Ice Fishing Trip a Great Catch

Editor
March 7, 2014

On February 16thice-fishing-slow-food-toronto, 2014, 20 members of the Slow Food Toronto community assembled at Ice Fishing Outfitters on Virginia Beach, Lake Simcoe. The day was reassuringly cold, the ice was thick, and our transport out to the huts was via a vintage, red Bombardier snow coach.

Slow Food Toronto stalwart farmer / chef / entrepreneur Mark Trealout connected us to the lakeside community, and attended with his energetic boys.

We were also fortunate to have chefs Tyler Shedden and Matt Duffy of Café Boulud with us, volunteering at the end of a long week that included the tail end of Winterlicious and Valentine’s Day Friday/Saturday double. Tyler and Matt provided a fantastic cassoulet [with duck and beans from Trealout’s Grassroot Organics] and were fully prepared for a fish frying frenzy [See photos of their fish hut kitchen set up below]. SFT community members augmented the cassoulet with a variety of locally-inspired dishes, and some Ontario craft beer and VQA wines were shared during the potluck lunch.

Attendees were reminded why the activity is called fishing rather than catching, as the perch of Lake Simcoe were less than co-operative with our plans, and few rose to the bait. Nonetheless, we shared the quintessentially Canadian experience of fishing from the solid, blue surface of a winter lake, and had a chance to meet, mingle and dream up further mindful food gatherings.

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Slow Food Toronto Pawpaw Tasting

Editor
October 15, 2013

paw-paw-fruit-slow-food-torontoTaste the Pawpaw – North America’s Largest Native Fruit

  • Learn the cultural and botanical history of the pawpaw, Asimina Triloba.
  • Become active in spreading the growth of this unique native tree. One sapling will be given as a door prize.
  • Connect with the Slow Food Toronto community to share in responsible pleasure.

When: Thursday, October 24th – 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Where: Hawthorne Food and Drink, 60 Richmond St E, Toronto, ON M5C 1N8 (tasting will be held in an event space above the restaurant) MAP.

Reservations for dinner at 8:00pm are encouraged. To make a reservation please call (647) 930-9517

Evening Agenda:

  • Ethno-botany of the pawpaw – Ionatan Waisgluss
  • Pawpaw trees in urban pollinator habitat gardens – Paul DeCampo
  • Pawpaw tasting – Planting options for seeds [Bring a bag to keep seeds moist]
  • Potential pawpaw projects – General discussion

Please RSVP to [email protected]

Ionatan Waisgluss is an upper-year student studying Botany and Anthropology at the University of Toronto. He’s worked alongside a wide range of organizations and institutions in order to explore the relationship between people, plants, and place, always looking for meaningful connections that can be used to develop and nurture community. When he isn’t studying or working, he often runs workshops, guided tours and other community-oriented events. He is also very fond of writing and the arts. You can find him online at: http://ionatan.webs.com.

2013 Annual General Meeting Minutes + Leadership Update

Please find the minutes of our Annual General Meeting held on March 25, 2013 at the Ralph Thornton Centre, below:
SFT_AGM Minutes_2013

As announced at the AGM, I have resigned as Director and Vice-President of Slow Food Toronto.

I have since wound down my activities acting as the interim leader of our convivium on behalf of our executive team.

I will continue to participate in Slow Food activities here on the local level, and as a member of the Slow Food Canada executive I continue to work as a dedicated volunteer supporting all Canadian conviviums and helping to grow the Slow Food in Canada movement.

If you have any questions relating to the activities of Slow Food Toronto from October 31, 2011 to April 31, 2013 please do not hesitate to contact me at: voula (at) slowfood.to

For inquiries relating to the ongoing activities of Slow Food Toronto please contact:
Paul DeCampo, President at paul (at) slowfood.to

If you are interested in participating on the Slow Food Toronto Board of Directors please fill out this form:
BOARD NOMINATION FORM

With kindest regards and best wishes for all that is good and slow,

Voula Halliday Slow Food Canada

Slow Fish Event: Close to Home at Red Fish Restaurant

Editor
May 23, 2013

slow-fish-canada-slow-food-torontoRed Fish Restaurant invites you to get local with your fish! Tuesday, June 4th Slow Fish Toronto and Waterkeeper are proud to be a part of an evening of beautiful, delicious and healthy fish, all from within 200 kilometres of Toronto. Chef/owner David Friedman has created a 5 course menu, plus canapés, featuring this province’s aquatic bounty.

