Eating-up Stratford
Bite by Byte

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Stepping up to The Ontario Table!

Food author and activist Lynn Ogryzlo has presented our province with a challenge: If all households in Ontario spent $10 of their weekly grocery budget on food produced in this province, it would mean $2.4 billion injected into our economy.

But Lynn Ogryzlo has done more than just crunched the numbers to support our collective fulfillment of this important shared goal. She has also spent the last few years putting together an incredible resource for sourcing-out and cooking the unparalleled local food bounty we in Ontario are blessed with. The Ontario Table is the product of two years of research which saw Lynn and her husband Jon traveling to the various counties of Ontario seeking-out and speaking to exemplary local producers, taking pictures of them working on their farms, and then creating, tasting and photographing amazing dishes inspired by these precious products.

The result of all this hard work is quite simply the best book on local food in Ontario that has ever been produced. Visually spectacular, full of inspired recipes, and written with a strong sense of purpose, this is one of those books that you can use as a cookbook or enjoy as a good read outside of the kitchen. It is an honour that Perth County and Stratford are celebrated throughout this important work - Lynn Ogryzlo is clearly a big fan of our local food scene, "It's definitely a cultural, culinary and entertainment pocket tucked neatly into vast stretches of farmland. Home to some of the most innovative and dramatic (must be the theatre influence) farmers you'll meet."

Since no less than five of the Perth County producers featured in The Ontario Table are featured at the Slow Food Sunday Market, it was appropriate that Lynn chose our new downtown site as the first stop on her summer book signing tour! I spoke to her about her book and then she took to the microphone to tell our marketgoers about the $10 challenge and her vision for an enhanced Ontario food system:

Stratford's avid local food lovers lined-up to buy the book, which Lynn has made available for markets and farmers to sell as a means of raising funds in support of their important work. All of the proceeds from Sunday's sales went to Slow Food Perth County - Thanks everyone who bought a book! It will continue to be on sale throughout the summer at the Slow Food booth at the market.

As Lynn was signing her book she offered us all the opportunity to sign a tablecloth that she will be bringing along with her as she travels across the province (above).

I have a feeling Lynn was thinking of Antony John (Soiled Reputation Farm's Manic Organic, above) when she was writing about Perth County's "dramatic and innovative" farmers.

Fred and Ingrid DeMartines of Perth Pork Products (above) have the book opened to page 146, where the chapter on Pastured Meat is introduced by a great photo of Fred with one of his Tamshire (a cross of Tamworth and Berkshire heritage breed) piglets.

Slow Food Perth County's own Brendon Lyoness (aka Caveman of Caveman Crops, above) is featured in the book, where the story of his road to local food production via Paul Finkelstein's Stratford Northwestern Culinary Arts program is told on page 33!

It was a real treat for our community and market to be picked as the first stop on Lynn Ogryzlo's province-wide summer book tour. She will actually be back in September where she will be speaking about her book and her adventures in local food in the Learning Centre at the Savour Stratford Perth County Culinary Festival (which in her book she celebrates as "one of the best local food culinary festivals around")!

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