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AGSI Celebrates Local Food Week

Angus GeoSolutions Inc. (AGSI) is celebrating ‘I Love Local Food Week’ beginning June 1st throughout June 7th, 2015 coinciding with Government of Ontario’s initiative, loveontfood.ca.

AGSI was originally founded in Ontario, is active in 6 countries and has its worldwide headquarters in Halton Hills, Ontario. AGSI is not only helping to spread the word through social media but we are living it all week by buying local food products and ingredients and preparing ‘local’ lunches from scratch for staff members to experience.

Many locally produced products such as meats, eggs, dairy, and greenhouse vegetables are available throughout the year, but spring and summer brings so many fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers to be enjoyed. Let’s not forget local wineries and microbreweries as Ontario is blessed with some of the richest and fertile land and the right growing season to produce some exceptional beverages.

AGSI’s Tabitha Roberts, Julie Harlow, and Emma Joth-Elay have been busy planning the lunch menus and traveling to local business within Halton Region to gather these wonderful home-grown products. In their travels they have already met some very friendly and enthusiastic farmers and food producers. This has been a wonderful experience so far and AGSI has invited some of the local farmers and businesses for Friday’s lunch.

“We understand the importance of supporting local business not only because it’s the right thing to do but because the products are great!” Says Chris Cameron, President and CEO, “We’re proud of our roots and many of the local business owner are our friends, and we buy local all the time.”

Don’t forget to log onto www.loveontfood.ca and share your stories and Local Food Week celebrations

Some of the dishes made this week are from traditional family recipes including a client’s own recipe and the menu is shaping up to be a bountiful variety of tasty delights. Check them out below:

Monday

Grandma’s Garden Fresh Salsa & Homemade Chips

Julie’s Agricultural Fun Facts

Greenhouses - Ontario’s local greenhouses grow produce like tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers year-round, reducing imports, and generating over $1.6 billion in cash receipts. Ontario has about 13 million square metres of greenhouse production, or two-thirds of Canada’s total. Salsa is just one reason to choose Ontario. AGSI welcomes all greenhouse growers to the PPR

Snack Foods - Overwhelming number of snack food operations are located in Ontario – with billions ($1.6) in sales domestically. Snack foods have been a consistently high growth part of the manufacturing sector in Ontario. Local ingredients used: i.e. potatoes, corn and oil

Eggs - 430 egg farmers in Ontario produce 200 million dozen eggs annually. Ontario egg producers support local breakfast programs

Tuesday

Prosciutto Wrapped Mini Frittata Muffins

Julie’s Agricultural Fun Facts

Spinach - not just for Popeye anymore… Spinach has a high nutritional value and is extremely rich in antioxidants, especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled. If you are like me, you probably figure that spinach sold in ready-made packages are well-travelled by the time they arrive on grocery store shelves. Well, it turns out that’s not necessarily the case, at least not if you buy Queen Victoria Baby Leaf Spinach from just about any supermarket in Southern Ontario between mid-June and late October. Packaged in Halton Region, these greens are grown right next door in Dufferin County.

Prosciutto - A cured Ontario ham from Agram’s Meats, Ontario prosciutto is made from the hind leg of a pig (the ham), and outside Italy, calling it prosciutto indicates a ham that has been cured. The quality of prosciutto is entirely in how it is cured. The outside of the ham is usually rubbed with just salt and sometimes a mix of spices. This draws out moisture and concentrates the flavor while the ham slowly air-dries (very much like dry-aged beef). This process can take anywhere from a few months to a several years depending on the desired result. Once cured, prosciutto is thinly sliced and eaten as is. In other words, it is uncooked - although, preserved through curing. Sometimes prosciutto gets lightly cooked as a finishing touch to a pasta sauce or other dish, but this is more to bring out the aroma and merge flavors than it is to cook the prosciutto.

Mushrooms - are: SIMPLE, FRESH, GOOD! Yummy mushrooms take about three months to grow… and food safety priority 1! Ontario farms grow about 60 million kilograms of mushroom annually – with white button being the most popular. Ontario mushrooms arrive at local stores within 24 hours of harvest. The Mushrooms Canada On-Farm Food Safety (OFFS) program was developed over a seven-year period by Mushrooms Canada and the Guelph Food Technology Centre (GFTC). The GFTC is recognized as a world-class food-safety training centre. The Mushrooms Canada program complies with the Food Safety Enhancement Program of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and international standards of HACCP.

