5 Tips for improving workplace mental health

It’s easy to be consumed by the hospitality industry when your entire life is work.  The industry often leaves us without balance or a focus on overall wellness and  mental well being. Our generation is in crisis and there is a silent epidemic of  mental malnutrition in the workplace. Based on our 2019 survey of 400  respondents in Ontario, 87% of hospitality workers said yes to living with mental  health and addiction challenges.    

If you suffer from a heart attack or break a bone the obvious course of action is  to go to the doctor but people seem to neglect healing and recovery when it  comes to their mental health. Although most don’t live with a mental illness, all  of us are affected by our mental wellness. We all have to care for our own  mental health in the same way as our physical health. This becomes difficult for  most people in the hospitality industry who work outside of the 9-5 hours. Many  often have high-pressure jobs in small to medium-sized businesses where the  fundamentals needed for a supportive work environment are neglected or  unavailable.    

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The good news is that there are steps we can all take for creating positive  mental health habits in and outside of work. Here are 5 tips that can help you  and your staff and the best part is that they’re free!   

  1. Exercise. We all need it and running up and down stairs isn’t enough.  Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a walk or riding your bike to work. To  help encourage your team, reach out to a local gym and request a  corporate discount for your staff. 

  2. Take a Break! You don’t have to smoke to go outside for fresh air.  Sometimes, getting outside for 10-15 minutes is enough to hit the reset  button and get out of the constant push of service. As a manager, hold  yourself accountable to the Ministry of Labor laws and ensure that your  staff are taking their breaks regularly.  

  3. Nourish your Body. We’ve all been there: an entire day goes by and you  haven’t eaten or consumed enough water at all. We need to place  value in making sure that we eat, and the people around us eat as well.  We spend our days taking care of guests and need to take care of our  work family first.   

  4. Avoid Drugs & Alcohol at Work. It’s not a secret that substance abuse is  prevalent in our industry. Management has an influence to lead by  example and the opportunity to offer staff alternative rewards besides a  post-work drink.  

  5. Resources. Posting mental health and addiction resources publicly for staff  and encouraging a dialogue sets a tone for a positive work culture.   

Sometimes the most powerful habits aren’t ones that cost a lot of money. The  goal is about shifting the focus and effort to taking care of yourself and the  people around you. These habits can help create not only higher retention in  staff but also a more productive, efficient and (most importantly), a happier and  healthier team.  

Not 9 to 5 is a Canadian organization focused on mental health and addiction in the  hospitality, food and beverage industry. We encourage change for a healthier mental  wellbeing for both employers and employees by normalizing the struggle, decreasing  stigma & connecting to resources. Stay tuned for our Better Practice Guide being  launched as a free downloadable PDF at Terroir 2019.

50 Years of Canada’s Favourite Cocktail

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Caesar. Restaurant manager Walter Chell at Calgary Inn in Calgary, AB first concocted the cocktail in 1969 when he was tasked to create a signature drink to commemorate the opening of an Italian restaurant in the hotel. Inspired by his Italian roots and recollection of the Venetian dish Spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with tomato sauce and clams), Chell combined vodka with clam and tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, and a variety of spices to make his signature spicy cocktail. Today, that spice is provided by a few dashes of the Caesar’s classic ingredient – TABASCO® Sauce.

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Order a Caesar outside of Canada and you may be met with blank stares, but here in Canada it’s become an iconic part of Canadian heritage. Over 350 million Caesars are consumed in Canada each year, and it was named Canada’s National Cocktail by Parliament in 2010. Join us in celebrating the Caesar’s 50th Anniversary at Terroir 2019 with TABASCO® Foodservice Canada, who will have a table set up to make-your-own ultimate Caesar. And if this article is already making you thirsty, follow the recipe below for a quick Caesar fix!


CLASSIC TABASCO-SPIKED CAESAR

INGREDIENTS

1 teaspoon TABASCO® brand Original Red Sauce

1/2 cup Smithworks® Vodka

1 1/2 cups clam & tomato juice

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons olive juice (optional)

GARNISH

Celery salt to rim glasses

2 celery sticks

2 lime wedges

PREPARATION

Mix ingredients together. Divide between two 8-ounce ice-filled highball glasses rimmed with celery salt. Stir with celery sticks. Garnish with lime.

