Monday, May 31, 2010

Aloha, Meatless Mondays!

With the warmer summer weather here - at long last! - Mondays make the perfect day to go in for the hottest trend sweeping across North America...Meatless Mondays!

Meatless Monday Movement is gaining support all over the U.S.. Even Mario Batali has joined ranks with Al Gore, Gwyneth Paltrow and Simon Cowell to support the cause.

Japanese Ivies Grow Monday Movement

Veggie Monday in JapanJapan has become the latest country to embrace the growing Meatless Monday movement! Students at four of Japan’s Ivy League colleges are hosting monthly ‘Veggie Monday’ parties to encourage the country to try more plant-based options.

Batali's 14 restaurants across the Lower 48 will promote meat free Mondays by offering two (at least two!) veggie entrees, pizza and pastas. They're even going in for using a Meatless Monday Logo.

Did you know that Meatless is not just good for you but also the planet, too?! Livestock production creates more greenhouse gases than transportation. Choosing beans or beets or edamame over meat even one day a week helps to lighten your carbon footprint (too!). Meatless Mondays and Healthy People for a Healthy Planet! 

Aloha Pineapple Rice..."Ono!!" (means Delicious! in Hawaiian!)

[Can't See The Video? Click HERE]

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Fort Berens Estate Winery, Lillooet, B.C.

Fort Berens Estate Winery Investors See Gold In Lillooet, B.C.

“Fort Berens Estate Winery is the first of its kind in Lillooet. We saw the potential for the wine industry to take root in this area – just like prospecting for gold, sometimes you have to take a chance,” said Pannekoek. “Our new investors share our vision and our excitement in creating quality wines in this beautiful part of the province.”

Proprietors Heleen Pannekoek and Rolf de Bruin, newly arrived from Holland with their young family are pleased to welcome the gold company executives into their ambitious and exciting new business.

Fort Berens Estate Winery, first in Lillooet, B.C.

LILLOOET, BC (May 30, 2010)  – Fort Berens Estate Winery (Fort Berens), today announced that it has attracted the venture capital necessary to accelerate its business plans and build a new winery facility located in Lillooet, British Columbia. With the new funding, Fort Berens will commence construction of a new wine making operation and shop on its property to produce and sell wines from grapes grown on the winery’s initial twenty acre vineyard. The first crop of grapes is expected in the fall of 2011.

Fort Berens is located in historic Lillooet, at Mile 0 of the Cariboo Trail and rallying point for the Cariboo Gold Rush. The winery was established on the east side of the Fraser River at Lillooet in early 2009, exactly one hundred and fifty  years after the Hudson Bay Company started construction of a trading post in the same location under the same name. The fort had been designed to serve the thousands of prospectors who flocked to the Lillooet region in the mid-1800’s in search of gold. However, it was never completed and the fertile river bench was instead used for the growing of melons, tomatoes and alfalfa.

Fort Berens Estate Winery, Lillooet, B.C.

Located in the magnificent Fraser Canyon, this historic site is now home to Fort Berens Estate Winery, Lillooet’s first commercial vineyard and winery. In keeping with the pioneering spirit of the Gold Rush era, the proprietors of Fort Berens Estate Winery are forging a new and unique wine experience in British Columbia, offering superb, distinct, hand-crafted wines.

The investors in Lillooet’s newest venture are no strangers to the pursuit of pioneering. Hugh Agro, Sean Harvey and John McConnell are Toronto and Vancouver-based mining executives and members of the Board of Directors of a TSX-listed gold exploration and development company.  As investors in Fort Berens Estate Winery they have come to Lillooet looking for a different kind of gold, of a liquid variety.

Agro has had his eye on Lillooet for years and now, with a project that suits his sense of adventure and his desire to establish a presence in south-central British Columbia, he looks forward to assisting the fledgling winery. “I’ve kept a subscription to the local newspaper for years and when I heard about the Lillooet grape project, my interest was piqued,” Agro said. “Then I read that this young couple from Holland was actually planting a vineyard and building a winery and I got in touch with them.  When Rolf and Heleen said that they were looking for investors to grow their business, I came out to see them and I was very impressed with their vision and business plan. Two of my business partners, Sean Harvey and John McConnell, became interested and together we agreed to get involved.”

