Fresh as summer
"Shopping local means shopping healthy"
As the years pass, we often find ourselves drawn to things from childhood, when shopping at the open-air farmers’ market was a weekly activity. The food we grew up with holds a renewed and special place in our souls as we make our way through our pre-packaged lives. Growing up in an old-world European household allowed me to truly learn where my food came from.
Farm fresh and organic weren’t catchphrases but simply the way things were. Our vegetables came from our garden, carefully turned, fertilized with manure and tended to daily by our whole family. Fresh in-season apples, peaches and pears were purchased from roadside vendors on many road trips to Niagara Falls, and we often stopped to picnic along the way.
It’s not just nostalgia that brings us back to a simpler and more real way to source our food, but the realization that it is healthier for our bodies and our local agricultural industries. In Southwestern Ontario, we are lucky to be able to shop at local farmers’ markets or even buy direct from local growers, who are becoming well known for fresh, quality produce.
Beef rouladen (meat roll) served with fresh local vegetables is a nostalgic dish that I’m drawn to lately, as it exemplifies this return to the real food of my upbringing by German-immigrant parents and because of the rave reviews it gets from dinner guests.
Historically this dish was made with thinly sliced venison or cheaper cuts of beef. Regardless, the meat for rouladen must be very thinly sliced and not every butcher knows how to do it right. I get mine freshly sliced by Dan Murphy’s butcher Jim at Field Gate Organics in the Covent Garden Market. Murphy notes, “We use inside round to cut our rouladen, using a large eye instead of the more traditional smaller version.
The majority of our meat is locally sourced from farms in Middlesex, Oxford, Perth and Huron counties. We process all of it in Oxford County at our own tri-plant, meaning we handle pork, beef and lamb products there. Ours is Ontario’s first federally ‘certified organic’ plant.”