Local Goes a Long Way

It’s no secret that I love local. In fact, I’m biased towards locally grown and produced food. My family is a mix of Ontario flower growers and Ontario farmers. I know first-hand the care, love, effort and professionalism that go into our locally grown food in Ontario.

Truly, “good things grow in Ontario.”

I would argue that locally grown food is better for you, our environment, our economy and, for some reason, just tastes better than food grown far away from home. So, it is easy for me to love a company that loves Ontario foods. Ontario’s Own (Ontariosown.ca) is that company. Their mission is to “support Ontario’s family farms and local economies by sharing the joy of serving good food that’s close to home.” The brainchild of Carole-Ann Hayes, Ontario’s Own prepares, preserves and bottles locally grown fruits and vegetables for its soups, sauces, vegetarian chili and purees.

Ontario’s Own recipes have local roots too, and have been formulated by Celebrity Chef Jamie Kennedy, who is known for his commitment to promoting organic agriculture, local producers and traditional methods. In fact, his commitment earned Jamie the Order of Canada. Ontario’s Own most recent introduction is their Pear Puree — how cool is it to know the pears used in the puree can be directly sourced back to the Ontario grower who produced them during the 2012 growing season, namely Fisinger’s Organic Orchard from Bruce County. Pear Puree in early March sweetens the hope of warmer weather on the way, and gives us the taste of summer while looking forward to spring. Pear Puree can eaten on its own or enjoyed as a topping on ham or even lamb but my ultimate way in using it is in baking.

Ontario’s Own Pear Oatmeal Muffins

Adapted from Tea and Cookies blog: Orchard Pear Muffins (Teaandcookiesblog.com)

1 1/4 cups (300ml) all purpose (or whole wheat) flour

1 1/2 cups (375ml) rolled oats

2 tsp. (10ml) baking powder 1 tsp. (5ml) baking soda

1 tsp. (5ml) ground ginger

1 tsp. (5ml) cinnamon

1/4 tsp. (.5ml) nutmeg

1 cup (250ml) pear puree (Ontario’s Own suggested)

4 egg whites

1/2 cup (125ml) plain yogurt

3/4 cup (175ml) honey

1 large firm pear pilled, cored and diced

Paper muffin cups

Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Prepare muffin tins with muffin cups or grease well. In a medium mixing bowl, add flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir to blend and make a well in the middle. Lightly beat egg whites until foamy and hold a bit of shape. Add yogurt, pear puree and honey to flour mixture and stir to combine. Add egg whites and gently fold into the batter. Add diced pear, mix briefly to incorporate. Fill each muffin tin 3/4 of way up. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Tops of the muffins should brown slightly. Makes 12 to 15 muffins.


Originally Published in the Toronto Sun March 5th, 2013.