Local Food Heroes
by Ann Thurlow
Islanders are just getting better and better at adding value to the things we grow here. We are getting better, too, at becoming people who are known for more than jams and pickles (though those jams and pickles are damn good). These days, you could tell a story about PEI and what we’ve become just by looking at what we put in jars.
1. From Ilse Saint-Jean in Rustico comes a lovely jar of sheep’s milk yogurt. This is not your homogenized corporate yogurt; it’s thinner and tastier with a slightly tart finish. The sheep’s milk comes from the farm—we are finally getting what people have been looking for awhile—a locally produced yogurt. Plus this one has the cache of being more like “real” yogurt so, more sophisticated and more of a treat. Isle Saint Jean yogurt is available at Riverview Country Market and the Farmer’s Market.
2. Lemon Kraut might qualify as a pickle except that it’s like no other pickle—or sauerkraut—you’ve ever had. Made from their own produce by the lovely women at Heartbeat Organics, it’s packed with probiotics and kicked up with the addition of turmeric (which they grow), a well known anti-inflammatory. But who cares? Bottom line, it’s worth eating because it’s delicious. Available at the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market.
3. For the past few years, you’ve been able to get kimchi at Seoul Food in Charlottetown. They make it from as many local ingredients as possible and sell it in jars. Now it’s also available at Sobey’s, which is great news for the addicts among us. Kimchi is one of those foods that was completely foreign a few years ago and is now ubiquitous. And this kimchi is made here and that makes it even better.
4. Though not strictly a value-added product (because we don’t have cashew trees) Fauxmage is made here and has become almost an instant hit. It is, as the name suggests, a “cheese” made without dairy products, though it would be easy to think otherwise. There’s a cheddar flavour, a gouda and a couple of goat cheeses with various extra herbs. A new product: a creamy sauce for vegetables or pasta. Though the products are great for people with dairy allergies or who are vegan, they’re extremely tasty. Maybe at first you serve them as a novelty. But later you find yourself finishing off your tub of Fauxmage with a big spoon. At the Riverview Country Market for sure and the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market on occasion.