Sunday, November 28, 2010

Graham Hill: Weekday Vegetarian

You may or may not be familiar with Graham Hill or his wildly successful website, Treehugger, but in this TED Talk, he shares an interesting perspective on vegetarianism. I am not a vegetarian, but I do flirt with the idea from time to time. Like Graham, my taste buds are in conflict with my thoughts and emotions surrounding health, sustainability and animal cruelty. So, I can definitely relate to Graham's solution to be a weekday vegetarian. Listen to his compelling argument here:

This short speech has encouraged me that my intermittent attempts to lessen my footprint and eat less meat will not go unnoticed on an environmental scale. It also offers a simple strategy for others out there like me who are concerned about food issues but find it difficult to completely say goodbye to bacon.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Food Activists: Dave Friend a.k.a. Mr. Organic

Welcome to a new series on After the Harvest called Food Activists! This ongoing series will feature people who are working to make change in our current food systems! Our first Food Activist is a man named Dave Friend, otherwise known as Mr. Organic. I recently became aware of Dave's work, and what he is doing is incredibly inspiring, to say the least.

In a nutshell, Mr. Organic (Dave) teaches organic gardening. He is empowering people to take their health into their own hands and learn how to grow their own food. His mission is "raising the profile, promoting the awareness and increasing the availability of health-friendly organic food."

Based in Sidney, British Columbia, Dave teaches people of all ages, but a major focus of his work involves teaching the younger generation more about where their food comes from, how to grow it, and why it's so important to grow your own food.

Examples of his programs include: "What is food, where does it come from?", "Food Security and Sustainability", and "Creating Organic Food Gardens". Through workshops, seminars, camps and field trips, Dave is doing his part to change how people approach food security, and he's doing it one passionate, dirty, green thumb at a time. I had a chance to find out more about his work and his own food memories from Mr. Organic himself:

After the Harvest (ATH): What initially inspired you to get into the business of educating others about organic food?

Mr. Organic (MO): I initially volunteered my time with the Victoria Chamber of Commerce to visit schools as a business consultant. This is where you guide/mentor a specific class through a entrepreneur-based project. I chose organic, business-related projects such as farms, health stores, home delivery services, restaurants etc. The various programs and presentations that I now offer all stem from being involved with the aforementioned project.

ATH: What advice would you have for a first time veggie and herb gardener?

MO: Do some basic research at the library and on the Internet, and talk to people who grow herbs and vegetables. Then if you still think you want to do it....just do it!

ATH: What is your earliest food memory?

MO: Watching/helping cows being milked by hand and then drinking the milk straight away - at the age of three.

ATH: Are there any notable restaurants you enjoy in B.C. that are committed to local, sustainable and/or organic food?

MO: I don't eat out too much and I am not sure if there is any restaurant that serves totally local/organic food. However, I have had some excellent meals on Commercial Drive in Vancouver that claim to serve a "high percentage" of local/organic food.

ATH: What do you see in the future for Mr. Organic? Any new projects on the horizon?

MO: Breaking News! "Growing Young Farmers" is my next project -- convincing all the relevant decision-makers that school students from grade 5 and up should be directly involved in structured, organized, supervised and coordinated programs. Programs linked to the educational curriculum! Programs that have students growing health-friendly food on a substantial scale!

Many thanks to Dave for his time and energy! I hope someday we will see many more "Mr. Organics" all over the world working to help us connect more with the food we eat by understanding how it's grown and appreciating its importance to a healthy lifestyle and a healthy community.

I hope you've enjoyed this glimpse of one of many Food Activists that I intend to introduce to you over the next few months! For more about Dave and his work, you can visit his website.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

5 Questions with Joyologist Tricia Huffman

Tricia Huffman

Last month while attending the Jason Mraz concert here in Ottawa, I was pleasantly surprised to meet his Joyologist, Tricia Huffman. Tricia is an inspiring person who dedicates her life to serving others, and she also has quite a vast knowledge of raw foods, yoga and for lack of a better term, life coaching. Most recently, Tricia has begun offering her services as a Joyologist to everyone, through her website: Your Joyologist.

What is a Joyologist, you ask? And what does it have to do with food? Part of Tricia's job for a musician on the road includes creating a peaceful space that feels like home, but she also is responsible for providing healthy food for the band and crew. In addition to Mraz, she's also worked with Colbie Caillat and many others in the entertainment business. I thought I'd let Tricia tell you a bit more about her role as a Joyologist, so I invited her to answer 5 Questions for After the Harvest. (Ok, so it turned into more than just 5 Questions...)

After the Harvest (ATH): Tell me a little bit about your experiences cooking and preparing food for musicians on the road.