Be our Guest – Your Invitation to Discovering the Hidden Delicacies of 2019’s Rural Terroir Host

The 2019 Terroir Rural Retreat may not be open to the public, here’s how you can create your own culinary experience of the Kawarthas Northumberland region. Kawarthas-Northumberland is hosting this year’s Rural Retreat at South Pond Farms. Located just east of Toronto,this region has a long-standing farm-to-fork tradition and some recent innovations that are catching the attention of foodies across Canada and around the world.

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The Venue: South Pond Farms

Chefs and producers will prepare & serve some of Ontario’s best taste-of-place experiences amongst the farm fields and cedar groves of South Pond Farms. But if you didn’t get an invite, don’t feel like you’ve missed out: South Pond Farms welcomes guests year-round to their idyllic farm with a combination of culinary workshops, Farm House Lunches, and Full Moon Supper experiences, not to mention access to gorgeous nature trails on the unique Oak Ridges Moraine.

The Chefs

Chefs from 7 certified Feast On restaurants within Kawarthas Northumberland will be working magic with local ingredients at the Rural Retreat, and you can stop by any one of these restaurants to discover that taste-of-place talent & devotion:

  • Elmhirst’s Resort in Keene

  • The Mill in Cobourg

  • The Publican House Brew Pub in Peterborough

  • Rare Grill House in Peterborough

  • The Social in Port Hope

  • South Pond Farms in Pontypool

  • Ste. Anne’s Spa in Grafton

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The Ingredients

James Whetung will be contributing some of his Black Duck Wild Rice. Known as “Manomin” in Anishnaabeg (which translates as “Gift of the Creator” or “The Good Seed”), this rice has been harvested from local lakes for thousands of years. Watch this gorgeous video on the story of Manomin here and find James selling his harvest at the Peterborough Farmers’ Market from September to December.

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Popham Lane Farm will be providing some of their Vitamin C and antioxidant-packed black currants. These black currants have gained a reputation locally for making award-winners. Centre & Main Chocolate Co. won a national award for their integration of these black currants into a dark chocolate bar and Doo Doo’s Bakery used them in a butter tart recipe that took top honours at the Royal Winter Fair.

Warkworth’s True Saffron has the distinction of being Ontario’s only producer of saffron and for securing the International Organization for Standardization’s highest rating, Grade I. Martin Albert, co-owner of True Saffron, has some tips right here for how you can use his saffron. Pure pistils, infused syrups, and more are available for sale at Centre & Main Chocolate Co. in Warkworth.

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On the north side of Rice Lake, Keene’s Harley Farms have earned their own special accolades for becoming the first farm in Ontario to be certified by the S.P.C.A. Their grass-fed, humanely-raised lamb will be one of the ingredients at the Rural Retreat.

Also featured in the Rural Retreat pantry are trout from Linwood Acres Trout Farm, Red Fife Wheat (Canada’s oldest strain of wheat, originally developed in Peterborough) from Marrylynd Organics, spinach from Forager’s Farms, Goat from Hidden Shoe Farm, Maple Syrup from Puddleduck Farm, grass-fed beef from South 50 Farms, goat cheese from both Mariposa and Cross Wind Farms, cheddar cheese from Empire Cheese, microgreens from Little Leaf Farm, hop shoots and pellets from Bickle Farms Valley Hops, honey from South Pond Farms, and beets, rutabaga, potatoes and spring veggies from Lunar Rhythm Gardens.

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Local Brews

Some award-winning local breweries are also bringing out their best to welcome guests, including Smithavens Brewing Co., Publican House Brewery, and William Street Beer Co.

Rolling Grape Winery, Empire Cider, and Black’s Distillery will bring some additional spirit to this unique taste of place experience.

Keep watching our social channels to get a taste for what Kawarthas Northumberland and all of Ontario have to offer.

to FIND OUT MORE, VISIT kawarthasnorthumberland.ca

 

Heal The Soil, Save the Planet: 100km Foods & The New Farm

There’s no two ways about it: the way we produce food and the diets we choose to eat need to radically change. Industrial, global food production is one of the main contributors to the climate change crisis. We live within the bounds of a dire paradox: in Canada, over 1 million households are food insecure even while Canada is one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Canada is also a key player when it comes to agricultural production, which generated $111.9 billion of Canada’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 2016. It is not coincidental, then, that Canada is one of the worlds highest emitters of global CO2, ranking 9th in the world.

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So, what does all of this mean for us?

