All of this could be just a drone away – photo – Karen Anderson
I recently wrote about Corner Grocers and some other grocery shopping trends for CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon. I talked about the money Amazon is spending on research to make home delivery – by small aircraft drones – of groceries (and many other items under five pounds – which is 86% of their business) a reality. Some of you might have thought that was a little far-fetched but it turns out that strides they are making towards turning this into a reality are happening very close to home.
As this article from The Guardian describes, Amazon is testing its delivery drones in our own backyard in beautiful British Columbia. Alberta has set aside 700 nautical square miles for testing drones beyond visual capacity. According to The Guardian, Amazon believes that ultimately drones will be faster, safer and more environmentally and economically friendly.
I usually tune out when someone “drones on” but this trend has me riveted. I’ll always want to visit farmers’ markets for my fresh groceries for the love of the community that comes with that type of shopping but I’d be quite happy for my toilet paper to fly the friendly Canadian skies and be delivered to my front door. My bottom and my bottom line will both be happier with less time in the car and the big box stores.
Farewell to winter salad – photo – Karen Anderson
Voila – a star (anise) stew – photo – Karen Anderson
Waldorf Astoria Cake Revival – photo – Karen Anderson
CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon host Donna McElligott and I had a lot of fun reminiscing about Corner Grocers today. Catch the podcast and let me know if you have access to a great up and coming corner grocer or small general store in your area. I’d love to hear about it.
I’ve always felt I was born to GROCERY shop. It’s my favourite thing to do. I’m just a little picky about where I do it. That’s the key to making it fun. Check out my visit to three fun Corner Grocers and the recipes they inspired when you get the chance.
Corner Grocer Goodies – photo – Karen Anderson
Loblaws, Canada’s largest grocer, announced this week that they will add 50 stores and spend $1.2 billion on expanding their network and distribution. Walmart echoed this push announcing $300 million in expansion. Big chains are getting bigger. That is not a story.
The stories in the grocery world right now, for me, are two trends I’ve been watching.
One is happening in a big way south of the border with Amazon dot com. They’ve been a distributor of all things since the 90s and 15,000 dry good groceries for a good part of that. Now, in their home base of Seattle and Los Angeles, if you join Amazon Fresh and pay a fee of about 200 dollars a year, you can order online from a wide variety of grocers and specialty stores for home delivery. As you long as you order by 11 p.m. – for most items – that which you desire will arrive on your doorstep by 6 a.m. the next morning. No wonder Loblaws are looking into e-commerce to broaden their distribution. They might be looking at some very empty big boxes of stores if this catches on in Canada. They’ll have to go some to catch Amazon who’ve been doing e-everything since the 90s and who just spent $750 million on their inventory robotics systems. Now that is a big story but it’s not the one I’m going to focus on.
The trend I’m going to focus on is the opposite of big. It’s small in every way. It’s the revival of the corner grocer.
Coconut madness – photo – Karen Anderson
favourite coconut products – photo – Karen Anderson
For about two dollars you can buy frozen grated coconut at Asian grocers – photo – Karen Anderson
Today on CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon
I talked about why the world’s gone loco for coconut and some ideas for using coconut in your holiday baking. The recipes can be found here
and the podcast here
. I’m on at the 17:44 mark in the show.
Read on for a little more background on coconut’s popularity around the globe.
She’s so sweet – Calgary Hyatt Regency Executive Pastry Chef Sabine Gradauer – photo – Karen Anderson
chef Sabine Gradauer’s cake pop centrepiece – photo – Karen Anderson
chef Gradauer is getting ready to welcome 800 guests to the Calgary Hyatt Regency’s Christmas Day brunch – photo – Karen Anderson
A little while ago an invitation to meet the executive pastry chef at Calgary’s Hyatt Regency hotel crossed my desk. I had to delay that meeting until after my annual trip to India and since I knew I would be jet-lagged on my return and that I would have a column for CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon due shortly after my return, I thought it would be a great idea to have this profession chef help me with a recipe to share with Albertans this Christmas.
I knew that in the two weeks I would spend in South India I would see coconuts everywhere so I asked if chef might be willing to create a great Christmas inspired coconut dessert.
I specifically mentioned that the recipe should be fairly easy.
Here’s something I learned from this experience; what a classically trained executive pastry chef from Austria whose lived and worked all over the world thinks of as easy, might not be as easy for you and me.
Ah well, it was a delight to meet chef Sabine Gradauer and if you read on you’ll see how I fared in translating her professional chef’s notes on this recipe for Coconut Snowball Cake-pops into something you can make at home. Hopefully all was not lost in translation.
Poplar Bluff Farms organic beets – photo – Karen Anderson
It’s World Food Day.
Family Farms: feeding the world and caring for the earth is the theme of World Food Day as the United Nations is celebrating 2014 as the International Year of the Family Farm.
In this post I’m going to give a recipe for a Gold and Green Salad to celebrate the bounty of produce we can access from Alberta family farms but first I’m going to talk a bit about what World Food Day is really all about – ending hunger.