Denman Island’s Monthly Flagstone Paper

Food and Nutrition Articles by Magdalene Joly

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1.Community Supported Agriculture on Denman Island
2. Local Winter Feast
3. Self-Sufficient Proteins?
4. Two kinds of Raw Foodie Favourites;Deserts for Every Body and Green Smoothies!

1.Community Supported Agriculture on Denman Island

Did you know that we have two on island farms that are offering a Community Supported Agriculture(CSA) program this year? Read on to learn about what a CSA is , why they are becoming important  in disseminating local food, and to see the farms who are bringing this unique program to Denman.

What is Community Supported Agriculture?

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) helps to foster a closer link between people and their food, while reducing the footprint of the consumer, and making an investment into sustainable agriculture and local economies.

There are a number of different models, with the traditional one being that the CSA members make a commitment to the farm at the beginning of the season by paying in advance for a portion of the farm’s products throughout the season. This guarantees the farm a market for its products, provides members fresh food at a discount, and fosters responsible relationships between farmer, eater, and the land where the food is grown. However, some programs offer monthly or even weekly memberships. Many CSA’s also offer farm visits, work parties, and other special events for members.

Why Join a CSA?

Some of the myriad benefits of joining a CSA are regular access to ultra fresh locally grown produce and products, the experience of a huge variety of different fruits and veggies grown by an organic farmer, a serious understanding of eating seasonally and what grows in your area, getting to participate in the farm through farm tours, dinners and work parties, and having a strong relationship with the farmer and land that grew your food. Plus, it’s very convenient to receive a fresh box of food without any shopping.

What to expect when joining a CSA?

  • The member receives a weekly box of food throughout the growing season, typically from May to November. The season may go for longer depending on the growing season in your area and the farmer’s interest in growing winter crops.
  • The CSA manager may accept monthly or even weekly payments for the food.  Some may require a longer term commitment
  • Eating seasonally means having less variety and choice in the shoulder seasons. Spring brings a wealth of greens in all shapes and sizes but no apples or tomatoes yet.
  • You will be receiving produce that may look more real than that in the supermarket; some dirt and bugs should be assumed.
  • Some farms deliver to your door while others have a designated pick up point.
  • Enjoying a  seasonally determined basket of food means having a willingness to try new things and be creative



How far has your food traveled? Why Eat local and support a CSA?

We know that eating locally grown food mitigates our impacts on the environment and seriously decreased our contribution to global warming.

Rich Pirog of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture reports that the average fresh food item on our dinner table travels 1,500 miles to get there. Buying locally produced food eliminates the need for all that fuel-guzzling transportation.

A study in Iowa found that a regional diet consumed 17 times less oil and gas than a typical diet based on food shipped across the country. ( )

Eating locally-produced food avoids many problems caused by the industrial food system. These problems include contributing to climate change through carbon dioxide  and nitrous oxide emissions; poisoning of our waterways, our food and our bodies, spreading of pathogens, contributing to poor health through processed and denatured foods; and practicing farming techniques that strip land of top soil and soil nutrients. Many of these problems contribute to food insecurity and all are damaging our bodies and our planet.

If all Denman Islanders chose to eat a  50% local food diet we could affect a very positive change here on the island through stimulating our local economy and creating meaningful work, which would thus create more opportunity and wellbeing of islanders.

Strategy for Change on a Local Level!

Supporting projects like CSA’s are one of many small ways to take control of our food supply, build community, and resist the insane takeover of industrial agriculture, corporate big box stores, and fossil fuel inputs from ruling our food system and destroying the planet.

Advantages for the community and environment:

  • Improved social networks, social responsibility and a sense of community and trust.
  • The environmental benefits from decreased food miles, boycotting GMO’s, less packaging, ecologically sensitive farming with ethical animal practices.
  • A local economy enhanced by meaningful and environmentally responsible employment, more local processing, local consumption and a re-circulation of money throughout the local economy.
  • Withdrawing our support for the big box stores and corporate agri-business.
  • Fostering a local culture that values local and healthy food and earth care.

“We have alternatives that protect the Earth, protect our farmers, and protect our health and nutrition. To occupy the food system means simultaneously resisting corporate control and building sustainable and just alternatives, from the seed to the table. One seed at a time, one farm at a time, one meal at a time — we must break out of corporate food dictatorship and create a vibrant and robust food democracy.”

