Tomato prices are headed up after an announcement in California that drought conditions will not allow millions of acres to be planted.

Tomato prices are headed up after an announcement in California that drought conditions will not allow millions of acres to be planted.

THUNDER BAY - Prices for fruits and vegetables are headed upward. Serious drought conditions in California are impacting farmers in the key growing zone in the United States.  Crops including strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, lettuce, tomatoes, and other fruits and vegetables.

Both the State of California and the American federal government have announced that there is no extra water for farmers in the drought zone.

On Friday, President Obama headed to California to tour drought-affected areas and talk to those affected by impacts of one of the state’s worst droughts in over 100 years. While there, President Obama announced new actions that the Administration will take to help the farmers, ranchers, small businesses, and communities being impacted.

Strawberry prices could almost double in price.

Strawberry prices could almost double in price.

President Obama Visits California

The President said, “First, we’re accelerating $100 million of funds from the farm bill that I signed last week to help ranchers. For example, if their fields have dried up, this is going to help them feed their livestock.

“Second, last week, we announced $20 million to help hard-hit communities, and today, we’re announcing up to $15 million more for California and other states that are in extreme drought.

“Third, I’m directing the Interior Department to use its existing authorities, where appropriate, to give water contractors flexibility to meet their obligations.

President Barack Obama tours a field with farmer Joe Del Bosque, his wife Maria, and California Gov. Jerry Brown in Los Banos, Calif., Feb. 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama tours a field with farmer Joe Del Bosque, his wife Maria, and California Gov. Jerry Brown in Los Banos, Calif., Feb. 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“And fourth, I’m directing all federal facilities in California to take immediate steps to curb their water use, including a moratorium on water usage for new, non-essential landscaping projects.”

The President is sharing the good news. It is not all good news, Friday, federal officials announced the Central Valley Project, which is the state’s largest water delivery system can not provide any water this year to Central Valley farmers.

The President received critical commentary from some for playing a round of golf during his visit. Golf courses are large consumers of water, and in a state where pressures on water demand are causing serious issues, golf is seen by many as a luxury.

The federal government also states that they will be able to supply only half of the water that they are contracted to deliver to Santa Clara and Contra Costa counties.

President Obama Speaks on Drought

The news means that California farmers won’t have the water to run their irrigation systems, and many simply will not be planting or harvesting a crop this year. The impact at the supermarket will be huge.

“We estimate that more than 500,000 acres of farmland will be idled this year due to water supply shortages, said Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition. This is the result of multiple dry years and federal environmental policies that prevent the full use of agricultural water supplies from being used for purposes for which they were intended – to grow food.

“Agricultural water supply shortages harm more than just the farms that produce hundreds of varieties of food, fiber and nursery products, Wade added. Unemployment may hit 15,000 seasonal and full time agricultural workers if this year’s drought has the kind of impact on the economy that occurred in 2009. Water shortages then led to idling of 269,000 acres and over 7,400 workers, about half of the expected impact of this year’s drought.

“Consumers throughout the country have a right to be concerned about the safety, price and reliability of their food supply. California produces almost half of the nation’s fresh fruits and vegetables and without adequate water in California, food supplies from other states or other countries may be the only option to fill the gap.”

This story is likely to be one that continues to impact the United States, and California which is one of the world’s top ten economies.

Shop Local Thunder Bay offers lots of choiceTHUNDER BAY – Shopping Local in Thunder Bay offers lots of choices. Shopping local in Thunder Bay also boosts the local economy. This means more than just shopping at the local franchise, but shopping for locally made or grown products. On long weekends, while many people head out of town, often for their latest fix of Duluth, others prefer to stay in our city. There are local shops and local markets where you can find unique products from not only here in Thunder Bay, but from around the world too.

Getting around the city, there are many really special shops that you can go to and find some really amazing treasures. The perogies at the Simpson Street Deli for example are incredible as well as very affordable. The specials at Renco Foods at both of their locations offer some real alternatives to the other grocery stores in the city. Looking for something really special for Easter? Maltese Grocery is a great place to shop. 

