Sunday August 30 is the Incredible Picnic, the province-wide celebration of local food. At the Halifax location, on the Garrison Grounds, onsite vendors will have samples, but the truly adventuresome will bring their own picnic baskets. You can't, however, rely on imported picnic staples like watermelon. Fortunately, savvy Maritime entrepreneurs make eating locally easier.
Kick off your picnic with a flavourful cheese, like Upper Economy's infamous Dragon's Breath Blue ($9.25 at That Dutchman's Cheese in the Halifax Farmers' Market). This pungent, partially unpasteurized soft-blue cheese has a tangy flavour. Smear the cheese on Gluten Free Goodies East Coast Crisps, a cracker-like sorghum, brown rice and seed bread ($4.50 a bag at the Farmers' Market).
That Dutchman's Old Growler gouda ($5/100g at Local Source Market) is an aged gouda with a complex-nutty flavour. It tastes best loaded with apple sage jelly ($10 at the Farmers' Market) from Grand Pre's Tangled Gardens, made with their own organic herbs and Annapolis Valley apples.
Making a local sandwich is no easy feat, as most bakeries import their flour from the prairies. But Boulangerie La Vendéenne's Red Fife Heritage bread is made with New Brunswick's Speereville Mills' flour and native grain, Red Fife. Fill with Nancy's Organic Mustard from PEI ($7/250 ml at Local Source), deli meat from the Bavarian Meat Shop and greenery from Selwood Green Farm (both at the Farmers' Market). For white bread, Big Life makes a hearty porridge bread with flour from Halifax's Dover Mills ($5 at the Market).
Too lazy to make a sandwich? Sean Gallagher, owner of Local Source, has got you covered. He'll have a stand at the Garrison Grounds, selling cheap finger-foods like his Classic Ham Sandwich ($3). To launch his new bakery, Gallagher has reinvented fougasse (Italian herbed olive bread), substituting dulce for olives. He'll serve bruschetta with his Dulce-Fougasse, topping it with chevre from Rancher Acres and tomatoes from Hutten Family Farm.
Vegan? Acadiana Soy Products in the Farmers' Market has marinated tofu kabobs ($2) that consist of tofu, zucchini, green pepper, tomato and red onion soused in sesame oil, garlic, ginger and soy sauce.
Wash down your picnic with a refreshing homemade iced mint tea. Stuff a large thermos with a small handful of mint (from Maple Grove Farms or Riverview Herbs), boiling water and Cosman & Whidden Honey ($2.50/155g at Planet Organic) to taste. Refrigerate for a few hours, add ice and serve.
There will be wine tasting at the Incredible Picnic, giving you a great opportunity to sample Domaine De Grand Pre's more expensive vintages, like the New York Muscat Ice Wine ($50/375 ml). If multiple trips to the sampling table don't cut it, have a post picnic with Sainte Famille's Acadiana Reserve Port ($24/750 ml in the Farmers' Market). This barrel-aged port is not too sweet, and tastes best between cigar puffs.