It means Canada as a nation, and we as its citizens, have an enormous responsibility to address how our current agricultural practices contribute to the worsening climate crisis and our inequitable food systems. Or, to frame it another way, an urgent opportunity to commit to real, substantive change. Because the question has become not if we need to radically transform our food systems, but will we do so in time?

Today, we’re going to focus on the environmental impact of agriculture. At 100km Foods, we are lucky enough to partner with some amazingly innovative and proactive farmers, who recognize the climate crisis and the role agriculture has in it. Indeed, farmers and agricultural workers are already on the front lines of climate change. They are intimately aware of the markers we already measure: worsening rates of soil erosion, droughts, high temperatures and crop failures. These farmers are already working to transform their practices and their lands in order to mitigate (or even, reverse) some of the effects of climate change. The term for these agricultural practices is regenerative agriculture.

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What is regenerative agriculture?

Regenerative agriculture takes sustainable practices one step beyond reducing CO2 emissions to examining net carbon output. The idea is that farmers who integrate a series of organic farming principals that embody a holistic systems approach on their land can not only reduce their emissions, but sequester carbon within their soil, and allow their lands to act as a carbon sink. Carbon sinks (the Earth’s oceans and old growth forests) are absolutely crucial in regulating global temperatures and maintaining the health of our atmosphere, but right now, they are disappearing at an alarming rate.

The potential regenerative agriculture holds to mitigate the effects of climate change is profound: “Simply put, recent data from farming systems and pasture trials around the globe show that we could sequester more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions with a switch to widely available and inexpensive organic management practices, which we term ‘regenerative organic agriculture.’ These practices work to maximize carbon fixation while minimizing the loss of that carbon once returned to the soil, reversing the greenhouse effect.” (Rodale Institute)

Global trials have been underway for some years now to collect the data on how these practices compare to traditional agriculture. The benefits as outlined by the Rodale Institute, so far, are very positive:

The potential, positive impact farmers around the globe could have if they transitioned towards farming using such principles is, frankly, staggering.

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100km Foods & Farm Partners

We had the opportunity to speak to Gillian Flies, from The New Farm, about regenerative agriculture and what that look likes in the context of Ontario farmers. Gil and her partner Brent Preston have always integrated organic land management practices on their farm since they became farmers over a decade ago. However, this past year, they have begun their process to shift fully into practicing regenerative agriculture land management.

We are really excited to share a bit about what they’re working on. 2019 marks the first year that they will transition to “no-till” practices on their entire farm. They experimented with this last year and, through soil testing, can confirm this shift is already sequestering more carbon and improving their soil health. They have also introduced a herd of 40 cows to their land, who will be on a precise rotational grazing schedule to fertilize the soils. They’ve planted over 10, 000 trees on their land and have installed solar panels.

They are also planning on expanding their acreage by partnering with neighbouring farms and transitioning those lands towards regenerative agriculture. They intend to develop shared services amongst this network of farms to build resilience and profitability. Ultimately, they envision starting educational programs to train other farmers how to integrate regenerative agriculture on their own farms!

This kind of innovation, action and forward thinking to address climate change from The New Farm is one of the crucial reasons 100km Foods is deeply proud to be their local food distributor. We invite you to learn more about regenerative agriculture and the work The New Farm is doing by listening to Gillian’s recent Ted Talk. We also look forward to participating in the knowledge sharing between farms, chefs, and everyone in the food industry at the upcoming 2019 Terroir Symposium!

How to be Ocean Wise when choosing wild and farmed seafood

A lot of people want to buy the sustainable choice for their clients or their dinner table, but they struggle to know what questions to ask or how to deal with the answers they get when they do ask. If this is you, don’t worry! We will show you how we determine our Ocean Wise recommendations by breaking down what makes wild and farmed fisheries sustainable. We will also point you towards resources you can access anywhere or any time on your phone or computer, to help guide you to the best choices. Let us do the work for you!

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How do I know what WILD fish is sustainable?

Sustainability in a wild fishery depends on a few key factors. With the help of the most up-to-date data available, our sustainability assessment is guided by four key questions:

  1. Is the stock that is being fished abundant and resilient to fishing pressures?

  2. Is the fishery well-managed with a comprehensive management plan based on current research?

  3. Is harvesting done in a method that ensures limited bycatch on non-target and endangered species?

  4. Is harvesting done in ways that limit both damage to marine or aquatic habitats and negative interactions with other species?

