#MetroLovesLocal: A Local Purchasing Policy Launch Event

 
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The following post was written as part of a paid partnership with Metro Ontario.

June 21st marks the roll out of Metro's local purchasing policy for the escarpment region. Earlier this month I was invited to attend a local vendor meet and greet to celebrate the kick off of this initiative. The aim of the local purchasing policy is to put as many regional products as possible on the shelves of the participating Metro & Food Basics stores and into the homes of consumers to increase the visibility of locally produced products. The initiative is quite timely, as more companies and corporations dive into an analysis of their consumer base and realize a driving force of the "millennial" consumer base is a desire to shop local due to a desire to know where their food is coming from and a belief in supporting independent startups from their local communities. Have a gander at the hashtags #eatlocal and #shoplocal and you will quickly see what I mean.

The meet and greet event at Metro Burlington was bumping! When I arrived there was a large group of people milling about a gathering of vendors. The room was filled audible buzz made up of "OMG!" "Gaaah! Amazing!" And "wait, coffee rubbed bacon??!" (Oh yes, my ears did perk up when I heard that one!)

One of the best parts of this event was the opportunity to chat with the vendors themselves about their product, their company, their history and plans for the future. The range of products available was vast but the unifying element between them was a passion for what they do, a dedication to process, ingredients and product and an eagerness to engage with the local community.

 
 

There were so many vendors, too many to write up but of all the people I chat with, the foods I ate and the drinks I toasted with, there were a few top 3 products and people that really stood out in my mind.

Cashew Ginger Granola. I know what you're thinking: "Granola? Yawn...." Initially, I thought the same thing. Granola is just so predictable, typically sticking to the same combination of ingredients and maybe throwing some dark chocolate in if you are feeling crazy. So when I approached the Nature's Mix table it was from a skeptical standpoint. That didn't last long, as the spread was impressive from the get-go. You want flavours? They've got it. Yes, they've got the standards we're all used to: the honey almond, the chocolate, the cranberry, the usual. But they have something different. Peeking from behind a bunch of bags I saw it. Cashews. Ginger. Honey. That was different. I made the vendor open a bag (they weren't sampling that one at the moment) and am I glad I did! The mix is impressive from the beginning: not too sweet, with a subtle but noticeable ginger taste to it. It's warm. It's spicy. It's sweet. And it is addictive. My mind immediately went to ways to use this product other than in a traditional girl vs bowl manner. I think it would be great in baking, as part of a crumble top for a rhubarb pie or crisp. It could even become part of a hearty breakfast muffin. The fact that one tiny handful of this sent my brain into a rapid brainstorming state is indicative of the quality of the flavours. I actually ended up taking a bag home with me and can't wait to get going on some dishes which I will share here. The added bonus with this product? It is sweetened only with local honey and maple syrup.

 
Jennifer Hulley food photographer food writer food stylist Hamilton Ontario
jennifer Hulley food photographer food writer food stylist hamilton ontario
 

La Dee Da Sauces. All of them. I love that this company operates upon the idea that there should be a "sauce for everyone." Their sauces are dairy free, gluten free, nightshade free, nut free, you name it! I know, you're thinking "what the heck is left in them?!"  My favourite sauce that I tried was the savoury mushroom basil sauce. I don't comsume a lot of dairy (I save it for pizza, coffee and ice cream) and I  find it hard to get a decent creamy savoury sauce that tastes good.  La Dee Da has filled that need! The sauce is thickened with chickpea flour so it is also good for people who live gluten free or have allergies.

 
jennifer hulley food photographer food writer food stylist hamilton ontario
 

 

Coffee Rubbed Bacon. This one literally left me speechless. Once I had reveled in the glory that was happening in my mouth and managed to get some words out I think the only utterance I managed to produce was "My god...this...is...it. Seriously! I'm trying to think of what you could do to kick this up a level and all I can think of is to add a shot of bourbon on the side (I love bourbon. As evidence here, here and here). This coffee rubbed bacon comes from the guys at VG meats who dedicate themselves to the production of local, antibiotic free, hormone free meats with a strong emphasis on animal welfare and care.

 
jennifer hulley food photographer food writer food stylist hamilton ontario
 

 

There were so many products being sampled during the event, too many to possibly talk about in this one post but I wanted to provide you with a list of what will be available, and where they are from.  Coming soon to the Local Purchasing Policy participating Metro and Food Basics stores:

B-Y Honey Farm (Niagara-on-the-Lake)

Cherry Lane Frozen Fruits (Vineland Station)

 Moss Berry Farm (Stratford)

The Cider Keg (Vittoria)

From Farm to Table Canada Inc. (Cambridge)

Pristine Gourmet/Persall Fine Foods Co. (Waterford)

Dutchman’s Gold Honey & Maple (Carlisle)

Lighthouse Lemonade (Fergus)

 La Dee Da Gourmet Sauces (Stoney Creek)

Humble Bee Inc. (Hamilton)

Nature’s Mix (Waterloo)

Quinta Local Superfoods (Rockwood)

Marty’s Pickles (Hamilton)

Laza Food & Beverages (Guelph)

National Pasta Corp. (Cambridge)

Mapleton’s Organic Dairy (Moorefield)

Best Baa Dairy (Fergus)

Organic Meadow (Guelph)

 Voisin’s Pure Maple Syrup and Maple Gourmet Products (Formosa)

Heidelberg Foods (St. Jacobs)

Uniqpol Sausages (Brantford)

Venetian Meats (Hamilton)

Upper Canada Cheese Company (Jordan Station)

Wilton Cheese Factory (Odessa)

Wrap It Up Raw (Norwood)

VG Meats (Simcoe)

Abate Rabbit (Arthur)

Green Table Foods (Guelph)

 

If you want to get your hands on some of these products here is a list of participating stores:

Metro:

• 371 St. Paul Ave., Brantford

• 2010 Appleby Line, Burlington

• 15 Governor’s Rd., Dundas

• 119 Osler Dr., Dundas

• 367 Mountainview Rd. S., Georgetown

• 500 Edinburgh Rd. S., Guelph

• 967 Fennell Ave. E., Hamilton

• 751 Upper James St., Hamilton

• 1900 King St. E., Hamilton

• 1161 Barton St. E., Hamilton

• 1050 Kennedy Circle, Milton

• 150 First St., Orangeville

• 101 Lakeshore Rd., St. Catharines

Food Basics:

• 84 Lynden Road, Brantford

• 265 King George Road, Brantford

• 95 Water St. N., Cambridge

• 100 Jamieson Pkwy, Cambridge

• 232 Arthur St. S., Elmira

• 380 Eramosa Rd., Guelph

• 222 Silvercreek Pkwy N., Guelph

• 3 Clair Rd. W., Guelph

• 233 7th Ave., Hanover

• 851 Fischer-Hallman Rd., Kitchener

• 655 Fairway Rd. S., Kitchener

• 370 Highland Rd. W., Kitchener

• 1405 Ottawa St. N., Kitchener

• 975 Wallace Ave., Listowel

• 1350 16th St. E., Owen Sound

• 925 Ontario St., Stratford

• 600 Laurelwood Dr., Waterloo