I must admit that I was totally shocked when I walked into Loblaws this week and, low and behold, there was a big huge box of fiddleheads. And not only were these fiddleheads fresh and local, but they were on sale for a helluva lot less than I’d paid for the spring delicacies the day before at The Big Carrot. (For the non-Toronto set, The Big Carrot–aka “The Carrot” or, in our family, “la grande carrotte”–is a fancy grocer specializing in organic, non-GMO foods a medium hop skip and jump from our place where I tend to do much of the family shopping. I have a love-hate relationship with the place which has a lot to do with the price of things there, but I’ll save that for another day…)
In our home, Loblaws is more often (and more aptly) referred to as Blah-blahs, a term coined by our three year-old gourmet (we love nicknames). Given the usual selection there, it was quite surprising to see veritable, seasonal, 100-mile local produce ripe and ready for neighbourhood locavores to buy on the semi-cheap.
Apparently, the fiddleheads are sourced from a farm in Port Colborne, Ontario called NorCliff Farms Inc. I wish I could write more about the way they are harvested (sustainably? from where exactly? how well does the plant grow after you’ve chopped off its head?) but, I am on maternity leave and away from the exciting world of journalism. So until I know more about the farm, I will do as food bloggers do and say that my husband steamed them while I was putting the baby down and by the time I returned to the kitchen, they were soft and a little less vibrant in colour. I slathered them with butter and added a bit of Portugese sea salt (from The Carrot) and we ate them with our mushroom barley-risotto (oh, a true locavore meal featuring, aside from the salt, only Ontario produce). After placing a fiddlehead in her mouth, the three year-old gourmet pronounced “I like it Mummy!” (Though after she sucked off the butter, she spat it out.) Ah, dinner.