Fort Berens Estate Winery currently offers five select wines under their label, made from grapes sourced in the Okanagan. They are available for sale in the existing on-site winery and tasting room and also in a number of specialty wine stores in Vancouver, Whistler, Kamloops and Lillooet.

For further information: Fort Berens Estate Winery, (250) 256-7788,

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Food Down The Road - Summer Reading And References

Want to dig deeper into the issues of food and farming? Click on the links below to find more information relating to sustainable local food systems. Enjoy!  Read More on Food Down The Road, Kingston and Countryside.




Periodicals & Reports



For links to other relevant websites, please click on a following category:

Local Food Directories

Farmers’ Markets

Local Food Stores

Food Security

Local Food Programs Ontario



New Farmer Training and Resources

Education Centres & Courses(for Farmers and Eaters alike)Ontario



*  New England Small Farm Institute —

Urban Agriculture & Growing Your Own Food



Food Related Events Kingston


Activist & Action Groups  Biotechnology

  • Canadian Biotechnology Action Network —

Climate Change

Other – Kingston

Other – Ontario

Other – Canada

Other – USA & International

Preservation Initiatives Seed-Saving

Land Preservation

Animal Breeds

Research Initiatives

Organic Research Initiatives

Kingston Community Meal &Food Programs

Cooking with Local Food

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Like It Or Not, Hollywood Is Here

Tired of wine tasting? Be a star for a day...or just act like one!

Twentieth Century Fox - the same studio that brought you Avatar - is auditioning extras for their new movie, The Big Year, starring Owen Wilson, Steve Martin and Jack Black.

Owen Wilson stars in The Big Year, 20th Century Fox

Auditions are being held May 29th at Spirit Ridge Resort in Osoyoos, South Okanagan.  You must be 25yrs. old to senior, legal to work in Canada and love the limelight!

Jack Black stars in The Big Year, 20th Century Fox

Show up between 10am and 5pm to try out for the movie as an extra. Must be available to work June 7th and 8th all day long, that means early morning to late at night. This is your chance to see how the glamorous movie world called "Hollywood" is really long grueling days of working on set.

Knowledge of the local wineries and artisanal food producers a plus! (Ok, we added that, but if we know anything about movie people, they love good wine and food as much as the next person!). Oh, and, break a leg...

Steve Martin stars in The Big Year,
20th Century Fox

Plot Summary: Based on Mark Obmascik's 1998 book "The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession," the film is about three men who try to outdo each other in a bird-watching competition to spot the rarest birds in North America. The rivalry is an allegory for the challenges each faces in his own life.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fort Langley Weekend Afternoon

Summer is the season for exploration and discovery. Often this takes the form of travel and in our desire to see the world, we sometimes forget about what's in our backyard, or the special spots that lay just outside the main destinations.
Fort Langley is bejeweled with boutique wineries and artisan food shops and, what's more, it's a convenient outpost to Seattle, Vancouver, and even Tsawwassen when you're catching one of the BC Ferries to the Gulf Islands or Victoria.
Langley is one of those places where, when you do stop, you are pleasantly surprised by the quality you find and you can't help but reward yourself for being such a savvy traveler – perhaps with a chocolate from Euphoria Chocolates on Glover Rd. or maybe a sweet to accompany afternoon tea from Milsean Shoppe, specializing in traditional Irish sweets.
Planning a little bit ahead can give you a fuller experience. For example, Well Seasoned is both a gourmet food shop and cooking school so when you book in advance, you can spend your afternoon or early evening cooking up the fresh treasures you've found that day on your Farm Gate forage at, say Vista D'Oro Farms and Winery, JD Farms or Krause Berry Farms in Langley.
There's also The Seasonal Experience that offers cooking classes followed by professional wait staff serving you a tasting of the demonstration menu. Their classes are designed to “give you the restaurant experience with the added value of a cooking demonstration.”
On the calendar for June is the Langley Children's Festival and what better than to combine this with a few hours of strawberry picking and a stop at the B.C. Farm Museum?
May Day Parade
The parade on Monday, May 24 will commence at 11:00 AM and will start at Mavis and Glover.  The parade will proceed down Glover Road to 88 Avenue then west on 88th Avenue to Trattle and north on Trattle to the Community Park behind the Fine Arts School.
There are a good many choices for accommodations in the area, but keeping the kids in mind, they are sure to love the two-storey water slide into the heated pool that Langley's Super 8 Motel features. The hot tub, right next to the pool, is an easy place from which to keep your eyes on the kids while you relax away the day's stresses.

