Edible City is where I muse about urban gardening and share tips from my new book City Farmer

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Lot of Sausages

Fifty-five pounds of ground pork shoulder. Dozens of feet of pig intestines. Herbs, spices, 2 bottles of wine, a bag of Doritos. My brother Ross, some old friends and I made sausages last night. Ross, Roger and Henry have been doing it together for years (Roger learned as a child from his dad) and they kindly let me in on what Henry called their "man fun." (I try not to see the world in gendered terms, but as I was up to my elbows in ground pork, I thought, yes, my gal friends and I get together to make chocolates...)

A lot of thought goes into their sausage flavourings. Ross used special treats from Australia--Aussie native spices such as bush tomato and native pepper berries; Roger went for the traditional (garlic); Henry went wild with fig sauce, maple syrup and, in a last-minute creative spark, ground-up Doritos (which did indeed add flavour along with crunch).

I, too, went a bit wild with my five pounds of pork, dividing it into half for just garlic and pepper, and the other half for sausages that paid tribute to my first drink of alcohol as a teenager: apricot brandy. I flavoured my sausages with chopped-up dried apricots, a couple ounces of Remy Martin and roasted fennel seeds.

I'm hooked and already scheming flavour combos for the next batch in a couple of months: dried pear and pine nuts; cranberry and hazelnut.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Reading and Talk this Monday

I hope you'll join me at a public reading/talk I'm giving on Monday, May 2nd, 7pm, at the North York Public Library in Toronto (North York Civic Centre subway stop). I'll be reading excerpts from my book City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Production and telling stories about unusual things people are doing in terms of growing food in the city (such as this "Vehicular Reclamation Project," photo above, in which people grew herbs and other plants in this car--one of my favourite gardens ever).

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saving My Ash Tree

I embarrassed myself in a meeting recently. A group of us were gathered to plan the upcoming urban tree conference (November 1st and 2nd; details soon) being sponsored by the Ontario Urban Forest Council and the Toronto Botanical Garden. As we discussed topics, I found that all I could think about, and all I wanted to talk about, was the gigantic and beautiful ash tree in my front yard--threatened by emerald ash borer! Here I was with a group of very knowledgeable tree people, so I couldn't help by ask at every turn: "Yes, but what about my tree?!"

Emerald ash borer is in Toronto (having already wiped out almost all ash trees in Windsor), and every ash is threatened. I don't know if mine is infested (there are no visible signs, yet), but it could be any day. There are infestations just 4 kilometres away from my tree. Apparently there's a treatment available, and I plan to check into it. My tree, technically, belongs to the city, so I'll start with them. I despair at the thought of losing this fantastic giant (40 feet plus), whose canopy shades three houses.