The benefit of gardening, for me, has many aspects. It’s somehow fundamentally rewarding to spend time working the soil, putting your energy into nurturing something, and watching it grow. After which you get to enjoy the benefits, and finally, putting it to rest until the cycle starts again. It’s very symbolic of life in general and allows me to re-align myself with the slower pace of nature, even if it’s ironically for only a few moments here and there.
Gardening also gives me great joy because I’m able to expose this process to my daughter, who finds amazement every time we go into the backyard and there’s more raspberries to pick, or that the grapes have started to turn purple, or the beans she saved and planted are growing, or that she has discovered, for herself, new cherry tomatoes to pick and gobble up. It teaches her the value and the patience it takes to invest in the important things in life.
My goal has also been to try and supply our home with as much fresh produce as possible to help curb our consumption of far away products, even if just a little. That means trying to grow enough garlic to get us through the winter,(which I’m hoping will happen this year), or jarring enough jam and tomato sauce to last the colder months and keep us away from BPA lined cans. (This last one we managed to do this past year which made me very happy.) The next step is to Continue reading
A last minute invite came to me from a good friend of mine to join her downtown in Toronto’s Historic Distillery District. The event was to take place at one of my favourite local breweries, Mill Street Brewery. It was to be a “Brew Masters Dinner”, featuring none other than the brew master himself, Joel Manning. Visiting the brewpub is enjoyable for many reasons. One is to take in the beautifully restored historic buildings of the old Gooderman and Worts Distillery District, the other is to enjoy the many different samplings of Mill Street’s beer. They have a wide array of beers available on tap that you don’t get to see in the LCBO or Beer Store, so it’s quite a treat. What was even more exciting, was that some of these not-so-available beers were going to be paired with some pretty incredible food.
We arrived a bit early, so we bellied up to the bar and I grabbed a Cobblestone Stout. I had only first tried it a week before at my friends pub, The Auld Spot, and loved it. The Auld Spot is a fantastic local pub along The Danforth that’s been open for about 15 years. Loved by the locals, filled with regulars, and always cheerful due in no small part from the owners friendly enthusiasm for craft beer and boutique style food. The beers on tap are specially picked by the owners, choosing beers that they would want to drink themselves. Among them are of course some of Mill Street’s offerings.
We met our rep Kim, who invited us to the dinner. She is the Toronto East sales rep for Mill Street, a very fun and lively person, full of conversation and laughs. After being seated, the dinner promptly started off with another one of my favourites, the Belgian Wit, accompanied by an appetizer of mussel fritter with a beer mustard aioli. The dinner continued with these delicious parings: Continue reading
Yep, you read that correctly….
I’m going to step away from beer for a moment and talk about another one of my favourite fermented products, pickles. Over the last couple of summers I’ve tried to grow various cucumbers and have had no success. My mother and father in law have grown them successfully for years, and I’m quite jealous. Fortunately they know how much I love them, so they always have some to share. My failure may have been due to improper soil composition, soil pH, or perhaps the variety of cucumbers I had planted. In any case, they didn’t grow. This summer I thought I’d try something new and maximize the growing capacity of my backyard even more by building a planter box on the side of my garage. It gets plenty of sun, which cucumbers need and love. They are also ideal candidates for trellising, so I figured it would be the perfect spot.
I chose to try 4 different varieties to see which one(s) grow best.