Eat local time

Local farmer’s markets have opened at last, just in time for asparagus season.

After a winter of cheap Mexican asparagus, followed by dainty green spears from Peru, where it grows year-round, and a few beautiful bunches from New Jersey, it’s our turn to shine!

If Mother Nature co-operates, we’ll have a month to try all the asparagus recipes we’ve been snipping from newspapers and bookmarking on the web.

While wandering around the north St. Lawrence market last weekend, I discovered another local treat – fresh whole wheat pasta made from heritage Red Fife wheat. This hard spring wheat, bred by farmer David Fife near Peterborough in the 1840s, was beloved by bakers. By 1860 it was the most popular wheat variety in Canada. Newer varieties gradually replaced it in the 1900s.

Red fife is being revived in southern Ontario by a handful of growers, including two farmers better known for other things — John Rowe of Guelph for his grass-fed beef and Paul Moyer of Cherry Lane Farms in Niagara, famous for antioxidant-rich tart cherries and juice.

The fettuccine I bought had a wonderfully nutty smell while cooking, and it’s no wallflower in taste or texture. I was pretty sure my plain-pasta Italian wouldn’t enjoy it, so happily cooked it while he was at work and tossed it with olive oil and Parmigiano to really taste its assertive flavour.

It’s one of those satisfying foods that makes you feel healthy. I’m happy to pay $5 to support this local partnership.


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