Introducing: Stasis Local Foods, the new Roncesvalles emporium for all things pickled and jarred (and preferably local)
Up at the northern tip of Roncesvalles, just south of Dundas, sits the neighbourhood’s newest gourmet food shop, Stasis Local Foods. The store carries a tightly curated selection of local and seasonal gems, but the focus is on the made-in-house jams and preserves prepared by the shop’s young owner, Julian Katz. Katz has cooked his way across the Toronto dining landscape (C5, The Drake, Lucien, Ruby Watchco), but when not preparing $30 mains, he would pickle in-season produce and whip up scrumptious jams. One day, he had a revelation: “I looked around and saw that I had 30 or 40 cases of jam in my house, and I was like, ‘This is ridiculous! I can only give away jam as Christmas gifts for so long!’ ” Katz left his gig with Lynn Crawford in January to brave the city’s farmers’ markets, and then founded his company, Stasis Preserves. After a year of pestering his chef friends for access to their kitchens, Katz decided it was time to get his own.
With winter upon us, Katz is offering tart organic cranberry sauce, onion chutney, sugarless apple butter, sweet pepper relish and blackcurrant jam, all of which are made from Ontario produce ($7–$8). And while Katz has not yet fully worked out the store’s concept, one thing he knows for sure is that he’s not interested in selling 20 different kinds of maple syrup or honey—he’s only interested in selling the best (he swears the extra-light maple syrup he gets from Bill Haggart’s Maitland sugar bush is the most delicious he’s ever tasted). There’s also a limited selection of produce, like Ontario garlic ($2 a head) and Ontario hazelnuts and heartnuts ($5 per pound), with more to come in the future. In the fridge, Katz has a small selection of meats and cheeses, such as bacon from Sausage Partners and operetta goat cheese from Fifth Town. There are even Ontario-produced oils (like grape seed and soya) and vinegars, like a lavender-infused apple cider vinegar ($16).
Katz is also toying with the idea of offering coffee, soups, sandwiches and oven-ready meals for families on the go, but he’s waiting to hear from the neighbourhood. Even still, farmers’ market fanatics need not fear—Katz is still planning to peddle his wares at the Brickworks on Saturdays.
Stasis Local Foods, 476 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-533-1079, stasispreserves.com