Our Proud Producers: Oka Cheese



Since 1893, some of the best cheese in the world has been made at The Abbey of Notre Dame du Lac at Deux –Montagnes Quebec, a monastery that at its peak was home to over two-hundred monks. In 1880, the Trappists were expelled from France and offered some land on the Lake of Two Mountains, in Oka, Quebec, by another Order, the Sulpicians. The monks established the Monastery there and, to help sustain it, formed The Oka Agricultural Institute in collaboration with the University of Montreal.

Trappist monks, although they do live a life of quiet contemplation and prayer, removed by-and-large from the outside world, have always been encouraged to support their monasteries by producing goods available to the general public.

Monks from of other countries like Belgium and Holland are famous for producing  beer, and in fact the beer from the Westvleteren Brewery run by the Trappist Monks make what is in some circles regarded as the best beer in the world.

And so it was that, in 1893, when the monks of the Oka abbey found themselves in financial trouble, they found a solution; cheese. As it turns out, one of the monks, Frère Alphonse Juin was from the Port-du-Salut Abbey in Entrammes, where the famous Port-du-Salut cheese was developed. And he had the secret recipe!  Continue »

DIY Vegan Ice Cream



A few weeks ago we reported on an amazing ice-cream alternative treat for those of us that are looking for a dairy free or vegan frozen dessert. And while we love the convenience and the delicious “wow-factor”  of Coconut Bliss, we are always on the look out for delicious, healthful and economical ice-cream-like treats we can make at home.  And as it turns out, you can make an amazing and delicious frozen confection simply by freezing bananas and pureeing them.

Because of the high pectin content of bananas, they turn out creamy and soft when pureed in the food processor or blender, almost the exact same texture as soft serve ice-cream, although of course it is dairy free and gluten free and vegan. It can also be organic and fair trade, depending on the bananas you use. Continue »

Staying Cool With Flavoured Ice



The long weekend is here and you know what that means right? It is time to drink lots of liquids! And make sure those liquids are cold by using lots of ice. Plain old ice cubes won’t cut it this weekend. Bust out a few party tricks to kick your ice cubes up a notch. For a punch bowl you can make a fruit filled ice ring or try individual big block cubes flavoured with fresh fruit for cocktails.  Continue »

Garden Watering Trick: Bucket into Soaker Hose

garden bucket

Garden helper: A bucket can go where no hose will reach.

In a scorching heat wave, gardens can quickly go from green and perky to brown and crispy. Part of my own garden is suffering as it’s beyond the reach of my hose. The wildflowers and milkweed ideally should look after themselves, but in an extended drought, even tough plants suffer, (and this garden is still establishing), so I’ve been using strategic buckets of water for irrigation.

Bucket watering isn’t efficient, as the water slooshes out of the bucket in a Niagara Falls-like fashion. Once on the ground there is often runoff, as the water finds its way along the soil surface instead of where I want it, near my plant’s roots. Its a problem, as I don’t want to waste a drop when I’m schlepping buckets around. But there is a solution.

Continue »

Free The Beer!

with files from Indiegogo.com


Picked up some beer in Quebec and preparing to drive to New Brunswick? Not if the RCMP catches you

Picked up some beer in Quebec and preparing to drive to New Brunswick? Not if the RCMP catches you


Once upon a time all things were legal. Then people prudently decided that perhaps this was not a good thing, so laws were passed to make certain nasty things illegal, to protect individuals and society as a whole, and/or to benefit certain political and or business interests. As societies and their governments changed, and became more (or less) enlightened, the laws they enacted reflected these ideological changes. For example, Prohibition in the U.S. and Canada enacted laws in both countries, catering to special interest groups in the name of protecting society. This “Noble Experiment” did not last long (praise be!). Cooler heads prevailed and prohibition was repealed based on the will of the majority.

Laws like this always seem to be in a state of flux, imperfection and experimentation. The laws concerning  marijuana, for example are a work in progress and are vastly imperfect and confusing. To add to the confusion, some things are legal federally, but still hog-tied provincially: the transportation of beer across borders is now legal federally , but the amounts you can take across provincial borders vary from province to province.

The amendment removes the federal barrier prohibiting individuals from moving beer from one province to another when it is for their personal use. While the federal impediment has been removed, there is no change to the province’s authority to set limits on personal importations of beer.”- CRA

Which brings us to the perplexing case of Gerard Comeau, who, in 2012 was charged with violating New Brunswick’s Liquor Control Act and fined $292.50 Continue »