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Mailbag - Spring 2017

 

OAFVC

In the fall of 2015, we reported on the opening of the Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre in Colborne. Business is booming, and the centre has expanded its services with free Café Chats for food entrepreneurs. They’re also holding a full-day workshop on April 20 for an affordable $25 – From the Idea to the Market – Recipe to Success. And there’s another new service designed to support the growing number of craft brewers in the region. Hops growers can bring in dried hops and use the new mill pelletizer, and packaged hops can be branded and stored onsite in a temperature-controlled environment. Here are some of the hits of 2016: Dotty’s Sauce and Emerald’s Smoked Ketchup (both available at Sharpe’s in Campbellford); Sherni’s Butter Chicken Sauce, Chicken Curry Sauce and Tikka Masala.

SYRIAN REFUGEES

The Al Shraideh family (photographed in our Fall 2016 issue) arrived at Pearson International Airport on February 8, 2016, after a tortuous journey from Damascus to a refugee camp in northern Jordan. One year later, the family is happily settled in the Cobourg area with work and school, and plans to stay. The other family that arrived last February, also supported by the Better Together Refugee Sponsorship group (BTRS), is considering moving to a larger city for more opportunities. But a third family arrived a few days before Christmas and has been busy getting to know the school and community and connecting with the many other new Canadian families in the area. And BTRS is waiting for four more families to arrive over the next couple of years. In December, they reached their fundraising goal of $250,000 to cover sponsorships of all seven families.

SLOWER THAN MOLASSES IN JANUARY

Orland French’s article, “Pour This Down Your Pipeline” (Winter 2016/17) referenced the Great Molasses Flood in January of 1919, when a molasses storage tank burst, unleashing 2.3 million gallons of molasses into the streets of Boston at 55 kilometres per hour. How could molasses move that quickly when the old adage tells us otherwise? That question was answered a week after Watershed went to press, in a The New York Times article: “Solving the Mystery of the 1919 “Tsunami of Molasses.” According to the article, a team of Harvard students and scientists concluded “when the tank burst…the molasses was probably four or five degrees Celsius warmer than the surrounding air.” The viscosity of the molasses, which had just arrived from the Caribbean, changed quickly in the winter air.

PIPELINE

The article was especially interesting to me, as the company I worked for in Western Canada back in the 1970s and ‘80s was, and still is, heavily involved in pipeline inspection. I remember one morning we took off by helicopter from Rocky Mountain House and, a short time later, saw a bunch of people standing around a big hole in the ground on the south bank of the North Saskatchewan River. A natural gas pipeline had exploded. My job was to go down into the hole and run some ultrasonic tests to see if I could detect any microscopic cracking on the spiral pipe weld that was still intact. I would mark the location of any cracks I found with a paint stick and these sections would be cut out and taken to the lab in Edmonton for verification.

As it turned out, the problem that day was hydrogen- induced cracking along the weld perimeter. What was to have been a couple of days' work turned into a three-month journey of testing sections of pipeline all the way from Pincher Creek, AB to north of Dawson Creek, BC. It was there back in the bush in January that the 24-inch diameter pipe we were working on – an above-ground, 80-foot long test section capped at both ends and under 1500 psi – exploded not long after we had left the site for the day. The flying pieces levelled the top half of a swath of the surrounding forest. It wasn't long after that that I moved to my office job in Toronto.

Bill Kennedy, Prince Edward County

I know you have friends in high places, but how did you arrange to have your pipeline story come out the same day as Justin Trudeau announced the government plans for new pipelines?! One point that comes to my mind when the discussion of oil and pipelines comes up is that there is now, and will always be, a very large need for oil. Ecologists aside, every one of us has one or two cars and every Canadian needs a lot of fuel to heat his or her home (I used wood for many years). In eastern Canada, we have a choice to bring oil from Alberta or from the Middle East. One creates a lot of jobs and keeps money in Canada, the other does not. In Asia, there is immense need for oil and it can come from any source, so why not Alberta and bring billions of dollars into Canada Richard Hughes, Prince Edward County

FOOD AND WINE SCENE

Finally had some free time this morning with my coffee to read your winter edition. Loved the article on Ernie Margetson. He helped us with our restoration…very talented and a lovely person. In your Food and Wine Scene section, Jeff Bray listed the Feast On designates in our region. Unfortunately, he missed my school. The program goes beyond restaurants and wineries. From the Farm was the first cooking school to get the designation.

Cynthia Peters, Ameliasburg

“I, DINOSAUR”

I admit to having laughed all the way through George Smith’s story about his experience with – or as he says, resistance to – new technology. George and I may have been born eight years apart, but we're pretty much the same vintage, and it certainly felt as though he was describing many of the adventures and memories I’ve had over the years.

I had never considered an icebox – the one my parents had – a relic of the past; I saw it as a first step in the evolution of food preservation. But the word “icebox” triggered memories of how, as a young boy, I’d wait for the ice wagon to come rolling down our street, pulled by an elderly horse that surely would have preferred being on a farm to clomping on paved roads in urban Montreal. The clomping was a signal for kids on my street to get out and pat the horse. Those were also the days when POM (“Pride Of Montreal”) bakery bread – and milk – was delivered to our door every week.

Our home-heating device was a kerosene furnace; hauling small tanksful of fuel up two flights of stairs from the basement was a chore shared with my dad.

Like George, today I proudly own a flip phone. It makes calls and allows me to send and receive text messages. My 10-year-old granddaughter knows more about cellphones, iPads and apps than I could ever hope (or want) to know anytime soon, and I admit to being grateful when my wife uses her iPhone to make things happen as only such a device can. Yet when I’m on vacation, I distance myself from everything other than my GPS unit, and I much prefer my Nikon when it comes to taking photographs.

Tom Groot, Grafton

CORRECTION Our apologies to Lustre & Tarnish in Bloomfield for mistakenly saying they were located in Wellington in our Winter issue. Our collective GPS system failed!

 Watershed looks forward to reading all your letters! Please forward your letters to Watershed Magazine, 160 Joice Road, Grafton, ON K0K 2G0 or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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david newland

contributor 1Writer, performer and speaker, David was named a Fellow of the Royal Canadian…

eileen argyris

contributor 2

Eileen has lived in Northumberland County since 1971, and spent most of her journalism....

jeff bray

contributor 3Jeff has been in and around the food world for over 18 years He’s passionate about food – where it comes from and who makes it....