I had never in my life been to Yorkdale Mall.
I woke up at some ungodly hour, I think 5:30am, to get my email and blog work done for the day. I then hopped on the College Streetcar and transferred to the University line where I headed north for one of Toronto’s most celebrated shopping centres. On my way to fancy pants Yorkdale I actually experienced about 20 minutes of intense dread as my subway lurched and choked. It took us 15 minutes just to sputter between two stations. I think my train was about to go to subway heaven, death becomes her. Although the experience was unnerving I was most anxious about missing my ride. Joel had organized a group of chef’s and foodie fans to join him on a road trip to Waterford Ontario, home of Pristine Gourmet. Thankfully I met the group at the Yorkdale shopping centre with time to spare!
We hopped in two cars and zoomed along the highway to rural Ontario, home to the provinces celebrated farmers. Once we arrived we joined a larger group for a tour of the property. We were given an impassioned speech by Jason Persall, a 4th generation Canadian farmer. Jason started Pristine Fine foods five years ago with a vision of supplying the food industry with quality, local artisan foods. Today his brand Pristine Gourmet carries ingredients like cold pressed extra virgin oils, handcrafted wine vinegars, soya sauce, pulses and mustards all of which are 100% pure Canadian from field to table.
Over the next hour Jason took us on a tour of his farm with special attention to how he produces his virgin oils. We had an opportunity to ask lots of questions while the machines whirling motor slowly revealed its golden oily sap. Jason also wanted us to visit his Edamame, a rare find on Canadian farms as the majority is imported from Asia. After a short drive we found ourselves standing in the mid afternoon sun poking about firy pods of everyone’s favorite sushi restaurant appetizer.
Back at the farm we enjoyed a fantastic lunch catered by The Belworth House, which showcased several Pristine Gourmet products. Wine was provided by Burning Kiln Winery whose vines are located near Turkey Point on Lake Erie. I spent much of the afternoon sipping on their ice cold Riesling while romantically gazing over the farms lush sunflower fields. There is something truly marvelous about getting outside of the city, visiting a farm and snacking on its bounty with chef’s, restauranteurs, food writers and the inventive farmers who make the good stuff.
Our Pristine Gourmet Feast:
Garden Tomato Soup
White Bean Bruschetta
Ruby Red Beet and Barley Risotto
Roasted Maple Beet Salad with Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese
Polenta Cracker, Burning Kiln Onions and Blue Cheese
Wok Fried Salt and Spicy Edamame
Sweet Potato Dumplings with Soy Honey Garlic Sauce
White Bean And Red Skinned Peanut Hummus on Crisp Chips with Cucumber Spear
House Made Pickles
Pakoras with Spicy Peach Tomato Chutney
Curried Popcorn Cauliflower