Wholly Canadian is a social enterprise promoting whole-life local living
...a breath of fresh air for those with a heart for local /fair-trade living, & inspiration for those intrigued...
                                     

Wholly Canadian Blog

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Wheels on Bus go. . .to the Farm!

Last week Friday was one of those days that made me so proud not only to be Canadian, but a Manitoban.

I travelled with Food Matters Manitoba, on a bus tour to visit two local farms. Food Matters is a registered charity that partners with northerners, newcomers, farmers and families to harvest, prepare and share good food. They engage Manitobans towards healthy, fair, and sustainable food for all.

Firstly, we visited Blue Lagoon organic farm. They grow a variety of organic fruits, herbs and vegetables, as well as raise pastured poultry.

When we first got off the bus, we were greeted by Lori Ann, the lady of the farm. My first impression of her was that she belonged in a children's story book. . . her bubbly personality and the kindest big blue eyes were akin to the grandmas you read about in storybooks!  We rode about on a hay wagon taking in the sights of their farm in a drizzle of rain (good thing I was wearing my Canadian-made Taiga rain jacket to keep me dry) and observed the vast efforts this farm took to upkeep.

I especially enjoyed seeing the turkeys and chickens that are moved about in their mobile cages everyday onto fresh alfafa.   Overall, I was overwhelmed with the amount of efforts this family puts into keeping this farm going. . .sun up to sun down. I'm sure if you calculated a farmer's wages per hour, it would be mere coins. When I asked her what got her up in the mornings, ie. why do this?. . .she responded with a story of when she used to teach school (it didn't surprise me she used to be a school teacher), and seeing the types of food children had in their lunches. . . and knowing she wanted to make a difference in the type of food that was available in our province.  Once again, I am convinced that passion (not monetary) is the fuel for a lot of our small and or/organic Canadian farms.

That day I tasted my first patty pan squash from Blue Lagoon organic farm, and loved it! A few weeks ago, I purchased their homegrown chamomile tea at a local farmer's market to make some homemade diaper spray for baby's bum. . .stay tuned for upcoming recipe {grin}

I previously wrote about asking the right questions, i.e.

Don't ask why organic/natural food is so expensive, ask why cheap food is so cheap. . .

The farmers on this tour exemplified that. . .


Then our bus took us to Zinn Farms. They specialize in pastured pork, poultry, rabbits, and goat meat.  And we sure got a whiff of farm-life. Wow! It's ever so healthy to be reminded of what farm-life is all about. {grin}

I've become accustomed to thinking of beef and chickens on the pasture, but never thought of pigs out on the pasture.  But of course, it make sense. Wild pigs naturally graze in the forest. This extra effort (of pasturing) is what sets this farm apart from other pork farmers--delivering quality meat the way nature intended it.

Free-range pigs at Zinn Farms

They gave us a sample taste of some of their sausages, and to say it simply, they are mouth-watering. I'm not sure I have ever had such a good breakfast sausage before. The hot italian, and souvlaki sausages were right up there too.  So I bought some of each {smile}.  My family enjoyed the breakfast sausages this last Sunday brunch, and tonight I put souvlaki sausages in broth with fresh garden carrots for a quick soup.  And served it with homemade sourdough crackers.  A nutrient-dense meal undergirded with localism and goodwill. It can't get any better than that.

Local organic spelt grain made into homemade sourdough crackers. Want to learn how to make traditional foods like these crackers. See this course coming to Winnipeg!


Why buy local?  Why take efforts in supporting these farmers?

Well, there are so many reasons. I wrote about some here. This farm tour simply solidified my passion for supporting local. We all win when we purchase from our "neighbours." And as I've mentioned previously, this paradigm is rooted {pun intended!}in goodwill that gives life to joy.

A few other hightlights of the day were meeting fellow Manitobans on the bus tour, who represent microcosms of goodwill that make our province great!

