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Local Food Tips

Harvest Noir is a celebration of the local harvest. We’re encouraging our guests to prepare their picnic feasts with ingredients you can find on nearby farms. Your picnic feast will be fresher, more nutritious, and much better for the local economy and the planet. Since many people aren’t familiar with the benefits of local food and don’t know where to get it or how to prepare it, the Harvest Noir organizers have pulled together this nifty little introduction.

  1. Why Local Food?
  2. Finding Local Food Ingredients
  3. How to tell if it’s from a Local Farm
  4. A local food recipe from the Branch restaurant
  5. A local food recipe from the Green Door restaurant

1. Why Local Food?

FRESHER, HEALTHIER & TASTES BETTER. Local produce is the freshest produce you can buy. While produce that is purchased in the supermarket or a big-box store has been in transit or cold-stored for days or weeks, produce that you purchase at your local farmer’s market has often been picked within 24 hours of your purchase.  This freshness not only affects the taste of your food, but the nutritional value which declines with time.

BETTER FOR OUR ECONOMY. Choosing local food also contributes to our regional economy and helps nearby farms stay in business. When we buy a local food product, the producer receives a higher percentage of our food dollar (and at a farmers’ market or on-farm store, 100%!) According to a study by the New Economics Foundation in London, a dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy.

WAAAY BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. The average North American meal travels 2,400 km to get from field to plate. When food is transported lengthy distances, a lot of fossil fuels are burnt, creating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that lead to air pollution and climate change. A study by Toronto’s Food Share found that a meal produced with ingredients from a local farmers’ market travelled a total of 101km while an average imported meal travelled 5,364km — creating 100 times more GHGs than the farmers’ market meal. The David Suzuki Foundation’s ‘Nature’s Challenge’ lists eating locally as one of the Top 10 things you can do to reduce your global footprint.

Eating local is good for the environment, but what you eat is even more important. Red meat and cheese creates 150% more greenhouse gases (GHGs) than chicken or turkey. To learn more, we strongly advise you to check out the “Meat Eaters Guide to Climate Change + Health” – a great guide to making sound judgements about how much and which kind of meat to eat, both for your health and the health of the planet. It’s full of surprising facts, like:

  • If you eat one less burger a week, it’s like taking your car off the road for 320 miles or line-drying your clothes half the time.
  •  If everyone in the U.S. ate no meat or cheese just one day a week, it would be like not driving 91 billion miles — or taking 7.6 million cars off the road.

When you do buy beef, local grass-fed beef has much less of an impact than the grain-fed beef you get in most supermarkets. The local food guide below can point you to some great local farms where you can get it.'s Buy Local Food Guide

Visit the Buy Local Food Guide

2. Finding Local Food Ingredients

The Just Food Buy Local Food Guide lists farms in Eastern Ontario and West Quebec, as well as retailers that support local farmers. It is searchable, so please play around to find the farms and retailers nearest you where you can get local ingredients for your Harvest Noir picnic feast!

Products bearing this symbol are locally grown.

3. How to tell if it’s from a Local Farm

The Savour Ottawa brand provides you with instant recognition for local agricultural products. When you see the Savour Ottawa logo at farmers’ markets, butcheries, retail grocery stores and more, you can feel assured that each product or establishment with the logo has undergone a verification process to ensure that they are using local food in their products, or are a local producer.

4. A fantastic local food recipe from The Branch restaurant

“Here a nice fall recipe that would be simple and delicious for the home cook to prepare with lots of local ingredients.”  Bruce Enloe, chef and co-owner of The Branch Restaurant in Kemptville 

Pumpkin Soup with Goat’s Cheese and Cranberry Coulis

Try this with one of the many pumpkins or winter squash’s available darn near everywhere these days!  It’s a fun addition to your Thanksgiving table or even in mugs as a warming tonic for an Autumn picnic…

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon sunflower seed oil

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

¼ cup minced fresh sage leaves (less if dried)

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice, ginger, etc.

1 medium pumpkin or winter squash, about 1.5 pounds, peeled, seeded and cubed

2 litres vegetable stock or water

2 cups Hall’s or Barkley’s apple cider

Goat’s chevre from Clarmell Farms or Fifth Town Artisan Cheesemakers, enough to garnish

Cranberry Coulis:

½ cup Upper Canada cranberries

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ cup sugar

½ cup water

Pinch salt

For the Soup:

In a large soup pot, sweat the onions with the oil and salt until transparent; add the garlic and spices and sauté for one minute.  Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the squash is soft enough to pierce easily with a fork or paring knife (about 20-30 minutes).  Blend soup with an immersion blender or in a blender or food processor until smooth, adding more water or stock if necessary.  Garnish with a dollop of goat’s cheese and the cranberry coulis (recipe follows).  Enjoy!

Cranberry coulis:

Combine ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for five minutes, blend and serve. For an interesting garnish, cool and pour into a small squirt bottle and use the squirt bottle to make designs on the soup!

5. A delicious local food recipe from The Green Door restaurant

From Ron Farmer, chef and owner at Ottawa’s Green Door restaurant.

Roasted Squash Salad

Serves 8

Preheat the oven to 350F

6 cups of squash ( mixture of red kuri, delicata and green kabocha), cut into 1 inch cubes

4 TB olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

The squash must be scrubbed, seeded and cubed. Toss the squash with olive oil and sea salt. Bake on a tray lined with parchment paper for 30 minutes or until the the cubes are soft to the touch but not mushy. Let cool completely before transferring them into a mixing bowl.

Add the following ingredients to the squash once it has cooled:

¼ cup soaked and drained arame seaweed (soak the dry arame in water for 5 minutes)

½ cup of chopped italian parsley

½ cup of sliced red and green peppers


¼ cup of dark sesame oil

½ tsp of minced garlic

1 tsp of freshly grated ginger

¼- ⅓ cup of gluten free tamari

¼ -⅓ cup lemon juice

Whisk all the ingredients together, pour over and toss. Adjust seasoning to taste.