St. Pierre & Miquelon – Creamy Seafood & Cod History

October 7th, 2015

Scallop in Shels

Scallops topped with bakeapple at the Festival des Produits de La Mer


The whole synopsis of the place sounded intriguing. French Newfoundland. The last colony of France in North America. Visiting the EU just over an hour away from Halifax. How could someone turn that down? I was sure the locals must be eating something interesting. A place culturally adamant that they were European had to at least prove it through their menus.
St. Pierre at least had the winding streets, a few cafes, and shops full of imported wine and meats. It had the same vibe as towns in rural Nova Scotia – decades past their boomtown days, but instead of coal and steel industries long given up on by the government, the islands had been hardest hit buy the cod moratorium due to environmental concerns. The main difference was that this is France and instead of a heavy reliance on employment insurance, the French government had placed everyone with some kind of job -tour guides, airport staff, bus drivers, and a fully-staffed police force. Our guide on Miquelon, Anya, who had followed and married a St. Pierre native from France after he finished his studies in Europe, gave us the impression that no one just sat around, but that their survival was highly dependent on subsidized employment.
Jean Claude, our grey haired and bushy moustachioed driver on the much more densely populated island of St. Pierre (a population of 6000 vs. 600 on the geographically larger Miquelon) insisted that the island wasn’t bleeding youth quite like the Maritime provinces of Canada. He spoke of the high percentage of high school graduates who brought back culture and knowledge after completing their education in mainland France. And that jobs were waiting for them when they returned. St. Pierre and Miquelon had spent decades earning this support from the motherland: thousands of seasonal fisherman had brought years of bountiful harvests of cod back to Europe.


Although Miquelon felt fairly desolate and almost like a place that time had forgotten, life was apparent in the rows and rows of potato plants which lined the backyards of most of the weather-worn wooden homes.  Broken down fishing boats were docked adjacent to flashier ferries, and saltines – cod salting huts – still stood next to empty looking public buildings. A spattering of abandoned projects dotted the landscape surrounding the village: a nearly brand new seniors’ home stood locked and empty, wind turbines lay on their sides, never used.
It just so happened to be the 27th annual Festival des Produits de la Mer (Seafood Festival). One of the biggest days of the year in Miquelon, which on the usual afternoon, was home to a handful of cafes offering solely coffee, baguette and croissants. Tourist agents kept telling us how lucky we were to have planned our trip during the event of the season. It necessitated booking a spot on the typically spacious daily ferry ahead of time, to ensure we’d beat the crowds and be able to attend the festival.
It was part fundraiser for the local soccer club, part celebration of local ocean harvests, with a heaping dose of old-world culinary inspiration melted throughout. 70-90 varieties of dishes were laid out on a plastic orange tablecloth in the school gymnasium, all made from the homes of community members.
A few repeats of obvious crowd favourites included the tart aux molades – cheesy pies with varying levels of flaky, buttery crusts holding a dense casing of dairy surrounding a handful of mussels. There were cod breads and cod balls, crab breads and creamy lobster pâtés. Trout were splayed and garnished with flowers, hardboiled eggs were filled with seafood purees, shredded lemon pepper crab was coated in a crunchy cornmeal coating. There was a number of spam slice shaped gels and mousses were arrayed in a spectrum of pink and white shades. The theme of cream and pulverized seafood accompanied with crusty white bread seemed to really be the highlight of the celebration. White wine sold out early on, and the whole community was there to dance and eat the day away.





Bakeapples growing in Miquelon


Certainly there is a history worth checking out here. The museum on Île aux Marins, the island just inside the harbour of St. Pierre, is full of artwork, artifacts and photographs of the heavily religious fishing glory days of the area.  Informative signage around the small island makes for an easy self-guided day tour. Armed with a few baguettes and some tariff-free cheese, charcuterie and wine from one of the shops in St. Pierre and you’re golden. Come check it out, but don’t expect to uncover too many hidden secrets of local food production other than what is grown in household gardens. Eco-tours and hikes on Miquelon might be more worth your time than spending a day in the village. Take advantage of the opportunity to stock your suitcase full of European specialties and to bring some great pastries and baguettes home on your lap for brunch after the short flight back to Canada. Just don’t let the customs guards get too close.

