Ottawa Feast of Fields 2008

On Sunday, September 14, 2008 the Ottawa Feast of Fields will be held from 12-4 p.m. Organized by the Canadian Organic Growers – Ottawa Chapter, Feast of Fields provides a unique opportunity to sample local, organic food, the best of our fall harvest, prepared by Chefs from over 25 top restaurants in Ottawa, Gatineau and region.

The event brings together farmers who embrace local and organic production methods with chefs who support a healthy and environmentally-friendly lifestyle. Every year, the event grows in creativity! In 2007, approximately 900 hundred people from the community enjoyed an exquisite culinary feast under the trees of Vincent Massey Park.

Food is served from 12-2 pm, with Field Marshal Adrian Harewood, host of CBC Radio’s All in a Day. There’s an Afro-Cuban Rhumba Dance Party with Mango Upstart and Food and Wine pairings from Savvy Grapes.

Want more information, or are you interested in volunteering? Get more information on their website.

Family’s Best: Organic Junk Food

Look, I get it. I get it better than you know. You try your best to eat healthy local food that’s good for you and good for the planet, but sometimes, sometimes.. junk food is just necessary.

Family’s Best is there for you, girlfriend. Made with organically grown potatoes and cooked in organic oil, this guilty pleasure is probably just as bad for you as the regular chip is, but at least it’s better for the planet. In Natural, mild jalapeno, Garlic and Pesto, there’s a flavour to suit any taste.

Family’s Best products are available at retailers across Canada.

Herbfest: Celebrating a healthy lifestyle

Eastern Ontario (and even Western Quebec!) ecochicks: The Annual Midsummer Herbfest will be taking place on Sunday, July 27th in Almonte, Ontario.

More than 100 neat vendors will be there including local producers, organic producers, and folks who have been featured on ecochick before such as Urban Forest. There are also features such as a chef cook off, local food vendors offering a wide selection of culinary favourites from around the world, herbal Tea Tasting, mini-markets showcasing gardening wisdom, culinary tips, craft and decorative inspiration, total body wellness and herbal healthcare, a herb plant sale and gift shop, herb garden walks, and a beer garden to deposit your husband in while you partake in it all. :)

It’s being held at 3840 Old Almonte Road, about half an hour outside of downtown Ottawa. Passes are $4 in advance, $5 at the gate. For more information visit their website. See you there!

Dagoba Organic Chocolate: Sweet Indulgences

Frederick Schilling was a chef who liked to dabble. He experimented with chocolate, adding chai and ginger to the mix, seeking to find the perfect Chocolate Alchemy. And from this experimentation, Dagoba Organic Chocolate was born.

Relying on the core values of Quality, Ecology, Equity and Community, Dagoba Organic Chocolate provides not only delicious, organic chocolate, but they also create a range of standard to completely unique blends to satisfy both the traditional chocolate lover and the adventurous eater (lemon-ginger chocolate, anyone?)

They feature a wide range of chocolates, from classic chocolate bars to baking and home chef chocolates to dark blends and infusions to drinking chocolates. And people are liking it: They won “Best Organic Bars” from Food & Wine, Food and Wine’s 2005 Tastemaker Award, “World’s Best Chocolate” (CNN/Money) and “Best Dark Chocolate” (San Francisco Chronicle), “Best Organic Bars” (Food & Wine), the EPA’s 2005 Green Power Leadership Award and the 2005 Spirit of Organics Award (OTA/OFRF). With all this fuss, it seems almost foolish to not see what the hype is about.

You can order their chocolate online or purchase it at retailers across Canada.

Just Us Coffee Roasters Co-Op – Fair Trade Caffeination!

Am back, ecochicks! Did you miss me? I missed you. And I spent much time keeping my eyes peeled for new and nifty eco-stuff to tell you about.

On our trek through the East Coast, I stumbled across this little gem in a uber-cute cafe in Pugwash: Just Us coffees.

Just Us was started as a coffee-only cooperative, but have expanded into several different fair trade and/or organic products including a range of coffees, ranging from light to dark roasts as well as decaf. There’s also tea, chocolate and sugar from free trade and organic sources. I tried a yummy latte made from their espresso blend, and it was delicious. They’ve gotten great coverage lately in local media, especially for their cafes which feature their fantastic products and free wireless. I shoulda found one of these places last week!

You can order their product directly from Just Us, you can buy their products in shops, or simply visit one of their cafes scattered across Nova Scotia.

Toronto Life: Where To Find The Freshest Food In The City

Torontonians alert: Are you wondering where to find great local food? Wondering which farmer is which? Wondering what the difference is between local meat and supermarket meat? Rejoice: The July issue of Toronto Life magazine tells you Where to find the Freshest Food in the city.

There’s a full 2008 guide to Farmers’ Markets, letting you know where and when the markets take place, as well as how many vendors will be there. There are interviews with several local food producers who’ve been doing things differently for years, and that will give you some fresh insight into the connection between how our food is produced and how it ends up on our table. There’s information on several native, local foods that are only available briefly over the course of the summer, foods that we rarely see in a big-box grocery store and that we’ve been missing out on for years. Blurbs on great local meats, wonderful Ontario wines, cheeses and fish round out the feature. If you’re in the GTA, you should pick this issue up – or borrow one from a friend.

