A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘agriculture

[LINK] “Bottling the Bay: How Nova Scotia wineries are coming into their own”

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The Globe and Mail‘s Christine Sismondo looks at the emergent wine scene along Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy shore, where vineyards are forming in suitable microclimates.

Despite the relative successes of the “Free My Grapes” movement – a consumers’ rights organization that was spearheaded by frustrated wine fan Shirley-Ann George a little over five years ago and works to remove barriers to inter-provincial wine trade – we still can’t find much Okanagan wine in Ontario (George’s particular grievance) nor expressions from Niagara in British Columbia. But you can find Nova Scotia’s Benjamin Bridge everywhere, even in the Yukon. The fresh, rosy-golden, peachy sparkler, called Nova 7, is more or less the headliner for Benjamin Bridge and one of the few Canadian labels you might find anywhere from sea to shining sea.

Why? Well, to hear the winemaker tell it, it’s just that good; it has practically addictive “drinkability.” Nova is no one-hit wonder, either. Benjamin Bridge’s other expressions, particularly the Brut Sparkling (a little less fruity and, arguably, more elegant), are featured on restaurant wine lists across the country, including those at the famous Hawksworth in Vancouver, Calgary’s Bar Von der Fels and Byblos in Toronto.

“There is a natural selection within the wine industry,” says Jean-Benoit Deslauriers, head winemaker at Benjamin Bridge, adding that he has spent very little time campaigning provincial liquor retailers. “Our responsibility is to make the most transparent wines in terms of sharing the story of the growing environment surrounding the Bay of Fundy. And we feel that if we succeed at that, the rest will come naturally.”

And it has. The enthusiasm for the operation’s wines is palpable, but as Deslauriers points out, it’s bigger than just his bottles or one winery. He’s working in a remarkable micro-climate and there are other wineries telling the same story he is. In response, wine lovers are eagerly listening and wine from the Annapolis Valley is trendy, possibly on the cusp of becoming Canada’s next big thing.

“It’s a little bit punny, but people here often say that the rising tide lifts small boats,” says Jenner Cormier, an award-winning Halifax bartender who recently returned to his hometown after three years in Toronto, where he was part of the opening team at Bar Raval. “For us to begin to be considered as a place that’s producing really good wine is huge for us.”

When Cormier left his home for Ontario three-plus years ago, Nova Scotia wines were mainly known for being passable seafood-friendly whites from an underdeveloped region. Upon his return, he was delighted to discover black cabs, pinot noirs and sparkling wines, many of which he describes as “unbelievably complex.” Halifax bars such as Little Oak, the city’s new wine destination, as well as the well-established locavore hotpot, Lot Six, are plucking the best of the best from wineries like Luckett, Avondale Sky and L’Acadie and offering as many as a half-dozen local options on their wine lists.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 9, 2016 at 6:30 pm

[LINK] “Nicaraguan Women Push for Access to Land, Not Just on Paper”

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At the Inter Press Service, José Adam Silva writes about the efforts of some Nicaraguan women who farm to get better land tenure rights for their land.

A group of women farmers who organised to fight a centuries-old monopoly over land ownership by men are seeking plots of land to farm in order to contribute to the food security of their families and of the population at large.

Matilde Rocha, vice president of the Federation of Nicaraguan Women Farmers Cooperatives (Femuprocan), told IPS that since the late 1980s, when women trained in the Sandinista revolution organised to form cooperatives, access to land has been one of the movement’s main demands.

According to Rocha, as of 1997, the organisation has worked in a coordinated manner to fight for recognition of the rights of women farmers not only with regard to agriculture, but also to economic, political and social rights.

Femuprocan, together with 14 other associations, successfully pushed for the 2010 approval of the Fund for the Purchase of Land with Gender Equity for Rural Women Law, known as Law 717.

They also contributed to the incorporation of a gender equity focus in the General Law on Cooperatives and to the participation of women in the Municipal Commissions on Food Security and Sovereignty.

For Rocha, this advocacy has allowed rural women to update the mapping of actors in the main productive areas in the country, strengthen the skills of women farmers and train them in social communication and as promoters of women’s human rights, to tap into resources and take decisions without the pressure of their male partners.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 7, 2016 at 9:15 pm

[ISL] “Another needle found in P.E.I. potato”

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The Guardian shares this story of possible tampering with Island potato exports. This is, besides criminal, decidedly unwelcome news for the Island’s agricultural sector.