  • I met Kalynn Spain, from Small Farms Manitoba--who helped organize the farm tour. Small Farms Manitoba is an online space for farmers who consider themselves to be underrepresented by provincial commodity groups--featuring a farm directory that creates a synergistic provincial energy.  Looking for local vegetables or meat grown in Manitoba? Use her directory to help you locate it from a farm near you! Kalynn, a young female farmer herself, farms her own chickens and pigs and is quite simply an inspirational model for women.
  • Laurel Gardiner, acting chair of Food Matters. What a wonderful conversation we had over sausage! It's amazing what good food does. I loved hearing about her new grandaughter and the blessing she is to her family. I also found out that she is a cousin to Tracy, owner and farmer of Naosap Wild Organic Rice, who recently collaborated with Wholly Canadian by sponsoring our wild rice extravaganza giveaway. Check it out here!
  • Kreesta Doucette, exective director of Food Matters, whose gentle spirit and strong leadership were so evident in her speech. I didn't get to chat much with her, but if the bus tour exemplifies what Food Matters is doing, I say a job well done!
  • Anna Levin, who works with North End Cooking Classes, an extension of Food Matters, provides cooking classes to North End youth. It was such a joy meeting Anna and hearing about what she and her fellow colleague, Lissie, are doing within our city.
  • And of course, enjoying this bus tour with my friend, Lynne. . .a type of friend that everyone needs when beginning new ventures. . .

The whole day was a narrative of re-shaping Manitoba stories through food. . .

See our Wholly Canadian page for permanent links to Food Matters & Small Farms Manitoba.

As our tour ended, I told Kalynn, wouldn't it be great to have an organized farmer's market on wheels. . . It's great to support farmer's markets and enjoy the visual and tasty delights that fill our senses while meeting the faces of the farmers most often hidden from us when we purchase food. But it's quite another thing to purchase food straight from a farm. It provides a well-rounded sensory experience and appreciation that is second to none. But that's not all. It was a huge blessing for the farmers we visited. Instead of hauling their produce within their limited time & financial constraints, we came to them. . .

So as our Manitoba garden markets wrap up for yet another season, here's to enjoying and dreaming about real food and real farms all winter long. . .

Posted by Wholly Canadian at 7:00 AM 42 Comments

Monday, September 22, 2014

Celebration & Best Shopping

Today we celebrate one month of Wholly Canadian! Wow.

It's been an incredible ride connecting with local & fair-trade companies.

Wholly Canadian exists to champion local & fair-trade companies, and we're doing exactly that.  See our blog posts that share this journey.

Canadian-made kiddie car by Thorpe & North American-made blocks

In just one month we've had 1,634 unique users, and 9,319  sessions. It would seem Canadians are really interested in whole-life local & fair-trade living!

Here's some of what has made Wholly Canadian great, according to our followers:

Favourite things

Ingriguing thing (as stated by our followers)

Celebration!

To celebrate our one month anniversary on the 22nd, we're giving away. . .

22 FREE "Best Shopping" listings

to any Canadian and/or fair-trade product companies that resonate with localism and fair-trade principles.


Christmas is coming. This is a great time to join the list that Canadians have been craving. . .an easy directory for local & fair-trade shopping!


Local and/or Fair-trade companies:

To receive this offer, all you have to do is comment on this blog today, listing your company and website, and we'll get in touch with you!

-your listing will be listed complementary until the end of the year! No strings attached!

-if you see more than 22 companies that have commented, please still enter your company name just in case they do not qualify or send us their info. . .


Followers:

Do you want your favourite company to be listed on our "Best Shopping" directory? . .send them this blog post link and have them comment. Act fast!

22 FREE listings being given away today to the first 22 companies that respond.

Go ahead, let's celebrate local & fair-trade today. . .

Posted by Wholly Canadian at 6:00 AM 24 Comments

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tell us your favourite local company

The Craft Sale Season is upon us. Which ones will you be visiting this season? The craft sale season connects beautifully with Wholly Canadian's Christmas Challenge. 


This year, I've decided to buy three gifts for baby and keep it simple. . .

 

1. Local/Canadian-made gift

2. Fair-trade gift

3. Second-hand/ Re-purposed gift

 

The great thing is that this paradigm fits every age.

