From September 2015

Cultivate Festival Helps Grow Northumberland Local Food Scene

Heather Harrison, flanked by assistants Sonia and Spencer, serves up an autumn lamb curry at the Cultivate Festival.
Heather Harrison, flanked by assistants Sonia and Spencer, serves up an autumn lamb curry at the Cultivate Festival.

After months of hard toil, yesterday was harvest time for the organizers of Port Hope’s inaugural Cultivate Festival.  When the gates opened up, the crowds poured in, the smell of freshly prepared local food wafted on the breeze, and some of the areas best musicians took turns delighting revelers of all ages.  All the work had paid off.

“This has completely exceeded our expectations,” gushed organizer, Amelia Sheffield.  “It’s a celebration of a food system where food goes from farm to restaurant to customer — and we’re seeing it modeled perfectly here today.”

Cultivate was designed as a food and drink festival that would bring area chefs, farmers, food producers, and brewmasters together to both celebrate local food and to further the local agricultural impact on restaurant menus.

Sheffield and co-organizer, Jeff Bray, were setting an unofficial number of 800 people as a sell-out for the event.  That’s the number that participating restaurants and breweries were told to prepare for.  By mid-afternoon, they had hit 700 and patrons were still arriving in droves.  It’s safe to say that they more than hit their goal.

Participating restaurants and breweries included: Olympus Burger, Our Lucky Stars Cafe and Coffee Roasters, Burnham Family Farm Market (thanks for the butter tart, but… you know, I’m off the tarts), Electric City Bread Company, Pitchers Place, Rare Grill House, Cravingz, Empire Cider, The William Street Beer Co., NHB – Northumberland Hills Brewery, Manantler Craft Brewing Co., Smithworks Brewing Company, and more.

Alongside the tastes of Northumberland and Peterborough were the sounds.  Standouts included Cobourg’s Gentlemen Husbands and Peterborough’s Melissa Payne.  The night wrapped up with a rousing set by Toronto’s The Strumbellas.

Restaurateurs and brewers alike were impressed by the young festival.

Brad Watt of Peterborough’s Rare Grill House called it “the best festival I’ve been to in a long time.  In a long, long time.”  High praise from a man who travels far and wide with his food.

Chantel Green was at Cultivate representing the Electric City Bread Company — a restaurant that is committed to using as many local ingredients as possible.

“I’m blown away,” she exclaimed.  “There are a lot more people that we expected.  And the reception for the restaurants has been fantastic.”

Heather Harrison, owner of Cravingz saw the success of the festival as being a major step for the town of Port Hope.

“This has been an education on how much this community is willing to offer support,” she smiled.  “I think we’ve just seen how much Port Hope is ready and willing to support this wonderful initiative — and the local food scene as a whole.

~

Some Farm to Table favourite moments from Cultivate:

My favourite beer of the day was from the William Street Brewing Co. I could drink the Red Sky Amber Ale all day.
My favourite beer of the day was from the William Street Brewing Co. I could drink the Red Sky Amber Ale all day.  Thanks for the pour, Emily!
The soup from Electric City Bread Company was both adult and baby-approved.
The soup from Electric City Bread Company was both adult and baby-approved.
The Gentlemen Husbands stole the show. Here, Ryan Hutcheson gets ready to solo.
The Gentlemen Husbands stole the show. Here, Ryan Hutcheson gets ready to solo.
We pretty much had to try a bit of everything...
We pretty much had to try a bit of everything…
The Olympus Burger came with a side of smiles.
The Olympus Burger came with a side of smiles.
Including a short rib from Rare,
The short ribs from Rare Grill House…  Gorgeous.

 

 

Electric City Bread Company Presents: A Harvest Dinner with Circle Organic

Circle Organics will be providing the ingredients for this celebration of harvest.
Circle Organics will be providing the ingredients for this celebration of harvest.

What happens when you bring together the incredible culinary imaginations of Electric City Bread Company and the straight-from-the-farm natural goodness of Circle Organics?

I don’t know that there are words to describe it. The better bet would be to take the opportunity to experience it yourself.

For two nights only, this pairing will be offering up the absolute best that the season has to offer.  We’ll place it right at the top of the Farm to Table recommended “do not miss” list.

Electric City Bread Company Presents: A Harvest Dinner with Circle Organic

September 18th & 19th.

Tickets are only $45 per person.

