A Spoonful of Love

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Sustainable food. Food Security. Topics that in a rich and bountiful country such as ours are still a growing concern. Kingston non-profit organization, Loving Spoonful enhances access to healthy food through a variety of innovative programs.

Recently in Ontario, Local Food bill 130 has been reinvigorated to support the purchasing and growing of local food to assist with food access for everyone.

Loving Spoonful began through unwavering dedication from a small group of passionate individuals who wanted to ensure access and growth of food security in Kingston.

“Our purpose is to enhance access to fresh food in ways that are empowering, environmentally sustainable and inclusive – we do this in a variety of ways through education, maintenance of gardens and food reclamation,” Said Mara Shaw, Executive Director of Loving Spoonful.

What is food security? The World Health Organization defines it as “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. Commonly, the concept of food security is defined as including both physical and economic access to food that meets people’s dietary needs as well as their food preferences.

A recent KFL&A Public Health study suggests there is a lack of food skill and more education is required to teach basic food preparation, storage and growing skills. Loving Spoonful is delivering just that through insightful workshops such as: Gardening 101, Heirloom Seed harvesting and Food Preservation.

In March “Guilty Pleasures” was held at Olivea restaurant and supported by eight of Kingston’s top chefs, Clark Day, Stev George, Paul Miller, Derek Macgregor, John Saunders, Jay Legere, Meaghan Harris and Wendy Whitall. They all worked together under the theme of ‘guilty pleasures’. Guests enjoyed a sinful delight prepared by these chefs made out of their favorite items to eat post shift. Everything from delectable chips and dip, fried bologna and oyster Rockefeller to crème eggs. The event raised awareness and funds for the Loving Spoonful organization.

In addition to workshops we also assist with the promotion, maintenance and distribution of fresh food from twenty-three Kingston’s community gardens. “We have ten gardens with allotments, and a number of other gardens we convene.” Said Mara

The School GROW programs have five school gardens where grade 5’s plant and maintain then harvest in the fall. It teaches them about the importance of nutrients in fresh food, gets kids involved and teaches them this added skill.

The “Grow a Row” campaign has just kicked off and runs till October – good time to donate some of your own harvest to help those in need. Volunteers deliver it directly to shelters, hot meal programs, pantries and drop-in centres across Kingston. The overall goal is to receive over 6200 pounds of fresh food donations.

“Grow A Row is a great way to give back. We collect your healthy fresh food and then deliver it to community meal programs,” said Mara Shaw. “And, keep in mind that every tomato donated is used, in the community which you live.”

Drop off locations are as follows:

Kingston Public Market
Tues & Thurs 2:30 – 4:40 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Memorial Centre Farmers Market
Sunday Noon-2 p.m.

Sydenham Street United Church
82 Sydenham St.
Mon, Tues, Wed & Fri 9 a.m. – Noon & 7 – 8:30 p.m.

North: Kingston Standard Church – 1185 Sunnyside at Sydenham Rd.
Wed & Fri 10 a.m – noon

East: St. Marks Anglican Church – 268 Main St, Barriefield Village
Tues 3-4:40 p.m.

West: St. Paul the Apostle Church – 11 Taylor Kidd Blvd.
Tues 9 am – Noon

Since 2008, more than 95,000 pounds of fresh, healthy food has been collected and distributed by Loving Spoonful. Why not set aside some time to volunteer in the gardens, on a committee, in the kitchen, financially or by delivering food.

For more information about Loving Spoonful community programs visit www.lovingspoonful.org or email info@lovingspoonful.org, Telephone: 613-546-4291 ext. 1871.

Fire Up The Grill – The Pig and Olive Opens Second Location

Fire Up The Grill – The Pig and Olive Opens Second LocationImage

Double digit temperatures are here and I for one hope they stick around. Thankfully, the Pig and Olive has opened a second location downtown at 224 Wellington Street, beside Pasta Genova in time for the BBQ season.

While new kids to the downtown block, Allan and Danielle Charter lack for nothing in experience. They opened the Pig and Olive West-end location at 1689 Bath Rd, (beside Reid’s Dairy), over five years ago and are excited about this new addition to the growing family business. Allan has over twenty-two years experience as a butcher here and overseas in his homeland of Australia. Danielle is a local girl and grew up working alongside her family in O’Kane’s grocery store.