-Dr. Vandana Shiva from an article entitled “Create food democracy, Occupy the food supply”

For more info about CSA’s check out these links

2.Local Winter Feast

This article will help you create a mostly local food winter feast that emphasizes not only the foods we have in abundance here, but the nutrients and energies that we need to thrive during the wet, cold, and dark moons. It is time to eat salty and sour foods, warm hearty soups, stews and curries, whole grains, slow roasted meats, roasted nuts, seaweeds, steamed winter greens, root vegetables,and to cook foods for longer at lower temperatures.


What food do we have to enjoy throughout the winter here on Denman island? I’m looking through my freezer and finding an abundance of wild and local meats, berries, salmon, pesto’s, and frozen veggies from my garden. The root cellar holds potatoes, squash, parsnips, apples, turnips, onions, and garlic, and sauerkraut. If my ducks hadn’t nastily broken into my garden I would still have kale, brussel sprouts, collards, leeks, and red mustard to play with. The pantry is stocked with dried fruit and mushrooms, dried fish and meats, deer hams, raw nuts, and whole grains and beans.


What are some of the special nutritional requirements of the body during the winter season? Zinc, the intelligence mineral, is a key immune and mood boosting nutrient. It is found in shellfish, red meat, fish, nuts, and ginger. Vitamin A and Carotene are potent anti-oxidant, cancer preventative, and immune powerhouses, and are important catalysts on which innumerable bio-chemical processes depend. Preformed Vit A can be found in egg yolks, butterfat, fish, seafood’s, and fish liver oils and carotene is found in colorful veggies and fruits. Some people have a hard time getting enough Vit A from plant sources because their bodies don’t do well converting it from carotene.


Vitamin D3 is found in the highest quantities in fish livers, fish and other seafoods, duck eggs, and grass-fed pork (especially skin when the animal has lived on range). It should be taken in via food for proper dosage and absorption. Sunlight alone is no longer thought to be sufficient. This raises some interesting questions about culture, geography, and environment. Our need for D3 may be much higher than generally estimated; It is essential for strong bones, healthy teeth, mental health, and mineral absorption. This means we need to think about how to provide clean and ethical sources of it. Traditional indigenous people on this coast would have been eaten a lot of salmon, which is a good source of Vitamin D3, as a primary staple food during the long winter months. With the total degradation of our environment due to this industrial culture, getting our basic nutritional needs met in a ecologically appropriate way becomes yet another reason to resist the raven coal mine and find healthy cultural alternatives. Living in this coastal climate, eating fish is a natural way to be nourished, and yet we end up importing our nourishment as the waters here may be toxic. The end-result of this is unhealthy, unhappy people and a ravaged land-base.


On down the list of important winter nutrients is Vitamin C. It helps us absorb iron and is a powerful anti-oxidant for immune health. It is found in rose hips, berries, citrus, and leafy greens. Iron deficiency is associated with poor mental function and problems with the immune system. Blackberries are very high in iron, as are leafy greens and animal protein. Major and trace minerals are also important building blocks for hundreds of metabolic processes in the body. They keep our memories sharp, protect our immune system, keep our bones healthy, and are essential for our general well being. In order to obtain adequate minerals intake when most grocery store foods are now extremely deficient in them, try to include foods like early dandelion and nettles, seaweeds, local nuts and seeds, properly prepared bone broth, fermented raw dairy, dried prunes and apricots, range eggs, and real fruits and veggies in the winter diet. High mineral content is a reflection of healthy intact soil.


Parsley is a winter winner. Its a raw source of pro-vitamin A. It positively affects sight, adrenal and thyroid function and is rich in Vit A, Vit K, Vit C, iron, calcium and magnesium. One tablespoon of minced fresh leaves will meets your daily need for Vit C.



So we have all these amazing nourishing local winter foods. Lets create a feast and celebrate our communal abundance! All recipes are designed to serve 4, and can be easily modified to make more or less servings. Due to lack of space, I will let you decide what kind of main entree to make. I suggest a poached salmon or rosemary-basted roast chicken or muscovy duck!


Marinated Winter Salad


1/2 Lb beets, peeled, and sliced into thin diagonal sections

½ Lb carrots, sliced into thin diagonal sections


1large bunch kale

¼ red onion, thinly sliced

1 bunch parsley

2 cloves garlic, mined

Handful local seaweed, like kelp or laver, soaked 4 hrs, and cut into thin strands

1 cup lacto-fermented product like sauerkraut or fermented green beans(see August Flagstone issue)


1 tsp dijon-type mustard

6 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tsp sea salt


1.Whisk together dressing until well emulsified.

