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It’s summer and we’re on repeat with the Classic Village Salad. Made without lettuce, this classic recipe features a hearty base of cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. Because it’s so simple, the key is to make sure you use fresh ingredients.

In Ontario, we’re fortunate that we can rely on local Greenhouse growers to supply us with these essentials through almost every season. Many of the larger commercial greenhouses are located in the Leamington area, where their produce is picked, packed and shipped to local markets within 24 hours.

Inside a Greenhouse

Eating local tastes great and helps to support our local economy but what I also really admire is the ongoing investment into sustainable initiatives. There are many examples!

  • Ontario greenhouses use natural pollination and pest control. Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is a system that supports a balanced approach to suppressing pests in an effective, economical and environmentally sound way. Pests are controlled by introducing “good bugs to fight bad bugs.”
  • Veggies are grown in soil-less bags with drip irrigation. This method means water and nutrients stay in the bags and out of the ground water.  Water is collected, fertilized, sterilized, and recirculated back into the system to be reused in a closed loop system.
  • Computerized systems ensure that plants get only what’s needed – the proper amount of water and nutrition. Nothing more.
  • Technology is used to conserve heat. Energy screens provide insulation and reduce heat loss. Many large growers produce much of their own heat. For example, waste wood is burned to boil water in large bio-mass hot water boilers. Heat produced during carbon dioxide generation on hot days is stored for use during cool evenings.  

ABOUT THE SALAD

I have to admit that there isn’t a recipe for this because it’s so simple. Wash and roughly chop cucumber, peppers (your choice of colours), and tomatoes (again, your choice of type). Then, add different toppings or dressings to switch it up! Our photo features a wholesome farro grain, chopped fresh basil (you can also try mint), and some crumbled feta cheese. Add a protein of your choice and a simple lemon dressing to make it a filling and delicious meal! A village salad is very versatile and it stores well too. Meal prep a big batch and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.

ENJOY!

This post was developed in collaboration with Produce Made Simple on behalf of the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers. Produce Made Simple is a terrific source of information about fresh fruits and vegetables so please check it out!