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Easter Thoughts

April 12, 2009

It is Easter morning and it looks of spring. What more I have survived another birthday and though I feel really old, I just see better things for the coming months.

The economy is bad, but I feel that it has bottomed out and will slowly get better. It's a gut feeling but the stimulus money will start to flow (I am by no means a Keynsean, but it is consumer behaviour here). If the media is ignored with their bad news and people just start to believe, then things will change. The banks want to start repaying the tarp money and it looks like the GM and Chrysler thing is coming to a head. There is alot of brinksmanship going on and maybe this “ in and out bankruptcy” may just be the ticket. Banks are showing profits or at least not so big losses so money should flow and thus get better.

But alas this is not an economics blog, it's supposed to be about wine and food.

So let's restart. With spring here we are getting ready to start getting local food. Last night we had dinner at the Suave's and they want local but don't know where to get it. This is sad but true. I read an article in the Toronto Star where they took a writer and had her go local. Well she did, but went local organic. She spent alot and just went too far.

Let's look what we can do here in Essex County. We have just about everything we need within reason. Obviously, no olive oil and anything tropical but other than that we have alot. The local food map should be out any time and there is the 'secret project' that should help us find our food.

This year Terry and I will endeavour to stay as local as possible. We aren't going to go native but why shouldn't we all stay as local as possible. Butter will be of Amish, or Irish sourcing as there isn't any available here. Olive oil from Spain, and citrus fruit from the south. We want to avoid food from China as we are concerned about safety. I was sent a video and if true it is scary. And as they didn't figure it out after the Menu Foods debacle or the milk issues, we just don't want any. You would be amazed how much of our food is Chinese. It doesn't have to be that way.

Do you need Organic. No! Meet your farmer and talk to them and you will find their view of Organic. If they have proper techniques, it isn't necessary. Remember the farms here aren't factory farms so the farmers care.

Fruit and Veg. Available all over. Try to find one hooked to an actual farmer. We have 3 favourites . One is small, two are quite big, but the food is local. Try fresh uncured sweet potatoes, or fresh potatoes, or fresh garlic…..amazing. Asparagus is getting close btw….way better than shipped in. Spring greens soon too!! I can't wait for a proper salad.

Meat… well there is the Wild Acre Cattle Company in Woodslee. On Meyers between 42 and 46, its a jewel. Aged meat, not organic but no steroids or antibiotics. Its scary how he talks fondly of the animal that he made the steak from but he cares about them.

Father Wants Beef…on CR 8 east of Walker…frozen but again no steroids or antibiotics…is this the way it is supposed to be or not? He has under 1 year old beef therefore its basically veal that gets to run around…nice.

Of course.. for butchers there is Schwabs in LaSalle that trades in local meat. I have gotten Berkshire Pork there and Ewe Dell lamb. He's a nice guy that I have dealt with for years.

Sanson Estates Winery…not only wine but Berkshire Pork and Lamousin Beef….Yummmy..not only meat but the wine is great too!! Now Berkshire pork is the old style pork…it has flavour and texture…the beef is French beef and beautiful. Naturally raised btw.

Wagner Estates…Harold has beef turkey et all…pastry and wine and apples….and he is close to the city…off Manning by 401.

Chicken..still working on it.

Fish…well there is the Fish Nazi on hwy 3 in Essex. Actually he is very good and has great stuff but he isn't the nicest guy. Zak's serves up fish caught in Wheatly. Then there are the dock in Kingsville and Wheatly and then a place on the way to Paula's Fish Place (wonderful restaurant, near the gates of Point Pelee). Why have fish caught in New Zealand then processed in China…yes check the packaging, or caught on factory ships, or overfished (like sea bass). The pickerel and perch are sustainable and here!! Fresh, fresh and supporting the locals and processed to our safety standards. That means alot to me.

What we need….cheese..why is there no artisanal cheese makers?..Bakers…I want good local French stick…like Avalon in Detroit…the old way… not made by a mix but by hand. It isn't cheap but it is real. I think we have a great area here and should make more of it. I am puzzled why more restaurants don't do local. Not enough local food or wine on the menu. They seem to be hung up in the 80's when there was no local food movement. The Germans want to fly our produce to the old country so its good enough for them but we poopoo it and our restaurants would rather serve produce from Cali than use local seasonal veg. Add to that the insult of Yellowtail when we have great local wine. The menu should change with the season…just don't get me started…ok .. I feel better now.

I want us to develop our own food and wine culture so that we are 'special' because we can be.

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