Ah, the produce section of a market—bins upon bins of attractively merchandised, blemish-free, colourful foodstuff; inviting, enticing, alluring and coated in god-knows-what to ensure a safe journey from some exotic land to our tables. As debate rages and concerns spread about pesticides, fungicides and other “–cides,” more consumers are looking towards organic, local food as a healthier way to feed their families.
Home Grown Organic Foods is a local business that provides an alternative to grocery store shopping. Their goal: “simply to make local organic food purchases more convenient and more affordable.” They deliver food boxes that have been ordered via phone or the internet, and their latest offering is the Dogma Box.
Geordie Ouchterlony, the concierge d’aliments (“caretaker of the food”) of HGOF, explains: “The Dogma Box was conceived in response to the growing demand for locally produced, certified organic fruits and vegetables. Ralph Martin of the Nova Scotia Agricultural College actually suggested the name to me, at the ACORN conference here in Halifax back in 2003 based on a company in the UK. The Dogma Box features 100 percent home grown organic foods.”
The Dogma Box ($25) is made up of fruits and vegetables grown in Hants County, Middleton and the South Shore, along with Annapolis Valley produce (as opposed to such far-flung places as California or British Columbia). Although the items in the box will change with the seasons and availability of produce, the buyer is guaranteed that the food is “100 percent year-round local.” A typical Dogma Box will have leafy greens, fresh fruit and vegetables (like apples, pears, squash and beets), mushrooms, fresh herbs and spices. Ouchterlony suggests that another box might be better in January and February, because the selection of purely local produce is meagre in those months.
You might try one of the other four food boxes available for pickup or delivery. Other offerings from HGOF include the Single ($25), Double ($35), Family ($55) and Clan ($75) size. Although they may not be 100 percent local, they are all 100 percent organic.
But right now is peak season for the Dogma, as Nova Scotia farmers head into the harvest season. Imagine the fall bounty right at your doorstep, ready to be turned into dinner. A salad made with field greens, sliced apples and a drizzle of maple vinaigrette, perhaps; a bowl of roasted butternut squash soup with fresh chives, or a simple applesauce—all take on a whole new brightness of flavour when made with ingredients that didn’t need a passport to get to your table. Use one of your favourite recipes, or check out the recipe section on the HGOF website, hgof.ns.ca.
And compared to supermarket organic produce, the cost is certainly reasonable, thanks to HGOF’s low overhead and “from-farmer-almost-direct-to-you” approach.
Even if you’re not concerned with the various “-cides” on your produce, buying local has other benefits. By buying local you support farmers, and there’s no doubt that the shorter distance from the field to the table, the better your food will taste. And taste is part of the reason why so many restaurants committed to quality will buy local—stellar restaurants like Fid, Chives and Gio feature home-grown foodstuff.
As the HGOF motto goes: “Choose local, organic food. Good for you. Good for community. Good for the Earth.”
Home Grown Organic Foods & General Store 6188 Allan Street492-1412Wed-Thur 4-7pmFri 1-7pmSat 9am-5pm
find liz feltham’s local reviews online at: www.foodcritic.ca
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