Eight local products made with GTA-sourced ingredients

Eight local products made with GTA-sourced ingredients

While most gung-ho locavores in The 6 source their products from Southern Ontario farms, a coterie of cooks have started using Toronto-grown produce to make radically local dishes. (Although Parkdale may not have the bucolic allure of St. Jacobs or Prince Edward County, the neighbourhood is home to a few dozen impressive apple trees.) Once-neglected crops are now being harvested in the name of jam, butter, beer and even ink. Here, eight products made with GTA-sourced ingredients.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

Kitten and the Bear make up to 100 different jam, jelly and marmalade flavours each year. Some of their batches are as small as a few dozen jars, as is the case with this cranberry and apple jelly. The apples for this batch came from a neighbour’s 50-foot-tall apple tree, while the cranberries came from a Muskoka bog. Husband-and-wife co-owners Sophie Kaftal and Bobby Zielinski make this jelly in the French confiture style, which means no pectin or preservatives are added. If you can snatch one of the two tables in their stamp-sized shop, we recommend staying for high tea—they’ll serve you around six different preserves, so you know which one to splurge on. $10. 1574 Queen St. W., 647-926-9711, kittenandthebear.com

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

Jon’s Pops teamed up with Not Far From the Tree to make these pear-and-jasmine ice pops. Torontonians offer up their fruit trees and NFFTT volunteers come and pick the fruit, which is then divvied up three ways: between the homeowner, the volunteers and local food banks, shelters and community kitchens. Jonathan Silver’s ice pops are sold at alternative grocery stores, but he’ll also deliver larger orders. $3 each. jonspops.ca

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

For ChocoSol’s Harvest Bars, the chocolatiers joined Not Far From the Tree for a day of crabapple picking around Christie and St. Clair. The 30-pound haul of fruit was turned into chips, which were then set into dark, stone-ground chocolate. The maple sugar is from Quebec and the hemp seeds are from Peterborough. $10. 1131 St. Clair Ave. W., 416-923-6675, chocosoltraders.com 

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

Stasis Preserves owner Julian Katz met his neighbour Carleen at the park (their kids are the same age). Her apple tree was buckling over with fruit, so she shared the bumper crop with Katz. He cored the apples and cooked them down into a sticky, molten goo. When cool, this apple butter has a rich caramel flavour with an acidic finish. The serving board (carved by Katz’s father) is made from locally felled sugar maple. $6.95. 476 Roncesvalles Ave., 647-766-5267, stasispreserves.com

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

So we’re cheating a bit here, because this ink isn’t edible. It is, however, made with black walnuts picked by Paperhouse Studio at a Not Far From the Tree harvest. Eight pounds of husks (air-dried, boiled, strained and boiled down a second time) produce one single litre of ink, and clove oil and alcohol keep the concoction from spoiling. Paper Studios offers workshops for those keen to learn how to make their own dyes and inks using local plants. Starting at $10 a bottle. 180 Shaw St. #102, 647-868-2258, paperhousestudio.ca

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

At the Drake One Fifty, chef Jonathan Pong makes a seriously hearty bowl of pasta that’s both vegetarian and gluten-free. House-made buckwheat creste de gallo (cock’s comb–shaped noodles) is tossed with dandelion, chanterelles and Brampton-grown hen-of-the-woods mushrooms from Marc’s Mushrooms. The kitchen keeps with the local theme, swapping out parm for a hard cheese from Lancaster, Ontario. $18. 150 York St., 416-363-6150, drakeonefifty.ca

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

Brad Long picks everything from wild carrots to elderberries in the Don Valley ravine that surrounds Café Belong. His menu also features herbs that are grown on site, and Jozef Winter’s Honey supplied by bees housed on the east side of the Brick Works. For this caribou stew served over spaetzle, Long added sumac, which grows about 80 meters away from his kitchen. The tang added by the fragrant fuzzy plant complements the eight-hour braised caribou neck. $34. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave., 416-901-8234, cafebelong.ca

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

The Royal York’s roof is home to over 350,000 honeybees, which produce hundreds of pounds of honey every year, and the nectar finds its way into the hotel’s beer, bread and butter. When Mill Street is finished brewing the exclusive Apiary Ale ($9.50), they ship back ready-to-tap kegs as well as the spent grain, which is then used to make the table service bread. A side of honey-whipped butter completes the bee-reverent trio. 100 Front St. W., 416-860-6949, fairmont.com