Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dark Days Challenge: Stocking the Pantry

Farmer Man is still away and I must admit that not much cooking has gone on here. Nothing that's even slightly interesting or amusing in light of the quality food blogging and cooking at the Dark Days Challenge. The ham I cooked up last week has been used in many predictable ways, often involving fresh eggs from The Hens or bread. However, it's time to re-stock the pantry and for the first time, I took the shopping list specifically looking for Dark Days appropriate food. First stop was the winter Farmers Market at the Town Centre. Said hi to some market buddies and grabbed unpasteurized honey and a loaf of flax bread from Mann Apiaries. Admittedly, didn't think to ask the Manns if they were buying their flour from a local producer. The market has lots of canning and baking now, just not stuff on my shopping list. Next, at my local chain supermarket I found, surprisingly, goat milk from Oak Island Goat Dairy in Ile des Chenes, Manitoba. Checked the cheeses quickly, but nothing local although some good Canadian product. Did also see some sausage from Winkler Meats, but it wasn't on the list, so I didn't buy any. I didn't look that hard for local stuff, just checked out what I needed. Then, off to Two Farm Kids, a local natural foods store. Score! Organic whole wheat flour from De Ruyck's Organic Farm in Swan Lake - check that off the list! Rice, well, how about Cavena Nuda from Arborg, a species of huskless oat that cooks like rice. A non-dairy hemp milk from Farm Genesis in Waskada, which I'm very interested in trying. Also grabbed some EcoMagic, an awesome canola based cleaner/solvent from Minto, Manitoba. This stuff is incredible - you've got to try it. Two Farm Kids had lots of selections: heart-healthy flax oil from Shape Foods right here in Brandon (currently closed to due financing problems but rumours abound that it will re-open). There was a great selection of local grains, a wild rice from La Pas (a little out of a 100 mile radius) a good selection of frozen meat including the rather exotic elk and bison, butter and more! Even beauty cream with royal jelly from Raven Creek Farm in Oakburn and some great eco-friendly cleaning products. So, it's really pretty easy to shop local in the winter in Brandon! I'm hoping more people here give it a try!

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