Has a local publication featured something similar in your city? Let ecochick>.

EcoWeb June 17

Don’t worry, ecochicks: I have read the internet so you don’t have to.

You a geek who wants to be green? Gizmodo showed us this new Monitor from LG that uses about 45% less energy than traditional models. Now you can feel a whole lot less Green Guilt about your WOW addiction.

Looking for a new source for green news? The Huffington Post, the US political commentary site named the World’s Most Powerful Blog by the Guardian, recently launched a new channel: Huffington Post Green, with news, blogs, and commentary about all the latest green news. This one will have some clout!

Sustainablog brings us news about Power of Green Consumers working together through Earth Aid Group Buys: Groups of consumers combining their purchasing power to buy in bulk and get better prices on green goods. Take the power into your own hands! They also posted a great article on Low Impact Living: 10 ways to cut energy consumption. What changes can you make?

Inhabitat featured several cool stories, including these awesomely funky Lamps made with recycled bottles, cool Solar Curtains that shade your home from the sun while absorbing energy, and an uber-useful Crank USB Battery that you could use right away to generate power, and that you will need to surf the web in case of the apocalypse.

At Treehugger, they featured this cool Lettuce Billboard, the Whippy Light (hide your CFL bulbs no more!) and these recycled plastic cutlery cases to curb your need for take-out cutlery with your pad thai.

There was also one piece of ironically good news: the high price of petroleum means that the Cost of Petro Plastic is Skyrocketing, forcing companies who rely on petro-plastics to find alternatives – natural rubber vs. synthetic rubber, reducing plastic packaging, and looking to increased use of recycled materials. While the price of petroleum is hard on the wallet, it’s forcing industry to make changes that make things easier on the planet – which in the end, is good for everyone.

Oh, muffin – is all this gloom and doom getting you down? Don’t worry: the Budget Ecoist has a great list of 5 Great Organic Wines for Summer to help you through.

Got any ideas for ecoweb? Send ‘em to me at talk at ecochick dot ca!

Far Niente Wines

From Inhabitat: Napa Valley’s Far Niente Winery has found a unique and innovative way to provide their power requirements to the winery: a floating solar pond. They knew they wanted to go solar, but they faced the problem of “where” to put the large number solar panels they’d require. From their blog:

We needed a spot for about 2000 solar panels and we didn’t have a big roof. We didn’t want to take out vineyard because we need these grapes to make our wine. The vineyard pond is where we recycle our winery water. It provides the water for irrigation and frost protection. Most importantly for solar panels; it is wide open for gathering sunshine.

They worked with the solar team to come up with their innovative solution: about 1000 panels float on pontoons on their irrigation pond. They’ve christened it “Floatovoltaics”. They’re gathering more power than they actually use, and they believe that by floating the solar pods, they are providing welcome shade for their irrigation pond from the California sunshine, thus preventing evaporation and maintaining their precious water supply. An eco-win in so many ways!

You can get their wines at the LCBO, SAQ and other Canadian liquor vendors.

Mill Street Original Organic Lager

Summertime… la la la, however the song goes…. sing it, folks, because it’s finally nice out. And there is no better way to truly feel summery than to sit outside on a warm evening with a cold lager in your hand. At at Toronto’s Mill Street Brewery, there is a lovely Organic lager on the offer that will satisfy your craving for a cold one while keeping you on the organic straight and narrow. Mill street has used imported organic New Zealand Hallertau Hops and Breiss Organics 2-Row Brewers Malt to create this brew.

From their website: “This 100% all natural Organic Lager is Ontario’s first organic lager, and contains no pesticides, insecticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers. Brewed with imported malt and hops, this 4.2% European-style pilsner offers a light, crisp and refreshing flavour, with a clean finish. At 4.2%, it’s on the lower side of alcohol content as well. We’ve tried it, and they’re right: It’s a lovely, light lager, perfect for a summer day.

Interestingly, these come in little 192 ml bottles, and not the regular 300-someodd ml size. I guess so that it will stay cold while you get to the bottom? Who knows. It’s available at the Beer Store in Ontario and at fine establishments near you.

UPDATED: Last time I was at the beer store, the friendly beer guy told me that they had a SKU in the checkout for regular-sized bottles. They will be priced the same as the rest of the Mill Street brews (ie. premium pricing), so more expensive than your basic Labatt’s Blue, but worth it.

Ottawa Farmers’ Market

The Ottawa Farmers’ Market is open for business again! Running on Sundays from 8-3 pm, and Thursdays from 2-7 pm after June 26, the Ottawa Farmers Market highlights local producers of fruit, vegetables, meat, arts and crafts. With weekly events, a wide range of vendors selling seasonal products, you will enjoy the experience as much as you will enjoy the products you buy there.

The Ottawa Farmers’ Market takes place at Landsdowne Park except during the Ottawa Ex, where it moves to a park around the corner. See you there!

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