It’s Too Dang Hot: Kaitlyn’s Easy Bean Salad

Even when it’s too hot to think about turning on the oven, we still want to help you keep cool and well-fed. Try one of our no-heat recipes, all of which are tried-and-true and come directly from members of The Yam Fam!

These are all no-heat, no stress recipe. If you don’t have the right quantities, work with what you’ve got. If you don’t have all the ingredients, go substitution wild. When it’s too hot to cook, it’s WAY too hot to stress!

Continue reading “It’s Too Dang Hot: Kaitlyn’s Easy Bean Salad”

It’s Too Dang Hot: Libby’s Wilted Salad

Even when it’s too hot to think about turning on the oven, we still want to help you keep cool and well-fed. Try one of our no-heat recipes, all of which are tried-and-true and come directly from members of The Yam Fam!

These are all no-heat, no stress recipe. If you don’t have the right quantities, work with what you’ve got. If you don’t have all the ingredients, go substitution wild. When it’s too hot to cook, it’s WAY too hot to stress!

Continue reading “It’s Too Dang Hot: Libby’s Wilted Salad”

It’s Too Dang Hot: Kaitlyn’s Heat-Beatin’ Ceviche

Even when it’s too hot to think about turning on the oven, we still want to help you keep cool and well-fed. Try one of our no-heat recipes, all of which are tried-and-true and come directly from members of The Yam Fam!

These are mostly no-heat, no stress recipes, but we do encourage a bit of care when making Ceviche. Since this is actually a form of cooking (albeit using chemistry in the place of heat) please make sure that you’ve got your bases covered before engaging in substitutions. When it’s too hot to cook, it’s WAY too hot to stress – but it’s never too hot for food safety. Bon appétit!

Continue reading “It’s Too Dang Hot: Kaitlyn’s Heat-Beatin’ Ceviche”

It’s Too Dang Hot: Amanda’s Red Cabbage Slaw

Even when it’s too hot to think about turning on the oven, we still want to help you keep cool and well-fed. Try one of our no-heat recipes, all of which are tried-and-true and come directly from members of The Yam Fam!

These are all no-heat, no stress recipe. If you don’t have the right quantities, work with what you’ve got. If you don’t have all the ingredients, go substitution wild. When it’s too hot to cook, it’s WAY too hot to stress!

Continue reading “It’s Too Dang Hot: Amanda’s Red Cabbage Slaw”

Recycling Your Black Plastic

The Sweet Potato Toronto - recycling black plastic for our community

The Problem

You may have been surprised to learn last spring that black plastic isn’t recyclable in the City of Toronto. We certainly were, as were so many other businesses that, like us, thought they were making a prudent and environmentally sustainable choice.

We’re looking at more sustainable options going forward (stay tuned!). But we also wanted to come up with a better solution for all of the black plastic containers that we purchased back when we thought they were properly recyclable, and we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve come upon a solution that, while not ideal, we think is viable for the time being:

We’ve found a private recycling company that processes black plastic. We are sending our recyclable black plastic to their facility in Fergus, ON.  Here’s where you come in: if you’ve purchased some Sweet Potato Kitchen prepared meals, feel free to bring those plastic pieces back to the store for recycling. And beyond this, we’ve decided to open this recycling program up to our entire community. In other words, if you have black plastic at home that should be recycled (hint, most takeout in the city seems to rely on black plastic), please bring it into the store, cleaned first, and we will make sure it’s recycled responsibly.  We’re doing the same thing for baby food pouches – it doesn’t matter to us what brand they are, or from what store – we will accept all clean black plastic and baby food pouches, and we will pay for them to be recycled.

So What Can Be Recycled?

Recyclable black plastic includes CPET black plastic typically marked with the recycling symbol.  Food-safe black plastic like takeout containers, produce packaging, coffee cup lids are all examples of recyclable black plastic. (We cannot recycle office and household items like printer cartridges, computer packaging or accessories and equipment.)

Where do I bring it?

You can bring these items to our Customer Service desk anytime the store is open; our priority is diverting stuff from the landfill, so we don’t care what store they came from.  Not everyone has the ability to be zero waste, but we believe that there are very often creative solutions to the environmental problems we all face – and we’re delighted that our business allows us to offer this service to the entire community.  We’re constantly trying to improve the accessibility of our store and our services, and so we’re thrilled to extend this offer to everyone.

Please bear in mind – this isn’t a permanent solution (we hope). While we are happy to at present assume the cost of this endeavour, we don’t believe that private solutions are the fix for public problems (like the state of public recycling infrastructure) – so we hope you will continue to advocate for a more sustainable civic infrastructure.  In the meantime, however, we’re very glad that we won’t all have black plastic cluttering up the place, or going needlessly to landfill.

The Sustainability of Raincoast Trading

The Sweet Potato Toronto - image of the ocean with a rainbow in the distance

Here at The Sweet Potato, we’re approached by so many brands about stocking their product. But we’re pretty darn choosey about what ends up on our shelves. Of course, it has to taste good. And we prioritise local, organic and Canadian companies whenever possible. But we also have a long list of banned ingredients, ingredients that have been nixed because research suggests they may not be great for human health, they’re dangerous to the workers processing them, or because they’re bad for the environment. Well here’s a brand we’re only too pleased and proud to have on our shelves: Raincoast Trading, a Canadian seafood cannery.