Tuesday, June 4 at 7:00pm
Red Fish, 890 College Street

Slow Food Toronto Members $56.50
Non-members $67.80
Wine pairing $28.25

Made From Scratch: Terra Madre Day 2012

terra-madre-day-2012-slow-food-torontoWhen we set out to plan our Terra Madre Day Made From Scratch event we never anticipated how many great contributions we’d get from everyone. We heard from people by email, on Twitter and on Facebook. You shared some amazing photos, really excellent recipes, and stories about your own Made From Scratch meals.

As promised, we are sharing this with everyone here and we are delighted we can! Just look at some of these great meals! It’s awesome to look at it all again and be inspired to get back into the kitchen cooking good, clean, fair food from scratch.

While we don’t have to wait until next year to cook from scratch (NO WAY! Everyday is Cook From Scratch Day!) we are all really looking forward to Terra Madre 2013 when we hope to get the whole city (okay, the whole country!) cooking and sharing more great local good food together.

Continue reading Made From Scratch: Terra Madre Day 2012

Terra Madre 2012: Representing Canada, Red Fife Wheat

slow-food-toronto-terra-madre-dayBy Dawn Woodward, Producer delegate, with Edmund Rek

Ed and I were able to bring over 100 packages of our red fife based cookies and crackers. We sampled and sold our products to a very enthusiastic audience. The cocoa nibs were the favorite, though the seedy crackers and lavender shortbread were also snapped up.

I don’t know if I can quite describe the buzz of Terre Madre. To be surrounded by so many other artisans, fisherfolk, small farmers, vintners and brewers from around the globe showcasing their products was a once in a lifetime experience. We met Lewis, a young Scottish brewer (easy to spot, as he was the only one in a kilt) and traded our shortbread for his barley beer. Over many samples of all his incredible brews we heard about his Black Isle brewery, the only all-organic brewery in Scotland that grows their own grains, with an emphasis on barley.

We enjoyed the opportunity to talk with Andrew Whitely, of Bread Matters UK, about rye sourdoughs. We talked about how much “real” homemade bread should be the norm, and shared our enthusiasm for the importance of heritage wheats.

Ed befriended the young Austrian behind the pastry counter, where we ate freshly baked strudel and hazelnut croissants every morning. All of these connections have given me hope about the future of our business and local food systems.

Continue reading Terra Madre 2012: Representing Canada, Red Fife Wheat

Terra Madre 2012: Life Lessons

terra-madre-day-2012By Voula Halliday, Slow Food Toronto Leader

Around the table is where I learned most of the life lessons that shaped me.

It is where my mother ate silently when distressed or anxious and where I learned that silence comes from many places, and that there can be great pain when a person’s voice is stifled or drowned out. It is where I waited for the right moment to share news with everyone; and where I learned that joy lights up a room and makes my father laugh louder than thunder. It is where my grandfather would let me devour one of the canned prunes my mother reserved especially for him (I can taste them now—plumy sweetness mixed with the longing that is nostalgia). I learned that even on a tight budget, the smallest morsel can be shared. And that good health comes from this sharing too.

As part of my reflection on the Terra Madre experience, and on this note of sharing, I will first admit that it is draining to care for, cultivate, motivate, inspire, and build the awareness in others that our fork wields a mighty mighty power that can change the world. As a dedicated volunteer caregiver of Slow Food I have found it a struggle on many fronts. But somehow, in the loud and crowded 80,000 square metre arena of the Lingotto Fiere*, in between a sudden and violent bout of food sickness (from an in-flight sandwich), a schedule jam packed with meetings and the 3 day congress sessions, I managed to find a way to my restoration.

It was a simple line that Carlo Petrini delivered. Petrini is most powerful when he expresses himself in small “statement of fact” terms. They are thoughts born from personal experience, easy to digest and absorb, and come at a time when perhaps we need it most. Like water into a sponge, here’s what I took in, most gratefully: “Sleep on it. Get up in the morning, and be over the rage”.

