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Local + organic = yummy at the Gladstone


Oh argh, this was supposed to publish last week...one day I'll figure this Movable Type thing out...

So, I can't wait to read The United States of Arugula, a history of American food by David Kamp. I've read a few excerpts and it looks well written and interesting, with lots of juicy gossip on Alice Waters, the chef most associated with the birth of the American organic movement. Aside from taking a long list of lovers, she really did make the words "fresh," "local" and "organic" mean something in America. In one of the excerpts, she's quoted as lamenting her contribution to the dumbing down of the mesclun mix. She talks about her ideal salad as one containing as large a variety of leaves as possible and then says "And now, of course, one of those big companies has grabbed onto the idea, and they cut up big lettuces and put them in a bag, mix them up, and call them mesclun. Who is it--Dole pineapple or somebody?"

But happily, some still care about real mesclun, and among those are AChick-A-Biddy Acres, the produce provider for the Gladstone's weekly Harvest Wednesdays.

In this photo we see last night's very popular salad bar, which allowed buffet diners to mix-and-match their own combo of red and yellow cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds, marinated mushrooms, carrots, cucumbers, radishes and croutons, all from here in Ontario, and placed upon some of the best leaves I have ever tasted. Red leaf lettuce, bitter arugula, flowery coriander, sharp chives and more. It hardly needed the creamy, chunky blue cheese dressing, but that too was delicious, so I slathered it on.

I had gone to the first of these, about six weeks ago, and I have to say that one was disappointing: we showed up halfway through and were charged the full fee, only to get three tiny sips of soup. Last night though, they had worked out the kinks--although the fee had gone up to $25 (from the original $7.50), we were well fed on organic goodies, like squash risotto, turkey meatballs, feta and greens in phyllo, spring rolls with a great tamarind dip and leek cauliflower soup. Sadly, this was the last event of 2006, but next fall, I highly suggest this remedy for your hunger. Local, organic food is well worth supporting, and very tasty, too.


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