Sunday, 27 January 2008

A Trip to the Guelph Organic Conference Trade Show

The 2008 Guelph Organic Conference was held at the University of Guelph from January 24th to January 27th. This was their 27th annual conference, and as usual, there was a trade show on the weekend which was open to the public. Since it wasn't too far away, we decided to go.

Guelph Organic Conference 1We arrived bright and early on Saturday at 8:00 am. The last few stragglers were still setting up their booths, but the place was already bustling.

Guelph Organic Conference 2I was impressed by the number of suppliers of organic vegetable, herb and flower seeds that were there, and by what a large selection they all had.

Guelph Organic Conference 3Organic Meadow had a booth. This is the organic milk brand that is most readily available around here, and I buy their products fairly regularly. They have a good, large basic range of milks, yogurt, butter and cheese. They are a good-sized farmers' co-operative.

Guelph Organic Conference 3Harmony Organic Dairy, their main competitor was right across the aisle. They are notable for the fact that you can get their milk in glass bottles, and they also produce quite a range of flavoured milks. I had a little of their chocolate milk, which was delicious. Full fat and not too sweet, mmm, mmm, mmm.

Guelph Organic Conference 4Pfenning's are a big name in organic produce locally. They have been around for a long time. In addition to growing a wide range of vegetables, especially winter storage vegetables, they retail imported organic produce and have a box delivery service. I stocked up on leeks and turnips. I eyed their red sauerkraut with considerable interest, but since I already have a jar of regular sauerkraut I need to use, I restrained myself.

Guelph Organic Conference 5Canadian Organic Growers have been promoters of, well, Canadians growing stuff organically since way back when.

Guelph Organic Conference 6This was a booth with products I had not seen before, and they look very interesting. Pleno Empanadas is a company producing a line of empanadas (little Latin American filled pies) with a variety of flavours, as well as selling ready-made pastry. What is particularly interesting is that they have developed a pastry with low/healthy fats.

Guelph Organic Conference 7More seeds!

Guelph Organic Conference 8Mapleton's Organic Ice Cream. That's a place that's not too far away... must get out there when the weather warms up.

Guelph Organic Conference 9L'AncĂȘtre cheese, made in Quebec with raw milk. Fabulous, fabulous stuff. It's a sad truth that there are no great Ontario cheeses. It galls me to admit it, but until Ontario cheesemakers are allowed to make raw milk cheese, they are relegated to the ranks of the rather good at best.

Guelph Organic ConferenceHomefield is a Guelph company which delivers door-to-door in the region. Their list of available products changes (slightly, I expect) weekly and can be accessed and ordered on-line.

Guelph Organic Conference 10I have not seen Tradition Miso before, but I was quite excited to see it. I have often wondered why soy sauces and misos have not been produced in Ontario on an artisanal level, when we have so many soy bean growers.

Guelph Organic Conference 11Live Green Food Ontario had very cute little sprout growing kits, as well as seeds for sprouting. Can't get more local than your windowsill!

Guelph Organic Conference 12Saugeen Specialty Grains, also known as GrassRoots Organics was a name I did recognize. I discovered their products this summer at the Meaford Farmers Market. They're the ones that are producing puffed grain cereals, as well as rolled oats, flours, barley and popcorn.

Guelph Organic Conference 15There were quite a few other booths, some of which didn't interest me that much (farm equipment, big ag, or stuff from too far way, etc) and some of which did interest me but which I was not sufficiently together to record. From opening time at 8:00 am to the time we left - and well beyond, I'm sure - the place was jam-packed. It was a very worthwhile way to spend a Saturday morning, and it was exciting to see how much is happening in local organic circles.


Bellini Valli said...

Guelph is in my old stomping grounds. Wish I could head out to these shows.

Lady North said...

Hello there: I came across your site looking for a decent pic of Flemish pears - what a wonderful grouping..may I have your permission to publish your photo on my blog? Out here in BC I too am trying to organic garden after a decade of condo living and no land. This is the first time we have ever had a house WITH DIRT!(albeit a glacial morrain and three terraces Straight Uphill!) Got my composter going and planted 3 fruit trees this week, hence the was a flemish pear, its companion an anjou and we stuck a stella cherry in the front.
I also am very pleased and somewhat touched that you published the 'haystack''s the first recipe that my mom taught me..thank you for reminding me! LadyNorth