Flavour­ful Feasts

from the Farm

Ottawa Business Journal - Ottawa at Home - - FOOD FRESH BITES - Writ­ten by PAULA ROY Pho­tog­ra­phy by MARK HOLLERON

... I love grow­ing healthy food for oth­ers to en­joy.

— Robin Turner

When it comes to lo­cal, sea­sonal cui­sine, you can’t get any fresher than buy­ing di­rectly from a nearby farmer. As Robin Turner, owner of Roots and Shoots Farm in Man­otick, ex­plains: “It en­ables you to con­nect with the per­son who grew the food you’re putting on your ta­ble. It also en­sures you’re cook­ing what’s in sea­son and at the peak of its flavour.”

Even though days are shorter and nights are cooler, Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber are still prime pick­ing months in our area. Farm­ers’ daily har­vests at this time of year in­clude an abun­dance of let­tuce, onions, toma­toes, pep­pers, beans, cu­cum­bers, ap­ples, mel­ons and much more.

Robin, who is also pres­i­dent of the Ot­tawa Farm­ers’ Mar­ket at Lans­downe Park, notes that meet­ing lo­cal farm­ers of­fers an­other important ben­e­fit, in that grow­ers know a lot about the food they pro­duce. “You can usu­ally rely on a farmer to pro­vide stor­age tips and great recipes for what you’re tak­ing home.”

There are presently over 1200 farms in the City of Ot­tawa and more than 80 have qual­i­fied for Savour Ot­tawa sta­tus, mean­ing that ev­ery­thing they sell must be grown or raised on their farm. Ot­tawa’s just­food.ca is a valu­able resource for learn­ing about our lo­cal farm­ers, what they grow and where they sell it. Many have stands at their farm gates, as well as par­tic­i­pat­ing in one or more of the 20 sea­sonal mar­kets across the re­gion.

Ot­tawa’s 23 Com­mu­nity Sup­ported Agri­cul­ture (CSA) pro­grams of­fer yet an­other way to get your hands on fresh­picked food. Each share­holder re­ceives weekly de­liv­ery of a guar­an­teed sup­ply of lo­cal pro­duce that varies as cer­tain crops hit their peak. Par­tic­i­pat­ing in a CSA pro­gram also of­fers sta­bil­ity to lo­cal grow­ers who can bet­ter un­der­stand how much they can af­ford to plant, based on the num­ber of peo­ple who have com­mit­ted to buy­ing their har­vest.

“An­other great ben­e­fit of be­ing part of a CSA is that it of­ten en­cour­ages peo­ple to try things they may not be fa­mil­iar with,” says Robin. “We grow over 100 dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties of veg­eta­bles at Roots and Shoots. Dur­ing the sea­son you might find sweet hakurei salad turnips, pur­ple car­rots or striped heir­loom toma­toes in your bas­ket, along­side more main­stream items. Ev­ery­thing is fresh and full of flavour. I love grow­ing healthy food for oth­ers to en­joy.”

Roots and Shoots Farm is at 6110 Mitch Owens Drive.

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