Thursday, April 21, 2016

Gay Lea Sour Cream & Fond Farm Memories #BornOntheFarm {giveaway}

I'm fairly picky about the brands I write about, and especially picky when I sign on to anything longer term. For me to accept an Ambassador role I need to already be using a product or line of products. I need to trust the brand and be truly happy with it and what it represents. This means Gay Lea is a wonderful fit for me, since we enjoy so many of their products (just check out my fridge!) and I really appreciate that the company is actually a cooperative of Ontario farmers. Buying and eating local are important to me, and I am always pleased to support our local farmers.

But all of this made this month's story topic rather difficult. The Gay Lea Ambassadors have been tasked with telling our readers about our favourite Gay Lea product. One favourite. How can I pick just one?? It seems almost traitorous to not choose the Real Whip Cream, but I just wrote about that in March. Ivanhoe cheese? Nordica cream cheese? Gay Lea butter that is so important to my crumbly shortbread? I love them all. But perhaps the one that gets the most use in our home is Gay Lea's Original Sour Cream, so let's go with that.

Why the sour cream? Well, aside from the great, tangy taste, it is really quite versatile. We do a fair bit of Tex-Mex, and as far as I'm concerned you simply can't have nachos or a chicken quesadilla without sour cream. Tacos, black bean soup, enchiladas - they are all improved with sour cream. And of course it's a key ingredient in my Creamy Guacamole.

But it's not just Tex-Mex. Gay Lea sour cream mixed with a little Sriracha is a go-to for my cheese and potato perogies, and with some bacon bits and chives you have the perfect baked potato topping. You can even add sour cream to your baking for delicious and moist cakes. Yum!

For my family, we prefer the original, for flavour and texture, but Gay Lea offers both low and non-fat options as well.

In spite of my frequent assertions that I am going to buy a cow because of the crazy volume of milk these boys consume, I've never visited a working dairy farm. Have you? However, I have tasted milk pretty much directly from a cow, about 40 years ago. My great-aunt and great-uncle had a cow and a few goats, not a full-on farm. He brought a glass of milk in to my brother and I after a milking session. For the record, I took a tiny sip and spit it out.

And I grew up on 7 acres, where we grew a lot of our own food. On top of that, my great-grandfather had a small farm, and he was known to send me pets. Like rabbits. And then a pony. Yep. I was 3 maybe? So awesome! I remember on one visit to his place he brought us to the barn to show us newborn bunnies. They were so tiny! I'd never seen anything like it. I guess I grew up surrounded by family who were used to living close to the earth, and that's left me with a deep appreciation for where our food comes from.

I've tried to instill this appreciation in our boys, both through our backyard garden and through visits to Riverdale Farm here in the city, the Royal Agricultural Fair, and basically any opportunity to see how animals are raised. Actually, I was completely jealous and tempted to flee the city when we visited with an old high school friend of my husband's a couple of years ago. They have a small sheep farm, along with a few cows, pigs, and a llama family. We got a wonderful tour of their property, and they talked to the kids (and us) about what their days entail, how crazy the breeding season is, and more.  Boo LOVED the animals and was full of questions. Just look at this darling:

They work so very hard, every day. But it's rewarding work too. I'm not sure I'm cut out for it, but still the farm life appeals to me.

And of course, their cows:

Have you ever visited a farm, or do you grow some of your own food? How do you teach your kids about the importance of farmers and that food doesn't just magically appear on the grocery store shelves?

Not one, but two giveaways!

That's right! I have two super giveaways to share with you.

The first, big, grand prize giveaway is being hosted by Influence Central. To help you get creative in the kitchen with Gay Lea, they are offering up a KitchenAid Stand Mixer! (Squee!!!! I love mine!) A total of one grand prize will be awarded to entrants across all Gay Lea Ambassador blogs. Approximate retail value of the prize is $450. I've embedded the giveaway widget below. You can enter until 11:59pm EDT, April 30. Giveaway open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Next up, each of the Ambassadors is giving away a year's worth of Gay Lea products! This prize will be delivered in the form of 12 free product coupons. Entries for my set of coupons are via the widget below, and will also be accepted until 11:59pm EDT, April 30. Entries may be made across multiple blogs, but you may only win once. Giveaway open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec.

Best of luck on both of these!!

Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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