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Midsummer Market Report – July 27, 2015

It's as good as it gets here

Chef Loseto reports from the Ontario Food Terminal that we are now at the best time of the year for local produce. We have had no inclement weather or frosts this spring or summer with the only exception being, that it has been terribly hot, causing the supply of berries, fava and beans to contract.

The Chef notices that there are fewer local farmers at the Terminal and believes that a number of them have gone bankrupt or sold their farms. Other famers have abandoned the Terminal in favour of farmers’ markets where they get a much higher price. Others with speciality produce are selling it at the Terminal but at higher prices than the Terminal’s wholesale prices. Consequently, these products will be marked up to huge prices after the retailer takes their percentage mark-up. This will result in higher prices that you will pay at a store than at a farmer’s market—be watchful!

Corn has started as well as peaches and apricots. The latter are still a little green but the crop looks promising. Ontario cherries are here and the Chef is buying them. He says they are much better than they have been in recent years but the Washington cherries still seem slightly better. The sour cherry season is ending. The Chef has supplied us with some and we will be making a galette this weekend.

Even squashes and kale have arrived. The Chef thought the zucchini flowers that were on sale were particularly good. But what do you do with them? The Chef says, stuff them or combine them with egg into a delicious frittata.

The Ontario berry season has arrived. Chef Loseto says that the Ontario strawberries are delicious and many times better than their Californian counterparts. Blackberries are particularly super sweet and wild blueberries are beginning. How do the pickers separate the tiny leaves out of the blueberries?

Look for baby Ontario vegetables this year. There are plenty of them and really superb. Last weekend we found tiny baby potatoes at the St Lawrence Market which were outstanding.

We are still waiting for the wild Chanterelles crop from BC and Saskatchewan. These are Chef’s favourites.

Our squab farmer has shifted his entire production to be sold to a Chinese restaurant supplier for a higher profit; therefore, we are experimenting with partridge. Our first supplier produced birds which were far too bland but we have located another supplier who manages to raise birds with a lot of taste.

This year’s Ontario pickerel is delicious but the Chef wonders why it is not more popular. We are investigating whether a new wild arctic char being introduced here will receive approval from OceanWise. Big eye tuna, swordfish and mussels are about to start arriving from Nova Scotia.

Being the height of berry season, for dessert the Chef matches them with a tea based panna cotta with a coconut foam.

Ontario Garlic: The Story from Farm to Festival by Peter McClusky

Here‘s a book which tells you all you need to know about Ontario garlic: how to grow it, how to cook with it and the science of garlic. Better still, there are chapters on the history of its introduction to Ontario by ethnic communities immigrating here. The hostile initial views about garlic held strongly by the Anglo-Saxon community were eventually overcome. These prejudices were deeply held and it is only recently, that they have been overcome. Don’t know about the recipes like black garlic brownies but hell, why not?

 

— Le Patron

A monthly online newsletter, Ecclesiastes 3 contains Le Patron’s ruminations on local seasonal food markets as well as speculation on broader global food issues.