Looking for amazing cheese, look no further than the world famous Thunder Oak Cheese made right here in Thunder Bay.

There is also the Thunder Bay Country Market at the CLE Grounds every Saturday. Looking for a local treat? Cornell Farms’ Stuffed Roasts make it amazingly easy to prepare a delicious centrepiece for your dinner:  an eye of round roast cooked to order and stuffed with delicious goodies that keep the meat moist and make proper cooking a snap.  The most difficult part will be choosing between the two varieties of tasty bread stuffing available:  Orange-Cranberry or Blue Cheese, Ground Pork & Cranberry.  Once you’ve made that call, simply thaw the roast to room temperature and cook according to the handy instructions on the wrapping; rest, slice and serve.

Getting around the Fort William Business District, Unveiled Bridal offers the bride to be some amazing dresses. Fresh Air Experience and Petrie Cycle offer a great choice coupled with solid service for the sports enthusiast. 

Shopping Local is fun and helps our city

If you have never enjoyed the ‘Pterodactyl’ sized chicken balls at JJ’s Restaurant in Centennial Square, or the Special Won Ton Soup, you are missing out. The same holds true across the downtown Fort William core. New York Sub offers fantastic sandwiches, and incredible pizza. Just down May Street of course is Jim Stadey’s Eat Local Pizza where local ingredients mean great flavour.

Today there is lots of choice for your local shopping plans. At the Oliver Road Recreation Centre there is a market today for your enjoyment. 

Fred and Esther Paasolainen share the happenings from this Saturday’s Hillcrest Market at the former Hillcrest High School on High Street;

~ Esther from Country Seed Planters has some GREAT last minute Easter items at their booth. - www.paasolainen.com

~ Eugema from Your Tea Needs Your Tea Needs just received their shipment of new teas! Vanilla Chai is in!- www.yourteaneeds.com

~ Garth from the Murillo Breadbaker, is serving up “GRILLED CHEESE PANINI” with his home made breads. Come early before he runs out!

~ Wendy from Rompaila’s Fishing is running specials – Homemade, hand-painted small Bug-eye Jigs, 5 for $5.00 – Also, this Saturday only, PAY NO TAX ON ALL PURCHASES!
http://www.romppais.com/ 

~ Laura from Laura’s Sweets n Treats will have on her table – Chocolate covered Peanut butter eggs, Chocolate covered eggs
Easter themed treat trays, Gourmet cupcakes, Rice Krispie squares, Pot roast soup, Coffee filled brownies
Chocolate fudge, Banana Bread and Diabetic cookies.

~ Jari has Finnish delights from their kitchen.

~ Derek will have his mother – Doreen Jetten – prints, that will make a wonderful gift.

~ Diane from Creative Treasures has unique custom made beaded and gemstone jewelry. Her earrings are only $5.00 a set. Beautiful styles and prices. 

~ Joe has his wooden and feather roses featured at our Market. Wonderful gift idea for any occasion.

~ Pat has preserves at her booth. She makes wonderful tasty jams, jellies and other great tastes. 

~ Sarah has samples of her healthy coffee.

~ TUPPERWARE, WATKINS, EPICURE, AVON, MARY KAY, are all represented at the Hillcrest Market.

Get out today and check out some of the local places you can gather up the smiles at locally owned and operated businesses.

 

Naxos Grille and BarTHUNDER BAY – Happy Birthday Naxos! Naxos Grille & Bar is turning 6 years old this year and they are going to shake things up a little! Their actual birthday is a few days prior but they decided they would save the party for the weekend!

If you have not experienced the amazing bread, incredible breakfast, or other tasty menu treats at the busy grille and bar, you don’t know what you are missing. The bread alone is worth the visit.

Of course a visit should also include the Saganaki, a cheese dish served flaming with brandy to your table. It is delicious, and served with bread.

The food and service is what keeps people coming back to this popular locally owned and operated treasure. 

Naxos Grille and Bar is located at 610 Arthur Street West. 

