burnt Tongue (10 Cannon Street East/corner of James) lived up to its reputation.

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The staff is super friendly, the atmosphere energetic, and the rotating daily menu so creative.

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The soup is well worth the reasonable wait for a table. Indian Roasted Cauliflower for me: velvety smooth with fragrant cumin notes and yogurt drizzle. That’s my kind of comfort food.

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Although the locally-raised beef hamburger, frites, and curry ketchup served to the people beside me looked amazing. Sandwiches and salads, too. Dang, I forgot to try the long-craved-for Rudy’s Paletas. Order at the counter, served at the table. Vegetarian, vegan, celiac-friendly, and dairy-free options available.

There is only so much food one belly can hold and my timing that day didn’t allow me to venture further. I’ll be back; there is more to see and taste in the hip Hammer.

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Bucket List Job: Carl Laidlaw Orchards

Since I will probably never live on a farm, the next best thing just might be working on one. I recently had the privilege of working at Carl Laidlaw Orchards during their apple harvest. On such an exceptionally beautiful farm, the job perks were bountiful.

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Photo contributed by Laura Kelly.

Best bosses ever. Mark and Laura. I think anyone who knows Mark and Laura – from employees to farm guests to family and friends – would agree they are such sunny-souled, kind-hearted people.

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Laura and her sunflowers.

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Mark in his orchard.

Awesome staff. Supportive and so fun to work with. Sorry to miss the farm dinner. Nice working with you all.

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Top quality, farm-to-table products. Pick your own apples and pears. If you think you don’t like apples, you haven’t tasted a ripe, juicy apple plucked from a Carl Laidlaw Orchards tree.

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As the season progressed, I snacked on a different variety of apple every week, each with its own unique characteristics; the flavours and textures were brilliant. How can I go back to boring, red delicious grocery store apples, now that the season is over?

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Freshly picked corn, squash, pumpkins. Aren’t these ghost pumpkins adorable?

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Freshly baked pies and gorgeous, gourmet flatbreads.

Pretty candy apples. Artisanal jams, salsas, mustards, and honey, including Mark and Laura’s very own small-batch honey produced from hives right on their farm. Heaven for a foodie like me. Nothing like selling a product you love and then coming home with it.

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Enjoyable tasks. Chatting with the customers as I checked them out. Teaching them what Mark and Laura taught me about the apples. Getting hugs from our happy, wee visitors.

Spending the day making candy apples. Just call me the bee whisperer – the friendly little chaps thankfully found the candy sweeter than me (we gave them a taste of their own).

Picturesque space. Charmingly nostalgic thanks to Laura’s ultra creative touch. Described on instagram as “if Kate Spade opened an apple orchard”.

I loved working in the barn – every corner was picture perfect. With the doors wide open on both ends of the building, I was protected from the elements but felt like I was in fresh air all day long.

Breathtaking surrounding. Stunning orchards rolling down to the scenic Credit River.

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Photo contributed by Laura Kelly.

Best commute. Through farmland accented with cricket’s song.

Hard to pick what I loved best about my job. Maybe the terrific customers, whose love of the farm brings them back year after year, and whom Laura and Mark greet with a warm farm hug like they are part of the farm family.

And so, for those of you who scratched their heads when I said I was working on a farm, now you know. What a pleasure it was to work at Carl Laidlaw Orchards. The harvest is over for this year. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to visit next season. Follow Laura’s blog for updates (www.carllaidlaworchards.blogspot.ca).

Thank you, Mark and Laura. Warm farm hugs to you too, and Spencer and Margo. xxxx Olive.

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