Tricia Huffman (TH): Making healthful meals for the musicians I tour with is part of my joyology package because I believe that food is medicine. What we put into our bodies greatly effects our attitudes, energy, really everything! Food has the power to heal! While being on the road I get really creative as somedays I am working out of my hotel room, somedays the tour bus and somedays I have my full kitchen roadcase setup and my own dressing room. I carry a stock of dry items with me and superfoods, but I send out a list for the venues to pick from for the fresh items. This way I actually get fresh, local ingredients. So, most days I have no idea what I am going to get and I just make it up with what they give me.

Backstage Setup

ATH: How did you come up with the title, "Joyologist"?

TH: I didn't! Our production Manager on tour with Jason Mraz called me that last year and it stuck! I just started doing these things without giving it a name, I was just being me, really, and Jason was calling me vibe counselor. Then ET said, "So, Tricia's the Joyologist", and that was it. They put it in the tour book like that and I took it on.

ATH: How has eating raw foods improved your life?

TH: I love food! and in eating raw food I get to feel great, even when I overeat, but honestly I get more fulfilled on raw foods, so it is actually hard for me to overeat. The food is so clean and only contains nutrients that my body wants so I feel satisfied without needing to keep eating and keep eating just because it tastes good...but when I do, it is a different type of full. I stopped eating gluten 6+ years ago to help with my fibromyalgia symptoms and pretty much all raw food is wheat free!

Photo Credit: Pamela Corey

ATH: Are there any superfoods or supplements that you would recommend?

TH: I actually don't take too many supplements. I do swear by E3Live, a wild blue green algae, it is amazing for so many things. For me it helps my joint aches and brings a form of aliveness I really can't describe...just get it! I also take magnesium capsules. I don't go anywhere without Vitamineral Greens -- even when I am eating tons of greens, this powder is just so full of everything amazing and the creator Jameth is seriously a mad scientist that doesn't stop. Cacao, maca, coconut oil are also key items in my life and KALE!!! Also hemp seeds!

ATH: I often think about going vegetarian or vegan, but one thing I would miss so much would be cheese! What are some dairy alternatives that you know about?

TH: There are some great vegan cheeses now, like Daiya vegan cheese and Follow Your Heart brand cheeses, both of these you can melt too. But, I try to not to use those often because they are heavy in soy. I make a lot of cheeze-like raw items. For me the feeling of not eating cheese of even the soy cheeses is much better than the comfort of cheese. I make a Parmesan cheese out of Brazil nuts, garlic and salt and I add nutritional yeast (high in B vitamins) to lots of dishes for a cheezy flavor. Cashews, pine nuts and macadamia nuts are all great for making cheeses. Dr. Cow makes amazing Tree Nut cheeses too. There are really a lot of options.

Photo Credit: Pamela Corey

ATH: Do you have any favourite wines?

TH: I basically just love wine period. haha. I don't often remember my favorites and I just love to try new ones! I do have a current obsession with Malbec and this summer I was on a Rose kick. I am not above the good ole Trader Joe's two buck chuck and of course Our Daily Red organic sulfite-free is a fave.

ATH: It's been said many times that there is a connection between food and mood. What are some of your favourite mood-boosting foods?

TH: Cacao! The purest form of chocolate! Green juice, green shake with vitamineral greens, maca, coconut water & more. Kale salad. Yerba Mate tea. My list can go on and on.....

Coconut Water

ATH: What's coming up next for you?

TH: I am currently writing my first book, which will be a biographic story of my life, focusing on the way that I have chosen to live it. I am also actively pitching my own TV show, as well as being open for other possibilities that align with my heart and my visions. I am loving my new home city of NYC and loving the adventure that each day brings.

Many thanks to Tricia for sharing her time and information with After the Harvest! Make sure to check out Your Joyologist when you get a chance -- Tricia is always sharing delicious, healthy recipes!
*All photos courtesy of Tricia Huffman or Pamela Corey

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ottawa Foodie Challenge: A Gallery

We survived the Ottawa Foodie Challenge! Although we got a bit of a late start, Team After the Harvest completed 20 of the 40 tasks on the list, and had a great time visiting some of Ottawa's culinary destinations. Although I'm pretty positive we won't win, we felt good knowing that we were contributing to The Ottawa Food Bank and enjoying a fun father-daughter day! Here are a few highlights from this photographic scavenger hunt:

My Price is Right moment with the Buffalo Mozzerella

Red Apron x 2

Barefoot with Barefoot Wine

I love golden beets!

Our Movember portrait with Foodieprints

Congrats to the Ottawa Foodie Challenge team for organizing this fun event! To see the complete list of scavenger hunt items click here, and don't forget to check their blog to see who the winners were!

Grill 41 Grand Opening

Last week I attended the grand opening cocktail party at Grill 41. Since my chat with Chef Aurelio Petraglia, I was looking forward to getting a taste of the menu, and this event provided just that.