Naxos Grille & Bar

Pastichio - Some of the delicious Greek fare at Naxos Grille and Bar

Pastichio – Some of the delicious Greek fare at Naxos Grille and Bar

The Naxo’s team say, “Come and party with us Friday March 8th! Come on over after 9PM and enjoy some Buy One Get One Half Off Appetizers, birthday cake and get your dance on with our live DJ”.

DJ Rogue will be playing a selection of both new and old chart topping club tunes!

Rogue has been seen around the city spinning at various venues for many years and appears exclusively at Naxos and Crocks. Few do it like he does!

Visit Naxos online at www.naxosthunderbay.com

Hours of Operation

Sunday 8am-10pm 
Monday – Wednesday 8am-11pm
Thursday – Saturday 8am – Midnight
Closing hours may vary according to business levels
Closed all Stat. Holidays

Global Experience

THUNDER BAY – Shop Local – The world comes to Thunder Bay at Global Experiences. The local shop, located in the thriving Bay and Algoma shopping district offers a wide selection of goods from around the world for local shoppers.

Global Experience is a local family run business that was started 18 years ago. Owners, Nina Ruberto-Anderson and Kevin Anderson have traveled the globe to provide environmentally and morally conscious gifts and products to our customers.

Global’s first location opened in April 1994, a second location opened in October of 1995, and the third in October 2005. Each location has proven to contain its own unique feel and sense of charm while maintaining an untouchable level of commitment to true customer service.

Store Hours:

Monday to Wednesday 10am-6pm

Thursday and Friday 10am-8pm

Saturday 10am-6pm

Their website www.globalexperience.ca is always open for browsing.

Coin Max MachineTHUNDER BAY – With the Christmas season approaching, many people are looking for a few extra dollars. There is a simple solution, that bottle of spare coins that is sitting in your house likely has more money in it than you think. The easy solution is found in the Victoriaville Centre. 

Coin Max in Victoriaville Centre

The new CoinMax machine is an easy to use, fast and simple way to convert that spare change into ‘folding money’.

The instructions are simple, they are on the touch-screen on the front of the machine.

You pour in your coins, close the cover and press ‘Start’. The machine sorts, counts and tallies the coins. If there are coins it will not take, which include American coins and some of the different quarters, it deposits them in the dish at the front of the machine.

Then you take your receipt into the office, and they get you your cash. Its fast, easy and a great way to put those coins back into use.

There is a fee for the service, but compared to the time and effort needed to roll coins, and then cash them in at the bank, the CoinMaX is a simple alternative. Time is money too!

The CoinMax machine in the Victoriaville Centre is located near the food court in the centre. You can find out more information at www.cash4coin.ca.

Your MoneyTHUNDER BAY – You do not have to become an extreme couponer. However if at the click of a mouse you could save five or ten dollars, or more on things you already purchase, would you? Growing numbers of people are doing just that, going online and saving money.

Websites like www.save.ca offer you the opportunity to select coupons that you want, and have them delivered  to your mailbox. There is no cost for the service, and often the savings are on many of the popular products most people are purchasing every week. Other sites like www.munchkinsandwich.com and www.smartcanucks.ca offer you coupons, access to free samples, and other online freebies.

Online you can use NNL’s Gas Prices  feature to find the best prices for filling up your vehicle. In Thunder Bay there is up to a twenty cent price variation per litre. If you are filling up a 50 litre tank once a week. At the end of a year, that could represent up to $500 in savings.

A visit to Smart Canuck’s blog can link you up to their coupon forum, where hordes of people are sharing where the best online coupons can be found. Those dollars you save can go a long way to making it easier to make ends meet.

That old adage from Benjamin Franklin that “A penny saved is a penny earned” still holds true today.

If you are more technical, and thinking of building your knowledge base, a visit over to www.tradepub.com will give you access to free subscriptions to trade journals and magazines. There are a large selection of free magazines, and downloads.

Right now for example there are coupons offering you hundreds of dollars in savings. What are you waiting for?

