by JIM ALGIE
A year-old, local food wholesaling agency based in southern Grey County has announced arrangements for a farmers market at the high profile Toronto restaurant, Boehmer, beginning in June.
Since it began, Chef’s Forum has grown from eight farmers to 30, established an interactive, online marketplace and, most recently, completed distribution arrangements with a broker based in the Greater Toronto Area. Organizer Linda Reader has begun beating the drum for more growers and produce.
At a local food tasting event at Grey Roots Museum near Owen Sound, Jan. 20, Reader also announced the recent arrangement with chef Paul Boehmer for a Saturday farmers market at his Ossington Ave. restaurant, beginning in June.
“It’s going to give Chefs’ Forum immediate exposure in the Toronto market,” Reader said in an interview. It’s the only farmers market she knows about in a Toronto restaurant.
“We’re already taking food down there and there will be more by the summer,” Reader said of her group’s attempts to link growers and chefs. “I just think, for us, it’s amazing promotion for the farmers who are involved.”
An economic development consultant based in the Flesherton area, Reader has helped manage the project that began with closed-door, trade shows introducing chefs and farmers. Chef/farmer Michael Stadtlander, whose world famous restaurant Eigensinn Farm, is also in Grey County, attended an early session organized by Reader and advised the group to concentrate their distribution effort on chefs.
The trade shows led to commercial arrangements for a wide range of Grey County produce, everything from ducks to micro-greens, sheep’s milk cheese and mushrooms.
Boehmer, a former apprentice of Stadtlander and veteran of more than 20 years cooking in high profile Toronto restaurants, expects the market will attract both direct consumers and chefs who “will be able to actually meet the farmers who grow the produce and raised the livestock and fowl.”
“They can buy while enjoying a glass of wine in our restaurant. What’s not to like?” Boehmer said in a Chef’s Forum statement. BF