“Our customers have been asking us to open downtown for a long time. After loads of research we found this great location in the food belt.”  said Allan

Danielle manages the new downtown store and her work doesn’t stop there. She keeps the books across both locations and is the marketing expert and voice of the community, along with being a mom of: Anastasia (15), Miah (9) and Luke (3).

“My wife really is the backbone of the business, she keeps us all in line especially me,” smirks Allan. “She is amazing.”

Not all butchers are created equal.  This independent butcher delivers old-fashioned service with a modern approach to food design and sustainability.

The Pig and Olive buys grass fed, aged beef, free of antibiotics and hormones from local supplier Wallace Meats. Our lamb is from Topsy Farm and the pork is from Hanover Farms.

“Our prices are comparable with supermarkets and you can be sure you are buying local.”

When you purchase shrink-wrapped meat from a supermarket you can never be sure of what is in it. Aged meat from your local butcher ensures you get what you pay for, not just blood. Some findings suggest that as many as a 100 different animals can be found in some supermarket ground beef.  Buying from an independent butcher you can trust the quality of the meat along with rotation due to the volumes being purchased.

“We have many local operators who purchase of us, some on a daily basis. Such as; Red House, Rose and Crown, Olivea, Harpers Burger Bar, Queens Inn, Golden Rooster and others through Wendy’s Mobile Market.” Said Chater

The Pig and Olive delivers six days a week to business and residential clients. No minimum purchase order, each delivery is a $5 charge.

“Our customers like our same day delivery service. For instance, The Bread and Butter Bakery is a regular customer who calls each day with their order and they confident it will arrive that afternoon.” said Allan

The Pig and Olive isn’t afraid to try new things.

“We are happy to prepare and source what our clients want. For instance, our Bora Bora sausages were the result of a customer request. They told us the spices and we made their favorite. They were such a hit, now we stock them.”

There isn’t much you won’t discover at the Pig and Olive. They stock the traditional and not so traditional. Everything from…beef, pork, veal and chicken cuts to the specialty items such as duck, ox tail, goat, kangaroo, crocodile, bison, rabbit, over 42 varieties of sausage, 25 of which are gluten free and lots of other mouth-watering finds. During the holidays, you will find turkey and even Turkduckens along with cured ham from Quebec. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, chances are they know where to find it.

I enjoy the flatten chickens, both the Red Thai and Coconut Lime. Already pre-marinated and easy to throw on the BBQ or in the oven, serve with a salad and voila dinner is served.

“The past long weekend we serviced over 2000 customers across both stores from premium meats to our prepared meat packs making BBQ season enjoyable for all.” said Allan

The “Sizzle Packs” make life easier when you are planning for a large gathering. They have several affordable meat packs if you’re on a fixed income.

Allan takes pride in his trade and work as a butcher. He is currently mentoring seven keen students to learn the art of butchery.

Michael McKenzie, Seed to Sausage owner used the backroom in the early days to experiment. Michael’s specialty cured meats are showcased nationwide. There is a smokin’ hot demand for handcrafted meats.

When you are a small business owner, you often eat, sleep and drink work so its no surprise when Allan tells me he had a dream about making turkey burgers. During the dream he got this brilliant idea to add the smoky flavor of bacon. He woke and created the turkey bacon burger available in store.

Dejavu, yesterday he and his wife served up 150 free turkey bacon burgers at their new downtown location block party alongside other Wellington St business owners. The celebration was held from 4pm-6pm, customers were able to sample some of the delicious wares on offer and listen to music from Roger James.

“It’s all about giving back to the community that’s been good to us.” Said Chater

“My wife and I started the Pig and Olive with just us, we now employ over thirteen staff. I want to thank the community for supporting us, especially my staff and helping employ them.”

The Pig and Olive (west-end)
1689 Bath Rd (beside Reid’s Dairy)
T. 613-634-3232

Hours: 9am- 6pm Monday – Saturday & Sunday 10- 5 pm

*The Pig and Olive (new downtown location)
224 Wellington Street (beside Pasta Genova)
T. 613-546-4747

Hours: 9:30 am – 6 pm Monday – Saturday

To see a full product list of all the items The Pig and Olive carry see their website www.pigandolive.ca or follow them on Twitter.

If you have a restaurant, foodie business or recipe you’d like me to check out email me at ladydinesalot@gmail.com or follow my blog ladydinesalot.com or on facebook.