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Organizer delighted with coast to coast Food Day Canada

by David Meyer

ELORA - Anita Stewart could have been taking part in any one of hundreds of events across Canada on July 30, but she chose her home town here to celebrate something she has been promoting for years.

But Stewart was on top of what was going on around the country for Food Day Canada. She was awake and active around 3am that day, the time that St. John’s Newfoundland had started the first celebration and posted it to her web site, as well as other social media.

Over nine hours later, enjoying the sights, smells of cooking food, and the sounds of Ernie Kalwa’s jazz group entertaining at Bissell Park in Elora, Stewart was ecstatic.

“This is spectacular – absolutely spectacular,” she said. “We started this morning at 5:37am in Newfoundland (their time).”

She said chef and town crier Steve Watson welcomed the National Food Day with the banging of pots and pans and crying out the news for the provincial capital.

But it was more than just a few chefs involved – and that’s just how Stewart wants it to be. She knows there are plenty of Canadians more than capable of cooking, and they are also leaning more and more towards local food for their meals.

“This is the community that has done this,” she said, gesturing to stalls serving everything from vegetables and fruit to pulled pork to ice cream. “I went to Rotary.”

Stewart convinced the Centre Wellington Rotary Club, already involved in promoting local food with its annual spring rite, Grand Taste, and she is hoping that club will inspire others around the country to get involved in promoting the use of local food.

“We want to use this as the template for other Rotaries,” Stewart said.

Centre Wellington Mayor Joanne Ross-Zuj was also on hand to sample the food.

“This is a wonderful celebration of our local food,” she said. “We are blessed with choices – and different groups coming together … Food is very much a part of our community,” she said citing such things as the Rotary Club’s efforts, and all the local farmers who produce all kinds of goods.

Roger Dufau, of Drew House in Elora, later stated the same thing as he taught a class of over two dozen from across Ontario some of his barbecue secrets at a cooking class. He, too, noted that Canadians are blessed with great food and a wide variety of it. He uses local ingredients as much as possible.

Local farm food was also to hand as part of the day in Bissell Park. The Elora Farmers’ Market was in full swing, surrounding the food making vendors, offering people a chance to pick up local produce and take it home with them. Their wares ran from baking, fruits and vegetable, herbs, and meats.

“All this goes back into our local producers,” Ross-Zuj said. “When you get every one helping, everyone wins.”

Barb Lee, of Savour Fergus Elora, a part of Elora Fergus Tourism, was also pleased at the turnout, saying that things had gone “very well,” even with about three more hours to complete the event.

Not everyone was completely happy. Laura Wing said she expected a much larger number of vendors and a bigger event.

“We just came from Pickering, so we expected a bit more,” she said.

But Laura Liberty, of Fergus, was more than pleased to find two events in Bissell Park, instead of just one.

She said, “I didn’t even know it [Food Day Canada] was here. I just came for the market. I came for the honey.”


August 5, 2011


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