 

Raincoast Trading logo

 

Raincoast Trading makes the best tasting canned seafood (among other fishy delights). It’s single-cooked and packed in natural fish oils, creating a rich and dense flavour, while upping the nutritional punch. But it’s their commitment to sustainability that makes us reach for them again and again. Raincoast Trading fishes with integrity, working hard to minimize overfishing, bycatch and habitat damage, all serious issues that face our marine ecosystems. In fact, every tin of Raincoast Trading seafood can be fully traced back to the fishing vessel, captain, harvest method and area of catch. This information is shared not only with consumers but with international ocean conservation groups too because it’s important to substantiate any claim of sustainability.

 

Their commitment to only sourcing from fisheries with sustainable stocks and to fishers who use responsible methods (like pole-and-line tuna fishing) have made them the ONLY Canadian packaged retail seafood company to be endorsed by Ocean Wise’s Conservation program. Yup, their cans carry the Ocean Wise seal of approval.

 

So next time you have a hankering for a tuna sandwich, are frying up some fish cakes, or want to get more inventive with your recipes, give Raincoast Trading a try. You’ll thank us later.

 

An FAQ on Farmed Fish and Seafood

We’ve had a lot of questions about farmed fish and seafood. It’s important to think about farming fish the way you would other farming practices: there’s the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here are some of the answers to our most Frequently Asked Questions. 

What is farmed fish & seafood?

Fish and seafood that aren’t wild caught, but rather raised in either open net pens in the ocean or in land-based aquaculture systems are considered farmed. Now as with all farming, whether that’s cattle, poultry or salad greens, there’s the gold standard and then there are harmful practices. We research, interview, visit farms, and insist on third-party certification to ensure we’re only ever selling healthy, sustainable fish and seafood. 

What is Aquaculture?

Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the farming of fish, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatic plants and other organisms to produce food. It’s also used to restore habitat and replenish wild stocks, and rebuild populations of threatened and endangered species. There are two main types of aquaculture—marine and freshwater, where populations are cultivated under controlled conditions either directly in bodies of water, like the ocean or lakes,  or inland.

What are the pros of land-based or inland fish farms?

Some people hear inland fish farming and they look mildly horrified. Consider some of the challenges around farming fish in the ocean:

  • Escapes: If you’re farming a non-native species, escaped fish could compete with native species for resources like food, habitat and spawning areas.
  • Chemical usage: The open nature of ocean-based open net pens means that if farmed fish need to be treated with antibiotics or other chemicals, these would flow directly into the ocean.
  • Parasites: Ocean-based open net pens can also allow for parasites, such as sea lice to infect wild species

Given the potential issues that surround open net pens, land-based aquaculture systems can be a solid alternative. Escapes are unlikely, bio-security and control over water quality allow the farm to avoid disease outbreaks, meaning chemicals such antibiotics are rarely, if ever, used. Waste water is also treated, meaning polluted water won’t reach the ocean. Many inland facilities, and ALL of the land-based fish farms that provide us with fish, meet the HIGHEST STANDARDS for fish and seafood farming and are OceanWise certified.

What is Ocean Wise?

Ocean Wise is a Vancouver Aquarium conservation program, created to help businesses and their customers identify and purchase sustainable seafood. Whether it’s wild or farmed, the Ocean Wise symbol next to a seafood item lets you know that option is the best choice for the health of our oceans.

How does Ocean Wise make recommendations on farmed fish?

The Ocean Wise Seafood program bases recommendations on scientific reports published by the Seafood Watch program out of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Each fish is scored on ten different criteria that measures the impact of seafood farms on the environment. Fish must score at least 5.5 out of 10 to be recommended by Ocean Wise.

What’s BAP?

The Sweet Potato Toronto - BAP Certification

Best Aquaculture Practices – BAP–  is one of the world’s most trusted, comprehensive and proven third-party aquaculture certification programs. They’re committed to improving and growing the global supply of responsibly farmed seafood. Check their website for a list of certified facilities around the world.

What’s ORganic Fish?

Some folks are surprised to learn that organic fish are farmed! But just as it pertains to organically raising cattle, the designation speaks to the standard not only of their environment, but of what they’re fed. To certify fish as organic, a number of rules with respect to water recycling, disposal of waste and feed need to followed. This means the food the fish are fed must come from certified organic sources.

What do we mean by sustainable?

Limiting our environmental impact is one of the core values of The Sweet Potato. We look closely at how the foods we sell are cultivated. We value humanely raised meat and seafood, and practices that are environmentally sound. This means we focus on locally raised meat, seafood and produce, and will consider new technology like aquaculture and hydroponics when it means we are getting a ‘clean’ product.

What’s wild Atlantic salmon?

This is a trick question, and yet one, we’re asked a lot. There’s currently no wild Atlantic Salmon available in stores because wild Atlantic Salmon is an endangered species. If you’re eating Atlantic Salmon, it’s farmed!

Want to learn more? Our friends at Ocean Wise put together this Wild vs. Farmed Mythbusters video. And if you still want more, consider becoming an Ocean Wise seafood Ambassador.