I believe over 300 people were in attendance, and although it was quite crowded, the mood was lively and the food was delicious. Wines were available for sampling, as well as everyone's favourite local beer, as well as two martini stations. There was a draw in support of The Ottawa Food Bank, and many members of the Ottawa food blogging community were in attendance. My camera wasn't behaving well, but I was able to snap a few shots of the event:

The chowder was delicious

Raspberries were the garnish for Grill 41's version of a cosmopolitan

Grill 41 cosmopolitan being served

Grey Goose martini station

Highlights of the event were: the chowder, the deep fried macaroni and cheese balls, and time spent with friends old and new. To see more photos of this event and to get a taste of what Grill 41 has to offer, you can check out The Lemon Kitchen's account of the event, or reacquaint yourself with Chef Aurelio through his chat with After the Harvest.

Ontario Culinary Tourism Summit 2010

Chef Jamie Kennedy

I recently had a chat with Rebecca LeHeup, Executive Director of the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance. I met Rebecca a few years ago when she toured me and my fellow JK teammates around Prince Edward County in search of culinary delights as part of a JK field trip. Since then I've run into her at Gilead Cafe, the Savour Ottawa Networking Summit, and met up on the oh so famous Twitter.

During our most recent chat, my mission was to get the lowdown on the Ontario Culinary Tourism Summit which took place on November 1st at the MaRS Centre in Toronto. Now in its third year, the OCTA Summit exists in order to connect businesses, organizations and culinary regions in the pursuit of developing a stronger sense of culinary tourism in Ontario.

This year the goal was to bring networking opportunities and valuable, tangible tools to those in the culinary field to apply to their businesses. Chef Michael Smith was the Head Lecturer for the day and Rebecca says he was a great choice because he can illustrate "how other regions are doing it successfully." Culinary tourism is all about certain regions making a name for themselves for their products and experiences. Just like we know Michael Smith's PEI as our destination for cheddar, potatoes and seafood, each region in Ontario should be well known for its local bounty.

There was a focus on "field to plate" and farmers were a large part of the program. In the past there was a farmer-chef "meet and greet" but according to Rebecca, "this year we asked chefs to come and put on an all-Ontario lunch featuring 12 destinations and 8 wineries." Our friend Chef Jamie Kennedy organized this luncheon. The Summit also offered a social media workshop, information on sustainable seafood, and a chance to learn from farmers, food writers, chefs and culinary organizations.

Chef Michael Smith

After the summit, Ivy Knight organized a "Pickle Smackdown" afterparty at the Drake Hotel. Rebecca said that it was "really encouraging to see that out of 250 people who made the trip to Toronto for the Summit, around 100 of them attended the afterparty. You've gotta have fun, after all!"

Pickle Smackdown

When I asked her what the next Summit might be like, Rebecca said that the focus will most likely be on "telling new culinary stories and helping business owners grow their product." I also asked her opinion on the up and coming culinary regions in Ontario, to which she replied: "Norfolk County, Stratford, Grey-Bruce Simcoe and Peterborough and the Kawarthas."

Thanks to Rebecca for providing a look at the Ontario Culinary Tourism Summit. Now that's a fine example of eating, drinking and connecting. For a much more comprehensive account of the Summit, you can check out the OCTA Summit website, or see what my friends over at Good Food Revolution had to say.

*All Photos courtesy of Rebecca LeHeup, OCTA

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ottawa Foodie Challenge

The word "foodie" is so polarizing these days, but if you love food, you'll love this event, even if it does have the "f" word in the title!

The Ottawa Foodie Challenge is a charity scavenger hunt that benefits The Ottawa Food Bank and promotes culinary exploration in our nation's capital. It's happening this Saturday, November 13th and yours truly is participating in the challenge! My teammate is one of the most passionate foodies I know, who is a lover of tea, ice cream and oranges among other things.

Created partly in an homage to a similar New York City event, The Ottawa Foodie Challenge not only promotes Ottawa's local food scene, but it also does its part to fight community hunger, as all proceeds go directly to the Ottawa Food Bank. The official list of scavenger hunt items goes live at 1:00 a.m. on the morning of the event, and if the NYC list is any indication, this is going to be fun!

I have to admit, I am a bit partial to the talented and charming organizers of this event, but regardless of whether or not you know them, I think you'll agree that their event sounds awesome! If you haven't yet registered, there's still time, so don't miss out! For those of you already registered, good luck!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

They Draw and Cook

Check out this amazing blog! They Draw and Cook is where culinary and creative pursuits collide, showcasing awesome designs and illustrations of recipes and general food fun!

Artist: Heather K. MacDonald

Happy Sunday!