5-Star Food Blog Award #3

December 13, 2010

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Dinnerreviews.com©’s 5-Star Food Blog Award Banners are presented to select food bloggers whose sites and writing evoke the love of food in a universally appealing manner. Once every two months Dinnerreviews.com© will present this award to a food blogger somewhere in the world. We will also post an in-depth story all about their site and why they won this coveted award. Congratulations to Tiffany Mayer and Linda Crago for their award winning work with Eating NiAGara, our newest 5-Star Food Blog Award winner! Please enjoy our in-depth review of  Eating NiAGara.

Excellence in Food Writing A Dinnerreviews.com© Feature
5-Star Food Blog Award Winner

www.eatingniagara.blogspot.com/

~ This is a Review ~

The People Behind Eating NiAGara
Reviewed by: Tom House

Tiffany Mayer Contemplating a Peach

Tiffany Mayer’s hunger for local food started growing as a student in Saskatchewan in 2000. Her interest in all things agriculture and food continued to flourish as a daily news reporter, first at a small, rural daily and then at a mid-sized city daily. When not writing, she loves to play tourist in her own backyard in Niagara, finding good food and meeting the people who grow it.

Linda Crago has grown heirloom vegetables for 13 years in

Linda "Working" at What She Loves

Wainfleet, ON. Born and raised a farm girl, she “left the land” for a while, working as a social worker until farm life beckoned again. She’s never looked back. Growing more than 700 varieties of tomatoes, Linda’s vegetables make appearances on some of the best menus in Niagara, including the Inn on the Twenty, Treadwell Farm to Table, Hillebrand Winery, Mark Piccone’s Culinary Studio and Wellington Court.


Devoted to Local Eating & Agriculture
in Ontario’s Niagara Region

Congratulations to Eating Niagara, Dinnerreviews.com’s third 5-Star Food Blog Award Winner! EN has rightfully taken home this coveted prize for excellence in food writing. There is no specific style or genre to win this award, except for a sincere love of food writing, and the ability to coax others to love it too! Tiffany and Linda’s Eating Niagara does exactly that, effortlessly and beautifully! Although Eating Niagara’s subject matter is specific to Ontario’s Niagara region), their informative writing style and excellent choice of subject matter has a global appeal in my opinion.

There are seven main categories featured, including The NiAGara Series, Food Finds, In the Garden, On the Farm, 1,000 Words and Recipes. In the Food Finds section, Tiffany is very honest in her introduction: “I like to opine. A lot. About issues. About what I’m eating. This space is dedicated to telling you about some of my local food finds in my travels. I do not get paid to do reviews, nor do I do product endorsements. All of the opinions expressed here are my own. If I like something, I’ll tell you. If I don’t I’ll be honest about that, too.”

There are many great stories to read on EN, all laid out in an organized, inviting fashion. If you are a lover of food and want to learn a thing or two about it, get busy! I recommend, “Finding My Thrill in a Pelham Blueberry Patch” in the Food Finds section, or one of the newer stories posted on December 1st in the 1,000 Words section about vegetables, I laughed hard when I got to the last picture of the story with the caption, “Get Thee to a Dermatologist”. The pictures of vegetables in this story kept me fascinated for more than an hour…check it out!

We interviewed Tiffany and here’s what she had to say:
DR: How long have you been blogging, and how did you come up with the idea for Eating NiAGara?
EN:
I’ve been blogging for a year and a half. It was just kind of something I fell into. I don’t know that I would call myself a food writer, though, to be honest. I have been an agriculture reporter for most of my journalism career. My reporting on farm issues ultimately led me into the territory of food issues, both of which caused me to look closely at what I was eating. As my knowledge and passion grew for both subjects, having a blog was a nice outlet to say and write what I couldn’t in a news story, where I’m the objective messenger. The blog was a great way to get creatively risk-free with my writing, musings and food discoveries. Here I feel I can be me.

DR: Why are you qualified to do this kind of “work”?
EN:
Well, I certainly don’t have a degree in food writing, but my eight years reporting on agriculture gave me the background on some important issues. There’s a void to the connection as to what gives us the food to write about: farming. Obviously you can’t have food without the farmer. I’m very passionate about making the average urbanite aware of the importance of supporting Niagara, Ontario and Canadian farmers in general. Our ability to feed ourselves ensures that we will be a healthy, sovereign nation. My journalism background enables me to be able to write with focus and having written two or more stories a day every day for eight years, you get a lot of writing practice. Becoming a vegetarian forced me to get creative and eat new things that perhaps require a little more thought or seeking out when I’m shopping.  Five years ago I joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) run by my fellow blogger, Linda Crago, where I was exposed to a whole new way of eating beyond what the grocery store was offering. Of course, living in Niagara, where there is such a rich culinary culture, it’s tough not to develop a taste for food and all of the goodness that’s out there. This area is home to some of Canada’s most brilliant chefs.

DR: How did you come up with this name Eating Niagara?
EN: Three years ago, while still reporting for The St. Catharines Standard, I decided to embark on two months of abiding by the rules of the 100-mile diet. As the paper’s AG reporter, it was my way of highlighting for readers what Niagara had to offer, as well as find out how easy or difficult this major local food movement was to live by. The seed was planted by Linda, and I pitched it to my editor. Let’s just say as a vegetarian, protein is hard to come by here beyond milk and yogurt. Fortunately, Linda took pity on me and supplied me with some of her private stash of soy beans to get me through.

Anyway, I had to come up with a name for the series and that was it. A year and a half later I resurrected the name and the concept of writing about local food, but this time I was doing it on my own time. Again, the seed was planted by Linda, who wanted to start a magazine with me. Given the reality that print media is facing these days and the capital that would be needed, I suggested a blog instead. So today on Eating Niagara, I offer the consumer ‘s perspective and Linda chimes in on occasion with the farmer’s perspective on issues.

DR: What are your aspirations for the future of food writing now that you have won this award?
EN: First off, I’m flattered that EN has been recognized in this way. When this started, I know I didn’t have any visions of awards. I didn’t know if anyone would even read it. This kind of recognition is really an honour and given the reasons why I won it, I hope EN can carry on providing the kind of content that got us this award. I’m really passionate about this stuff, much like Linda is really passionate about farming sustainably, and I think that’s why this has never been like work. I hope EN will continue to be the source of a good, informative read for people everywhere.

DR: What is your favorite food and why?
EN:
Soup. No cream soups, though. I love it because it’s comfort food for me. It doesn’t matter what time of year, I always feel good eating a bowl of soup. It’s like a hug from mom.

DR: You will get more readers from the USA and globally upon release of this story. Have you ever written about food or restaurants in the USA?
EN: I wrote once about Founding Farmers in Washington DC — a great concept! Being so close to the border, I would like to write more about what’s happening on the other side of the river. I recently had dinner with my mom at a restaurant in Allentown near Buffalo, NY, and it was great — a really vibrant, lovely area, though I didn’t write about it. (I did tweet about it). I may be heading to San Francisco in the fall, which has an amazing food culture, so that will likely lead to inspiration and some posts.

DR: What’s next for you and your creative team?
EN: To keep eating and writing.

DR: Ha ha! I should have know that answer was coming, and we could not be happier to hear it! We will remain avid  readers of your EN blog Tiffany, and I am sure when our readers see this story, they’ll become fans of your “work”!

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