Jeep WranglerTHUNDER BAY – For off-roading, hunting, fishing or just a styling vehicle for around town, the Jeep Wrangler is a popular choice for many drivers. For the 2013 model year, Jeep is offering some new innovations to the ages old trusted design.

Jeep Wrangler features dramatically improved on-road performance combined with even more off-road prowess. Now, with new features added to the interior, the 2013 Wrangler adds improved comfort to its long list of benefits.

Passengers are now greeted by new front and rear seats, interior courtesy lighting found under the instrument panel as well as the cup holder areas, an auto-dimming electro chromatic mirror featuring LED map lights for front passengers, an available Alpine premium speaker system and an optional premium Tire Pressure Monitor system can give read-outs for each individual tire.

Also new for 2013 is a revised soft top on Unlimited models that is easier to raise and lower, especially when operated by one person, and an available premium soft top. Available on all models, the new, premium soft top uses an easier to clean, upscale material. Consisting of three layers, the new top also helps reduce interior noise and is easier to fasten.

To kick off the 2013 model year, Jeep Wrangler has a limited edition model named after one of the most popular off-road destinations in the world, Moab, Utah. The Jeep Wrangler Moab edition is equipped with hardware popular with off-roading enthusiasts such as gloss black 17-inch Rubicon alloy wheels running new 245/75R17 Goodyear Silent Armor off-road tires, Trak-Lok anti-spin rear differential with an available electronic rear locking differential, a Mopar power dome hood, premium rock rails, black fuel filler door and tail lamp guards and matching premium black front and rear off-road bumpers.

Interior modifications include black or saddle premium leather seats with black stitching, “Moab” embossed instrument panel grab handle, Mopar slush mats and Iron Gray trim on the vent rings, grab handles and steering wheel spokes.

For the third consecutive year, Jeep® Wrangler has been named Best Resale Value in its class by Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com. Wrangler also landed on KBB.com’s Top 10 list for the second year in a row.

“The iconic Wrangler leads the Jeep brand’s residual values,” said Eric Ibara, director of residual consulting for Kelley Blue Book. “Not only does Jeep Wrangler command a significant amount as a used vehicle but it does so consistently year after year. Not surprisingly, Wrangler again finds itself on Kelley Blue Book’s Top 10 list.”

In Thunder Bay for more information you can visit Lakehead Motors on Memorial Ave.

Shop Local Thunder BayTHUNDER BAY – Shopping locally is a great way to support the local economy. However in Thunder Bay, the number of people who head south, a pilgrimage to Duluth or to Minneapolis in Minnesota are massive. Consumers often express that price and selection are motivating factors, others suggest it is simply taking a break. With a ‘PD Day’ this Friday at local high schools, it is likely once again that the numbers of people crossing the border to shop south will climb.

That is not the only traffic likely headed south over the coming months. That other traffic is online. As the holiday shopping season kicks off in the U.S., Canadians will be going online to hunt for cross-border shopping deals. A new survey conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of Visa Canada showed that nearly 44 per cent of Canadian online shoppers say they are likely to take advantage of discounts offered on Black Friday and Cyber Monday (the days following American Thanksgiving) by shopping at American online merchants – a 10 per cent increase over last year.

In Thunder Bay, local small business owners are working hard to earn your business. They are the ones who are here all year, the places that local residents can go for service, and the places that many hit up to support their local sports teams, local events, and shags.

Survey results also reveal that on average, Canadians expect to spend $220 online this year, down from $262 in 2011. Male shoppers will be the bigger spenders at $235, with women slightly behind at $208. Residents from Ontario ($237) and the Prairie provinces of Canada ($232) are the regions with the highest expected online spend, while those surveyed in Quebec ($184) are expected to spend the least during this period.

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping days in the U.S. and unofficially mark the beginning of the holiday shopping season,” said Ann-Marie McIntosh, Head of Strategic Solutions and Partnerships, VisaCanada. “Although overall spending levels are down from 2011, we see that more Canadians are planning to take advantage of online sales offered by American retailers this year.”

