Halifax's Niki Jabbour wins another major literary award


Canada's best-selling gardening author lives right here in the Halifax area, and she's just won another major literary award.

The Taste Canada Silver Award for Culinary Narratives is just the latest hardware Niki Jabbour has picked up for her third book, Veggie Garden Remix.

The book challenges readers to push their gardening boundaries by growing produce from around the globe.

"Food gardening is huge," she said. "People like to grow 'normal' vegetables like carrots and tomatoes. It kind of builds on that by offering a whole bunch of maybe new and unusual global crops, just fun things you can grow in your garden."

The concept was inspired by her mother-in-law who grew up in Lebanon. 

Jabbour had been growing what she thought were decorative gourds in her garden with her mother-in-law mentioned she used to eat them as a child.

That got Jabbour thinking about what other foods from the Middle East she might be able to grow right here in Halifax.

"I started looking for vegetables she would recognize and it kind of led me down the rabbit hole of looking for vegetables from other countries of cuisines I like to cook and eat," she told NEWS 95.7's The Rick Howe Show.

Despite the different climates, Jabbour says she's had far more successes than failures.

"I love growing ground cherries, I love growing cucamelons and burr gherkins and just oddball vegetables," she said. "Yes, I grow carrots, broccoli and cabbage, but it's the really interesting varieties, the purple broccoli, the orange cauliflower or the red corn, that's the stuff that gets me really excited about growing food."

Veggie Garden Remix was also awarded the 2019 American Horticultural Society Book Award and the 2019 Media Awards Gold Medal of Achievement.

Jabbour said her books are a team effort with her publishers putting forth an amazing effort to make her work look good, and she's already written her fourth one.

She said it will build on her first book, The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener, and will be released next fall.