Submitted by: Megan MacLeod

Introducing Shannon Jones and Bryan Dyck of Broadfork Farm, NS 

October 1st, 2015

Every farmer finds a different path to a career in agriculture. For Shannon Jones, it began with her studies in holistic nutrition, where she decided that the best way she could help people be healthier and more food-conscious was by growing the food herself. Since that decision, she has been volunteering, apprenticing, or working on farms for over ten years- and for the last four and a half years, she and her partner Bryan Dyck have been running their own 15.6 acre operation, Broadfork Farm, in River Hebert, NS.

Shannon Jones Bryan Dyck

Credit: Owen Bridge

Shannon is undoubtedly pleased with their choice to open Broadfork Farm. She loves “how fulfilling and challenging it is intellectually and physically and emotionally and spiritually. I love that I don’t have to always look “presentable” for work (besides the market).” At the farm, Shannon loves “…how quiet it is. I love how it’s located in the middle of the Maritimes provinces. I love our neighbours. And the forest. And the tidal river.”

Shannon’s passion for organic farming extends beyond her own farm, however. She is also a member of Slow Food NS and sits on the Steering Committee for the National New Farmer Coalition and ACORN’s Grow a Farmer Advisory Committee where she provides thought and guidance supporting the future of farmers in Atlantic Canada. Her commitment to the organic sector is admirable and encourages the importance of community engagement–a vital ingredient for any aspiring grower!

She will admit that it can be challenging to work with just her partner (in both life and in business) all day, every-day – however, she adds that working with Bryan also makes her job easier and even more fulfilling as they gain a deeper understanding of each other while they also evolve as farmers. Shannon encourages new farmers to “place value on your professional development. It’s not a waste of money! Conferences (like ACORN’s), farm tours, books, magazines (like Growing for Market) are valuable. I’ve been getting into farm podcasts. I like Farm Marketing Solutions and Permaculture Voices.”

Tartiflette Recipe: a Classic Take on Cheesy Potatoes

October 1st, 2015

Tartiflette is a French dish originating from the Savoie and Haute Savoie region of France. The name derives from the Savoyard word for potatoes, tartifles, a term also used in Provençal. The Savoyards first heard of tartiflette when it began to appear on the menus of restaurants in the ski stations, but some have even suggested that cheese makers created the recipe to sell more of their product. Whatever the case, a tartiflette’s success is heavily dependent on the quality of cheese used.


Serves 8

3 lbs new boiling potatoes, skin on

1 large onion, peeled & sliced

8 oz. thick bacon lardons (Oultons’s)

1 ½ cups white wine (L’Acadie Blanc)

¾ cup crème fraiche (stir together ½ sour cream and ½ heavy whipping cream, cover and let sit overnight a room temp)

2 rounds COLD ChampFleury Quebec cheese (cut in half and then slice horizontally to get 8 half moons of cheese)

3 tbsp Butter

1 peeled crushed garlic clove

Boil potatoes in salted water until slightly undercooked. Cool, peel and slice into ¼ inch thick slices and reserve. Sauté  bacon until brown; pour off fat leaving 3 TBSP; add onions  and cook slowly for about 10 minutes. Add wine, bring to a boil and srape up any brown bits; reduce to 1 cup liquid and reserve mixture.

Butter a large casserole (cast iron),  rub with a crushed garlic clove and put in a layer of potatoes. Spoon ½ of the bacon mixture and ½ of the crème fraiche over the top and repeat with the remaining potatoes, bacon and crème. Place cheese slices over the top RIND SIDE UP and bake uncovered in a 400F oven for about 40 minutes until brown and bubbling.

Serve with a green salad.

Submitted by: Peter Jackson

Homestyle Blueberry Yogurt Cake Recipe

October 1st, 2015

During the years of the IncrEdible Picnics when Slow Food NS was a participant, some of us home-cooks made this cake from the Select Nova Scotia recipe collection and gave tastes to the hungry hordes. It is really good! And it is possible to make with mainly good, clean, and fair ingredients. You can make this cake long after the summer season using frozen blueberries.


Blueberry Yogurt Cake


1 ½ cups (375ml) white sugar

2/3 cup (150ml) vegetable oil

1 egg

1 cup (250ml) plain, unsweetened yogurt – not fat-free

1 tsp (5ml) vanilla

2 ½ cups (625ml) flour (we use 2 c. wheat + ½ c. red fife wheat)

1 tsp (5ml) baking soda

1 tsp (5ml) salt

1 1 /2 cups (375ml) wild blueberries, fresh or frozen



Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease a bundt pan and set aside.

