Ok ok ok ok ok! I’m back! School is over, the requisite trip back home has taken place, job has been secured. I am crossing my fingers that I will have more time for blogging, now that I don’t have homework and other issues hanging over me!
In case it passed your notice, the St. Norbert Farmers’ Market is now open. The market is open every Saturday 8:00am-3:00pm. It will also be open on Canada Day (8:00am-3:00pm), and starting in July it will be open Wednesday afternoons noon – 6:00pm.
We’ve gone every weekend that the market has been open so far, and it’s been even better than last year. The produce stands are awash in asparagus and spring greens, and we’re even starting to see carrots and tomatoes. (And of course, Wenkai Liu is back with his wealth of greenhouse-grown Oriental veggies.) Our favourite vendors are back, and there are some new ones.
One of the most exciting additions has been Nature’s Farm eggs from Steinbach. The market was really lacking in two areas: eggs and dairy products. I suspect this is because of the tight grip that marketing boards have on producers, so I am thrilled to see these eggs available directly from the producer. The colour of these eggs is amazing. The chickens are fed with flax, which gives their yolks an amazing orangy-yellow colour. Nature’s Farm also makes a variety of pastas that I’ve written about before.
I’m looking forward to another summer of exploring our local foodshed via the Market. Hopefully, the addition of Nature’s Farm means that there are even more good surprises in store in the years ahead.
Saturday was the last market of the year in St. Norbert. The promised that they’d be open until Halloween this year, and they delivered – even if the choice of vendors was a bit slim due to the late date and cold weather.
When we go to the market, our bags usually look like this when we leave: about 75% veggies and fruit, 15% prepared foods (pierogies, breads, cider, etc), and 10% meat. On this last trip to the market, we bought a stack of vinartarta from Kyle, one eggplant, and the rest of our money went towards meat.
Meat! It freezes well, so this seemed like a great way to enjoy the fruits of the market further into the winter. We bought two pounds of bacon, which I divided into six-slice packages for freezing. We got two veal flank steaks, and we picked up a bison roast that will be experiencing the crock pot thing today.
This was a great year for the market, at least from the customer’s point of view. Our garden did so poorly this summer (more on that later) that the market felt like a godsend for providing local tomatoes when mine failed badly.
We’ll miss you, St. Norbert’s Farmers’ Market! See you next year!
One of the things that I simply love about going to the farmers’ market is the sheer variety of stuff you can find. A walk through the market on a crisp fall morning will reveal a wealth of squashes, heirloom tomatoes, oddball cauliflowers (I like the orange ones), and meats you simply can’t find at the grocery store.
Now, mainstream supermarkets are getting better, to a point, in the variety they carry. You can now find lemongrass and starfruit and bok choi at a well-stocked supermarket, things that you had to get from speciality stores a few years ago.
But there are still things that I’ve only found at the farmer’s market. We picked two of them up this week.
The first are these Russian Blue potatoes. They’re really quite neat. The colour remains after you cook them, so you can get some interesting shades in your dishes. They’re also a fairly firm, starchy potato, and can be used in place of russets for most recipes. (Even better, they aren’t like beets – the colour won’t transfer to the cutting board and the table and your shirt and the cat…)
The second neat thing we got were these chanterelles. We’d seen evidence of chanterelles before: a sign and an empty box, with an apologetic seller standing next to it. But this week we got up early. This week we made it to the market not too long after it opened. This week… We got to the chanterelles before they all disappeared.
This week I’ll tell you about what we did with our loot!