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Posts tagged ‘food’

Local Food Challenge Week! Are You Up For It?

Yesterday marked the first day of a Local Food Challenge happening here in our hometown of Vancouver.

The Foodtree Team has jumped on board and we’re all trying to eat fully local this week.

What Is Local Food Challenge Week?

If you’re in Vancouver, you can jump on board to support the cause, and the Growing Chefs organization that brings hands-on gardening and cooking experience taught by local chefs into the classroom to educate children about growing and cooking food.

Thing is, you don’t have to be in Vancouver to participate in something like this.

The simple act to trying to eat local for a week is something that every food lover should try out at some point. It’s challenging, so don’t beat yourself up for running into issues here and there, but you can use the experience to learn a bit about your local food community. Where can you get local food? Which restaurants support the region’s producers?

What is actually seasonal near you?

The Freebie Rule

Pulling something like this off and feeling like you’ve succeeded means you’ll need to give yourself a few freebies each day.

Here at Foodtree, we drink a lot of coffee and tea. These are hard to come by on a local level, so a few of us are using our freebies each day for our caffeine fix, and occasional chocolate indulgence.

Oh, and by the way, it’s probably easiest to do a local food challenge during the late summer when a lot of different foods are in season. Check out Vancouver’s seasonality chart.

Here and here are some inspiration and ideas to get you started, and keep an eye out as we tweet our meals from the Treehouse!

Have you ever eaten local for an entire week?

What was the biggest challenge?

The Foodtree iPhone App Is Available!

The Foodtree app is available today! Click here to download!

We’d be extremely grateful if you’d also give our app a quick star rating + review as well. We’ll be watching the feedback closely for future releases!

What’s Fresh Near You!

The app is a photo sharing app for celebrating fresh food!

When you open the app you’ll see a What’s Fresh tab, which is a collection of the latest food photos from your local farmers markets, shared by people in your community.  Think of it as a real-time visual guide for fresh food near you.

If you’re not at the farmers market, it’ll make you want to go:)

Take Photos Of Fresh Food

Our app is meant to bring us closer to fresh food and the people who provide that food for us.

As you take photos of the food around you, you’re asked to identify where you found it and where it’s from. As you navigate the app you’ll find photo streams for farms, farmers markets, and other food sources taken by you and other users near you. Each photo can be shared on Facebook and Twitter, which will create a web page displaying the photo and celebrating it’s sources.

This is an opportunity for all of us to participate in our food community, while having a lot of fun and connecting with other food lovers.

We really hope you like the app and look forward to making it even better as you give us feedback.

Questions or just want to say hi? Email!

Just a quick warning…the app is only activated for Vancouver, BC and Boulder, CO…two of the world’s foremost food communities and home to a vibrant and growing community of Foodtree supporters. If you’d like us to activate your city’s food community, let us know here.

Thanks For All The Support!

Highlighting Local: Nelson the Seagull #localfood

Today is Jonny’s birthday and we took him out for coffee at a new Gastown eatery we’ve all fallen in love with called, Nelson the Seagull. The space is open and airy, with rustic furniture, and really delicious food. It’s going to be Derek’s new favorite meeting place, so keep an eye out for him there. ;)

We chatted briefly with Lee, one of the co-owners of Nelson the Seagull, and asked where they source their food (as we do with everyone). It was great to hear their focus is on organic and local, and they get most of what they use from Discovery Organics and Big Lou’s Butcher Shop.

And now for some gratuitous photos of their fresh baked goods:

Nelson the seagull - lemon tarts

Nelson the seagull - tarts


Check out Nelson the Seagull at 315 Carrall Street in Gastown. We’ve also created a profile page for them on Foodtree.

Scenes from the Kitsilano Farmers Market #vanfarmers

Despite the rainy weather last Sunday, opening day saw the Kitsilano Farmers Market packed with people looking for fresh local food. The Foodtree team was in attendance talking with vendors, taking photos, and doing a bit of shopping of our own.

