You can’t beet local eating (Day 345)…


OK folks, next up in the “You’ve Gotta Be Kidding Me” series is local eating. And I mean really local — not just restricted to North America, as I’ve previously pledged, and not just from within Canada; all my meals will be limited to what’s being grown in Ontario.

What does this mean? I’ll tell you what it means: Apples, rhubarb, onions, leeks, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, mushrooms, potatoes, sprouts, butternut squash and beets (apparently “without tops”, though I’m not quite sure what that means). Oh, and seeing as I’m a total mycophobe, there won’t actually be any mushrooms on my plate.

This is what Foodland Ontario says is in season during the month of February, so that’s pretty much what I’ll be buying (exceptions will have to be made for protein, as well as tea and coffee — sorry, but if I don’t have caffeine, I get destructively cranky). The online guide is actually pretty handy, and if you click on the menu items to the left of the screen, you can learn more about all the seasonal produce — there’s even a colouring book section, featuring what appears to be the Foodland Ontario mascot, named Aggie (short for… agriculture, maybe?).

Anyway, I’m going to do my best with this one, but I’m also pretty naive and forgetful when it comes to food, so if I end up eating someone’s homemade bread but it actually had some baking soda from… well, wherever baking soda is from… then I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

Still, I think I’ll have to find some innovative ways to prepare cabbage, and if anyone has any breakfast recipes for beets, feel free to pass those on!

15 Responses to You can’t beet local eating (Day 345)…

  1. Malva says:

    I’m sure there is a ton of people following some version of the 100-mile diet near you. You should have no trouble finding local meat. My butcher (in Ottawa) sources all his meat as locally as possible. You should check with yours. Unless you pledge to eat a vegeterian diet and I missed it… In that case, La Soyarie tofu brand is from Gatineau, which isn’t too far.

  2. besweet says:

    Yes, why not local protein? I buy local chicken and beef as often as I can, and I get it at The Big Carrot. You could also check out the farmer’s market in the north building of the St. Lawrence Market. There is a seller there who raises elk, for example, without antibiotics and hormones, and they’re Ontarian. (If you’ve never tried elk, it’s very good! Nice and lean, and doesn’t have that gamey taste you find in deer.)

  3. limesarah says:

    “Without tops” means that they’ve cut the leaves off for storage. Beet greens are delicious, but don’t keep well 🙂

    This is one of those things where it would have helped if you’d planned for it this summer, since then you’d have lots of canned and dried stuff from the growing season. Are there any local jam makers around?

    Hash is a pretty good way to prepare all kinds of root veggies, and it’s more interesting and flavorful when you mix in a few different things other than potatoes (though the entire thing will turn a someone disorienting shade of pink if there’s any beet in it). Cabbage is great in stir-fries..I don’t know if that’s innovative, but it’s at least different from standard European boiled cabbage variations.

  4. gettinggreen says:

    Oh, yeah, sorry — by protein I just meant nuts, and also tofu (I’ll of course be eating local meat, having just chopped some to pieces at the butcher shop recently, but I don’t want to up my meat intake by too much, either).

  5. molly says:

    Cabbage (or any cooked leafy green) mixed with mashed potatoes is called colcannon. It’s Irish and pretty tasty. Cabbage stirfried in oil over high heat with a good amount of salt is good too. And I think I remember trying an old recipe for sauteed cabbage and apples from the Settlement Cookbook. And between cabbage, carrots, and beets, you have lots of slaws in your future. Good luck with this one.

  6. Julia says:

    For inspiration on what to cook with your local goods, you should check out Urban Hennery’s Dark Days Challenge ( to learn about what bloggers are eating locally around the US…

  7. snickitysnack says:

    Make stuffed cabbage leaves!!!

    And just plain old roasted beets are yummy, you can eat them for breakfast as is. Don’t be scared when your poop turns fuschia, ok?

  8. Esme says:

    Make borscht! You can add cabbage and other veg to make it hearty and filling, or find the polish Xmas eve version which is an elegant beet consomme with red wine and little dumplings. Eastern European cuisine has 1001 great things to do with winter vegetables, google Polish/Ukranian/Russian/German recipes.

  9. badhuman says:

    This will probably sound wierd and potentially creepy but you can actually find locally grown animals as well as fresh eggs on Craigslist. If you look in the farm and garden section farmers will post if they are selling their eggs or if an animal is going to be butchered. Hope this helps!

  10. blah says:

    Thought you would enjoy this. It’s a recipe for vegan chocolate cake made with beets. I found it on If chocolate and peanut butter are wrong, I don’t want to be right. Enjoy.

    Beet Chocolate Cake with Banana-Peanut Butter Sauce

    1 large beet
    unsweetened apple sauce
    2 tbsp. water
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    1/2 cup unbleached white flour
    1/2 cup cocoa
    1 cup sugar
    1 tbsp. cornstarch
    2 tsp. baking soda
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. cinnamon

    Peel and dice one large beet. Place the pieces in a saucepan with water to cover and boil until soft. (I’ve heard that you can buy canned beets, so you may want to skip this step–and the resulting red hands–by using pre-cooked beets.) Allow the beets to cool, and then drain them, reserving the red water for another purpose. Put the drained beets into the food processor with 1/4 cup (clear) water, and process until pureed.

    Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Oil or spray your cooking pan(s).

    Put the pureed beets into a 2-cup measure. Add enough apple sauce to reach the 2-cup line. Add the 2 tablespoons water, vanilla extract, and apple cider to the beets and mix well.

    Mix the dry ingredients together; then add the beet mixture and stir until well-combined. Bake for 35-60 minutes, depending on the size of pan you use: more for small, deep pans and less for a 9X13 pan. (I used a 9X13 pan, and it took 35 minutes.) Test by inserting a toothpick into the center; it’s done when the toothpick comes out clean.

    Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.

    Banana-Peanut Butter Sauce

    1/2 of a 12-ounce package lite, firm silken tofu
    1 banana
    2 tbsp. natural peanut butter
    1/4-1/3 cup agave nectar, to taste
    1/4 tsp. vanilla
    1/2 tsp. lemon juice

    Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Refrigerate until needed. The sauce will thicken in the fridge, so it’s best to give it time to chill if you plan to sandwich it between layers of cake. (Just for fun, the next time I make this, I’ll add a couple of drops of the beat juice to it to give it a slightly pink color.) Serve over cake.

    This was such a hit that this morning as I was packing her lunch, E. said to me, “Mom, put some of that beet cake in. I want to eat my veggies!”

    For more antioxidant-rich recipes, check out Sweetnicks’ weekly round-up of nutritious recipes.

  11. csim33 says:

    You should be able to find local eggs too. Chickens lay year round, even in the cold. Good luck.

  12. rosasparks says:

    eat my fry up/mashup. it’s a version of a british/irish breakfast thing. it was always prepared for me when i was hungover, but it’s fantastic & really easy. take whatever veggies you have, chop them & saute them, squish in some already-made mashed potatoes & you have breakfast! (i believe the original ones have sausages or some meat in them, but that’s not necessary)

    also, i make the same thing & crack an egg in it, instead of the mash & it’s just a weird scrambly egg/omlettey thing. also tasty! hearty breakfast time!!!

  13. sandra says:

    You must read “Animal, Vegetable Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver.
    It chronicles her family’s year of eating locally. Lots of good recipes
    on their website.

    Sandra, Ottawa

  14. cheaplikeme says:

    You can cut off a wedge of cabbage and braise it with butter … an Irish chef showed my husband how long ago, and it’s delicious (and hardly tastes like cabbage at all, more like just a sweet-ish vegetable). Here is about what he does:

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