Saskatchewan is a hub for foodies with its endless farmers fields and local, hand-grown crops.
At Arbutus, we’re a big supporter of farmers in Saskatchewan. Some of the best crops in the country come from the endless, lush fields in the prairie province. We purchase 26 metric tons of chickpeas from Saskatchewan farmers every year and are steadily working to increase that.
As part of our monthly blog series, we spoke with Jolene, founder of one of Canada’s most popular food blogs, Everyday Foodie. She’s been documenting her homemade recipes and discussing food trends since 2009, when no one even knew what a blog was. We talked to her about how living in Saskatchewan has shaped her perspective on food, living amongst farmers and fields.
Why did you start your blog?
M: I have just always loved food. I have always been interested in cooking, trying new recipes, and reading about food. I first heard of a “blog” back in school — no one knew what it was. I started searching for food blogs, and I found a couple, but there weren’t many at the time; they were more like food logs or diaries of what people ate every day. I decided to start one and that’s how it started — as more of a food log and that eventually evolved into recipes and dinner parties and posting anything about food.
What is it that you love about food?
M: Everything! I think it’s a lot of the creativity that can come with it — the endless ingredients, endless recipes, endless discussions. I’ve always wanted to try everything — different restaurants and different types of cuisines because I’ve always been scared I will miss out on something. What could be my new favourite food? I don’t want to miss out on anything.
You’ve been doing this since 2009, and you’ve seen a lot of food trends come and go. Can you tell me about some of the shifts you’ve seen?
M: There’s more of a focus on organic food, healthy eating — more local for sure. That’s here to stay. But in terms of trends we’ve seen cupcakes. Everything cupcake related. Then cake pops became a big thing. Donuts got bigger after that and now we’ve seen a trend towards meatballs. That’s what I’ve been seeing so we’ll see if that will take off.
Even within the blogging community, we’ve seen the smoothie trend — especially those monster green smoothies. Oatmeal with toppings. Overnight oatmeal. Lot’s of trends!
Why do you think there’s been such a renewed emphasis on healthy, non-gmo, organic?
M: I think the health of people has been declining because of all the fast food and junk food that’s available for cheap cost and convenience. There’s a lot of food documentaries out there that look at how unhealthy these things are. People are becoming more aware and taking more action to improve their health.
In your own life, do you focus on eating non-gmo and organic?
M: Yes, we try and find products non-gmo, organic, and local. I don’t care if they’re more expensive, we’ll choose those over products that are not. We also shop at farmers markets and focus on anything grown in Saskatchewan, or even in Canada at the very least. We try to avoid buying from the United States or international products.
Why is that?
M: We like that it’s not travelling as far, we know where it’s coming from so that we know they don’t use as many gmos, hormones, or antibiotics. We live near farmland and we see the cows roaming free, and we like that. We have seen documentaries of cows that are treated differently and we want to avoid that.
I lived on a farm until I was 7, so we had our own chickens and the neighbour had cows. I was used to eating from a garden. To me, I want the food as close to me as I can get it. If we can’t grow it in our backyard, we want our food from a farm we can visit.
Saskatchewan is very beautiful with all the farmland. How do you think living there and seeing those open fields and various crops has shaped your perspective on food?
M: We’ve become so detached with the food that we eat. My husband and I try to be closer to the food by cooking it, or making meals from scratch — even just eating at the table instead of eating in front of the television where you’re not aware what you’re eating. It’s important to enjoy your meals and savour them. Any way that we can be more connected to our food is important. And I think that keeps us healthier. We never have to worry about weight; we never worrying about dieting or think about things not being healthy. We eat a wide variety of foods and have never had a problem with cravings or restricting our bodies to certain food.
We would rather have butter made on a farm nearby than margarine made in a lab who knows where.
Lastly, you mentioned how you love trying new foods. What is your next on your list of foods to try?
M: We’re heading to Halifax soon so I want to try seafood from the coast! Like lobster right out of the water. That’s next.