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Urban Food

17 March 2012

I think it finally hit me this week. I know that’s probably a funny thing to say after nearly a month, but it finally hit me that I Live In Toronto. What’s worse, is that I realized in many ways, it’s seriously no big deal. I don’t think I ever realized exactly how well suited I am for Urban life. I love it. Like, it brings me to tears how much I love it.

I think the first time I realized something to this tune was during my move from Hamilton back to Oakville 3 years ago. I loved my apartment in Hamilton and since I had a car at the time it was pretty easy living (even if it was in Hamilton *shiver*). My mom, however, needed a roomate and my apartment wasn’t big enough for two so she asked me to move in with her (also in Hamilton). I really, really, really didn’t want to. I really, really didn’t. So she suggested we try and move back to Oakville – my knee-jerk reaction was this “Yes, please – there are Starbucks’ in Oakville!”. Now, obviously Oakville is way more suburban than Hamilton, but the point is that I crave and need a connection to wherever I live. I love Starbucks (sorry), and Oakville offered that. Toronto has way more Starbucks’ – so we’re already starting off in a good place.

One of my most favorite things in the world is grocery shopping. I think it’s the Chantelle Equivalent of shoe-shopping, or clothes-shopping for normal girls. Given the right environment, I could probably shop for two hours strait and enjoy myself. Another major reason I moved back to Oakville was for the Whole Foods. Shopping at No-Frills, or Food Basics, or even the slightly-better Fortinos is just not as pleasant an experience. For someone so profoundly invested in the experience of shopping, Whole Foods is right up my ally. I’m not vegan, or celiac, or on a raw-food diet, or even all that concerned about Organics – I just like the experience. In fact, when it comes to food itself I don’t have many strong opinions. Lactose-Free Milk (Soy or otherwise) is probably my only peculiar weekly item. That being said, if given the option, I will almost always choose to buy Local. It just makes sense to me. If it’s not an option, then I will gladly eat blueberries from Costa Rica, but I’ll never choose them over Ontario ones.

With that in mind, last week I signed up for a CSA Farm Delivery service. It’s a bi-weekly share of veggies & fruit from Fresh City Farms (from Toronto), and Monforte Cheese (from Stratford), and costs about $40 every two weeks. My first delivery was this Wednesday, and it was OK. The veggies were mostly top-knotch and don’t even get me started on the Cheese (Phenomenal), but I realized something important – it wasn’t about the food at all.

This isn’t a replacement for grocery shopping (also, why would I replace something I enjoy doing so much?), this isn’t for necessity, it’s for fun! Like going out to a restaurant, or what I love most about grocery shopping – it’s about the experience. Food in General (but more specifically Local-Sourced, Organic, Free-Trade Produce & Cheeses) is definitely my New Favorite Hobby. Like this guy says, it’s sort of a bit of an adventure. It’s the best possible replacement for my smoking habit, costs about the same and it actually super healthy for me.
(Behold the amazing salad I made from the Box – so good))

I know that this is something I could have done in Oakville (actually, not with this parciular company, but you get my drift), but I’ve equated it with a perk of living downtown – perhaps it’s because Fresh City’s main farm is at Downsview Park, I don’t know. I’ve already got my feet wet with the local restaurant scene in Toronto, I feel like I’m fairly up-to-date on the major goings-on on that front, now it’s time to get to know the next layer of the onion (har har – food joke!). Stay tuned!

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