Posts Tagged ‘food’

Back To School For Everyone



The kids have gone back to school so maybe it’s time we all did the same. Have you always wanted to learn how to make tourtière – that delicious French Canadian meat pie – now’s your chance to take a class from food writer, French Canadian and former Stratford Chef’s School instructor Deborah Reid.
Or what about wild mushrooms? We sell a gorgeous selection of them in the store but maybe you’re not sure how to cook them at home. Continue »

Forsythia Means Planting Time 

forsythia in bloom

Even before most trees leaf out, forsythia flowers emerge.

Forsythia means planting time.

When the forsythia is blooming it’s the “all clear” sign: a bright yellow beacon telling us that the soil and daytime temperatures have warmed up enough for us to start planting our gardens. Not everything, mind you, but we can plant a lot:

Plant when Forsythia blooms
  • Hardy perennials, shrubs, trees and roses.
  • Annual sweet peas. Annual pansies, violas.
  • Edibles: peas, spinach and cool vegetable crops.
  • Berry bushes and perennial vegetables like rhubarb and asparagus.
  • Hardy bulbs. Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, grape hyacinths, in a container for a seasonal display.
  • Pre-planted pots of flowering bulbs can be planted right into your garden. They’ll put down roots and come up again next season. It’s a good trick for those who didn’t get a chance to plant bulbs in the fall. (Like me!)
  • Perennial Herbs: sage, thyme, oregano
Wait for May 24th, or later
  • Heat-loving annual vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, eggplant cucumbers and melons.
  • Tender herbs like basil


Question: “Why does the car smell like dinner?”

Tuft of rosemary on olive cutting board

What’s the best way to dry herbs? Hanging upside down on strings is the traditional way. Some people use an oven, but many modern ovens don’t have the low temperatures that herb drying needs. One of the most ingenious and unorthodox ways I’ve heard is to dry herbs using your car as a dehydrator. This tip was gleaned from the excellent edible gardening and growing food podcast called Living HomeGrown with Theresa Loe. With this unusual method you take a bunch of herbs, bundle them, and tie the stems together with a rubber band. (A rubber band works better than string because as the stems shrink the rubber band still holds them tightly.) Don’t make your bunches too big; a bunch of stems about an inch or less across is a good size. Then simply place your herbs around your car. You can use a tray to be tidy, but even placing them on a tea towel would do.

Continue »

Why We Love Edible Toronto

 ET27_Spring2014_COVER   Edible Toronto is one of the best magazines around that showcases the incredible food of the Toronto area and the Golden Horseshoe. Promoting local food and farming based initiatives, Edible Toronto proudly gives a shout-out to all the good work, good people and good things going on in our area that help to create and sustain jobs, bolster the economy and in general raise awareness of the amazing agri-based community we are so lucky to have. Continue »

Delectable Perennials: Asparagus



Asparagus, a delicious symbol of early summer, is a wondrous thing to have fresh from your own garden. A perennial vegetable, it’s one of the components of a permaculture garden, and once planted, you could be harvesting spears for many, many years, a true heirloom vegetable. Of course, one of the main benefits of growing any of your own vegetables is that can ensure that they’re organic. Larry Hodgson in Canadian Gardening writes on asparagus:

Many home gardeners keep theirs going for 40 years or more. That means you have to be especially picky about where you plant it — usually not in the middle of the vegetable patch.  If you’re only growing a few plants — two or three asparagus plants are probably sufficient for a family.


Anyone wanting to cultivate asparagus must exercise patience, as asparagus grown from seed will take several years to bear fruit. The reason being is that the first couple years of growth must be left, and not eaten, to allow the plants to mature. If you are the patient type, go for it. After the wait, all the hard work is done, and you never need to replant. That’s the joy of a perennial crop. Plus, you’ll be able to brag forever you grew your asparagus from seed.

However, the quickest way to get asparagus to the point where you can harvest is to start with already grown roots, or ‘crowns’. Many asparagus growers and seed companies sell them. Raised beds are ideal.

Dig individual planting holes or, if planting an asparagus bed, a trench. Plant with the tip of the crown set about 15 centimetres below the ground, then cover with three to five centimetres of soil, gradually filling in the hole or trench as the shoots become taller. Space plants about 30 to 45 centimetres apart, with the same distance between rows.

With no vegetable patch at hand, you could even add a few asparagus plants to the perennial border, the tall, flowery heads are very decorative.