Local Flavours: A Rainbow of Heritage Carrots from Bryson Farms

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They’re organic, they’re heritage, they’re grown within 100-miles of Ottawa, but most importantly they come in white, yellow, orange, red and purple.  Fun food that’s good for you and tasty too from Bryson Farms.
Once upon a time a great many varieties of each vegetable were grown, with distinctive flavours, looks, textures and cooking qualities.  Now most of the commercially grown vegetables come from the same genetic stock and have been bred more for ease of chemically-enhanced growing and for transporting long distances than for culinary pleasure.  Growing heritage vegetables keeps the gene-pool and our kitchens diverse and vibrant.

Bryson Farms is a family-run organic operation in Shawville Quebec that specializes in heirloom/heritage varieties of vegetables.  They grow over 2000 varieties of vegetables, which they sell directly to customers through their weekly home delivery service and at the Parkdale Market in the West End on Saturdays and Sundays.

For more information on the heritage seeds movement in Canada see the Seeds of Diversity website: http://www.seeds.ca/

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Local Flavours: The Hungry Planet Restaurant, Perth

We borrowed a friend’s biodiesel-powered car and headed out of Ottawa for the weekend. On the way to Jones Falls (where we stayed at the historic Hotel Kenney), we stopped at our favourite Perth restaurant, The Hungry Planet, for lunch.

Judy Dempsey, the owner of The Hungry Planet, sources as much of its ingredients as possible from surrounding Lanark County and participates in ecoPerth’s Local Flavour Businesses campaign. (For a list of all the participants, click on the Local Flavour Campaign icon in the right-hand column on ecoPerth’s home-page, then click on the Local Flavour Businesses link.)

Although they specialize in take-out there are a dozen tables for sit-down meals as well. There are many vegetarian options on the menu, including a few vegan ones, as well as locally-raised meat items for the more omniverously-inclined.

Hours: Tues. to Thurs., 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Fri. 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m; Sun. and Mon. Closed.

The Hungry Planet, 2 Wilson St. W., Perth, Ontario, (613) 264-9234

100-mile Toothbrushing: The Green Beaver Company

If you’ve switched or considered switching to “natural toothpaste” you’ve probably come across Tom’s of Maine, that powerhouse of healthfood store toiletries from the U.S. There is a more local alternative, however, and that is The Green Beaver Company, a small relatively young company in Hawkesbury, ON. Okay, so the ingredients for this toothpaste probably come from far and wide, but it is manufactured within 100-miles of Ottawa.

Green Beaver toothpaste comes in 5 different flavours including star anise, which is homeopathic friendly (it doesn’t contain mint). All  Green Beaver products are free of fluoride, aluminum, artificial fragrances, artificial flavours, dyes, mineral oil, parabens, petrolatum, phtalates, artificial preservatives, and triclosan. None of their products are tested on animals and the toothpaste is free of animal products. It is vegan. Green Beaver toothpaste is also free of the controversial substance sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a substance which is in Tom’s of Maine toothpaste.

To find a retailer that stocks Green Beaver products near you, consult their on-line list of stores, which includes 27 in Ottawa.

The Green Beaver Company, 535 Front Road, Hawkesbury ON K6A 2R2, 1-888-666-1206

P.S. If you’re counting, this brings the total to three cool eco-companies in the Hawkesbury area: The Green Beaver Company, Pinehedge Farms, and Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company.