Bread and Roses in Havana

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Food in Cuba is a conundrum. Coming from Canada, a culture/country that increasingly fetishizes food and chefs, Cuba can feel like a food desert which is weird because they can grow food all year, they are surrounded by ocean and there is a lot of grazing land for animals. You often find yourself asking “where is all the food???”. Making meals there is an exercise in creativity, resourcefulness and good fortune. Finding anything in the stores other than canned vegetables, tubes of pressed meat, sodas and booze is a miracle. Mostly you end up buying things on the black market with the help of very resourceful friends. While there are small urban farms attached to markets and new little veggie stands  every few blocks they are selling a very limited array of underripe fruit and veg. You can’t even find what we would call bread there. Bread is government grade, mass produced with very low quality flour into something that resembles a fat baguette that is rock hard on the outside, almost mushy on the inside and so crumbly that the crust is dust by the time you get it to your mouth. It makes us sad for Cubans who have come to think of this as bread. But we get it-60 years of revolution is complicated and at least everyone has something to eat which is a lot more than can be said for most other wealthy countries of the world. It just feels like something has been lost there in the food and delicious departments and we met THE guy who wants to change that.

On our last trip to Havana we met a really great chef and new friend. Alberto Gonzales. It makes your entire trip when you meet someone who has a similar spanglish food vernacular as you do and does their darnedest to push beyond what is considered popular “cuban cuisine” with very limited resources. Alberto has spent years on and off cooking in various parts of Italy, including a stage at El Bulli in Spain and has come back to Havana to open an artisinal bakery. Which reeeeally isn’t allowed because the government controls bread production on the island. Which is why its called “sausage pizza”…It’s complicated. Despite having very different styles and methods, Alberto and Grant spent a day and a few nights in the kitchen making and chatting about bread and life. We cooked and ate several meals together and we look forward to visiting on future trips. Thank you Alberto for your incredible resilience and hospitality. We can’t wait to visit you and your inspiring bakery again.

If you find yourself in Havana, be sure to drop by Salchipizza bakery for some bread you won’t be finding anywhere else on the island. You can also pre-arrange dinners with chef Alberto. Do it. You will not be disappointed.

Salchipizza – 562 Calle Infanta btwn Valle and Zapata.

Here is a link to a more in depth interview by Yoani Sanchez:

http://translatingcuba.com/you-have-to-eat-a-bread-that-has-dignity-14ymedio-yoani-sanchez/

 

Holiday Cheer

IMG_6518IMG_6519IMG_6377brilynnnHappy December Everyone. On one hand it is usually a crazy busy month for most of us, but it is also that special time of year where we get to spend some quality time with our friends, family and a bunch of delicious food.

We would like to take some of the delicious food pressure off you for those cherished December gatherings. We have a wonderful assortment of breads, croustini, cheeses, house made spreads (hummus, pestos, butters, Scout Canning shashouka, cured steelhead trout, creton, baked brie with herbs,etc), olive oil, balsamic reduction, cookies and more. We would be happy to throw together everything you need for your holiday get togethers no matter how big or small your event. Please let us know how we can help.

We have a new co-conspirator, Charlotte Langley aka Scout Canning in the house. She will be sharing our work space and her yummy cans of goodness will be available in the fridge starting tomorrow.

Here is her menu available to Prairie Boy Customers as of tomorrow.

-SHAKSHOUKA-
ROASTED PEPPERS AND TOMATOES MELTED IN OLIVE OIL. SMOKED PAPRIKA AND SWEET ONIONS AS WELL. VEGETARIAN
-CRETON-
FRENCH CANADIAN PORK SPREAD. CONTAINS DAIRY AND WARMING SPICES.
-CURED STEELHEAD TROUT-
SWEET AND SALTY WITH A TOUCH OF CITRUS.
CURED FOR 24 HOURS AND SOAKED IN OLIVE OIL.
-BAKED BRIE-
ONTARIO BRIE MARINATED IN ROASTED GARLIC, HERBS AND LEMON.
PLACE IN A 350 DEGREE OVEN FOR 10 MINUTES AND YOU ARE THE LIFE OF THE PARTY. DIP A FRESH PRAIRIE BOY BAGUETTE FOR ULTIMATE PLEASURE.