Three gifts. Simple.

 

Want to join me in this? We're calling it the Wholly Canadian Christmas Challenge.

 

See us on twitter and join our hashtag: #WhollyCanadianChristmasChallenge

 


Last year I did a blend of used and local gifts via a remake of  The Golden's Book: "Baby's Christmas. You can read more aobut it here.

 

 

While many people are not in the same baby-stage, I posted this as a catalyst to get  creative juices going. . .

 

How can a spirit of goodwill inform your purchases this year? You see this paradigm isn't just for babies. See Why

 

 

To purchase gifts in a paradigm of goodwill requires curiousity--no matter what stage of life you are in.

 Again, my challenge to Canadians is to get curious about the stories behind their purchases.


What do you suggest Wholly Canadian gives baby and husband for Christmas 2014?

Go ahead and do some publicity for your favourite local or fair-trade business by answering this question.  Make their day!

 

Wholly Canadian followers love learning about new products.  To make ethical shopping easier, we just launched our "Best Shopping" directory! 

Do you know a local business that would benefit from this?


Posted by Wholly Canadian at 7:00 AM 58 Comments

Monday, September 15, 2014

Christmas Present

Last week I posted about "Christmas Past." I posted about the joy that local & re-used gifts can offer via a remake of The Golden Book's: "Baby Christmas."

While many people are not in the same baby-stage, I posted this as a catalyst to get  creative juices going. . .

How can a spirit of goodwill inform your purchases this year? You see this paradigm isn't just for babies. See Why

To purchase gifts in a paradigm of goodwill requires curiousity--no matter what stage of you life you are in!

 Again, my challenge to Canadians is to get curious about the stories behind their purchases. It's heart-wrenching thinking about the countless children involved in child-labour to produce toys, candy, and food for North American children (and adults).

This Christmas ask three questions:

 

  1. Who made it, and were they paid a fair-wage?
  2. Where was it made?  (Go beyond the country. . .begin to question the standard of working conditions of where it was made)
  3. Are we consuming or gift-giving from the heart? (i.e. is this just another thing in our already full house?)

 

Moving from Christmas Past to. . .Christmas Present

This year, I've decided to buy three gifts for baby and keep it simple. . .

1. Local/Canadian-made gift

2. Fair-trade gift

3. Second-hand/ Re-purposed gift

 

The great thing is that this paradigm fits every age!

Three gifts. Simple.

Want to join me in this? We're calling it the Wholly Canadian Christmas Challenge.

See us on twitter and join our hashtag: #WhollyCanadianChristmasChallenge


Also, give us suggestions as to what Wholly Canadian's baby should get for Christmas 2014.

Our followers love learning about new products!  To make ethical shopping easier, we just launched our "Best Shopping" directory! 

Do you know a local business that would benefit from this?

Posted by Wholly Canadian at 7:00 AM 4 Comments

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Nice! It's Sweet Rice for Canadian Babies

As per historical tradition, we waited until after a year to introduce our baby to grains. 

Historically babies refrained from grains until at least a year (note: molars can be an indication of readiness for grains) because babies do not have  sufficient digestive enzymes to digest grain. The enzyme, amylase, necessary to digest grains, is generally produced after a baby is a year old. Historically, babies were not fed grains until at least a year, despite ancient people's lack of knowledge about this enzyme. Talk about intuitive wisdom! Yet it's interesting how current North American conventional practice encourages grain as baby's first food, and ironically, many adults then suffer with irritable gut issues later on in life.

Read more about preparing grains and the gut issues that surround improperly prepared grains


Organic sourdough spelt bread.  Gentle on baby's tummy. Gentle on mama & papa's tummies.

At 18 months we started baby on his first grains. We started him out with mama's sourdough spelt bread and sourdough granola. He is loving it! Of course, like all kids, he liked to lick mama's homemade jam off of the toast. {It made me giggle} Then he started biting into the bread, and devoured his first slice.

sourdough granola spelt

Organic sourdough granola (spelt & oat) ready to serve! So nourishable and easy to digest.