Wednesday

Sweet Potato Bacon & Egg Salad

Julie’s Agricultural Fun Facts

Today’s local food week treat includes my favourite food group… bacon

In honour of bacon we thought you would like to know a bit more about pork production in Ontario.

Ontario Pork represents the 1,549 farmers who market hogs in the province in many areas, including research, government representation, environmental issues, consumer education and food quality assurance. The pork industry in Ontario accounts for 1 in 7 jobs, and it is estimated that total industry output from farm gate sales is worth $5.6 billion to the Ontario economy.

Ontario Pork Celebrates Local Food Week

Ontario Pork will be participating in the Twitter Party on the evening of Wednesday, June 3rd, which is being hosted by Foodland Ontario; attending the Queen’s Park Farmers’ Market on Thursday, June 4th and promoting Local Food Week on social media platforms.

Hamming it up with mustard… Did you know that canola “is a Canadian born and bred” mustard oil seed? Canola is processed into oil and meal that is used as ingredients in many foods such as margarine, salad dressing, condiments, and many other products Canola is a cool crop, so it enjoys cool nights and hot days and grows in more northern areas of the province. Canola has a distinctive bright yellow colour during blooming in late June and early July.

Bunge in Canada, with offices in Halton Region and crushing facilities in Hamilton, is a leading purchaser of both Ontario canola and soybeans. They crush the oilseeds and produce meal and oil for domestic and export consumption.

Thursday

Chicken Wings & Local Beer

Julie’s Agricultural Fun Facts

How do we do it?

Today’s local treat is chicken wings prepared with three different marinades (also made with local ingredients). And for our vegan colleagues we are serving fiddleheads.

And as if that wasn’t enough… an added treat - AGSI staff can sample two types of craft beer made just down the road at Cameron Breweries in beautiful Oakville. Yes AGSI, the Local Food Team has found a local craft brewer that shares the last name of our Fearless Leaders - how do we do it? There are 50+ Craft Brewers in Ontario dedicated to making great tasting beer, right here. “Craft” speaks to the tradition of care and craftsmanship that is insisted upon during the brewing process you can really “Taste the Difference.” For more see ontariocraftbrewers.com

Fiddle-what?

Fiddleheads or fiddlehead greens are the furled fronds of a young fern, harvested for use as a vegetable. Left on the plant, each fiddlehead would unroll into a new frond. These ferns often grow near fresh water and can be seen extensively along the Credit River. Fiddleheads contain even more antioxidants than blueberries, are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fibre, are low in sodium and contain vitamins A and C, niacin, potassium, phosphorus, iron and magnesium.

Finger-licking Good Ontario Chicken

Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) represents more than 1,100 family run farms that collectively ensure Ontario consumers enjoy a reliable supply of safe, healthy, high quality, Ontario-grown chicken. The Ontario chicken industry is an important contributor to the economic health of the province. The industry is supported by an extensive value chain including Ontario chicken farms, Ontario corn and soybean growers, chick hatcheries, and chicken processors that collectively contribute more than $2.7 billion annually to the Ontario economy and support more than 19,000 full-time local jobs.

Friday

McMorris Cream of Rhubarb Pie

Julie’s Agricultural Fun Facts

Today’s local food treats feature “McMorris Creamed Rhubarb Pie” and a selection of fruit wines from Halton’s Scotch Block Winery

Icy Cool Rhubarb Facts

Forced winter rhubarb, as it’s called, is viable from early January through May each year. Until the 1960s, it was a common sight in grocery stores and green markets across much of Canada; there were more than 60 winter-rhubarb growers in Ontario alone.

These days, even as interest in eating local produce is soaring, most consumers ignore local rhubarb until it’s warm outside - if they even know it exists at all.

“I’ve been doing this long enough to know not to grow too much until Easter,” says Farmer French of Shelburne, ON. “In people’s minds, it’s a spring crop.” The Globe and Mail.

A Chip Off the Old Scotch Block

Scotch Block is one of Halton’s best kept secrets. Those who visit the 10th Side Road winery can find a wonderful variety of fruit-based wines, ranging from dry fruit and grape wines, to ice and dessert wines. The name “Scotch Block Winery” was chosen as a tribute to the Scottish settlers who in 1820 were the first European immigrants to survey and settle in Esquesing Township, Halton County.

Scotch Block Winery is nestled within Andrew’s Scenic Acres, berry, sweet corn and pumpkin farm, in the area known as Scotch Block - an area of rich, fertile, rolling farmland of which the scenic Niagara Escarpment is a breathtaking backdrop.

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