A sewing needle has been found in a dish of cooked P.E.I. potatoes, the latest in a string of incidents involving metal objects discovered in Island spuds.

Halifax police Const. Dianne Penfound said they received a report Sunday evening that a sharp object was found in the potatoes after they had been peeled and cooked at a local home.

She said the bag of potatoes was purchased at a Giant Tiger store on Nov. 6 and that the potatoes were from P.E.I., but offered no details on the brand or origin. She added that no one was injured in the incident.

Alison Scarlett, spokeswoman for Giant Tiger, said they have pulled the potatoes from the store’s shelves.

“Giant Tiger Stores Limited has reached out to the Halifax Police Department to get more information on the matter and is currently working directly with our potato vendors,” she said in an email.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 28, 2016 at 7:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • Centauri Dreams looks at signs of advanced technologies detectable by SETI searches.
  • D-Brief notes evidence of the domestication of turkeys in 4th and 5th century Mexico.
  • Dangerous Minds discusses a legendary 1985 concert by Einstürzende Neubauten.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the banning of Tila Tequila from Twitter.
  • Language Log looks about a Hebrew advertisement that makes use of apostrophes.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money bids farewell to one of its bloggers, Scott Eric Kauffman.
  • The LRB Blog notes that Israel is fine with anti-Semites so long as they are Zionists.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that Hillary Clinton won the most economically productive areas of the United States.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer suggests anti-sprawl legislation helped lose the recent election.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes Russia’s banning of LinkedIn.
  • Towleroad notes Ellen Degeneres’ winning of a Presidential honor medal.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Trump could be much less easy to handle than the Kremlin thinks, and looks at claims that small northern peoples are conspiring with foreigners.

[PHOTO] Graffiti eggplants, Loblaws

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Graffiti eggplants #toronto #loblaws #seatonvillage #eggplants

Written by Randy McDonald

November 11, 2016 at 1:35 pm

[PHOTO] At McCardle’s Berry Patch, Tracadie, Prince Edward Island

On my trip to the Island, I went with my parents to McCardle’s Berry Patch, a U-Pick farm specializing in mixed berries in the farming community of Tracadie.

Welcome! #pei #tracadie #berrypatch #upick #latergram #strawberry🍓

In the field, McCardle's Berry Patch #pei #tracadie #berrypatch #upick #latergram

On the scale #pei #tracadie #berrypatch #upick #latergram #scale #strawberries #strawberry🍓

Written by Randy McDonald

October 1, 2016 at 10:30 am

[URBAN NOTE] “How Local Farms Connect Torontonians With Food Security”

Torontoist’s Catherine McIntyre reports on how Toronto and Region Conservation Authority is encouraging Torontonians to cultivate some of their own food. This is an amusing idea, but–speaking as someone who has his own pots–I doubt the contribution to overall food security in Toronto will plausibly be that significant.

A 30-minute drive from his home near High Park, Carl Leslie’s peppers are turning a deep, vibrant red. “Sweet bell pepper success!” he proclaims in a photo caption to his social media followers. “First time ever. A testament to a hot, hot summer.”

Leslie’s harvest—of peppers, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, watermelon, squash, and some 30-odd other fruits and vegetables—is also testament to the success of Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s (TRCA) near-urban agriculture projects that now span the GTA.

Since 2008, the TRCA has been partnering with agricultural organizations and private farmers to develop farm enterprises closer to the city. These farm initiatives offer farmers like Leslie, who live in or near urban centres, access to land, equipment, and mentorship needed to run a startup or family farm.

Leslie runs his half-acre plot on McVean farm, a 45-acre chunk of TRCA land in Brampton within Claireville Conservation Area. McVean, one of the TRCA’s four near-urban farms, is managed by Farm Start, which leases the land from the TRCA and rents out small plots to farmers. For some land-users, McVean is a pilot program—somewhere to dabble in farming before deciding whether to scale up and buy their own land. For some, it’s a place to grow food for their families and communities without moving out of the city. And for others, it’s simply a way to feel connected to the land.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 30, 2016 at 6:15 pm