Whisk sugar, oil and egg together in a large bowl. Stir in yogurt and vanilla. In a separate bowl sift flour, baking soda and salt. Stir into the wet mixture and mix, just until flour is combined. Stir in blueberries, just until blended. Too much mixing at this point will make the cake tough and purple!

Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 40 minutes OR until a skewer comes out with moist crumbs attached. If cake is not cooked fully, return to oven for 8 – 10 minutes and check again. Each oven is different and may affect cooking time. Continue returning cake to oven for 8 – 10 minutes and checking until skewer comes out with moist crumbs attached. Tooth picks can be used for checking as well.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack. If cake sticks, run a knife around inner and outer edge of pan.

Submitted by Sheila Stevenson

ACORN’s Give A Toonie, Grow A Farmer Campaign – Sept 19-27, 2015!

September 5th, 2015

Support the next generation of organic farmers in Atlantic Canada!
As part of Organic Week 2015, several retailers and restaurants are participating in ACORN’s Give A Toonie, Grow A Farmer campaign throughout the Atlantic provinces to support the future development and sustainability of ACORN’s Grow A Farmer Initiative,

From September 19-27, 2015, you can support the Grow A Farmer initiative by contributing $2 (or more!) at the following locations in Nova Scotia:

  • En Vie Halifax
  • Just Us! Coffee
  • Local Source Market
  • Organic Earth Market
  • Pete’s
  • Wild Caraway
  • World Tea House

All proceeds support ACORN’s efforts in training the next generation of organic producers, through farmer mentor match-making services, event coordination and resource development.

For more information, please visit

Have you joined the #EATTHINKVOTE Campaign?
Be part of the solution for a better food system in Canada!

Food Secure Canada and partners have launched a campaign for a national food policy for Canada, titled the EatThinkVote Campaign!
There are four pillars to this campaign:

  • Healthy School Food Programs – that all kids in Canadian schools have access to healthy food every day;
  • Support for New Farmers – from increased access to capital to land, that new farmers find the support they need to thrive and contribute to stronger, more diversified sustainable food supply in Canada;
  • Zero Hunger in Canada – that the right to food is a reality for the 4 million Canadians that do not have food security;
  • Affordable Food in the North – that good food is accessible and affordable in Canada’s remote and northern communities.
    There are many ways to get involved and show your support, so please consider doing so! You can sign the petition (the goal is 10 000 signatures and right now, we have about 2000), donate to Food Secure Canada, and/or host an event in your community and invite your local MP to generate discussion about one our fundamental human needs: FOOD! And particularly, why affordable local organic food should be accessible for all in this country.

Click here for full details and please help to spread the word! #EatThinkVote

What’s Organic About Organic?

September 5th, 2015

What's Organic About Organic

ACORN presents “What’s Organic About Organic?” Community Info Sessions in Nova Scotia!

In celebration of national Organic Week, ACORN is hosting a community info session and dialogue series all about organics in Nova Scotia. Ever wondered:

  • WHAT does organic really mean?
  • HOW do I know it’s organic?
  • WHO grows organic food in NS?
  • WHERE can I find it?
  • WHY it all matters?!?

Tegan Renner of ACORN will address these questions and more in these one-hour evening sessions. There will be plenty of time for discussion, so come prepared with your thoughts and questions!

Suggested donation of $5 to ACORN accepted at the door. Snacks provided by Nature’s Path.

What’s Organic About Organic-Grand Pré

September 21st
Just Us! Coffeehouse Grand Pré
11865 Highway 1
Join the Facebook event here

What’s Organic About Organic-Halifax

September 22nd
Halifax Central Library
Lindsay Children’s Room (2nd Floor)
5440 Spring Garden Road
Join the Facebook event here

What’s Organic About Organic-Truro

September 24th
Truro Fire Hall
165 Victoria Street
Join the Facebook event here

Visit Sweetwood Farm and Producer, Heather Squires

August 6th, 2015

When: Sunday, August 16, 2015 from 1:30-3:30/4pm.

Where: Hirtle Road, Blockhouse/Mahone Bay,

Heather Squires is welcoming us for a tour of the Lunenburg County farm where she is raising goats and heritage-breed pigs and chickens. She will talk about her approach and plans for this farm, and show us the new Tamworth-cross piglets.

The visit will include a short goat cheese making demo + a talk on cheese & cheese making + a semi-formal cheese tasting, with accompaniments, of Heather’s and other NS cheeses, in the kitchen.