2.De-rib the tougher leaves of kale, and add onion, garlic, and seaweed

3.Marinate kale mixture in half dressing for ½ hour to 3 hours

4.Lightly steam carrots and beets till just tender

5.Toss root veggies, kale, parsley, sauerkraut, and drizzle on more dressing to taste


Nutritional profile-We have a warming dish that quenches the desire for fresh crunchy colorful foods, fights viruses and prevents cancer, detoxifies, aids digestion and is packed with minerals, carotene, iron, calcium, magnesium, anti-oxidants, sulfur, chlorophyll, and iodine.


Root Vegetable and Dried Mushroom Gratin-adapted from a Deborah Madison recipe

Use 1 cup of root veggies per person, could also use cauliflower, kohlrabi, celery root, and onion


2-3 medium leeks, sliced into ¼ inch rounds

1fennel bulb, cut into ¼ inch pieces

4 small red potatoes and 2 small turnips, cut into rounds 1/8th of an inch thick

2 parsnips or carrots cut into strips about 2 inches long

3 cloves of garlic, minced


black pepper

2 ounces dried mushrooms (shitake, chanterelle, bolutes, etc) soaked in 2 cups of boiling water for 1 hr or more, then cut into ½ inch pieces.

8 branches fresh or dried thyme

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup mushroom soaking water

5 tablespoons butter

1 cup course breadcrumbs

6 tablespoons fresh parsley as a garnish


Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter bottom and sides of a baking dish. Layer the vegetables, garlic, and mushrooms in the dish, and then season them with the salt, pepper, and thyme. Add the cream and mushroom liquid, and dot the surface with pieces of the butter. Lay a piece of foil loosely over top and bake.


Melt the rest of the butter, and toss it with the bread crumbs. Remove gratin from oven after ½ hour, take off the foil, and cover surface with bread crumbs. Keep baking gratin until veggies are tender, another half hour or so. Sprinkle parsley on top before serving.



Blackberry-Apple Upside Down Cake

This is an easy and scrumptious cake baked in a medium cast iron frying pan!


1 cup unbleached white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg


1/2 cup butter

1 cup honey

2 large eggs

1 cup yogurt

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup blackberries

½ cup finely chopped apple

5 tsp organic orange zest

¼ cup finely chopped candied ginger

¼ cup finely chopped prunes or other dried fruit


Preheat the oven to 400F. Butter the frying pan.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix dry ingredients until well mixed.

In a small heavy bottom pot, melt honey and butter gently on stove, then take off the heat and beat in eggs, yogurt and vanilla until thick.

Combine dry and wet ingredients beating until a rich batter is formed. Then, add the fruit, with the exception of the blackberries, until well mixed.

Layer the blackberries evening on the bottom of the cast iron skillet. Then slowly pour the cake batter in the pan, evening it out with a spatula. Cook for 30- 40 minutes until golden brown. Let cook for 15 min then invert upside down on a serving platter with blackberries on top. Serve with whipped cream if your feeling extravagant.

3.Self-Sufficient Proteins? By Magdalene Joly

The value of hard work; Beans October 21 2012

Bringing in my bean crop this fall led me to contemplate the place of proteins in my aspiring local food diet. This year I grew three 40 foot rows of dry beans; two of scarlet runner, and one of an Italian Cannellini white bean, which graced my garden for the first time. These beans are so creamy and scrumptious, those who I serve them up to just adore them. My intention is to eventually grow enough beans to last the year through. I’m wishing I had kept meticulous records of my labor in the bean patch, as I’m interested in doing some number crunching on what the labor would be to do this. I haven’t finished threshing my beans yet, and think I will be lucky if I end up with 2 gallon jars full. Beans are a relatively easy crop to grow in smaller amounts, and don’t require a huge input of labor over the growing season. Its the harvesting and threshing that takes some time. While pulling off the third bed’s worth of dried scarlet runner pods in the late fall sunshine, about two or three hours into the task, I got to thinking about how, in the same amount of time, I could have gutted and butchered a medium sized deer, with the obvious increase of calories gained from the deer meat. And as an omnivore who loves her beans and meat, I enjoy the different aspects of participating in both processes of their makings. However I recognize that the traditional diet that was practiced by indigenous folks around here didn’t include bean cultivation, and that in order to get much volume from this crop you kind of need farm implements, like tractors, factory’s to build them,and fossil fuels to run them. If you wanted to be vegan and self-sufficient, and to do it without fossil fuel inputs, growing enough beans to be your staple protein source would be a huge ton of work. I would love to hear from anyone who has successfully grown much of the beans they need for the year, or who have seed that they have saved that do well over our Denman summers.

