smart living

Harvest TorontoS.O.S. Style
By Lisa Borden

Sustainable, Organic and Seasonal
t’s the most wonderful time of the year. The harvest. It’s short (and sweet), and once you get through reading this article, I can only hope that you’ll be compelled to try some of my suggestions, and will join me in sending out an S.O.S. (sustainable, organic and seasonal) message, so as many as possible will take advantage of Toronto’s delicious, colourful and abundant harvest. Whether you are fed up with reading about organics, certifications, lack of regulations, local eating or different diets, remember, together we are striving for higher standards. Once you experience the slow food movement, shop at organic farmers’ markets, read product labels and dine at restaurants that offer local and organic menus, you will no longer worry about what’s proven, and, you’ll simply enjoy. So why shop, buy and explore S.O.S.?

I

1. The Harbord Room 2. Chèvre Noir Shortbread from LPK’s Cullinary Groove 3. Earth to Table - Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann

It’s Fresher
Simply a shorter time from farm to table. (Note: organic at a major supermarket is not the same as organic from a farmers’ market - the best S.O.S. comes directly from an organic farmer.)

after picking, the food retains more nutrients, has no need for preservatives and offers less exposure to chemicals. Score.

released into our soil and water. What goes down will come back up again.

It’s Tastier
No need to trust me, do your own taste test (without all of the synthetics), you’ll savour pure, unaltered, delicious food. If your food needs to travel far, it’s bred to withstand a longer shelf life and is usually picked before it’s fully ripe. Shame.

It’s Environmentally Sound
Long distance travel requires more packaging, refrigeration, fuel to get to table and generates more waste and pollution (did you ever wonder how produce arrives from Mexico without bruises and without being rotten?). Crops grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and GMOs mean fewer of these items are being produced and fewer are being

It’s Cheaper
Apples to apples it may be more expensive to buy S.O.S., but cheap food actually has a very high cost to us, our health and our world. With less middlemen, less marketing and less transportation costs, you can save money if you know when and where to buy and are willing to enjoy what’s in season.

creation and local farmer support – and if you’ve eaten today, you should be thanking a farmer, hopefully a local one.

It’s Flexible
If you love bananas, they aren’t going to be locally grown (too bad for us!), so, choose to buy organic, fair-trade bunches and enjoy. Just please don’t buy fall apples that have travelled from New Zealand when wonderful apples are harvested all around us! Everyone has different standards and exceptions to their rules…make your own.

It’s Neighbourly
There are so many advantages to having our money stay in our community, including job

It’s Healthier
Fully ripened and eaten soon

tonic | October 2010 | 39

Restaurants

By now I’ve hopefully convinced you that eating S.O.S. food is the way to go and that by doing so you can bring home the harvest to enjoy at your table. Here are some of my local favourites, who dish out unparalleled foods celebrating our local growing season:

Harbord Room My son (he writes restaurant reviews) calls it the best burger place in Toronto. Raw Aura In Port Credit, but you can try and justify the un-econess of the travel by eating the best raw and vegan meal in the GTA. (Ravioli is my favourite dish.) True A gorgeous restaurant in Yorkville, where even their bar is organic. The service sadly lacks, but it’s worth enduring, since they are the real deal. Wine Bar You can learn a lot by getting stools at the kitchen bar, watching the chefs prepare your dishes, tapas style. If you like French fries, this would be the place to indulge.

LPk’s Culinary Groove Owner, Lesia claims that she serves “beautifully cultivated desserts” and she does. She is able to accommodate almost every special diet and allergy.

Cookbooks
Ripe from Around Here A wonderful vegan cookbook, and being from Toronto, when Jae Steele talks about local, it’s actually local to us! Earth to Table This cookbook could be a coffee table book it’s so beautiful and again, it’s written by locals inspiring us with local foods.

Shopping for Home
Healthy Butcher A small specialty store, where they want to know your name. Think of their shop as a permanent farmers’ market - “butcher” is deceiving, as they also have exceptional produce! Fiesta Farms Toronto’s largest independently owned grocery store with a big selection of local foods - just make sure you read labels, it’s not all S.O.S. here! Organic Farmers’ Markets There are markets almost every day of the week. It’s really the ultimate way to shop. Pick this up as your newest habit, just beware, it’s addictive.

Other S.O.S. Activities
Pick Your Own Organics Farm, Avalon Orchards, or perhaps, from your own garden? Harvest Festivals Consider attending Feast of Fields, or events at Evergreen Brickworks.
Lisa Borden

Dessert
Delight Two locations scoop out the greatest ice cream. And, you won’t find a better cone anywhere.

~ is an eco-advocate, whose marketing business, Borden Communications + Design is a direct reflection of her commitment to better, more responsible living. lisa@bordencom.com

40 | October 2010 | tonic

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