After his introduction to spelt sourdough,  I decided it's now time for rice. But not just any rice! Canadian-grown rice. For serveral years, we have been patronizing Naosap Harvest organic wild rice. They are on the edge of the Canadian Shield, surrounded by boreal forest.  Naosap's organic wild rice is grown in the pristine, isolated lakes of northern Manitoba, Canada.   So of course, his first rice had to be Manitoba rice. I love re-thinking of rice as Canadian. Yes, rice does grow in Canada!
I decided to make his first dish a treat. In fact, it's a treat for the whole family!

A wild rice dish laden with a "clotted-honey" cream. . .and topped with fruit and a dash of fair-trade cinnamon. Yum! And it's a super nutritious dish laden with antioxidants, probiotics, protein, minerals, etc!


Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Wild Canadian rice
  • Organic cream--as close as you can get to real cream the way nature delivers it.
  • Milk kefir grain
  • Raw honey--always wait until baby is a year to introduce raw honey
  • Fruit--Canadian-grown, fresh or frozen
  • Fair-trade cinnamon

Instructions:

Step 1: Wholesome Preparation 

1. Soak wild rice with water & apple cider vinegar. Click here for a guide.

2. Culture your cream with a milk keifr grain for 24-24 hours. (Note, you cannot use a water kefir grain for this.) Cream is already heavenly. Now add probiotic strains to it, and you've got a match made in heaven!

Step 2: Putting it together

1. Cook your soaked rice according to grower's instructions--you will need 20% less cooking time and less water

2. Strain the milk kefir grain from the now "clotted" cream

3. Blend in some raw honey into the cream--per taste.

4. Generously top the rice dish with the "honey-clotted" cream.

5. Add some seasonal or frozen fruit.

6 Sprinke some fair-trade cinnamon on top

Enjoy!


I used:

Care to learn more about traditional foods?

Want to deliciously eat your way to health?

  • Interested in learning more about sourdough?  Want to turn grains from a foe into a friend! Want to lower your gluten intake? Check out these learning opportunities!

Register soon!

baby eating rice for the first time

18 months. Eating rice (Naosap Harvest wild rice grown in Manitoba) for the first time. . .and loved it!

Baby eating his Wholly Canadian rice-dish using his Mally Bib in his second-hand high chair. We love this made-in-Canada bib for so many reasons . . . especially the pocket. I put pieces of dried fruit in it as treats. That little extra time it takes in digging out his treat, gives mama few extra minutes.  It's to the point now that when I put on his bib, he immediately checks the pocket, hoping against all hope that there might be a treat! {It always makes me giggle}

We chose the bear bib, because right from pregnancy, we always called him "Baby Bear."  So here's to "Baby Bear" enjoying his first rice. . .

 

What's your favourite traditinally-prepared dish?  Let us know!

Posted by Wholly Canadian at 7:00 AM 1 Comments

Monday, September 08, 2014

A Business Card that Blooms Local Style

Wildflowers & Business cards. . .Intertwine

This is the third week since the launch of Wholly Canadian, and I just received my newly-purchased business cards! It feels so wonderfully official. . .

I wanted a business card that "felt" made-in-Canada, and I found one!

I didn't have to look far. . .for quite some time I've been intrigued by Botanical Paperworks. Located in the exchange district of Winnipeg, they are a leading producer of eco-friendly paper products that grow when planted. They manufacture and design stationery, invitations, wedding favors, and corporate & promotional products made from paper embedded with seeds. When planted, the seed paper grows into wildflowers or a variety of culinary herbs.

Wholly Canadian's mantra is whole-life local living. . and Botanical Paperworks is so local and whole-life! Love it. 

At the bottom of each business card it states: "Plant this and wildflowers will grow."

My business cards were designed and printed by Shippam & Associates Inc. in Winnipeg. They provided excellent customer service, and of course they have no idea that I am blogging about this. {I love surprising companies}

Now I'm dreaming about a Christmas card on Botanical Paperworks embedded seed paper. . .Recently, I began asking people what they do with all their Christmas cards and Christmas photos. (You see, I used to put them in my photo albums, but then my albums started taking up way too much space in our tiny house).  Believe it or not, most people say they tossed them.  So much effort goes into these cards, and after they're viewed for a period of time, they're tossed. Yup, your picture in the garbage.

So, this is why I've been thinking about employing a more sustainable approach that is both 100% biodegradable and plant-able.

What do you think?

What do you do for Christmas cards?

 

Posted by Wholly Canadian at 7:00 AM 4 Comments

Friday, September 05, 2014

Preserve & Serve--Local Style

This year I've had the most joyous time putting away preserves! Care to know why?

I'm employing the ancient practice of lacto-fermentation/ culturing. No canner. No heat. No sweat!

I just simply place my veggies in a jar with whey & salt. I let them cutlure for a period of time, and then place them in a fridge or cold room. Simply put, this is traditional food. . .this is the way my great grandmother would have preserved her food prior to modern conveniences.

Traditional Foods are becoming a part of my rhythm. Are you interested in learning more about Traditonal Foods?

made in canada cucumbers

These jars of pickles tell a story. . .through two aspects of Wholly Canadian's shopping paradigm of goodwill:

Local:

Firstly, local. My garden: heirloom cucs, onions, cabbage leaf to hold the cucs down, and oak-leaf to keep the cucs naturally crisp.  Garden marketJardins St-Leon Gardens--I purchased some cucs, dill, and garlic at this local garden market. 

(Side note: anyone know if one can obtain mustard seed grown in Canada?) 

cucumbers made in canada

Used: 

Secondly, used. All my canning jars are from MCC thrift shops. All my jars are made in Canada.  Canada no longer makes glass jars, so these vintage jars are are a real keeper. Instead of using the rust-prone snap lids, I use the original glass tops along with the rubber rings. While the first objective of preserving food is to nourish my family during the long winter months, I also am so amazed how much I enjoy the beauty of preserves. During these last 24 hours I have marveled over and over again at God's gracious bounty towards us when I look at the simple beauty on my kitchen counter.

 


Lacto-fermented veggies are not only a simple way of preserving food, but is also nutrient-dense compared to canning.  Did you know that canning destroys the nutrients in food, whereas culturing food increases enzymes? You are eating live food! But not just live, but also rich in probiotics--the kind of stuff that makes your gut healthy! And a healthy gut belongs to a healthy person!

  • Interested in adding some traditional food skills in your diet?
  • Care to unearth some practices your great-grandmother would have used in her kitchen? 
  •        Want to deliciously eat your way to healthy?

Right now Wholly Canadian is offering two traditional-food courses

1) bubbly drinks and creams for the whole family; and 
2) sourdough: goodness gracious grains!

Space is limited, so make sure to register soon!

made in canada cucumbers

 

Back to Jardin St-Leon Gardens. . .

The customer service their is top notch. Each person (and I've been there countless times), is so friendly, and they look like you are doing them a favour if you have a question! I always drive away amazed because we live in a day and age when pleasant customer-service is the exception. I recently took my father there,  and he was of course  pleasantly rewarded with many friendly youthful smiles and chit chat. He really hit it off with a young male personnel when discussing apple pastries. {It made me giggle}.

I just bought a case of peaches from Jardin St-Leon Gardens that I want to put into the freezer--but only after blanching the peaches. My mother-in-law is going to come over and show her tried-and-true method of blanching peaches. A few years back, I put peaches in the freezer without blanching and without a syrup. I thought this treatment was for those who wanted extra work. Ha! Mush in the freezer. . 

Well, I was deciding how many peaches to purchase while talking with a few Jardin St-Leon employees, and a young gal really impressed me with her customer service by offering me a variety of options for pick-up, ordering organic, etc. As she rung me through, she chatted with my baby in the cart, and then offered to help me to my car with my purchases. I asked her what her name was, and she said, Jen. So Jen, here's to you!

Update: Here's a pic of the peaches. . .blanched and in a light honey syrup ready for the freezer!

What's the name of your favourite garden market?

Posted by Proof Reader at 7:00 AM 13 Comments