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The fishing methods and origins of your seafood are important in this investigation. Some fisheries use different methods to collect the same species, with drastically different impacts. For example, harvesting scallops by diving (hand-picking species on the ocean floor with little to no impact on habitat) or dredging (dragging large metal baskets over the ocean floor behind a moving vessel with significant damage to the seafloor and high levels of bycatch). Also, the same species harvested from one region versus another can dictate sustainability. Some fisheries are better managed than others, resulting in healthier stocks or less harmful practices. An iconic example of this is the Pacific cod and the Atlantic cod fisheries, the latter having to be put under moratorium by the Canadian federal government in 1992 because of the fish stock collapse.

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Information on collection methods and origin of your seafood isn’t always obvious. If you see an Ocean Wise logo on a product or menu item, then you know the above criteria have been assessed and the seafood is sustainably caught. Can’t find our logo? Ask your server, chef or supplier for the species, harvest method and origin of your seafood. Then look up the species on your phone or computer using the Ocean Wise seafood website .


What about sustainably farmed fish?

Did you know that half of the seafood we consume is farmed? Farming seafood is also called aquaculture (think agriculture but in the water, so aquaculture). With roughly one-third of the world’s fish stocks now overfished, the oceans can’t keep up with demand. Aquaculture is part of a realistic solution now and for the future – as long as it is done sustainably, of course!

When deciding if a farmed fishery is sustainable, we assess numerous criteria specific to aquaculture. With the help of the most up-to-date data available, our sustainability assessment is guided by ten different criteria-based questions:

  1. Is there enough reliable data to make a proper assessment?

  2. What are the effluent outputs into the environment and their impact?

  3. How does the farming operation impact the natural habitats in and around the farm?

  4. What are the chemicals used in the farming process?

  5. What types of feed are used and feed to production rate?

  6. Is there risk of escapes and introduced species into local environments? *farmed species are not always native to the place they are being farmed

  7. What is the risk of disease, pathogens and parasite interaction from the farmed species to the local species?

  8. Where did the seafood species originally come from?

  9. Does the farming operation cause predator and wildlife mortalities?

  10. Is there risk of escape of secondary species brought in to make the farming function (i.e. food sources, pest control, etc.)?

With the variation in aquaculture practices, you inevitably end up with some sustainable and some unsustainable results. Look for the Ocean Wise logo to ensure that these ten criteria have been assessed. If you can’t find our logo, you know what to do (*hint: look at the last section).


Is all farmed seafood created equally?

Just like we have different harvesting methods and resulting environmental impacts for farming on land, the same goes for aquaculture. How can you determine what seafood is sustainably farmed? One large differentiating factor is whether the species is farmed in an open ocean/lake/pond, ORusing land-based Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS).

The Northern Divine sturgeon aquaculture farm in Sechelt, BC (Northern Divine)

There are clear differences in risk here if you look at the interaction of the farmed species with local environments. Open net-pens only have a net as a barrier between the farmed species and the natural environment. That means increased risks of escapes; disease or parasite transfer to or from farmed species; waste, effluent produced or chemicals used by farming going directly into the habitat; and, potential predator and wildlife deaths. There are rare examples of sustainable submersible marine net-pen farming (i.e. kampachi in Hawaii), due to their small scale, deep water circulation reducing waste build up, and absence of antibiotics. However, because of the risks common to most open net-pen systems mentioned above, RAS farming ranks higher in sustainability assessments.

Salmon fish farm off the coast Broughton Archipelago near Vancouver Island (Mychayki Prystupa)

Salmon fish farm off the coast Broughton Archipelago near Vancouver Island (Mychayki Prystupa)

Salmon fish farm off the coast Broughton Archipelago near Vancouver Island (Mychayki Prystupa)

Why? The list of risks above are eliminated in RAS farms because the farmed species are contained on land. The circuit is closed, meaning all the water, waste and other materials used are filtered, cleaned and reused continuously within the same system. We currently have partnerships with RAS farms in Canada that produce sustainable Atlantic salmon, Pacific salmon, white shrimp, tilapia, rainbow trout, halibut, white sturgeon and Atlantic sturgeon. Some aquaculture operations even compliment with aquaponics systems, using the waste water to provide nutrients for plant growth. Now that’s smart thinking!

