Local food & the value of flavour: talking with a chef

We had the fantastic opportunity to hear Jeff Crump speak about the culinary pleasures of local food at the Hill Street Community Garden on Wednesday. As executive chef at the Ancaster Mill & co-owner of the Earth to Table Bread Bar on Locke Street, Jeff is a wealth of knowledge and passionate about the flavours of fresh and local.

As he threw out inspiring recipes based on what was growing in the gardens, Jeff also shared his thoughts on some bigger issues related to our food economy. For example, our diet is now dominated by things that are easy to harvest and transport, such as romaine lettuce, rather than foods that necessarily have the most flavour or nutrition. This means that sweetcorn has the unique honour of being the only traditional food that is exclusively eaten seasonally in Canada.

Jeff also expressed the challenges, as a chef, of sourcing local foods. He mentioned, for example, the need for food to have a certain level of uniformity for the restaurant plate – i.e. chicken breasts need to be uniform for kitchen staff, otherwise a lot of extra work has to go into making the meal. Jeff spoke about the FarmStart program that is just beginning at the Landmark Farm in Flamborough, and his hopes to procure some of what this new generation of farmers are growing.

As we walked through the garden, tasting the sharp and intense flavour of fresh arugula (unlike anything you can buy in the grocery store), and talked about what to pair with lovage, we were inspired to continue on this co-op adventure.

Jeff Crump’s quick pickle recipe to add a boost of flavour to your fresh beets, beans, radishes, cukes, etc.

1 cup rice wine vinegar;  3T sugar;   1 T salt    |    Heat on stovetop, add to jar of fresh produce, cool & store in the refrigerator. Yum!

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2 thoughts on “Local food & the value of flavour: talking with a chef

  1. I love the local farmers market and have shopped there since I was a child over 50 years ago, because it supports local farmers and growers. How will your store impact the farmers market? Thanks Amy

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