Shopping for Local Ingredients during the Holiday Season
It’s that time of year! The Holiday season is in full swing, and with it comes a handful of holiday party invites. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or attending a potluck get-together, you’re bound to be whipping up some sort of holiday dish this season. In our last post, we talked about some delicious holiday-inspired recipes that you could try.
This post, we wanted to share how easy it can be to choose local ingredients right in your every-day grocery store. Our goal with this post is to show our readers how we can continue to be mindful about our food selection even during the busiest of seasons.
If you’re making an appetizer: try a Charcuterie board
Charcuterie boards are always a potluck hit! I found shopping for local meats and cheeses was a bit trickier, because the selection wasn’t as large at a major grocery store as it was at a speciality store. But, with the many varieties of meats and cheese that can be used, you’re bound to be able to find something produced here in Canada.
I began by visiting my local Safeway and approached the staff at the Deli Counter. I told them I was looking for a locally-produced meat that would be popular for a charcuterie board and they were happy to help, offering me an Ontario-produced Salami by Pillers as their closest local variety. Since the selection was slightly smaller than I hoped, I purchased the Pillers Salami and carried on to the Italian grocery store Mercato. I had a feeling since they were more specialized they might have a larger selection, and they did. It was simple to ask the staff again for their local options and they were very helpful and knowledgeable
about where their products came from.
I chose an Edmonton-produced Ham Sausage by Capital, as well as a Canadian Prosciutto (Ontario-based) and 2 Bothwell cheeses produced in Manitoba.
On the cheeses, you’ll also notice the blue Dairy Farmers of Canada Logo, indicating it is made with top quality Canadian Milk.
Paired with crackers and my favourite olives, this was a simple appetizer featuring almost entirely locally-sourced ingredients!
If you’re making a main dish: try this stuffed chicken breast
If you’re responsible for bringing a main dish to the potluck, or if you’re hosting a dinner party, these stuffed chicken breasts are a no-fuss favourite. I like to keep things simple, so I stuffed mine with brie and bell peppers only, but feel free to add caramelized onions, spinach and olives to make things more interesting. This easy recipe called for canola oil, chicken breast, brie or goat cheese and veggies of choice.
Since online grocery shopping is becoming more and more popular, I figured I would try to find local products online for those who don’t have the opportunity to go in-store. I shopped Save-On-Foods for this meal and was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to shop local ingredients (almost easier than in-store!) In fact, they have a whole category named ‘local ingredients’ so you can shop in-store items that are produced within Alberta and Canada.
I chose to purchase the Alexis De Porneuf brie based out of Quebec, which is always a great choice, in my opinion. Fresh veggies such as bell peppers are a bit trickier to find from local sources especially this time of year, so the ones I purchased were from Mexico, but keep an eye out for veggies sourced from B.C. if they’re available. I also found Western Canadian Free Run Chicken Breast which is raised on family farms in British Columbia
And of course, this Western Family Alberta-produced Canola Oil.
Again, a few simple ingredients, almost all locally-sourced.
If you’re making a dessert: Try these Cranberry Oat Bars
These cranberry oat bars are really simple, festive and delicious! Definitely a must-try if you’re planning on doing some holiday baking. I happened to have Robin Hood Flour on hand, which is a Canadian-based flour company, as well as Quaker Oats which are made with 100% Canadian Oats. You can look for the Maple Leaf logo indicating that the oats are 100% Canadian sourced.
I went back to my local Safeway on a mission for locally-produced butter and very easily found this Foothills Creamery brand that is produced in Calgary. Once again, look for that Canadian Leaf and you can be assured you're getting a Canadian-sourced product.
Since Cranberries are a B.C. speciality so I knew it wouldn’t be hard to find some B.C. sourced cranberries and cranberry juice. These Compliments frozen cranberries I found in the frozen fruit section of Safeway, and this Bremner's pure Cranberry Juice was available in Save-on-Foods.
All in all, I knew I might not be able to find every product produced in Alberta or even Canada. But I was amazed at how many products I could find that were Alberta and Canadian-sourced, if I just put the time in to look online, ask the store clerk, or check out different brands from my usual go-to. If you’re whipping up a holiday meal or treat this season, I encourage you to try to find local ingredients where you can. With these small, conscious choices we can better support our Albertan and Canadian farmers!
Happy Holidays from the Taste Alberta Team!