 

Lastly, we will be having a holiday neighbourhood shopping & sharing night with some really talented local makers of cool stuff for that discerning person on your gift list or maybe a well deserved treat for yourself.

Pop in for a visit: DECEMBER 22 7-10pm

Stay cool and keep warm,

Prairie Boy

PrairieBoy Bread News Flash

IMG_4789Happy Spring! It has been BUSY the last few months…making LOTS of bread, growing the business, trying new recipes…

New breads like…Sprouted Red Quinoa, Oatmeal, Cinnamon Raisin and Potato Rosemary. Our tasters have been busy making sure everything is right. Thanks everyone – you know who you are.

These new loaves will be available only at the Farmers Market – What farmers market?? keep reading.

We are now baking Mondays which makes 6 days a week that you can get our fresh bread.

Shops currently selling our Bread

Ideal Coffee – 221 Sorauren Ave Mon-Sat 10am.                                                            The Sweet Potato – 2995 Dundas Street. West Mon/Thurs/Sat 10:30am                    Stasis Preserves – 476 Roncesvalles Ave. Mon-Sat 10:30 am                               Custodios Meats – 121 Roncesvalles Ave. Tues-Sat 10:30                                             Thin Blue Line – 93 Roncesvalles Ave. Wed-Sat 11:30                                                    The Good Catch – 1556 Queen Street West Mon-Sat 10:30                                            West End Food Co-op – 1229 Queen Street West Mon/Tues/Thurs/Sat 10:30am                    Bivy – 1600 Dundas Street West Fri 10:30

Restaurants currently serving our Bread:

The Westerley – 413 Roncesvalles Ave                                                                        Windup Bird Cafe – 382 College Street West                                                                *new – The Beet Café – 2945 Dundas St W                                                                   *new – Ruby Watchco – 730 Queen Street E                                                                 *new – Field Trip Cafe – 3 Westmoreland Ave

Also:                                                   

*new – Karma Food Co-op – 373 Queen St W – Fridays                                                        *new –  Aristocaters – Coming soon to film sets near you

*new – Bloor Blorden Farmer’s Market in the Annex – We are really excited to be part of this market every Wednesday Starting June 3rd, 3-7pm. It’s in the Green P parking lot. (South side of Bloor).

Lastly,  We’d like to invite everyone to the Fresh City Farms annual OPEN FARM event                                                Where&When: June 7, 1-4pm out at Downsview. Did you know they farm 6 acres right here in our fine city?! Well they do. There will be a farmers market, farm tours, yoga, children’s activities, food stalls, makers makin’ stuff, live music and BEER. Entrance is Free!  We will be there with a table full of bread and other goodies.

For more event info, click here: https://www.freshcityfarms.com/events/open-farm-2015

That’s it for now. Hope to see you really soon.

Prairie Boy

Baby its cold outside

Here is where to find Prairie Boy Bread on these chilly winter days:grantdelivering

Ideal Coffee – 221 Sorauren Ave Tues-Sat 10am.                                                            The Sweet Potato – 2995 Dundas Street. West Tues/Thurs/Sat 10:30am                    Stasis Preserves – 476 Roncesvalles Ave. Tues-Sat 10:30 am                              Custodios Meats – 121 Roncesvalles Ave. Tues-Sat 10:30                                             Thin Blue Line – 93 Roncesvalles Ave. Tues-Sat 11:30                                                    The Good Catch – 1556 Queen Street West Tues-Sat 10:30                                            West End Food Co-op – 1229 Queen Street West Tues/Thurs/Sat 10:30am                    Bivy – 1600 Dundas Street West Fri 10:30

Restaurants currently serving our Bread:
The Westerley – 413 Roncesvalles Ave
Local Kitchen – 1710 Queen Street West
Windup Bird Cafe – 382 College Street West

Fresh City Farms has our bread available 3 times a week to it’s CSA members. For more info go to https://www.freshcityfarms.com

Seedstock, Soupstock and Stuff

Long time no blog. It’s been a very busy few months. Sadly most of the busyness hasn’t been very fun, interesting or leaving us feeling like there’s anything to write about it.