Limited quantities of pastured, whey-fed Tamworth-cross pork, bacon, and sausage will be on offer, along with cheese making supplies and cheese making kits.

Cost: Slow Food Members $45. Non-members $55.

Min 6 people. Max 10-12.

Pre-register with Mike O’Keefe mikeokeefeslowfoodns[at]

About Heather Squires, Sweetwood Farm, and Tamworth Pigs

Check out Heather’s posts on fb at (all photos in this post are from this page)

She blogs at

To learn about the Tamworth breed, check them out in the Ark of Taste -Tamworth  Pig 


July 19th: Cumberland County Field Trip

July 11th, 2015

Slow Food NS Mainland South and Slow Food Northumberland Shore are offering a field trip to Cumberland County:

The Event

July 19th at 11:30 am: Advocate Harbour — visit Canaqua Seafoods Limited,

followed by lunch, family-style, at Wild Caraway Restaurant and Cafe

after lunch: visit Broadfork Farm in River Hebert East

Canaqua Seafoods

Canaqua supplies three species of finfish (Atlantic salmon, Atlantic halibut and Arctic char) raised in land-based, closed-containment, marine (full salinity from seawater wells) facilities, now under transitional organic management.

Wild Caraway

Chefs Andrew Aitken and Sarah Griebel are the owners of Wild Caraway in Advocate Harbour. They are both Slow Food members and have been part of the team of chefs producing the food at our Spring Supper for the last two years.

Broadfork Farm

Shannon Jones and Bryan Dyck, of Broadfork Farm, produce organic vegetables and cut flowers. Shannon and Bryan are active as young farmers in the National Farmers Union.


$30/Slow Food member
Cash or Cheque only, at the event.
(Please try to give a few days notice if something comes up
and you can’t come.)

RSVP (by July 13) 

Scott Whitelaw:

Maximum: 35 people

Getting there (and back):

  • Halifax to Advocate Harbour (via Parrsboro): 3 h
  • Advocate Harbour to River Hebert / Broadfork: 50 min
  • Broadfork to Amherst: 20 min
  • Amherst to Halifax: 2 h 5 min

6th Annual Slow Food NS Spring Supper – May 2, 2015

April 10th, 2015

Spring Supper 6 Poster-page-001After five extremely successful years, Slow Food Nova Scotia returns with its 6th Annual Spring Supper on Saturday, May 2nd. Billed as the down home, no fuss, culinary event of the season, this year’s dinner will feature nine of the region’s top chefs working together to bring you a multiple-course, locally-sourced Nova Scotian church supper unlike any other.

This year’s attendees are in for a treat and a bit of a format change-the firstcourse will feature an hour-long oyster reception highlighting select Nova Scotia oysters featured on the Slow Food Ark of Taste shucked by the producers themselves-Sober Island oysters, Malagash oysters from Bay Enterprises Ltd. and Big Island oysters from ShanDaph. Three of the evening’s chefs will prepare rounds of decadent hors d’oeuvres accompanied by sparkling wine and local craft beer. Guests will then move to take their seats in the main hall to enjoy a three-course, family-style meal paired with Nova Scotia wines. Local food producers, farmers, winemakers and foodies alike round out this incredible evening. This event is open to the public.

Tickets are $90 for Slow Food Members and $120 for non members. If you join Slow Food at the Supper we will discount your new first year membership by $30 for an individual membership and $60 for a couples membership (This night only!) 


Tickets available online at TicketPro: The coupon code  for Slow Food members is

Participating Chefs/Restaurants include: Mark Gray (The Brooklyn Warehouse- Kitchen Lead), Chris Velden (The Flying Apron Cookery), Rob Reynolds (EDNA), Andrew Aitken & Sarah Griebel (Wild Caraway Inn), Dave Smart Craig Flinn (Chives Canadian Bistro), Andrew Farrell (2 Doors Down) & Kristy Burgess (Lion & Bright) all rounded out by contributions from Charcuterie Ratinaud French Cuisine.


The Details:

  • When: Saturday, May 2nd, 2015
  • Where: Christ Church Community Center, 61 Dundas Street, Dartmouth
  • Tickets are $120 each for the general public ($90 for Slow Food members) and are available online at Ticketpro. Tickets are also available at all TicketPro outlets in Nova Scotia.
  • Ticket price includes the multi-course dinner paired with Nova Scotian wines & beers
  • Reception 6:30PM Upper Level, Dinner 7:30PM Seated Lower Level