By Charlie Gillis - Friday, January 25, 2013 - 0 Comments
Growers seek cash to better market the berries
If you haven’t heard about the nutritional benefits of eating raspberries, you probably will soon. The country’s largest association of raspberry growers wants federal permission to create a marketing agency for the tangy, red fruit—and to charge a half-cent per pound of berries sold in Canada to fund its research and advertising.
The new agency would have no control of the supply of raspberries in Canada, says Sharmin Gamiet, executive director of the B.C. Raspberry Industry Development Council, the group behind the proposal. Instead, the initiative would aim to lift the public perception of raspberries, much as a U.S.-based campaign promoting blueberries as a source of antioxidants boosted that fruit’s market share in the early 2000s. “We want to get some scientific information out there,” she says, “and promote our product.”
Canadian raspberry growers have had it tough in recent years, as an influx of low-cost berries from Chile and Mexico has driven their share of domestic sales from 63 per cent in 2006 to just 30 per cent in 2011. The new levy would apply to both imported and domestically sold berries, but not to suppliers who ship less than 10,000 lb. annually. That means only a handful of producers outside B.C., where 85 per cent of Canadian raspberries are grown, would have to pay it.
But to charge it, suppliers must first comply with WTO rules by forming a national body recognized by the Farm Products Council of Canada, an arm of the federal agriculture ministry that is now seeking public input on the proposal. Gamiet insists consumers won’t notice a change in prices for fresh raspberries or jam, which are determined largely by global supplies. But if all goes well, the plan will renew interest in a market that Canada risks losing to international competitors—seeds and all.
By Amy Rosen - Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 8:10 PM - 0 Comments
From the Rockies to the Charlevoix region, the locavore movement gains steam
With opulent ocean liners running aground and airplane travel anything but luxurious, travellers are turning to the good old days of classic train travel, with a field-to-track twist.
It is now possible to plunk down $7,000 for a first-class, 12-day circular trip from Vancouver passing through Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper on Armstrong Group’s Rocky Mountaineer, which includes three-course, à la carte menus offering local specialties such as Alberta pork tenderloin with market vegetables and wild B.C. sockeye salmon—all served in a rolling restaurant charging through Canada’s rugged West.
“Preparing fresh gourmet meals in a confined, constantly moving space can be challenging,” says chef Jean Pierre Guerin, who has cooked at five-star hotels and restaurants around the world. “But learning how to work with your team in tandem with the sway of the rails is key to successfully preparing and plating our culinary creations.” One signature dish, slow-cooked Alberta beef short ribs in an Okanagan Valley Merlot, is “comfort food at its best,” he says.
By Kate Fillion - Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 4:00 PM - 0 Comments
Two young girls, ages 11 and 12, teach other kids how to embrace healthy eating
Very early one Saturday not long ago, Katrina Pacher and Sloane Wilson put on clean aprons and headed into the kitchen at Ritorno restaurant in Oakville, Ont., to make chicken parmigiana. While her father got in position with his video camera, Katrina, 11, adjusted the black scrunchie in her ponytail, and Sloane, 12, got some last-minute coaching from her mom, Donna Wilson: “This time, maybe read out the list of ingredients.” It was the girls’ second video of the day for their 18-month-old website. “But,” Wilson observed wryly, “now, they look awake.”
After more than 100 videos, the girls, friends since preschool, no longer get nervous before a shoot. Fitforafeast.com started when they learned about the childhood obesity epidemic in health class, and decided to use the Internet to teach kids how to embrace healthy living: they provide tutorials on popular dance steps, receive fitness instruction from experts, and demonstrate how to make kid-friendly meals—with a little help. Katrina’s parents have Web-based jobs, and Wilson used to work in film production; together, they built the site and a YouTube channel, which has had 6.7 million views so far.
By Jessica Allen - Friday, October 8, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
A bestselling food writer shows Maclean’s how to get the best out of grocery store shopping
Mark Bittman needs a camera. He wants to document the four-litre bags of milk in aisle one at Fiesta Farms, Toronto’s largest independent grocery store. “I’ve never seen this before. Milk in a bag! Only in Canada.”
The long-time New York Times food columnist is in Toronto to promote his newly published recipe collection, The Food Matters Cookbook. In general, he is not a fan of supermarkets—“most supermarkets’ goals are to sell you processed food and junk food, that’s where they make their money”—but this one, he concedes, is “a nice store.” Bittman is a larger-than-life character, tall and curmudgeonly, albeit with avuncular charm, who walks and talks like he just stepped out of a Woody Allen movie.
Readers of his 2009 bestseller Food Matters—which details his plan for eating responsibly, among other things—will know that Bittman is no fan of the industrial meat and junk food complex he calls Big Food.