Many people have never learned how to cook beans and are missing out on this wonderful food, or else suffer from gas when they are consumed. In traditional societies that eat legumes, they are prepared with great care to ensure optimum digestibility. First they are soaked for 12-24 hours. The soaking water is poured off, the beans rinsed, and as the beans cook any foam or scum is skimmed off. This will make the nutrients in the beans easier to assimilate and neutralizes the phytic acids and enzyme inhibitors. Beans are synergistic with spices, which enhance digestibility, and sour foods like lemon juice or sauerkraut juice.

Nutritionally speaking, Beans are a wealth of goodness, with 30% Magnesium, 60% dietary fiber,28%thiamine,64% folate, 20% iron,38% Manganese of the recommended daily intake from a 1 cup serving of black beans.

Degenerative diseases are almost unheard of where diets include large quantities of beans and other fiber foods. As cultures replace beans and other complex carbohydrates with foods loaded with fats and cholesterol, there is a corresponding increase in cardiovascular diseases, intestinal ailments, cancers of the digestive system, appendicitis, gallstones, diverticulosis, hiatus hernia, hemorrhoids and diabetes.” -Dan Jason

Local Deer Hams good; Factory Farming Bad

How many of us lobby for green energy or protected lands, but don’t engage with the local bounty to lay by for tomorrow’s unseasonal reality? That we tend to not even think about this as a foundation for solutions in our food systems shows how quickly we want other people to solve these issues.” -Joel Salatin

My partner and I ended up at beautiful Jedediah Island, a 243 hectare marine park off Lasqueti island, a few summers ago. This old homestead was completely overrun with feral sheep and Spanish goats, plus deer. The woods had next to no vegetation due to over grazing, creating a spooky plant-devoid forest. No undergrowth, just big stemmed trees. We are blessed to have an abundance of Deer on our island, whose population may be becoming increasingly out of balance with a lack of natural predator prey relationships to keep the peace. According to some local sources we have approximately 1,000 Deer on island. But, this is a very vague and hypothetical number. Its very hard to find solid numbers on deer population, and thus a challenge to come up with any solid data on what a sustainable number of deer to harvest per year would be.

I purpose that its time to reexamine our relationship to these creatures and find creative ways of involving them into our food web. Wild meat-animals that eat only grass and other vegetation are removed from the cruelty of the factory farming nightmare, and requires no fossil fuel inputs. They are the most healthful and ethical source of animal flesh. With the current safety crisis in the beef “industry” due to an e.coli outbreak in a facility that processes 1/3 of all the beef in Canada, buying meat from the store has never been crazier! Hunting is obviously not for everyone, and yet it seems to me that if we could start fostering a more open and balanced perspective around ethical and respectful deer hunting, with the intention of strengthening our local food web, connecting more deeply with our landbase, and entering into a stewardship model with our local deer population, it would be a win-win situation for the land, for peoples pocketbooks, our withdrawal from our dependance on industrial agriculture, and lessening our petroleum addiction footprint. Traditional people who lived off the land were embedded into a predator prey relationship with the creatures they relied on for sustenance, creating strong ties of responsibility and gratitude which helped to ensure the continued health of the land. There are many questions we need to ponder regarding the sustainable consumption of deer meat on this island. They are too long for the breadth of this article, and I hope to see more people taking this topic seriously.

I couldn’t help laugh at the irony of where my dinner had come from: a deer I just happened to stumble across in a ditch, killed by an unknown motorist at some unknown time within the past day or so. Conventional wisdom would scream “DANGER” at the thought eating this, and yet in relation to the supposedly “safe” meat tidily packed and kept at safe temperatures from industrial processing plant to store, it is without a doubt far less of a health hazard. I know this, without any doubt whatsoever, because I didn’t get any shit on the meat. It didn’t come from a diseased animal living in captivity or a unfathomably complex supply chain. It came from my bike ride. The “safest” food comes from our immediate world, harvested by us or someone we know. It’s healthier and funner that way, too.”-Miles Olson “Unlean, Rewild.”

