Tag Archives: produce

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

How Big is Your Head— of CABBAGE? — Carleton Place Farmer’s Market



Merle Bowes from Limekiln Gardens never lets a big head get to his head. Cabbage that is! On the Ramsay 4th line he has a head start on us all at Limekiln Gardening. For 23 years (since 1992) he has been coming to the Carleton Place Farmer’s Market. From the deep soil valley where lime surrounds him, he grows no chemical-certified organic produce.



We all know that if you let your head too big it will break your neck. No necks being broken here, only quality produce with the secrets taught by his Great Grandfather who grew wheat in Renfrew County.


Merle has been a trailblazer on his 7-8 acres, and he grows tomatoes like no tomorrow. But he is a humble man, because he knows if you get a big head about things mistakes will happen. Believe you me– there are no mistakes in his amazing variety of tomatoes. Don’t like vegetables? Heck maybe broccoli doesn’t like you either!


Merle loves chili sauce and salsa made from his tomatoes. He knows the bigger a man’s head- the worst the headache- so he keeps it simple, and only the best comes to the Carleton Place Farmer’s Market. There is “no dill” about it!



We all have faults- but Merle is an honest hard working farmer- he keeps his head about him– but not his spectacular cabbage and vegetables!


Merle and his daughter Elaine keep their feet on the ground and have everything you need for a great vegetable dish or salad. And they never let their heads do the thinking for those big head of cabbage!

Remember eat your vegetables today- tomorrow the world!

“Shop The Carleton Place Farmer’s Market —- Because there is no place like home!”

Carleton Place Farmer’s Market

7 Beckwith St.
Carleton Place, Ontario
(613) 809-0660

830 am to 1230 am

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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