We’ve frozen some veggies & dried some herbs for the winter, done some farm tidying for the winter, done alot of work on the house, Grant is back to work, I’ve been healing and growing a baby, etc. etc. Nothing overly exciting, just trying to get back to a normal pace of life after such a crazy summer. We already miss much of the farm work and life, weekly harvests and Tuesday market. We still have a few crops hiding in the ground but we aren’t sure when we will be able to get to them. Things have calmed down on the home front but now we are on serious prairiebaby watch. Could be any day now which is why i wanted to squeeze out a little update before….well you know.

Grant managed to find the time to get a bunch of garlic planted last week. We had alot of nematode damage this year so we distributed the good stuff this summer which left us with the damaged stuff we couldn’t plant. We could have planted it but then you just make the problem worse and spread it around to yet another patch of the field. So, we bought more organic seedstock to plant (bulbs that we laboriously broke into thousands of cloves to plant). My fingers still smell like garlic! (Quite nice actually). We got some straw from our sheep raising friend and neighbour Frank of Scotch Mtn Meats and mulched the small plot to keep it cozy for the winter. Mulching keeps the moisture in, the weeds down and helps with wild temperature fluctuations until it can establish itself before it’s long winter hibernation. Just like you’d treat your tulips or other bulbs.

Soupstock was this past weekend. They say 40,000-60,000 people turned up to eat soup! Who woulda guessed? We wandered around tasting delicious food and got to see all our favourite chef friends that we never get to see enough of. The organizers and participants were blessed with a beautiful day, hundreds of volunteers including the best chefs in town and a genuine festive spirit in the air that made the day really special. Most importantly the event raised much needed money to help pay for legal fees to help Stop the Mega Quarry.

http://www.stopthemegaquarry.ca/

http://www.ndact.com/

And that’s…kinda…it…for now. You’ll hear from us again when there is something more exciting going on. Hopefully sooner than later. Until then, we want to say thanks again for such a great supportive season. Please keep in touch. We miss you all when the farm is quiet.

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“Dinner To Celebrate Summer” Follow Up

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Our sold out “Dinner to celebrate Summer” went by so fast. You know when you have to give a speech, and you get on stage, and all of a sudden it’s over and you don’t even remember what you said or how long you were up there? That was sort of our experience this past Wednesday night. Everyone said they had a great time and that the food was amazing so…i guess we done good. It has been a long, hard summer of much work and not much socializing so it was wonderful to hear such revelry and see so many familiar smiling faces.  Thanks so much to everyone who came out to celebrate with us! We love you guys.

Also giant thanks Amelia & Kristjan of Saving Gigi for the great space, to Greg for staying on top of the stacks of dishes and stemware, to Ryan and birthday girl Heather who ran the floor, to Emily&Drew for whipping the diningroom into shape and to Kelley who slaved away in a very hot basement kitchen all afternoon helping Grant prepare the meal. We couldn’t have done it without you guys. Also special thanks to all our producers/suppliers who do things with such high standards and class ( Coffin Ridge, Tico Poulakakis, Scotch Mtn Meats, Debbie Wiecha, Twin Creeks Organics, Sunrise Organics, Domaine de Mourchand, Barbetta Orchards, Hinterland, Detour Coffee, Barbarians Steak House). Respect.

Prairie Boy Angels

This week has been a challenging one but we are feeling more optimistic…kinda like we are “winning” again. We have been watering round the clock. The latest planting of beans is germinating, the tomatoes are doing really well, we’ve saved some squashes, cukes, and watermelons from complete bug annihilation, the lettuces are growing and perking up, the pride chard is bouncing back etc. We bought a water pump so we can water the plants at a much faster rate which is really helping and last but not least we were visited by some Prairie Boy Angels. The “girls” showed up this long weekend with a passion for weed killing & tomato mulching like we’ve never seen before. We cannot express the deep gratitude we have for all your hard work, sweat, and company. We will hopefully express it better with tomatoes in August. Thank you Stacey, Christine and Emily for everything. We are touched by your efforts and well timed help. Mwah x 1000. And thanks to Tico for swooping in and helping with the moonlight harvest. Tomorrow is Tuesday. Market day & CSA pick up/delivery day. Our favourite day of the week.

Prairie Boy Angels