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Terra Madre 2012: Impressions and Reflections

terra-madre-20120-slow-food-torontoBy Evelyne Au-Navioz, Slow Food Toronto Youth Delegate

With 150 countries represented, over 600 international delegates, dozen and dozens of talks and labs, and probably hundreds and hundreds of products, Terra Madre (along with the Salone de Gusto) is impossible to fully take in. But navigating through the crowds and chaos, and among the many different cultures, common themes seemed to emerge for me:

– The need for education around good, clean and fair food
– The importance of starting this education earlier on with children
– A desire to have proper metrics around quality slow foods for especially economic, commercial and environmental reasons
– The impacts of genetically modified foods and seeds
– The struggle and pride of small producers
– Environmental trends and effects on land and sea
– Reflection and celebrations of traditions, terroir and wisdom passed down from generation to generation
– Complimentary and conflicting aspects between ‘old world’ and ‘new world’
– Organizational hurdles and accomplishments

A few questions came up for me while at Terra Madre when I heard a talk about food wisdom. A woman from Kuala Lumpur spoke about traditions and recipes being lost because the emphasis is now on girls to get an education and have a career over staying at home, cooking and raising children.

Continue reading Terra Madre 2012: Impressions and Reflections

Terra Madre 2012: Learning About the Ark of Taste

By Laura Buckley, Ark of Taste delegate

As the newly appointed chair of the Canadian Ark of Taste commission, I eagerly anticipated gathering with my counterparts at the meeting of the International Ark of Taste commission at Terra Madre. I went looking for answers about how to run our Canadian ark project. What I came home with is more questions.

There are just over 1,000 items on the ark. Four hundred of those are from Italy. In the Salone del Gusto, I tasted and learned the stories behind ark foods such as Carmignano’s dried figs, Saras del fen (a sheep’s milk ricotta from Piedmont), Nebbiolo wine from Carema, and myriad cured meats. How could we possibly do anything like this in Canada? Italy has a fraction of the landmass of Canada, double the population and thousands of years more history. Of course cataloguing traditional ingredients and artisan food production is much easier task.

There are almost 10 million square kilometres in Canada and we don’t have great traditions of artisan food production. Most of the artisan food producers we see in our farmers markets are making products based on European traditions. But as a young country, we have an important role to play in building our Ark. Before we cover our land with housing and industrialized agriculture, we need to save our heritage varieties of fruits, vegetables and animal breeds by introducing people to tastes beyond the standard varieties apples, lettuce, pork, chicken and beef. And by doing so we can encourage biodiversity and build on our immigrant traditions to have a wealth of delicious tasting foods for the future. We also need to catalogue our wild foods and traditions of our First Nations peoples.

It’s a big undertaking that needs the support of all convivia as well as the help of our American neighbors. Terroir doesn’t know political borders. If you look at the U.S. Ark of Taste, many of the items there are also part of our food history. Much of what grows in the west of the country has more in common with Washington, Montana and North Dakota than with the eastern provinces, which in turn share a terroir more similar to New York and the New England states.

As I reflect on the overwhelming experience of my time in Turin, I realize I learned a lot, even though much of it was different from my expectations. There are no easy answers to how to run the ark project in Canada, but I will continue researching and soliciting help to figure out the best ways to promote and preserve the biodiversity of our country.

Terra Madre 2012: A New Perspective on Overfishing

slow-fish-toronto

Off the coast of Peru, industrial scale fishing operations harvest millions of pounds of white anchovy each season. Anchovy is a wonderful food that has fallen from favour in many kitchens and has become all too difficult to find when shopping. So where is it all going? Most of the anchovy (and indeed most of the low trophic level fish) are being processed to make feed for animals. This includes pet food, chicken feed (Omega-3 eggs), and of course includes feed for aquaculture too – primarily salmon farming.

This is a great tragedy. Not only are we losing a delicious and nutritious food that has a long history in many cuisines, there’s also the problem that when these fish are removed from an ecosystem, they are no longer available as food for other larger predator fish, and their absence allows jelly fish to take their place and flourish. However, the jelly fish are not food for other predators, and in fact they feed on the eggs and larvae of other species.

Now this is not news; Dr Daniel Pauly of University of British Columbia has been speaking out on this for many years. What struck me and changed my thinking on the matter of overfishing, was the realization that when we remove the amount of fish harvested to make animal feed from global catch data, the amount that is being caught for human consumption is steadily declining over the past decade. This puts the problem of feeding a growing population in a different light, particularly from the perspective of Slow Fish. It is apparent that preserving the place of forage fish within their ecosystems and protecting the cuisines that have evolved to use these fish is critical to the judicious use of this valuable food.