It used to be that buying online and supporting local were opposite choices. Since foodiepages.ca launched in August, Canadians have had the option of doing both at the same time. The site is an online storefront for small vendors offering specialty, food-related ingredients and equipment from Sweet Ginger BBQ Sauce to a Feta Cheese Making Kit.
To add a level of curation to the selection they have started offering an option called The Chef's Box. Each month a chef or cookbook author handpicks items to include from small producers across Canada.
Chef Anthony Walsh, the corporate exec chef for O&B was first in the driver's seat and the Chef's Box ($80) he selected is available until the end of November. His seven ingredients (from six provinces) are the non-perishable component of an all-Canadian menu (recipes are included) that he has built around Maple Smoked Pork Belly, Rye Berry Porridge, and Cranberry-Date Pudding. A full description of the meal and the box's contents can be found here.
Jamie Kennedy (JK Kitchens) is on deck for December and the new year will see Chef's Boxes from Trish Magwood (tv and cookbook author) and Jennifer McClagan (author of Fat, Odd Bits and other cookbooks).
When I spoke to Erin Maynes, one of the co-founders of Foodie Pages Inc., she mentioned that for the chefs this process has had the extra benefit of introducing them to new, small producers.
Orders are taken for each box until the end of the month or the supply is exhausted. Those orders are shipped during the first week of the next month.