According to the survey, clothing and accessories (49%) are the most popular online purchases among Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers, followed by music or movies (37%), books or e-books (35%), toys (29%), health and beauty products (20%), computers and/or computer accessories (21%) and other electronics (25%).

Regionally, among Black Friday shoppers, those in Atlantic Canada (67%) are the most likely to purchase clothing and accessories online, whereas residents in Quebec (31%) are the least likely to make these purchases. Forty-three per cent of online shoppers polled from the Prairie provinces are planning on purchasing music or movies, compared to online shoppers polled in British Columbia (44%), Quebec (38%), Ontario (34%) and Atlantic Canada (23%).

Percentage of online shoppers who intend 
to shop at American websites over Black 
Friday weekend
National 44%
British Columbia 34%
Prairie provinces 46%
Ontario 50%
Quebec 42%
Atlantic Canada 38%

McIntosh also highlights that Canadians purchasing goods with Visa credit, debit and prepaid cards can be confident shopping online knowing they’re protected by Visa’s layers of security.

“While survey results reveal that 32 per cent of Canadians refrain from online shopping due to concerns about security, Visa cardholders can rest assured that our multiple layers of security provide the extra protection they require to make secure online purchases with confidence.”

Canadians still shopping at Canadian websites

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals attract Canadian shoppers, the survey also found that the most common type of online shopping among Canadians is a purchase from a Canadian website. Among Canadian online shoppers who have shopped at U.S. sites, their key motivators to make more purchases at Canadian sites include free or flat rate shipping (76%), better prices or deals (74%) or prices and deals equivalent to those available in the U.S. (72%).

Shelby Ch’ng at Unveiled Bridal

Owner Shelby Ch’ng at Unveiled Bridal invites you down to the Downtown Fort William Business District

THUNDER BAY – Shop Local – It is another positive sign that the economy in Thunder Bay, and specifically the downtown Fort William Business District. Construction in the area continues for the new Court House continues but there are signs of positive change. Another new business opening in the area.

Unveiled Bridal Boutique has opened at 504 East Victoria Ave in the downtown core. Owner Shelby Ch’ng is offering dresses and style for the modern bride.
The bridal shop held its grand opening on Saturday, after opening for business on Friday.

The newest member of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce is happy about the opportunities in the area.

You can visit www.unveiledboutique.com or stop by the new shop and experience the selection and merchandise yourself.

blackboardTHUNDER BAY – Shop Local – This September we are celebrating the end of our first year in business at Eat Local. We are still consistently humbled by the overwhelming support we receive in Thunder Bay. From the many and truly varied helping hands put forward from the local business community to each interested individual who called or dropped by with a question: We may have began this venture dedicated to our motto of doing our part within the community, yet it seems that we would be hard pressed to determine if we in fact did more for the community than you all did for us. We love that synergy and it motivates us to find new creative ways to help out in the coming year. We have found a lot of success in our three main areas of focus: Local Product, Community Donations and Nutrition.

Local Product: This year we began Eat Local with the idea in mind that we would foster relationships with producers of local goods. The goal being to source as many components of a pizza as possible from within the community while still maintaining a price low enough to keep it accessible to everyone.

Eat Local PizzaOne key link we made was between Brule Creek Farms and Windy Lane Farm. By growing wheat on one and having the other mill it into flour we have developed a solid sustainable source of a product both key to pizza and unique to our own business. Two other businesses we have been working in conjunction with on a regular basis and hopefully more and more as our volume increases are Debruins Greenhouses and Bogdalas Smoked Meats. As we grow we plan on providing these producers with a solid reliable source of revenue and building a sustainable relationship that we can all profit from.

This spring we began running a table at the Thunder Bay Country Market. For this we built our “Market Pizzas”. These are three different types of pizzas where the dough, sauce, cheese and toppings are all made completely from ingredients sourced from Thunder Bay.

