Monday, December 17, 2012

HGG2012 - The Ontario Table Holiday Challenge

This past year or so I have been becoming much more conscious of food labels, and have been making an effort to buy fresh local produce in season, and to support local producers, craftspersons, and businesses where I can. I also know that I, for one, really love to receive edible and quaffable presents. I have lots of "stuff," but you can never have too many delicious jams, sauces, wines and cheeses. Consumables, especially if they have a local story, make excellent gifting choices. So I am happy to share with you these ideas for Holiday Gifting, courtesy of the Ontario Table and Farmers Feed Cities.  And be sure to keep an eye out here for a local giveaway, coming soon!

Tips for gifting local this holiday season

Take the Ontario Table Holiday Challenge and support your local food producer! With only a few shopping days left to cross everyone off your holiday gift-giving list, Farmers Feed Cities challenges Canadians to think local when purchasing last minute gifts. Named the 2012 Ontario Local Food Ambassador, Lynn Ogryzlo, author of The Ontario Table local cookbook created this Holiday Challenge:

“The average Ontario shopper intends to spend almost $700 on holiday gifting this year. If just $70 or 10 per cent of this was spent on edible gifts crafted from Ontario artisan producers, the economic impact would equate to $500 million extra dollars in our Ontario food system, supporting up to 10,000 food sector jobs.”

Lynn Ogryzlo has partnered with Farmers Feed Cities to share her top five farm produced gift ideas, plus three steps you can take to make the shopping local process seamless.

Top five local gift ideas

1) Canned goodies –Share the season’s harvest throughout the winter and give the gift of sweet and savoury preserves. Ontario has a variety of artisanal treats like habanero jelly, spicy pickled cauliflowers, candied garlic and more to match any hard to buy for taste buds! Check out The Bumper Crop in Toronto for an abundant selection of sweet jams, preserves, sauces and compots.

2) Cheesy delights – Ontario has a fantastic selection of cheeses hand-crafted from local ingredients. If you have a cheese connoisseur on your list, this is the perfect gift for them! Pick up creamy goat chevre produced near Peterborough at Crosswind Farm’s goat dairy and fromagerie. Better yet, give the gift of a farm tour to discover how cheese is made and even milk a goat!

3) Wines divine –Niagara is home to world class wines from stunning vineyards offering both divine local gifts and group experiences. For the one on your gift buying list who loves to entertain, they can wow the crowd with icewine as dessert, or as a starter with pate. For the health conscious wine lover, gift an organic bottle from Southbrook Vineyards along with a container of Bioflavia, the grape skin powder with incredible health properties.

4) Soy gourmet - Perfect for the chef on your list, give the gift of gourmet soybean, sunflower and canola oils and soy sauce while celebrating the 28,000 Ontario grain farmers. Visit Pristine Gourmet in Norfolk County for delicious products like Extra Virgin Soy Oil, Soy Sauce, flavoured vinegars, sparkling cider and edamame beans produced right from his fields.

5) Agriculture experiences - Ontario farmers open the field gates and barn doors to those looking to understand more about the food on their plate. Give the gift of time and discovery together and visit Spring Ridge Farm for family activities in Milton, wander the Savour Stratford Bacon & Ale Trail with friends in Perth County or enjoy a romantic afternoon at the Savour Muskoka field to fork event on August 12, 2013.

3 steps to buying local

1) Research – Visit for a listing of all on-farm markets in Ontario. Make a day out of it, bundle the kids up and let them experience life on the farm!

2) Read labels – Look for the Foodland Ontario logo when making your purchases, if buying wine look for VQA to guarantee products are from our province.

3) Practice patience – Stay committed, sometimes these options are hard to find but the majority of the food we eat has a locally sourced option.

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