Make local food the centrepiece of your Christmas dinner
GUELPH, ON [December 7, 2021] – The Christmas dinner is one of the most iconic on the calendar.
Typically a big spread, perhaps with family and friends gathered about, it is an indulgent capper to a celebration that is weeks — if not months — in the making. But falling where it does on the calendar — after the first day of winter and well into the cold days of the Canadian year, it may seem like a challenge to get local food into the feast.
But that isn’t necessarily the case.
“There are always local food options available, even when the temperatures drop and snow flies,” says Peggy Brekveld, President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. “The harvest may be over and the fields dormant, but there is more to Ontario food than market produce from a field.”
Ontario farmers grow or raise some 200 different commodities. Support them during the holiday season by filling your plates with an array of Ontario’s homegrown products.
- The Appetizers — Your choices are abundant here. Ontario cheese and cured meats are a good starter. Load up a vegetable tray with an abundance of fresh raw veggies like carrots and greenhouse peppers and cucumbers. Stuffed mushrooms are also a great warm up snack before the big meal; stuff the mushroom cap with a mixture of cream cheese, cheddar and local artichoke hearts (bake at 400°F for about 25 minutes or until the mixture is warm and bubbly).
- Side Dishes — The growing season may be over, but there are still plenty of options for home grown food in December. There is a splendour of vegetables grown in Ontario and pickled, canned or frozen at their peak of summer freshness, so that they are available to be served year round, including tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, beans, sweet corn, carrots and more. There are also veggies from cold storage or greenhouses available in the produce aisle. And don’t forget Ontario potatoes; mashed or scalloped, they are a staple on the Christmas plate.
- The Main Course — Ontario-raised meat and poultry is never out of season. Whether you are going traditional with a turkey, trying something with other poultry or looking to diversify with some ham or beef as a secondary option, it can all come from a local farm. Ontario turkeys are high in flavour, low in fat and packed with nutrients. And all Ontario turkeys are raised in free roam conditions without the use of added hormones or steroids. Learn more about Ontario turkey and how to ensure the bird you choose is local at ontarioturkey.ca.
- The Drinks — No matter if it is beverages for the adults or quenchers for the kids, there are local options. Every grape in a bottle of Ontario VQA wine comes from an Ontario vineyard. Ontario ciders are made with Ontario apples, Canadian whisky is made from Canadian grains and craft beers may contain locally grown hops. Look for apple juice or grape juice made with local fruits, and the milk in your local store most certainly originates from an Ontario dairy farm.
If in question about a local food — where to find it, how to cook it — check Foodland Ontario’s availability guide for a full list of Ontario produce
About the Ontario Federation of Agriculture:
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer. For more information, visit ofa.on.ca.
About Home Grown
A public awareness initiative of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Home Grown is a campaign to advocate for the importance of Ontario farms as a source of food, fuel and fibre. Arable farmland is the most important natural resource, but Ontario is losing an average of 175 acres of farmland to urban development every day; that is the equivalent of five family farms paved over every week. It is the objective of Home Grown to help develop a workable plan to guide responsible development in Ontario, ensuring growth to provide housing and support local tax bases while also protecting productive farmland.
For more information, contact:
Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-821-8883 ext. 218