Waterslide at Super 8 Langley. Kids love it!
This Super 8 sits right next to a Tim Horton's but the kids might hardly even notice after they've filled up on the Motel's complimentary breakfast of fresh-made waffles, yogurt, fruit and orange juice.

Some of Langley's outstanding wineries include Township 7 Vineyard and Winery, Blackwood Lane Vineyards & Winery to mention only a couple.
If you seek a Zagat-rated Bistro attached to a winery, look no further. Domaine de Chaberton Estate Winery's Bacchus Bistro fits the bill. Owners Claude and Inge Violet traversed the wine-growing regions of B.C. when they first migrated from France in the 70's. They chose Langley in which to grow their vineyards because Claude Violet, whose family has been making wine since 1644, found that the area mimicked weather conditions in Northern France. Domaine de Chaberton offers winery tours daily, weather permitting.
For a more complete list of Langley Goodies, contact Tourism Langley

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Victoria's Secret Tastes

Stage Wine Bar, Victoria. Photo Courtesy Cornichon.

Victoria's Secret Tastes

You can hardly say that Stage, a small plates wine bar in Victoria's Fernwood district, is a secret – still. Not since it earned Eat! Magazine's Reader's Choice award for Best Place for Appies and Drinks in March and was also honorably mentioned for 2009's Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival's Wine List Awards. En Route magazine also named it “one of Canada's best new restaurants.”

Tucked away as it is in this Victorian theater district, across the street from Fernwood Inn, which is just down the block from the Fernwood Theater, and you see why Victoria's city dwellers would hanker after a tapas night on the town where you feel like you could be anywhere – Vancouver, San Francisco, Soho, even.

The evening we dined there was early in the week. At 6:30, the wine bar was nearly empty. By 8:00 it was packed. Once the theater-goers walk the couple blocks down the street after their show's end at around 10 p.m., it becomes that much more popular. Seating is augmented by a generous bar area to accommodate overflow.

Stage Wine Bar's exposed brick interior is partly what gives it that urban, hip appeal. It's also the diners who, my guests explained to me, are part of the contingent of young professionals who increasingly live and work in downtown Victoria and surroundings. “It's starting to feel a bit like Vancouver,” the twenty-something Victorian explained to me, saying that she and her husband are happy to be living where they are and don't miss “the city” at all.

Of course, it helps when you have hip hang-outs like Stage tapas and wine bar. The evening I stopped in, there were several wine specials written in chalk on a menu board hung by a nail on the brick wall. I ordered a glass of Pinot Noir from Venturi-Schulze.

Choose from a variety of Vancouver Island Varietals at Stage Wine Bar.

Pinot Noir is one of the most grown grapes on Vancouver Island, also known as “Wine Island.” The server attempted to dissuade me from my locally produced Pinot by suggesting a Malbec. And while I am a fan of Argentine Malbecs, I felt it was my duty to explore the island's wines while exploring the island. Sometimes “duty” has its rewards. My elegant, medium-bodied Pinot paired well with the local lamb dish I ordered. Oh, and, the “small plates,” - by no means large - are most adequately filling. Click Here for Stage's Menu.

