Parkdale Food Centre is a not-for-profit charity food bank in Ottawa ON that believes everyone should have access to healthy, nutritious and fresh food. I am an active volunteer in Parkdale’s kitchen where that philosophy is put into action everyday. Because Parkdale Food Centre is overwhelmingly supported by a network of community partners who share their vision, we never know what donated ingredients will be waiting for us each morning. Some examples of this are:
- Beyond the Pale Brewing Company has kindly donated crates full of naked grapefruit when they make their Pink Fuzz brew. They use the rind for their ale and the Parkdale kitchen uses the rest to make freshly squeezed juice , grapefruit freezer jelly and fruit salad for their clients.
- Rideau Pines Farm generously let a group of Parkdale volunteers and clients glean loads of tomatoes and other vegetables at their farm at the end of the season. This allowed clients to see where their food comes from, get a day out of the city with friends and be able to help the farm with some light gardening. The tomatoes weren’t selling quality, but they were great for the Parkdale kitchen crew to make loads of sauces, soups, stews and curries for clients to enjoy.
- Hidden Harvest has not only donated countless hours harvesting fruit and nuts that would otherwise go to waste on public and private property across the city, but they also regularly donate portions of their finds with Parkdale Food Centre. The Parkdale kitchen has made apple crisps (a client favourite!), apple sauce, crab apple sauce, sweet & sour crab apple chutney, muffins and breads with fruit they have donated.
With all of these amazing ingredients donated, inspired wholesome recipes are made on the fly each day with ingredients on hand just like an episode of Chopped. The Parkdale kitchen crew and I find this challenging and exciting, but most importantly we get to see first hand how much our neighbours enjoy and appreciate these fresh “home-cooked” meals. You’ll find some of our favourite recipes here for you to try at home.