Local Foods Gaining Ground In Ontario

Worldwatch reports that ingredients typically travel between 2,500 and 4,000 kilometers before they reach your table.  Indeed, that’s one long commute.

Translated into the ecological footprint model, by switching to a more local diet, the average North American would save almost an entire planet’s worth of resources (though you’d still be gobbling up seven Earths).

Problem is, buying local at your standard supermarket is a challenge. While we’re fortunate to enjoy a bounty of farmer’s markets, the outdoor shopping and growing season is limited at best.

Enter Ontario’s Own.

Developed by entrepreneur and dedicated foodie, Carole-Ann Hayes, Ontario’s Own produces premium locally sourced prepared foods. It’s a delicious alternative to the anonymous big brands that line store shelves. Not only do the products taste great, but they put the independent Ontario farmer front and centre.

“We believe that when we give people the choice, they want foods grown in Ontario,” says Hayes, founder of Ontario’s Own. “While we are fairly well-served in the meat and dairy markets, and on a seasonal basis with fresh fruit and vegetables, we have few options when it comes to prepared foods.”

The product line-up features incredibly fresh tasting pure fruit purées (literally, one ingredient), soups, chilies, stocks and sauces made from high-quality, locally sourced ingredients. They range in price from $4.99 to $8.99.

The fruit purées, like pear or peach, are the ideal answer to what to do with all the plain tasting (though nutrient-rich) Greek yogurt you’ve recently been encouraged to buy.  Stir in some granola and you’ve got yourself a great start to the day.

The company partnered with celebrated chef and one of the local food movements biggest advocates, Jamie Kennedy, to feature a few of his favourite wholesome comfort-food dishes like chili con carne.  It’s an impressive alternative to its bland, canned counterparts of over-preserved ingredients.  Kennedy’s concoction features the famed Beretta Farms Beef, Thomas Utopia Tomatoes and Persall Farms beans — all cleverly indicated on the glass bottle’s packaging.

“It’s great to get to enjoy the bounty and flavours of our own region,” says Chef Kennedy. “But also to broaden the reach of our locally based food economies, allowing farmers and processors to engage in a way that was not possible before.”

Eating local, all year-round, has never tasted so good.

In Toronto, Ontario’s Own is available at Loblaws, Longo’s, Metro, Pusateri’s and more. See a full list of retailers here.

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Image courtesy of Ontario’s Own

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