For tickets call or stop by Electric City Bread Company at 165 Sherbrooke St.

(705) 874-8055

Menu:

Panzanella salad
cherry tomatoes / walla walla sweet onions / cucumber / sour dough croutons / feta / capers / balsamic olive oil

Caramelized onion and beetroot ravioli
carrot butter sauce / shaved goat cheddar

Duck confit with summer vegetable byaldi zucchini / eggplant / garlic / thyme oil / black olive juice

Apple and swiss chard strudel / spiced squash ice cream / almond praline

electriccityElectric City Bread Company has an incredible eye for detail.  Chances are great that anything on your plate was made in house — from the fresh-baked bread to the house-cured meats to the condiments.  They operate one of the premiere kitchens in the Peterborough area.  Electric City Bread Co. takes great pride in supporting Ontario farmers and suppliers by buying local and in-season products whenever possible.

About Circle Organic:

“Circle Organic is a small community-based family farm in Millbrook, Ontario, producing fresh, quality organic food for Peterborough and the surrounding area. We grow over 50 types of vegetables, fruits and herbs, and a wide range of flowers. This diversity helps our soil and contributes to biodiversity on the farm.

Many of our seeds are heirloom varieties and our farming is done largely by hand. We are certified organic by Pro-Cert and we are deeply committed to growing our food with the highest ecological standards in mind. This means that in our farming practices we consider our impact on soil life and fertility; water systems and conservation; air quality; and the natural flora and fauna in our farm ecosystem.

We are committed to working closely with other growers and organizations to build a local food system that is resilient, vibrant and life-sustaining. This is a big job considering what we’re up against. Good thing we love what we do!’

 

Sold Out for the Season

sold-out-thank-you-keep-buying-5And the 4th Annual Farm to Table Culinary Tour season is 100% sold out.  With 3 tours left to go, we are sad to report that there are no longer spaces available.  We are proud to report, however, that we had a 100% attendance rate for all thirteen dates of the summer — including a few that were overbooked.

Keep your eyes and ears peeled for some special winter events, including a couple of progressive dinners and even a beer/wine/spirits tasting tour.

Thanks to all the participating businesses.  And thanks to all the patrons that made the year a great success!

Finally, for the Peterborough locals who were on the tour — and even those who couldn’t make it — I urge you to continue to dine and shop in our core.  We’re blessed with an incredible culinary scene — and it is up to us to ensure that it is sustainable.

Now Available: Artisanal Firewood

artisanal-firewoodHere at Farm to Table, we’re always interested in bringing you up to date information on the best in artisanal foods.  Sometimes, though, we get so excited about other hand-crafted products that we can’t help but share.  Such is the case with Smoke and Flame Firewood.   Each piece of specially sourced wood is handcrafted to ensure the best in fireside enjoyment.  Be sure to check out this CBC mini-documentary on Smoke and Flame and then order a batch yourself.  It comes with the Farm to Table stamp of approval!

The Cultural Appropriation of Food: “How it feels when white people shame your culture’s food — then make it trendy”

Ngau lam is Cantonese braised beef brisket, made with at least seven spices. (Ruth Tam, from her Washington Post article).
Ngau lam is Cantonese braised beef brisket, made with at least seven spices. (Ruth Tam, from her Washington Post article).

Cultural appropriation has been making headlines — and rightly so — for the past few years.  Sports teams, such as the Washington Redskins have been held up as examples of how our society has borrowed from other cultures, and often done so in ways that degrade or insult. At a more community-based level, we’ve come to realize that our fashion and lifestyle choices can often disrespect the cultures from which they originated.  The cornrow-sporting fashionista, the dreadlock-wearing university hippie, the bindi-speckled raver, the born-again-yogi…  They’ve all reached a point where the line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation has blurred.

Recently, people have come to realize that the borrowing of food culture — without a more thorough knowledge of the cultural traditions of this food — is its own form of appropriation.

Ruth Tam tackles this issue in a recent Washington Post article.  In it she describes how she went from being shamed for her traditional cuisine — particularly from the cooking smells that clung to her throughout childhood — to seeing it as part of a “discount tourism — a cheap means for foodies to feel worldly without leaving the comfort of their neighborhood.”

It’s an excellent read and gives us much to think about.  In particular, about how “ethnic” cuisine is not just an adventure for many, but a way of life.