Tag Archives: Jeff Mitchell

Does an Upscale Look Cost You at the Grocery Checkout?



Mitchell’s Independent grand opening in Carleton Place was this past weekend. For months we have watched the renovations transpire and now that it’s done, instead of congratulations I hear some locals complain that prices are going to increase to pay for those renovations. Food is expensive enough now some say, so why would I want to pay more for the sake of décor? I try to be fair to everyone, but I do get annoyed when I see improvements to make Carleton Place a better place get knocked around. First of all Mitchell’s will not personally raise their prices because everything is governed from the head office, which dictates store prices.

As for rising prices, more and more produce and grocery items are now being imported from the USA. Local distributors are now even sourcing from Mexico and elsewhere, and as summer and fall now turn to winter, produce prices will increase as well. How about looking at that box of Special K Original in big letters, where on the bottom it says new recipe and now imported. To put it simply, a decline in our dollar means it costs more to import food as it is all paid in US funds, so that is why your prices are creeping up — don’t blame your grocer– we need to get back to business in Canada.


WalMart is waging a battle on the discount end and American company, Whole Foods entry into Canada is now commanding the higher-end market. The conventional grocers are now shifting their interests from discount chains to sprucing up existing mid-market spaces like our local Independent store. Instead of adding square footage, the majority of the spending is moving towards renovations. This is all being done to meet the pressures of more sophisticated consumer demands for what has been called “on-trend” experiences. Shopping habits have changed; if they can’t get it on the internet, most consumers now want it all under one roof. Staying in business these days means staying fresh, staying relevant–and meeting that demand for convenience.


If you live in a city, then competition is the name of the game. In rural settings an all inclusive store is a necessity. In the end it will be the consumer who determines who thrives or falls. if you are going to compare a Canadian company like Mitchell’s Independent to discount grocers then don’t, because that is not what they are. They have competing prices if you take the time to check local flyers. You know, that’s what’s great about a free economy – you have the freedom to make your own choices about where to buy; but please don’t make assumptions about prices. Compare and choose for yourself.


Adam Dowdall from Producefreshaa

Jeff Mitchell and his family chose to bring the Independent store in Carleton Place up to a caliber you only find in the city. Heck, they even added a Joe Fresh outlet and hired more local employees. They put their money where their mouth is and to misquote a great song “they’re here for a long time not a short time.” Mitchell’s Independent packaged up choice and quality and brought it to a place where you walk out onto the dock on a summer night in cottage country. What more can you ask for? Thank you for caring about Carleton Place!

Job well done!


What is Jeff Mitchell eating?


Okay a picture of the paninis was necessary


Serge Robichaud and Joyce Mitchell


Dream 1 for Carleton Place–

Back to the Future— Carleton Place—- Project Tim Horton’s

Crikeys! The Elves Have Been Busy in Carleton Place

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

Does Buying Local Have to Mean Produce Dumped Off A Truck From Western Ontario?


There are many benefits for us to consider buying local food. But, of course you have heard all this. Local vegetables and fruit produced close to our homes is fresh, tasty and well priced. By buying local it supports our local farmers, which helps to preserve farmland and ensures we have a supply of high quality, nutritious food.


The province of Ontario is investing $5.2 million through the Local Food Fund to bring more local food and beverages to tables across the province. But, is anyone still under the assumption that produce marked “local” means it comes from Joe Farmer’s farm 15 miles up the line? Do you really think those “local” peaches you just bought were grown in Middleville? Most times food that has been marked ‘local” has been dropped off a truck from all parts of Ontario.

A lot of winter produce comes from Mexico, and yes it doesn’t change the fact that the “factory stuff” is cheaper. Some complain that one has to be relatively well-off to consistently buy local food at a higher price.The fact is, however, that local farming does has its costs, and those must be weighed with the advantages of having real fresh food and supporting your local community.


For instance— fruits like strawberries and peaches, need to be picked semi-ripe and shipped quickly and expensively. As a consequence, the store-bought varieties never develop full flavor, and a significant percentage of the crop is lost to spoilage in shipping, at the grocers, or after purchase. You want to talk about strawberries and corn? I will happily trade away year-round mediocrity for a month of local strawberry and corn nirvana.

The Carleton Place Farmer’s Market is one place to go to purchase food grown by local farmers. People are able to interact with the farmers directly to ask them about the gardening process and how the food is grown. Last year Jeff Mitchell owner of our local Mitchell’s Independent Grocers began to carry produce that is grown a hop, skip and a jump from your home. He supported: White Oak Farms, Limekiln Farms and McGregors etc. in his produce shopping aisle.


I want to support local farmers who grow local produce, rather than mass producing lowest common denominator crops. Why? Because local produce tastes better. Even if this is hard to quantify, the local farmer sells me something that the centralized food distribution system is simply unable to provide. In short, I buy locally grown food from Lanark because it is healthier–i.e., the best quality I can find. We should keep our REAL LOCAL food systems a reality– the local farmers that live in our backyard. It’s the right thing to do.

Carleton Place Farmer’s Market opens May 14th!

Purple French Heirloom Beans 1142-1

Now about those Magic Purple Beans from White Oak Farms  that everyone was afraid of last year because they were not yellow or green. This year try some!!!

There’s something so majestic about purple beans. The pods are richly colored and easy to spot among the leaves, and they look beautiful tossed into a green salad. I call them magic beans, and the magic happens when you cook them.When it comes to purple beans, however, heat plays a role when you cook them. Boiling, baking or sauteing at high temperatures causes the anthocyanins to deteriorate. The heat breaks down the plant cells, diluting the acidity of the cell sap as the pigments are dispersed in a more neutral solution (water). What’s left behind is green chlorophyll, which was always present in the beans but masked by the plant’s anthocyanins. So, your purple beans end up as green beans.

Purple Bean Salad from How to Cook like Your Grandmother


¾ pound of purple beans (green beans would work as well)
¼ cup garbanzo beans (that’s how much I had left from the previous night’s salad)
¼ cup diced red pepper (also left from the previous night’s salad)
¼ cup onion
1 cup vinaigrette dressing

Chive Blossom Vinaigrette

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup chive blossom vinegar
3-5 gloves garlic
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper



Peel the garlic, split each clove in half and remove any green stem.

Then roughly chop the pieces and toss them into the cup for your immersion blender.

But what if you don’t have an immersion blender? Then you’ll need to mince the garlic really fine, crush it with a mortar and pestle if you have one. But the immersion blender is what lead to the discovery.

Add the vinegar and oil. Exact amounts aren’t that important, but keep the ratio at about two parts oil to one part vinegar.

Here’s the cool discovery. It took me several attempts to get the technique for making mayonnaise. I kept breaking the emulsion. With this vinaigrette I wasn’t even trying to make an emulsion, I just wanted to chop the garlic and mix the oil and vinegar. But as soon as I started to blend it, it thickened up really nicely.

Add the salt and pepper and blend a little more to combine everything, then set it aside until you’re done with the veggies.


Wash the beans and trim the ends. I started doing this by hand, but the knife is quicker.

Cut the beans into bite-size lengths, about an inch or less.

If you’ve never had them before, it’s really amazing just how purple the outside is, and how green the inside.

Dice the pepper, and shave the onion very thin before cutting into short pieces.

Toss the beans, pepper and onion in a mixing bowl, along with the chick peas and the vinaigrette.

Mix well, and store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container at least overnight to let the dressing soak into the beans.

And that’s it.

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place