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Simply Delicious — Leeks

Go leeks, go! The vegetable is in full swing this season. Ontario farmers started harvesting the sweetest member of the onion family in mid-July.

Susan Hay and Rose Reisman make a scrumptious side dish using leeks in this week’s Simply Delicious.

Here’s the recipe they tried:

Roasted leeks with tomatoes and black olives

Recipe by Rose Reisman

1 head of garlic

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
3 leeks — trimmed, washed and sliced in half lengthwise
⅓ cup sliced black olives
1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper
2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh basil

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
  2. Slice the top off the head of the garlic to expose the tops of the cloves. Rub with a little vegetable oil. Wrap in foil and place on one foil-covered baking sheet along with the cherry tomatoes. Place the leeks on the other sheet. Bake the tomatoes for 10 minutes, then remove and set aside. Continue baking leeks for another 10 minutes until slightly browned. Bake the garlic another 15 minutes or just until tender. Squeeze out the garlic cloves.
  3. Place the leeks on a serving dish along with the cherry tomatoes, olives, olive oil, pepper and garlic cloves. Toss. Garnish with basil.
    Makes 6 servings.

Leeks aren’t just overgrown green onions — they’re a great source of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B 6 and vitamin C.
At Boots Farm in Scotland, Ontario, they grow about 50 acres of leeks.

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Marianne Boot from Boots Farm talks about the special equipment they have to harvest the vegetable.

“We decided to get our harvesting machine and our pack line from Holland,” she says.

After travelling to Europe, they decided to buy the machine. It’s helped their production.

“We’ve been able to dig more and get more done,” Marianne adds.

Leeks are a messy crop, and there’s lots of sand in them so they go through a washing system, where they get washed multiple times and cleaned before they’re packed.

When it comes to choosing Ontario produce, Marianne says: “It’s the freshest, it’s the best. There’s nothing like local produce.”

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