Hug A Farmer



20160223_123542For the Hug A Farmer blog a group of friends and I decided to head to the Hamilton Farmers Market, which has been around for over 160 years. The reason why we decided to go to this farmers market is simply because it’s one of the few that are open year round that have local farmers. Not many farmers market are actually open past October since they have outdoor venues usually.


There are a few farmers who  sell their products at the Hamilton Farmers Market but the one who stood out the most was from Buttrum’s Family Farm.  Shea who was manning the stand provide us with some back round information about the farm. The Buttrum family has been coming to sell their produce at this farmers market since the 1880’s  and growing for over 160 years which is 7 generations. The father is running the farm currently and  he is in his 70’s so the son, Gary Buttrum has come back and taken over for him now.  During the summer months they offer a larger variety of produce potatoes, tomatoes, squash, onions, zucchini, radishes, parsnips etc. Yet during the winter that reduces down to just the squashes and  onions which they keep in their storage facilities. They still offer other ontario produce at their stand which includes cabbage, different potato varieties, beets etc from different local  farms. Another local item they offer is maple syrup, which produced the Mennonites in Kitchener  Ontario. (side note: this maple syrup is really good, and is also sold during the maple festival they hold in Elmira, which is definitely  worth checking out.)  One of the things i found interesting about the Buttrum’s stand was they had produce that wasn’t produced in ontario like limes and other citrus. The reason i think that is so interesting is because during those winter months when variety is low it’s hard to get people to come to the market for apples and roots vegetables. So be having that variety it makes them slightly more competitive with the big chain grocers.


So the Buttrum farm specializes in fresh local, seasonal, and pesticide free produce. Many people confuse pesticide free with organic which isn’t the same. Pesticide free simply means they don’t use synthetic herbicides, insecticides, or fungicides but they might use synthetic fertilizers or genetically modified plants or seeds. When we actually talked to Shea about the whole organic growing, she told us they had tried it for one year and it didn’t work out for them so they went back to just being pesticide free.  One of the messages she tried to impart on us was the importance of supporting the local farmers and food suppliers.  She brought up the fact that many of the larger grocery store chains buy food so cheaply that it drives many of these local farms out of business. Which should be  major concern for us since having that local option is always going to be better.


We had A chance to speak to a mother and daughter from Fleetwood farms who is another local farm, who had the same concerns as Buttrum’s which is the labour force. According to Steven Laing the average age of a farmer is 58 years old, and the youth moment doesn’t exactly seem to be there. So much so that Fleetwood Farms actually brings in workers from Jamaica to help with planting and picking the crops, simply because no one here wants to do that physical labour.  That seems to be a common theme among these farmers they are getting older, their children don’t want to take over  and there isn’t any youth who want to work and do that physical labour leaving many in a state of flux.  Going back to the point Shea brought up about supporting local farmers, having to do a physical labor job in todays society is certainly a hard sell to many people, add in the fact that the industry is suffering with the competition from major grocers makes it even harder.  So it raises the question how do we make farming a more desirable job here in Canada?


Back in 2009 the Buttrum’s  rented out an acre of their land to this community collective group from Hamilton who  were looking to make there own urban garden. They are actually a  relatively young group of people  and they helped on the farm as well as planted their own crops. This eventually turned into a few a few more acres of land with varieties of vegetables tomatoes, beets, potatoes, hot peppers, onions, carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, zucchini etc.  For me it’s having experiences such as these that might help actually bring a younger population to the farming industry, to show them how rewarding growing local sustainable products is.

Unfortunately Buttrum’s Farms does not have a website but if you want to check out more you can check their Facebook page or instagram in the links below

A link about that community collective



Pork Belly


Pigs. (n.d.). Retrieved February 04, 2016, from

For the Purchasing Meat and Game blog i have chosen to do the mighty pig and the specific cut i picked was pork belly. The reason I chose to do pork belly was because I think many of us automatically think bacon, when its actually a very versatile piece of meat that you can have for any meal as well as cook with variety different methods. As well as the fact you can not go wrong with any pork products its usually going to be a really delicious item.


Cuts Of Pork Stock Vectors, Clipart and Illustrations. (n.d.). Retrieved February 04, 2016, from



Pork is one of the oldest forms of livestock, dating back to 6000bc in west Asia where it was domesticated. The name pork actually comes from the latin name Porcus and the French name Porc.  Todays pigs are breed from the wild boar and they are breed in cooler climates because they do not sweat. On average the pig will weight 200-250lb before being slaughtered and the entire process in which anywhere between 7 to 11 months. Its also one of those animals that are very good to use for head to toe cooking everything can be used in some fashion. Leather hides for shoes homes and shields can be made, bones can make tools and the bristles are used fro brushes nothing goes to waste.Toronto itself is called Hog Town because back in 1860 the William Davies Company was the second largest pork processor on the continent and now is part of Maple Leaf foods.  They pork belly is located between the shoulder and the ham on the bottom half of the pig under the spareribs and is considered to be a primal cut.

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The average cost of pork belly is 13.21/kg or 5.99/lb which makes it a fairly affordable piece of meat compared to chicken or beef.  There are a number of different methods to cook pork belly, many of which involve low heat in the oven and then the last few moments you turn it up and crispy the skin. There is also slicing trimming off the skim and slicing it like bacon and pan frying it. You can even braise it if you wanted to just sear your belly on all sides, bring your braising liquid up to temperature and into the oven the pork goes. There is even the option to cure the belly and then smoke it and that turns into bacon. I think the best method for getting the most bang for your buck would be to roast it with the skin on, so you aren’t wasting anything. You aren’t trimming off any of the skin you aren’t even taking off any of the excess fat you get the slab of belly season it and roast it.

The recipe I’m going to post is a how to on making porchetta.


Italian Porchetta. (n.d.). Retrieved February 04, 2016, from

Ingredient List

2 lb of pork belly (preferably meaty a meaty piece)

Inside herb rub

1 tbsp of kosher salt

2tsp of thyme

1tsp of sage

2 tbsp of olive oil

Outside Rub

2tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of pepper

2tsp of olive oil.

optional items

1/4 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp chili flakes

Preheat oven to 275F

Step 1) mix all ingredients for the inside rub in the food processor or finely chop and mix by hand. Set mixture aside.

Step 2) Place  pork belly skin side up, and score the skin 1 inch by 1 inch and flip the piece of belly over

Step3)  Rub the inside meat side of the pork belly with the herb mixture from before and roll the belly into a log. Truss the belly with 4 lopes.


Step 4) Rub the outside of the belly with olive oil and season very liberally with the salt (this helps get the crispy skin) and a little bit of fresh cracked pepper.


he Food Lab, Ramen Edition: How to Make Chashu Pork Belly. (n.d.). Retrieved February 04, 2016, from

Step 5) Place pork belly onto a wire rack thats on top of a roasting pan or baking sheet.( this is because a lot of fat will drip from the pork. This should take around 4 hours or whenever it reaches 160F.

Step 6) Raise the heat of the oven to 425F for 20mins this will allow the outside skin to become very crispy.

Step 7) Remove from oven, remove the string finally slice and enjoy.



bout pigs. (n.d.). Retrieved February 04, 2016, from