We really enjoy having a presence at the market and getting to work hand in hand with the skilled farmers and artisans of our community. We are now beginning to stock local retail goods. This fall we plan to market local flour, pancake and bread mixes, honey, pickles, jams, 3 different lines of local pasta sauce and coffee made at the Great Northwest Coffee Company. As our sales continue to rise we can continue to purchase and sell more and more locally made products.

Community Donations: During this year we have run fundraisers, assisted in awareness campaigns and developed systems to make food accessible to those who otherwise might not be able to eat. The food security of our city is of great concern to us. We continually maintain that “We will sell to someone who wants to eat and feed those that are hungry.” In order to better explain our plans for the future as our revenue expands it is a good idea to highlight some of what we managed to do on our shoestring budget this year.

On Canada Food Day this year Eat Local gathered up as much local ingredients as it could and provided all the meals to everyone at The Shelter House free of charge for the whole day. Eat Local also provides free pizzas to The Shelter House one night a week every week.

When it was determined that the evacuees from northern forest fires would not have food for the evening Eat Local donated pizzas and drinks for everyone. Eat Local also followed this up the next day by sponsoring a barbecue alongside the Regional Multi-Cultural Youth Centre, and NetNewsledger.com for the evacuees.

During the last week of August: Eat Local put on a week long fundraiser called the “Deliver a Smile” campaign. The idea being to give customers a great deal on a pizza delivery combination while donating half the proceeds to Big Brothers Big Sisters. Eat Local also worked on various projects throughout the year with Big Bros, Big Sis to bring healthy pizza and fun activities into schools.

Our “Pizza for Kids Without Lunches” program was a great success. We have been making free pizzas on Monday mornings for teachers to pick up and bring to school for kids that would otherwise be without food that day.

While we have made many donations of both food and money worth over $50,000 to over 20 local organizations on this our first year, we look forward to doing over double that in our second year. Eat Local has tried to in one way or another help every organization who has approached us. We are so excited to discover new avenues to help bring food to the tables of those who need it this year.

Nutrition: Throughout the year we have striven to identify and accomplish various nutritional goals. Our business plan was originally formed around the 2010 Food Resource Guide for Ontario School Boards. We had designed a pizza that would adhere to its strict guidelines while still being a product that the youth of our city would love. We were overjoyed at the warm response from both the Lakehead and Catholic School Boards respectively. This year we dealt with 14 different schools. While providing a healthy pizza for the youth of our city we also made sure to keep it very price competitive. At $7.97 plus tax it is one of the cheapest available pizzas in Thunder Bay.

After being prompted by a friend who is a representative of the Diabetes Association we did some work to make our product safer for those who had type 2 diabetes which is very prevalent in Northern Ontario.

Here are a few steps we took to make our pizza more accessible to those with dietary health issues:

  • We lowered the total sodium in both the crust and sauce.
  •  We began sourcing lower fat ingredients while ensuring we remove trans fats completely whenever possible.
  •  We have avoided preservatives in all our pizzas and baking.

Plans for Year Two at Eat Local: This coming year we plan to reduce conventional advertising and redistribute the money we would have spent on buying more local product and donate to even more people who need a hand. We will increase the donations to the shelter house by two or three times the amount we currently do.

By keeping a close eye on the local news and listening to issues in the community we have been able to identify and access places where we can make a difference. Now armed with the contacts we have made so far we believe we will be able to more accurately place donations in the hands and stomachs where they are most needed.

By working hand in hand with The Study at Lakehead University we plan on sponsoring regular fundraisers this year.

We plan on becoming a larger patron of the local community gardens and increasing the support we are able to provide.

Starting in September we will begin to stay open late until 3am on Tuesday through Saturday. Offering Deliveries and pick ups until then.

We plan to begin offering pasta made with local flour and locally grown salads as an alternative lunch option.

We will continue to offer free delivery to Lakehead University and Confederation College, while expanding our free delivery to all schools in both school boards.

As Eat Local continues to grow, so will our ability to continually reinvent ourselves and reinvest in our community.

Thank you very much everyone.

Jim Stadey

You can visit Eat Local Pizza on their Facebook page.