Slow? In the Rockies? Hang on a minute…isn’t this where we go hard and fast 365 days a year?! Yes, my friends, this summer I am asking you to go SLOW:
Ha! Bet you thought I was asking you to slow down. Well, we know that isn’t going to happen. But, you can go SLOW with your food choices, and this year is better than ever to start!
Get to Know Your Local Farmers
Although it’s been slow to start, summer is here! That means farmers’ markets, gardening and Vitamin D that doesn’t come in a bottle. We are so lucky that this year in the Canadian Rockies we have all sorts of initiatives in place to help us SLOW down.
If locally raised, free-range, hormone and antibiotic-free organic meats are important to you, ask vendors about their farming practices. Remember, not all local farmers use organic methods. So don’t be shy! Start talking to them, get to know them and ask questions like:
- Is your produce organically grown? (They may not be certified organic, but may still practice organic farming methods.)
- Where is the produce coming from? (Just because they are at the local farmers’ market, does not mean the produce is local.)
- Is your beef grass-fed and finished? (Industrially raised meat products have been shown to increase inflammation in the body, whereas grass-fed meat products have been shown to reduce it.)
- Are your animals fed organic feed?
- Do they have access to open pastures (i.e. are they free-range)?
Even if the farmers aren’t currently using organic principles, if we continue to ask questions, perhaps they will adopt them! Farmers who are doing the right thing LOVE to chat to you about it.
Local SLOW Activities:
- Canmore Farmers’ Market in front of the Civic Centre every Thursday from 9am-5pm, June October
- Banff Farmers’ Market near Central Park every Wednesday from 10am-6pm, June 29 to August 31
- Banff Community Greenhouse down by the river near the recreational grounds
- Canmore Community Garden on the west side of the hospital
- Farm Box bringing in local veggies, fruits, grains and eggs this year
- Jasper area Farmers’ Markets help you go local
Also check out what grows locally in Alberta each month here.
Now that you know where and when to get your local goods, stock up on them and try using some old-school preservation techniques like fermenting (see recipe below for one idea). This benefits your digestive tract, your immune system and helps you eat local year round!
- 1 head of lettuce chopped finely in strips
- 1.5 tbsp sea salt or Himalayan rock salt
Sprinkle salt on the cabbage in a large bowl. Let stand for 15 minutes and then start to press the juices out of the cabbage with your hands. Massage for 5 minutes and place into mason jars. Make sure there is enough juice to cover the cabbage with no loose pieces sticking out (use a weight, like a rock or glass, to keep the cabbage down below the juices). Protect from bugs with cheesecloth or a nut milk bag and wait at least a week. Try your kraut and see if it is to your liking. You may ferment longer or shorter depending on your tastes. When it is ready, cover with a lid and place it in the fridge.
Use sauerkraut as a garnish on your local organic beef or bison burgers, sausages, on top of salads, in a sandwich or wrap, as a side dish or even straight up out of the jar!