Vancouver Island Varietals

There are four basic grape varietals that thrive on Vancouver Island. They are Pinot Noir, the island's most planted red variety, and, notoriously temperamental, also known as the “heartbreak grape”; there is Marechal Foch which is cold-tolerant and yields jammy flavors; there is Ortega, named after the Spanish philosopher, one of the first planted vines on the Island which gives grapes that yield a bright floral aroma and citrus flavors; and there is the ever popular Pinot Gris, also planted extensively in both Alsace and Oregon, that the Island has embraced and developed two distinct styles from, the coppery-hued Oaked Gris and the crisp, light Unoaked Gris.

Vancouver Island also makes a home for Meaderies (two) who make their honey wines from “herds” of bees, Cideries (two), and Breweries (several). In fact, Victoria had a brewery before it had a lighthouse! The Wine Islands have 150 years experience making brews and micro brews.

If you've dropped down into Victoria on a day-trip, then Saanich Peninsula's Wine Route is the most accessible by car and is only about an hour's drive from the city. Some of the wineries to see: Chalet/Muse Winery including their Bistro Muse open Th-Sun; Victoria Spirits, Vancouver Island's first artisan distillery; Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery, British Columbia's first meadery and it boasts an ocean view; Starling Lane Winery, also noteworthy for 19th century charm; Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, organic “hard” cider, open year-round; Malahat Estate Vineyard grows all the Island's main varietals and is the highest vineyard on the island; and Church & State Wines which was the Island's largest winery but has since moved their operations to the Okanagan. It is suggested that you pack a cooler with you to keep your purchases from the wineries from getting too heated as you make your rounds.

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Victoria's Secret Tastes - Take Two

 Bengal Room

 Another not so secret Victorian spot is the Bengal Room at the Empress Hotel. Whenever you see a picture of downtown Victoria, invariably it is focused on the Legislative Building and the Empress Hotel, two of Victoria's most recognizable landmarks.

Tucked inside the Empress is the large leather couched, tapestry-walled, tiger-motiffed Bengal Room that transports you immediately into the Victorian Era upon entrance. They do have mint juleps on the menu, with freshly muddled mint, if you're there on a warm, summer afternoon. If you've popped in for a nightcap, try their “Bengal,” a hot coffee drink with Kahlua, Grand Marnier and Bailey's (notice the and, not or).

Breakfast At Victoria's

If you're up in time for breakfast, you'll have a big, tough decision to make. Pancakes with fresh, stewed local berry compote accompanied by organic island turkey sausage is one choice at Aura restaurant. You could also go for their in-house made organic granola – so good guests frequently request if it's available for purchase at the gift shop (not yet).

Aura took its seat in the exquisite Inn at Laurel Point where Chef Brad Horen continues with his “locally-sourced, organic ingredients” philosophy while outdoing himself with his innovative cuisine. Horen blends Japanese and European flavors with local ingredients fresh from Vancouver Island and the west coast. He and Sous-Chef Patrick Gayler both have spots on Culinary Team Canada for the 2011 World Cup in Luxembourg and 2012's World Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany. Horen is active in the Canadian Culinary Federation and was a mentor on the Food Network's Next Great Chef.

The view from Aura Restaurant, looking out its floor-to-ceiling window/walls onto Victoria's Inner Harbor, will prove one of the most memorable of your stay in Victoria. They serve lunch and dinner and host wine tastings, such as the Naramata Bench Spring Releases 2010.

Fresh baked bread from Fol Epi.


Another breakfast – or snack - choice is Fol Epi, a bakery which sports an on-site stone mill and outdoor oven. Artisan baker Cliff Leir bakes his organic, heritage and whole grains into succulent baked goods such as quiche, pastries, pizzas and baguettes. Caffe Fantastico next door serves up aromatic coffees and both offer spectacular views of Victoria's Inner Harbor. Fol Epi was voted by Eat! Magazine readers as their favorite bakery in Victoria. Both businesses are housed in the developing Dockside Green which is 15-acre mixed use community development that will be the world's First LEED Platinum community.

