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Local food on the menu


So far there’s good news about good eating available from the Prescott-Russell region. The agricultural advisory committee for the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) enjoyed a first-quarter review from the Eastern Ontario Agri Food Network (EO- AFN) of the menu of local food and bever- ages offerings promoted last year through the Viande de l’Est project. St-Albert cheese and eggs from Laviolette’s farm operations saw increased sales through Metro store outlets. The grocery chainwants more of the same products during the next phase of its partici- pation in Viande de l’Est along with products fromSkotidakis Goat Farms and a supply of handprepped spinach and cheese quiche La Bînerie de Plantagenet, with a condition that the quiches contain a specific amount of local produce. The three-year contract between Metro and EOAFN for the Viande de l’Est project includes an “exclusive right” clause that bars providing the same products to any of the chain’s fellow chain store competitors. But EOAFN is allowed to set up counters in small independent outlets so there are plans to provide such kiosks at the St-Albert Cheese Co-Op, the L’Orignal Packing’s meat store, and at Marché Lacroix inHawkesbury. Plans for marketing local Belgian Blue Beef through Metro stores were tabled be- cause of unforeseen problems. The food chain still wants some formof Prescott-Rus- sell meat product which does not compete with its other existing shelf meat supplies. The EOAFN has talks in progress with one local cattle outfit which raises Angus, Cha- rolais, and Limousin cattle. Last year’s partnership of La Foire Gour- mande with the Ottawa River Festival in Rockland proved very successful in boost- ing both the visitor numbers to and profile of the annual regional food fair. La Foire Gourmande organizers want to continue the food love affair between the two events this year when the river festival’s primary location shifts over to Hawkesbury. The EOAFN wants an even more gastro- nomic feel to the food fest. One suggestion is to pair professional chefs with local food pro- ducers taking part in La Foire Gourmande to upgrade the level of the food tastings offered. One last item on the menu for the EO- AFN is a project called Fork to Table. The idea is to match a professional chef with a local farm to provide a planned banquet meal opportunity for up to 50 people. The gourmet meal event would both feature and highlight local foods. Although executives at Boston Pizza have spoken to a few people, no one has yet stepped forward to the franchise opportunity.“We have a conditional agree- ment with Boston Pizza. We need a franchisee, and then we will build out on additional space,” said Chris Harden of the Harden Group. “We have excess land there.There have been discussions with a few people, but nothing yet.” Harden said if anyone is interested in the franchise, now would be the time to do it. No Boston Pizza in Hawkesbury just yet

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