LOOKING BACK ON 2019

December often finds us looking back on all that the year brought us. Last year Salty did a year-end review, and we felt it was a good tradition to keep for this issue. We’ve proudly brought our readers another year of quality, well-written food-related and food-inspired stories in 2019. As the only PEI publication dedicated solely to food and food issues and living on an Island whose tagline is ‘Canada’s Food Island’, we feel privileged to bring you great content each month.

We began the year with a feature that focussed on climate change and its relationship with our crops, in particular, the growth of pulses and processing pulses on PEI. Climate change and the need for action became an important topic of conversation during 2019, and was a major election issue in October’s federal election. As Islanders felt the effects of post-tropical storm Dorian in September, our ever-changing weather patterns were at the forefront of many minds.

The new Founders’ Hall and Market has been a big hit in Charlottetown

Over the past 12 months we’ve brought you stories of hard working entrepreneurs who’ve launched their food businesses on PEI. New restaurants and cafés like The Lucky Bean in Montague, The Cork and Cast and Gallants & Co in Charlottetown, The Black and White Café in St Peters, Landmark Oyster House in Victoria, The Home Plate in Murray River, and the new ownership of The Red Rooster in Crapaud were spots we wanted our readers to know about.

February’s Salty Chef featured oysters

Our writers spoke with ice cream and gelato makers (Creamery on Top/Island Gelato), pickle purveyors (Fortune Bridge Brinery), deli owners (Salume Rume/Founders’ Delicatessen), speciality spirit makers (Deep Roots Distillery), chocolate creators (Nurturing Essence), and Acadian food specialists (Spud Venture Inc.).

We celebrated long-standing companies like Big Burger who marked their 25th anniversary this summer, Island Chocolates who continue to produce fine chocolates in Victoria after over 30 years, Acadian Machine Works from Tignish that began in 1974, and Seafood Express with their large expansion. We chatted with chefs Ilona Daniel, Michael Smith, Jesse MacDonald, and Steve Wilson who are advocates for PEI’s abundant and wonderful food.

Rob Morrison’s lobster dip won him the 2019 Food Xcel prize

The craft beverage scene in PEI continues to grow, and this year saw Salty feature stories about Riverdale Orchard, Red Island Cider, and Moth Lane Brewing. We even devoted Salty Chef features to delicious drinks—one to cocktails, and another to cooking with beer. The sudden bankruptcy of brewing machinery manufacturer DME in late 2018 was a shocker, but happily ended well with a new buyer in early 2019. With new breweries like Bogside Brewing in Montague and the soon-to-open Lone Oak Brewing in Borden-Carleton, and a nano-brewery on tap for Cornwall, 2020 looks to be another banner year for PEI brews. With the opening of Farmacy + Fermentary who feature kombucha on tap, there’s something for everyone out there now!

Our primary producers are the lifeblood of PEI’s food scene and you could read about some of those hard-working farmers in our pages this year. We spoke to potato farmers Kyle and Bryan Maynard of Farmboys, visited the cattle farm of Arthur Cousins and Sons, checked out a hazelnut orchard (Hazelnut Glen), and learned about poultry farming and processing with Larkin Bros. In March, to celebrate International Women’s Day, we featured a few of the hardworking women behind some Island farms (Hope River Farms, Barnyard Organics, Island Hill Farm, Eric Robinson Inc and Mutch Better Produce).

The land may be paramount to our food success, but, as an island, the sea also gives us its bounty every year. From setting day photos, to stories about oysters—on our plates and on our walls (Valley Pearl Oysters/Oyster Art), and lobster dip developers (Covehead Seafoods) we made sure to give our readers the seafood stories they want. We were proud to once again be a media sponsor for the PEI International Shellfish Festival, as well as PEI Fall Flavours.

Guest Salty Chef Melissa Sobey

In our pages this year we also sought to inform our readers about food issues like the school food pilot project (unfortunately now shelved by the change in our provincial government), brought you the heartwarming stories of the PEI Hospice Gardens of Life made possible by the GiveBack Burger funds from BurgerLove™, and a new accessible video cookbook spearheaded by the Prince Edward Island Association for Community Living. We focussed some attention on our now-legal cannabis with stories on growing your own plants and making cannabutter. With the federal election in October, we also covered a food insecurity candidates forum that brought attention to the reality of food insecurity here in PEI.

Carrying on from last year, we made sure that each issue was full of valuable information for our readers, whether it was great recipes, gardening tips, unusual foods in WTF?, and fun industry stories with Behind the Line. ICYMI, you can catch up on any story on our website.

As 2019 ends and the next decade begins, we say a simple but heartfelt thank you to our readers. Watch for more great content and information from us all in 2020.

About Cheryl Young

A “Jill of all trades” describes Cheryl to a T. From operating her own handyperson company, to selling luxury cars, to working as a film and TV crew member, her resume is diverse. But her dream as a kid was to be a journalist and she started down that path many years ago at CBC Charlottetown. Returning to her journalism roots, she’s excited to be editing Salty’s content and occasionally writing herself.

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