Notable: Taste Victoria upcoming this Summer For more info:

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Chef Roland St. Pierre, Locals Restaurant

Chef Roland St. Pierre, Comox Valley

Chef Ronald St. Pierre, Locals' "Pride and Joy"

A stay in Comox Valley, Vancouver Island would feel black and white, gray even, without dining out at least one meal - if not daily - at Locals Restaurant in Courtenay. Where the colors of nature greet you at every turn, this is a Valley bursting with vibrancy. If there's one thing nature loves, it's color: The eye-popping yellows and purples of Spring flowers, the deep greens of leafy vegetables, the dark reds of vine-ripened tomatoes, even the fleshy pinks of fresh salmon.

Comox Valley's Pride And Joy

“Locals – Food From The Heart of the Island” is the pride and joy of Chef Ronald St. Pierre who, with his wife, have created a dining experience that represents the culinary best of Vancouver Island's Comox Valley. To walk through Locals' doors is like walking into an Island Chefs Collaborative Farmers Market turned restaurant.

The exterior is humble enough. In fact, the praises that were sung about the restaurant and Chef St. Pierre, his philosophy and his passion for fresh, local ingredients did not prepare me for finding the restaurant to be the cornerstone in a Courtenay strip mall. As a first-time visitor to the Island, at every turn I was struck by the quaintness and charm of old farms, wooden buildings, even Courtenay itself is a picturesque little town entirely walkable with cheerful cafes and shops that line 5th Street, its downtown core and the center of Comox Valley. But now I know why people had failed to mention the restaurant's exterior – once you've eaten there, what's outside doesn't matter. The restaurant's interior is tastefully appointed, with a second room that has large booths for a private dining experience. But truly, the only thing you remember is how good the food is!

Chef Roland St. Pierre is a pioneer in translating “locavorism” into the driving philosophy behind a successful restaurant. Mind you, on Vancouver Island, locavorism is the common mind-set and to do otherwise is, well, frankly absurd. The Comox Valley especially is an abundant bread, fruit, cheese, meat and seafood basket. It could easily be named “Valley of Plenty” so abundant is all the fresh quality fare within arm's reach. The Locals' website explains their philosophy and reasoning, such as, "Buying habits are shifting with 'food currently tied with health as our 4th top spending priority.'” It's definitely worth reading if you at all consider yourself a foodie. Or a greenie.

So Chef Roland and his wife got to talking with local farmers and growers and saw what could be directly sourced for their table. They create their seasonal menus around the ingredients available. Pattison Farms, for example, supplies their fresh greens such as baby spinach, heirloom tomatoes and spicy mustard greens. Beaufort Vineyards supplies them with wine, as do other local vineyards like Chase & Warren Estate Winery and Cabrea Vineyard & Winery as well as the many vineyards just a bit south in the Cowichan Valley.

As part decoration and as part tribute, Chef St. Pierre hangs his walls with portraits of the farm-to-table suppliers he sources his fresh, local ingredients from. If you are keen to do a tour of the Valley's prime growers for ingredients ranging from pork to duck, tomatoes to broccoli florets, goat cheese to mussels to ancient method balsamic vinegars, take a look at Locals' walls, jot down the names and then work your way down the “wall.” With this itinerary, curated by Locals' Restaurateurs Chef and Mrs. St. Pierre, you are guaranteed to enjoy a thoroughly fresh and authentic introduction to some of the Island's star growers and local farmers.

Local's Market Sheet Menu

The price points are also exceedingly reasonable. More often than not Locals' has a Prix-Fixe or Market Sheet menu to order from. Depending on the season, for $35 you can have a seared duck “prosciutto” appetizer, a main-course of Bison (or fresh caught salmon) and a medley of desserts including fresh off-the-farm raspberry mousse. Or you can order a' la carte from the menu. Either way, you'll leave exceedingly, freshly satisfied.

Reservations suggested.  384 8th Street  Courtenay, BC Canada Reservations 250-338-6493

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