Mussel Farming (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)

It is also important to assess a farmed fishery’s reliance on catch from the wild for feed, and their feed to production rate (i.e. how many kilos of fish feed does it take to produce 1 kilo of farmed fish). If farmed seafood requires fish product from a wild stock that is under pressure, and especially if the return rate is negative, then it could be indirectly contributing to unsustainable practices. Some farmed fish are herbivorous, like tilapia, so they don’t put any additional pressure on marine fisheries for feed. The data assessed by Ocean Wise considers all levels of the supply chain to be able to ensure that each segment meets the sustainability criteria.

Shellfish farming is also very sustainable. Shellfish (i.e. mussels and oysters) are filter feeders. They strain suspended matter and food particles from the water column to eat. They don’t require feed like other farmed species and their filtering capacity improves water quality. Shellfish can also be farmed in high densities, since they remain stationary. There are some potential impacts with larval distribution of non-native species, but farmed shellfish is by-and-large one of the most sustainable options out there. It’s possible that you’ve already been serving, eating or supplying sustainable seafood without even knowing it!

Don’t think we forgot about the vegetarians and vegans out there! Did you know that aquatic plants are harvested from the wild or grown via aquaculture? It’s very likely that your seaweed is sustainably farmed or harvested (maybe even from BC), but it’s always good to double-check before you grab that yummy nori snack.

Seafood takeaways: 

  1. To protect our oceans, it is important to choose sustainably caught seafood. We can make a positive impact with our collective voice and purchasing power.

  2. Look for the Ocean Wise logo: it’s the easiest thing you can do to ensure you’re choosing sustainable seafood. If you’re a chef, owner, retailer, supplier or producer, you can partner with us to put our logo on your menus and products.

  3. Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask your server, chef, retailer or supplier if their seafood is Ocean Wise recommended. If you can’t find our logo, ask what species of fish you are eating, where it came from, and how it was caught or farmed. Then search for it on our website or App. Traveling outside of Canada? Look for other great sustainable seafood programs in the Global Seafood Ratings Alliance.

  4. Support restaurants, retailers, suppliers and fisheries that prioritize sustainability. By increasing the demand for sustainably caught or farmed seafood and raising more awareness, you can move the dial on this issue.

  5. Canadians have a lot of sustainable choices from both wild and farmed fisheries. Moving forward, we can support a large number of sustainably caught and farmed solutions for the health of our oceans.

Sources:

http://seafood.ocean.org/

https://www.aquablog.ca/2018/05/26629/FAO. 2018. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2018 – Meeting the sustainable development goals. Rome. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.

Available at: http://www.fao.org/3/i9540en/I9540EN.pdf

Written by Laura Irvine, Ocean Wise seafood program Senior Accounts Specialist for Eastern Canada

Authentic food begins with authentic ingredients

You’d be hard-pressed to find a food producer today whose product has remained virtually unchanged over the past 140 years.

But that’s the case with Crosby’s Molasses. This fifth-generation family-owned company continues to import fancy and blackstrap molasses that is as wholesome today as it was back in 1879 when the company was founded.

The process to make fancy molasses has changed little since 1800s. The sugarcane is pressed to extract the juice and the juice is then evaporated and inverted into a syrup. The main difference is that today only a handful of sugar mills in the world produce fancy molasses.  (Unlike blackstrap molasses, fancy molasses is not a by-product of the sugar refining process.)

In Canada, fancy molasses has an actual standard of identity. The designation “fancy” is unique to Canada.


Once the primary sweetener along the Eastern seaboard and Quebec, fancy molasses is a heritage ingredient that gives traditional recipes that old-fashioned flavour. Think baked beans, brown bread, molasses cookies, bran muffins and gingerbread. But because molasses adds a distinct flavour, it lets chefs inject a little old-fashioned authenticity into contemporary dishes too (molasses-brined duck breast, gingery molasses scented Pavlova and all things barbecue).

Crosby’s fancy molasses has a “terroir” of sorts.


The company’s fancy molasses is single-source molasses made from the juice of sugarcane grown around the Madre Tierra sugar mill in Guatemala. The tangy flavour and red-tinged colour are distinct to the molasses imported by Crosby’s.

Home cooks can find Crosby’s molasses in grocery stores from coast to coast. Food service distributors carry Crosby’s fancy and blackstrap molasses in a variety of sizes. Crosby Molasses is a Canadian company based in Saint John, N.B.