Deer as food. As nourishment. My partner usually hunts a deer or two a year from the forest where we live. This meat is processed by us in a respectful way that honors the animal by making use of all parts. Deer hides for leather, liver pate, bone broth for minerals and fat, frozen cuts in the freezer, deer jerkey, and hams. Deer ham is the most delicious and wonderful meat I know of. The process is simple and well worth the effort; the meat gets dry salt-cured for a couple weeks in the fridge, and then smoked for about 2 or 3 days. After this, aging takes place in cool-humid environment for several months. You can also introduce traditional mold cultures at this point. Either way the finished ham is stable for years and easy to store by hanging it from the kitchen ceiling.

Nuts about Walnuts and Hazelnuts

Creating a low-tech roller to shell nuts efficiently for community use would mean being able to use nuts in place of flour for pie crust and baking; nuts are a super food and we are really lucky they grow well here. This is a primarily untapped food source rich in minerals, vitamin e, essential fatty acids, protein, B vitamins, Copper, and good fat. Did you know that many people on the island give them away for free, and that there are neighborhoods in Courtney where hazelnuts trees line the street, drooping in abundance? Plant a few nut trees in your yard or garden today. Of course the kicker is home long they take to produce after planting.

Stay tuned for part 2 of my self-sufficient protein article

Please check out my fall workshops on Sauerkraut and Fermented foods and Herbs for the Cold and Flu season at

For more info check out: info about growing beans and lots of great varieties

Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing by Micheal Ruhlman info on nut trees and Magdalenes catering a great resourse for food and health

4.Deserts for Every Body

Lately I have been experimenting with making fabulous raw deserts. I want to share with you these recipes for absolutely scrumptious treats that are gluten, sugar, dairy, and soy free. When I sit down and devour a piece of berry bliss cream pie i have no conceptual awareness of eating anything “healthy”. That is to say I have no sense of depriving myself of richness, sweetness, texture, or enjoyment. What you have is a desert that is decadently rich and creamy, sweet, bursting with flavor, and satisfyingly delicious.


I have been wanting to delve into the realm of raw desert making for some time, but have been limited in terms of access electricity. Not having the means of running blenders and food processors makes trying out many raw food recipes tricky. I wanted to make a bike powered blender to keep on the porch to make smoothies but never found the time between disciplining dogs, kids, and ducks, and all the rest of farm life. So I apologize to all of you who presently are unable to operate kitchen machinery due to insufficient power, and I don’t think a mortar and pestle will work but let me know if you have any luck. My partner recently ran an extension cord over to our cabin and we havent looked back since.


My close friend Heather Cunliffe, Chef and Owner at Cafe Bliss in Victoria has recently publishe


I urge you try out this recipe and experience the wonder of such an exquisite desert free of sugar, flour, and the rest of the bad confectionery gang.


Berry Bliss Cream Pie


Adapted from a recipe in “Blissful; Raw Food Recipes from Cafe Bliss” By Heather Cunliffe


makes 9” pie equipment food processor




2 ½ cups walnuts

4 Lg. pitted dates

1Tbsp coconut oil, melted

¼ salt

pinch vanilla powder or 1tsp real vanilla extract



2 cups cashews, soaked 6 hours.

2/3 cups coconut oil, melted

½ cup honey

¼ lemon juice

2 Tbsp irish moss jelly

½ tsp lemon zest

1/8 tsp vanilla power

1/8 slat



2 cups fresh or thawed blackberries or raspberries


Irish Moss Jelly:This is a commonly used ingredient in raw treats. It acts as a binder, adding body and a smooth texture to deserts. It is a nutritious and mineral rich seaweed. This makes 4 cups irish moss jelly. 1.completely submerge 4 cups irish moss in fresh water and soak for 8+ hours. If soaked for longer place in fridge. 2.Rice soaked seaweed well to remove salt, grit, and dirt.3.Place 4 cups soaked seaweed with 2 water. More water may be necessary depending on how much water the seaweed has soaked up. 4. Blend on high until substance becomes a smooth jelly. This may take some time.5.Pour jelly into airtight container and repeat until all irish moss has been used up, continuing to use a ratio of 1 part water to 2 parts soaked moss.6.Place jelly in fridge to set where it will keep up to month.


Crust: Place all ingredients except coconut oil into food processor, process until roughly fine. Add coconut oil until combines. Oil 9” pie plate with coconut oil and press crust evenly into it. Place pie crust in fridge to cool and harden up.


Cream:Place all ingredients in high speed blender or food processor except coconut oil and process until smooth. Add coconut oil, blend to combine.


Assembly:Pour cream into pie crust and cover top with berries, pressing down gently so that they set in the cream but remain visible. Place in fridge and let set 6 hours before eating and continue to store in fridge until its been completely devoured.


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