Taste our Drinking Vinegar Shrubs at the Leslieville Flea!

Drinking vinegars

This Sunday, September 18th we’re back at the Leslieville Flea Market  at the Ashbridge Estate from 10 am-5pm, and we’ll be sampling our line of Shrubs.

What the Heck are Shrubs?

Shrubs are handcrafted drinking vinegars that date back to the 17th century, and they’ve been gaining in popularity lately, especially as the people discover the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.  The taste is really arresting, and they are great in a cocktail or with sparkling water.

Shrubs for Health

Shrubs have been proven to be a great digestive aid known to reduce bloating by keeping you full longer, cancel out some of the carbs you eat and lowering your blood pressure, as well as offering a whole host of other benefits

Often Imitated, Never Duplicated

Our shrubs are made with organic, Ontario Apple Cider vinegar in small batches using locally sourced ingredients. Moreover, our shrubs are also cold-pressed, which ensures that the beneficial nutrients remain in the fruit used as no heat is used in the manufacturing process.  This summer we launched three flavors of our magical shrubs Ontario Raspberry, Ontario Pear and Ginger (it’s pear season), and Ontario Rhubarb and Vanilla. 

What better way to spend the end of summer than by experiencing a taste (pun intended) of Leslieville’s top-notch vendors, so bring your friends and family come on out the Leslieville Flea this Sunday as our refreshing “absolutely delicious” shrubs are currently ONLY AVAILABLE at Farmer’s Market’s and shows. 

About the Leslieville Flea

The Leslieville Flea is a vintage, curated market that sells vintage and up-cycled goods, ranging from clothing, furniture, antiques and most importantly edibles. The Flea serves as an excellent meeting place for residents of the Leslieville community and really helps promote small businesses like ours as well as the idea of eating and shopping locally. The Summer Flea Markets run until October, and the last summer market is on October 16th. 

Interested in knowing more about the Leslieville Flea – check out their website here.

Interested in our products? Shop our selection.

Want to grow your food business? Manning Canning Kitchens can help.

Written by Farhana Choudhry, Intern


What Can a Farmer's Market do for your small business?


I knew I would get a lot out of being part of the Withrow Farmer’s Market this summer, but I suppose there is still a small part of me that is amazed by how just HOW MUCH valuable information came out of being at the market every 2nd Saturday this summer.

For anyone considering becoming a part of a farmer’s market or weighing the pro’s and con’s to determine if it is a commitment they would be interested in, here are some of the benefits the market had for me and my small business.

  •  On my very first market day a lovely lady by the name of Cheryl came by my booth and sampled some of my jams and pickles. Turns out she is a chef and was just about to start a new job at a local Butcher Shop. She signed up to be on my mailing list and asked me to reach out in 4-6 weeks so we could talk. I am happy to say that The Meat Dept on the Danforth has been carrying Manning Canning products for several months now and that my local market customers can find my products there during the winter months.
  •  It gave me direct access to customers. People that did not know me and would provide me with true reactions to my product. I know what each customer liked, didn’t like, bought repeatedly. Based on these learnings I even tweaked a couple of my products to make them better and appeal to a wider audience
  •  I used the market as a testing ground for new seasonal products and got customers input on price point, how they would use the product and it’s selling features
  •  I made great connections with local farmers also selling at the market. Bought direct and was able to show my market customers exactly where the product in my jars came from. Very powerful selling feature
  •  Was able to test my packaging with new faces on a bi-weekly basis. The perfect focus group to put the design to the test
  • Formed a great relationship with the market itself and have partnered with them to provide canning and preserving lessons. Next up Caramel Apple Jam on Monday, November 19th.  See here for details. http://www.eventbrite.ca/org/2611193294
  •  Met wonderful people who shared with me family preserving recipes, spices, herbs and vegetables from their gardens. I even had people bringing me mason jars from home so that I could put them to good use
  •  Market visitors signed up to be on my mailing list and now I have the ability to communicate with them on an on-going basis which would have been impossible otherwise
  • Really got a much better understanding of the demands of replenishing supplies for each market. How much produce did I need to purchase, how much time did I need in the commercial kitchen. It prepared me to venture to store sales and understand how much I could take on at a time
  • Met people like me who have a small food business that they are either trying to grow or even start up. Bounced ideas off of them and shared experiences
  • Allowed me to practice different techniques to describe my product, which has helped me feel more confident doing in-store sampling days like the one I just completed at The Meat Dept this past Saturday
  • Gained an understanding over the 6 months of the market as to my average daily sales and how often customers returned to purchase
  •  And this final point is still in the works, but I may have met Manning Canning’s very first employee at the market ;).