There was a great mix of tempting products available and I went home with baked goods, tulips, and my beloved asparagus. I took many photos that morning because everyone seemed to have something beautiful or delicious.

Kitsilano Farmers Market: radishes

Kitsilano Farmers Market: spring onions
Radishes and spring onions from Cropthorne Farm

Kitsilano Farmers Market: yellow oyster mushrooms
Yellow oyster mushroom from Hui’s Farm

Kitsilano Farmers Market: tulips
Tulips from Anna Blumen Design

Kitsilano Farmers Market: Honey
Jars of honey from Jane’s Honey Bees

Kitsilano Farmers Market: The Flour Peddlar
Flour grown and processed in BC from The Flour Peddlar

Kitsilano Farmers Market: tomatoes
Hot house cherry tomatoes from Celyddon Farm

Kitsilano Farmers Market: apples
Apples from Klippers Organics.

Next up for the Vancouver farmers market are the openings of both the West End and Main Street Station markets at the beginning of June.

As mentioned in our previous blog post, we will be launching an iPhone app in late June with a focus on farmers markets. We’re always looking for more beta testers so please add yourself to this form if you’d like to participate!

Spot Prawn Season Is Here!

BC Spot Prawn season is here, and in order to celebrate a season of fresh and sustainable food the Foodtree team released a mobile app to make it easy to find restaurants serving spot prawns, and where you can sign up for alerts from the fishing boats as they head back to the docks each day. You can visit via the web here, or via your mobile browser at

This post follows a lot of questions this weekend about how to store and cook fresh prawns. Enjoy!

BC Spot Prawn Festival

I’m guessing that most people don’t think of fish is having seasons. They do. And one of the most delicious seafoods is in season in British Columbia right now and will last another 6 to 8 weeks.

If you’ve made your way down to the dock and now are wondering what to do with them, here are a few quick tips:

1. Spot Prawns harvested “live” should be cooked immediately or have their heads removed as soon as possible.  Spot prawns have an enzyme that begins to permeate through the tail and turns the meat mushy. Store the tails in the fridge for up to three days with some ice on them.  (change the ice at least daily)

2. While prawns can be grilled, baked, sautéed, boiled or steamed, they only require 1 to 2 minutes cooking time and are done when they just turn pink. Overcooking will toughen the prawns.

Here’s a video demo from Chef Rob Clark of C Restaurant, Nu and Raincity Grill

UPDATE: Check out this wonderful synopsis of the event and crustaceans over at EatDrinkBeLocal.

Treehouse Tips: Remove Pesticides With Salt And Vinegar

Team member Ida Keung posts daily tips on sustainable living. See all of her Treehouse Tips by clicking here.

If you can’t always buy organic fruits and vegetables, but you’re concerned about the wax and chemicals that may have been used on your produce, what can you do? Using hot water or soaking fruit and produce for lengthy periods of time to rinse them off will cause precious nutrients to leach into the water.

How about giving salt and vinegar a try? Vinegar and other citric acids are particularly tough on waxy preservatives and other oily residues. You can mix yourself a wash spray of one part vinegar, two parts water and two tbsp. of salt to spray down your fruits and vegetables before giving them a good scrub and rinsing. This mixture will also help to loosen dirt, kill bacteria, and remove herbicides and pesticides.

Treehouse Tips: Turn Your Vegetable Mesh Bags Into Pot Scrubbers

Team member Ida Keung posts daily tips on sustainable living. See all of her Treehouse Tips by clicking here.

Did you know that the mesh bags that you get from buying onions, garlic, and potatoes make fantastic pot scrubbers? All you have to do is roll it up into a ball, and then thread some fishing line through the ball with a needle until it’s compact. You have the option of leaving the tail-end of the bag out to serve as a handle for easier pot-scrubbing. If you are using the smaller mesh bags from garlic and tomatoes, you can accumulate several of them to make a larger bundle that will last longer.
As these bags are used to hold heavy vegetables, they are very durable and ideal for doing your dirty work! However, as they’re most often non-biodegradable, so it probably makes the most sense to try and buy your vegetables without them!