It calls to mind sausages, one side of the inside of a sandwich (the meat side), pretzels, Dijon, grainy, spicy, Germany, France, omnipresent condiment, pestle and mortar, seeds, curry, and for some reason, fine beer.
But Saskatchewan? No.
Roslyn Woodcock recently learned that 90 per cent of the world’s mustard is grown in Canada, and of that, 75 per cent is grown in Saskatchewan.
Mind you, that doesn’t mean the mustard is processed in Saskatchewan; in a very Canadian fashion, the raw product is exported to factories all over the world for value to be added. Woodcock says she could only find four major condiment makers in Canada; there are smaller, artisanal ones, she is sure, but she couldn’t find a list of them.
Woodcock is “just on the board” at the Potluck Food Coop in Whitehorse, and is organizing the first food-tasting event in what the co-op plans to make into a series.
The first one will feature mustard, on July 15. There will be 10 mustards available to sample and 40 available to buy. Miche Genest will be making “boreal” mustard (infused with northern ingredients); Mary-El Kerr will be making pretzels (“the soft kind,” clarifies Woodcock). Chris Wearmouth will be demonstrating how to make mustard.
Visitors can take home mustard seeds to try making their own. Woodcock doesn’t know how it’s done. It has to do with grinding the seeds and adding things. Volunteers will be there to tell visitors about the mustard. There will be drinks (non-alcoholic). One local farm makes mustard — Aurora Mountain Farm. Its mustard will be there.
A new local salt producer, Left Shoulder Salt, will also be there. It sells flavoured salt crystals. Mustards from two other Canadian producers will be featured — Kozlik’s and Mrs. McGarrigle’s.
Food will be for sale — grain and produce. Farmers will be there. “People like to meet farmers,” says Woodcock. “It’s a fun event.” She means it’s not meant to promote the Potluck Food Co-op. But she says one of the ideas behind hosting a food series is to get more people into the storefront, to make them realize they can go there to buy food. They don’t have to be members. But the co-op is always trying to get new members. Woodcock mentions that it’s a good time to join the co-op; it costs $250 to join, but members can currently enter into a draw to win $250 worth of coupons. The draw date is July 15.
That’s the same date as the mustard tasting, which is, finally, “all about the mustard.”
Woodcock is from Saskatchewan. She’s guessing that’s why she’s into mustard. “A lot of people are excited about mustard. Weirdly. It’s just a condiment. I don’t know if that many people get excited about ketchup,” she says.
Woodcock is referring to the excitement generated since the co-op started advertising the event.
She says mustard is really good for you, and that the greens are edible. But she doesn’t know why it’s so popular.
The Potluck Food Co-op is at 5133 Fifth Avenue. The event — Sweet, Savoury, and Spicy: A Free Sampling of Handmade Canadian Mustards — runs from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on July 15.