By Sylvie, member since 2015
A few years ago, as part of an Impressionists exhibit at the Montreal Fine Arts Museum, I discovered with delight a still life by Pierre-Auguste Renoir representing onions, . But under Renoir’s brush, these onions had become luminous golden jewels. I never saw my onions the same way again! Renoir is known for his portraits of women and his ball scenes on the banks of the Seine, but not for having painted onions! And yet! Intrigued, I did some research on the Internet to discover that Renoir had actually painted many fruits and vegetables: eggplants, peppers, pumpkins, strawberries…
The organic basket from Tourne-Sol farm brings Renoir into my kitchen. Without exaggeration, the weekly meeting with Dan, Sébastien, Frédéric and the other people who deliver the fresh vegetables has become one of my great “little joys” of everyday life. Week after week, I like to discover what the seasons brings. I am curious about the varieties. I like the shapes and the bright colours of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants,… The different kinds of salads are also delicious, as much for their crispy taste as for the deep green of the scaroles or the light green of the oak leaf hearts: pleasure for the taste buds, but also pleasure for the eyes…
But there is more: like many of my contemporaries, I have very annoying digestive problems, which considerably limit what I can eat: IBS and the discomfort it creates. I am on the FODMAPS diet: no dairy products, bread, cereals, pulses (vegetarianism is unfortunately not for me!). Unfortunately there are several fruits and vegetables I can’t eat. I hope one day I will be able to expand my diet again, but for the time being, I have to rely on the foods I can eat, and I can’t go astray from my diet or it’s a crisis! I eat organic food as much as possible to avoid pesticides and GMOs, and I carefully avoid processed foods. When I occasionally cross the line, either because I succumb to a temptation or because I am not at home and I can’t control what I eat, I have to pay the price.
Fermented veggies, jars of happiness to keep me going in the winter!
With such a diet, eating organic fresh fruits and vegetables all year round is a real challenge. In the winter, it becomes almost impossible! But I have solved many problems thanks to Tourne-Sol farm: I subscribe to two baskets and, like squirrels, I make my reserves for the winter. Soups, ratatouilles and other cooked dishes, pestos and butters (made with basil, carrot, dill or cilantro), lacto-fermented vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, carrots, beets…), red fruit coulis, applesauce… My freezer is full, and I have about 20 jars of fermented vegetables. Lacto-fermentation allows me to eat certain vegetables that knock me down if I eat them raw or cooked (beetroot, for example, or garlic, onions…). Apart from buying some fresh salads, in the winter, I live on my reserves.
Of course, this requires good organization, and it didn’t come in just one day. The first year I moved to Beaconsfield, I subscribed to one basket per week, then tried a first lacto-fermentation with carrots. It worked very well! I then moved to two baskets, I equipped myself with a chest freezer, and a large refrigerator. This year, I bought a second refrigerator with a freezer drawer for my pestos in small glass jars (recycled) and meats (organic and local, of course!), while the chest freezer is use to keep cooked dishes and soups. I have discovered how to use all parts of my vegetables, for example, carrot leaf pesto, or using turnip or radish leaves in soups. This is impossible to do with vegetables that come from the grocery store. I also make lacto-fermented apple and grape chutney, “real” ketchup (also lacto-fermented and sugar-free), etc.
Making a simple tomato “coulis”.
I plan two cooking evenings per week. The day I receive the basket (on Tuesday), I prepare the soup and dishes that require immediate preparation (especially with leafy vegetables like spinach). Salads are washed, well drained and stored in the fridge in containers, ready to eat, other vegetables washed and stored in the fridge in paper bags or kitchen cloths. On the second evening, usually on Sunday, I cook what is left, I simmer meats and vegetables at low temperatures. On other days, I don’t cook much: I use dishes that are prepared in advance, I decorate salads with lacto-fermentations and other vegetables available throughout the seasons. I have enough to make take-out lunches at work almost any time – the only thing I have to think about is defrosting my meals ahead of time.
The cooking sessions are quite intensive, but I prefer this to cooking every day: I don’t have the time! I work very intensively in the winter, a little less in the summer, so I have very little time to cook during the cold season. This formula allows me to have access to a high quality food all year round, and my meals remain varied despite my dietary restrictions.
A February meal, full of freshness!
Finally, there are other elements that contribute to my “food happiness”: eating locally, eliminating the cost of transportation and the waste associated with supermarket supplies, eliminating polluting containers… And, last but not least, getting to know the producers, meeting them, appreciating their commitment and kindness is important to me.
A very warm thank you to all the members of the Tourne-Sol farm team! I hope they’ll be here for a long time!