We love being an Ottawa home-grown business with so many local farms nearby to partner with. One such partnership is with Rideau Pines Farm over in North Gower. The Vandenbergs took over an abandoned dairy farm in 1980 and revamped the poorly drained spot into a great place for growing a mix of berries and vegetables.
Have you had a chance to enjoy one of our new summer salads? If so, you’ve already had the chance to taste some of these great ingredients grown just by your doorstep! We’re so excited to be buying kale, broccoli, cabbage, and other vegetables from Rideau Pines at the moment and simply can’t wait until we can taste some upcoming treats beets and strawberries. We are trying to incorporate as many locally produced fruits and vegetables in our food as we can to support our neighbours, maximize freshness and curtail the carbon footprint normally left by shipping produce over longer distances.
Rideau Pines, like a great many other farms, is often limited in the type of produce it’s able to put on the market. Farms and grocery shops alike can have a hard time selling ‘ugly’ produce that’s perfectly fresh and delicious, but not shaped similarly to the ‘perfect’ shape we normally expect. It may be surprising, but, up to 30% of perfectly good produce in Canada and United States can end up being tossed at some point in the supply chain due to cosmetics alone. Farms like Rideau Pines usually absorb the cost of this imperfectly shaped produce.
We’ve formed a partnership with Rideau Pines in which we’ll purchase much of their perfectly good food for use in products where the flavour of the produce is what counts rather then the look. In this way our soups, salads, and sandwiches will all benefit from having a much higher proportion of fresh ingredients from local farms. We will buy much of this typically unsellable produce when it’s in season and flash-freeze it in our kitchen to lock in as much of the freshness and nutrition as possible for use in soups during those cold winter months.
This partnership is a win/win for everyone involved. We’re able to keep more of the produce that goes into things like our soups local which means things like a smaller carbon footprint to produce the food, better, fresher flavours, and it benefits Rideau Pines Farm since they’re able to sell produce that they would otherwise not have been able to. If you’re curious to see the source of so much of the produce we use here in our food, you can even check out the farm for yourself! They’re open for produce sales, tractor rides, and you can even go and pick your own produce at the farm. If you’re interested in learning more, you can check them out by visiting their website.