Tuesday, September 21, 2010

At the farmers market in Elora

My friend Shivaun took me on my first trek out of Toronto. We went to the enchanting town of Elora, which is just outside of Guelph. While we were driving in, she spotted a farmers market and declared excitedly that we had to go. I was all for it. Although there was no need for me to buy anything, I've always been impressed by the idea of these informal gatherings of people who grow and make things for the purposes of selling.

One of the very exciting things that's been happening in North America recently, is a shift towards buying local produce. I think the idea is to buy fruit and vegetables that have been grown within 100 miles of where you live. And farmers markets are an ideal place for making such purchases. They seem to be run by people who are either farmers for real, or people who love to grow things. The market in Elora was nothing fancy - just a few temporary tents with about 10 to 15 people selling seasonal fruit and vegetables, honey, home made sausage and a variety of baked goods. Shoppers and their children browsed the stalls. Shivaun bought a huge selection of gorgeous looking fruit and vegetables.

It's the sort of thing I wish we could really get off the ground in Trinidad. Both because it's great to support the idea of local growing and consuming, and because we are such food lovers in this country. Although the Central Market, and other markets like it, continue to be huge hubs for the selling of fresh produce, it's becoming increasingly difficult to guarantee the provenance of a lot of it. Plus there's the problem of vast quantities of pesticides that many farmers here use. And while there are one or two places where it's possible to buy a limited amount of organic local stuff, it's prohibitively expensive, and remains, by and large, the realm of the upper middle class and ex-pat community.

So for now, I'll continue to buy veggies from my local stall and hope that one day the idea of the farmers market will truly take root here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A neighbourhood coffee shop

I have to reveal one of my dreams: to own a small restaurant or coffee shop; something that's affordable and friendly; a place where people can hang out with their friends and families where the food and service are excellent but unpretentious.

I'm in Toronto at the moment, staying with my friend, Sharon. She lives close to Greek Town and on Saturday we went for one of those lovely, long, city walks. It was a gorgeous, balmy day. Our walk took us to one of her neighbourhood coffee shops - a really cool little place where people from the area gather to catch up, drink some great coffee and lime. It's called the Rooster Coffee Shop. It's my dream made real! Here are some photos: