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Celebrate this Easter with local foods

 

Guest post by Dan Bader of Savour Ottawa

Easter is approaching especially quickly this year, almost a full calendar page earlier than it has in recent years. Cooking large meals for friends and family can be stressful as we strive to find the perfect dishes to capture the mood of a particular season or holiday. Sweet potato or squash? Traditional leafy salads or something with a little more pizzazz? How much dessert will people eat? Ah, the questions plaguing the minds of the home schooled chef!

To alleviate some of those stresses and help beat back the endless plague of questions, consider focusing on local and seasonal foods where possible this year.

According to the most recent census, the Ottawa region is home to over 1,000 farms! With several sheep farmers among them, serving a rack or shoulder of local, pasture-raised lamb is an easy choice. Get to know these farms a bit better in the following paragraphs and give one a call to get that something special for your Easter feast.

  • Aubin Farms are a self-described ‘real old-fashioned farm’ with a variety of products from which to choose. Their sheep are grass-fed and pastured on a farm that strives to be a ‘closed loop’ where the sheep are a vital part of the ecology that makes everything grow. You can also visit them on Facebook!
  • The folks at Dusty Lane Farms have made it their goal to help people eat local all year round with their flock of sheep. They raise their sheep naturally on pasture in the summer and on their own home-grown hay in the winter.
  • The flock of Katahdin sheep at La ferme Albé are watched over diligently by Salt the watch llama! They were a double finalist in the 2007 “Gala de l'Excellence de Prescott-Russell” which recognizes successful Franco-Ontarian entrepreneurs. They sell all your favourite cuts as well as lamb sausages, rosettes and fricadelles.
  • The owners of Morrison Manor Organics spent 10 years searching for the farm of their dreams. Taste their dedication in the flavour of their all-natural, organic-fed lamb. They also produce a variety of poultry and homemade specialty pet foods.
  • Heritage and specialty breeds are the focus of production at The Pickle Patch. Owner Aartje den Boer keeps her organic-fed sheep working to maintain the lawn while her pigs help prepare the fields for planting – efficient!
  • The raising of Cotswald sheep at Villa August farm is part of a greater strategy of commitment to environmentally sound farming practices and sustaining rare breeds of plants and animals.
  • Named after a beautiful flower from their native Australia, the folks at Waratah Downs Farm believe in “keeping agriculture close to the home and to the heart.” You can find out more about their farm and their sheep at www.waratahdowns.com or on Facebook.

Although most of these farms sell from their farm gate, you can also find them at several food shops across Ottawa. With so many great sources for locally raised lamb, the decision about what to serve at your Easter celebration is simple!

Never cooked lamb before? NO PROBLEM, this blog has collected a couple of great starter recipes for all the rookies out there. They include, braised lamb shank with mint-parsley pesto, lamb chops with citrus sauce, and roast lamb with spiced red cabbage.

Whatever you decide to cook for Easter dinner and every meal thereafter, consider the amazing assets available to you in the form of all of the foods grown locally, right here in Ottawa.

Savour Ottawa

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