So if you are wondering if participating in a Farmer’s Market is worth the work that goes into it, re-read the list above and think about whether any of those items would help you build your business. I am sure you will find yourself nodding your head and saying yes at least a few times.



To Market I Go - Five Tips on Getting There

I will be the first to admit that I have never taken part in a Farmer's Market before, so take that into consideration when you read this post. I am speaking in theory alone. Sure, I have been to LOTS and LOTS of markets as a consumer, but this will be my first time on the other side of the table. But also take into consideration that I started my career with a branding and packaged goods agency and have spent the last 18 years helping other people market their products, so I think I have a good foundation for the 5 tips I am about to share.

Just because it is a Farmer's Market and all the items for sale are either home made or home grown (ie. small farmers and people like me), your product still needs to look professional. Signs should not be hand-written. This does not add appeal to the consumer or make your business look professional and trust worthy. People are drawn to the product in your jar because it looks appealing, but before they even get to your jar they have to be drawn to your table.

Don't make people have to speak to you to know the price. Just because it is a farmer's market and you LOVE talking to your customers and other vendors at the market, not everyone is as open or chatty as you. Some people even though they enjoy the idea of the market, still like the anonymity of a Loblaw's or Metro. So have a price list available and make your pricing clear and easy to see and understand.

One of the things that differentiates you from the person at the table across the market from you is your story. On a busy day, you might not have the opportunity to speak to every person that comes to your table and you may miss the chance to let someone know that all the ingredients you use are sourced locally, are organic or fair trade or even grown in your own garden. Have your story printed somewhere that visitors to your table can see if they are interested.

You know how good your products taste, but don't assume that your enthusiasm for the product is shared by anyone other than yourself. Sample, sample, sample. It could be the difference between a sale and having someone walk from your table.

You or the person working your table, represent your product. Dress appropriately, look professional and approachable and most importantly - be CLEAN! Don't chew gum, eat your Tim Horton's donut or chew your nails, etc.

I hope tomorrow I manage to follow all 5 of the tips above. I feel ready - do I look ready?

The Commercial Kitchen

I spent my first full day preserving in a commercial kitchen this week. When I first learned that if I wanted to sell my preserves at a farmer's market I would need to make them in a commercial kitchen I was disheartened. How the hell does one find a commercial kitchen? Well it turns out it is really not all that hard, you just have to hit the ground running.

My first stop was Craigslist. I looked in housing, under 'office/commercial' and stumbled across a couple of ads similar to this one. I got in touch with a couple of them and went and checked two of them out. Both of them were looking to get in the $15/hr range.

My next stop was to simply bottle up any insecurities I might have and walk into a local restaurant that I really like and sit at the bar for 30 minutes while I waited for the owner to become available. We chatted, I told him what I was looking for and he was intrigued. He promised to think it over and be in touch. Whew, that wasn't so hard :).

Then I did some research on local churches and community centres. There are actually quite a few with kitchens that would do the trick. Fortunate for me, before I could even begin to knock on doors, I heard back from the restaurant. The answer was 'yes'. And better yet, he suggested we barter rather than exchange funds - perfect.

The morning of my first day in his kitchen I packed up all the supplies I would need, and I mean ALL the supplies. I wanted him to not even know I had been there. Pots, measuring cups, bowls, tupperware, soup ladle, funnel, jars, every ingredient I would need, pot lifter, towels, dish rag, knives, paper towel, hand soap, timer. I brought it all.

I also brought him a jar of my orange onion jam with sage and thyme and in true creative fashion, he began to talk about the different ways you could use the jam. Some of them had never even occured to me. Within minutes he was making a pizza with the jam, parm, prosciutto. It was delicious.

I don't think you could have punched the smile off my face.