This weekend I managed to get to the large farmer’s market. Last weekend I could not go as there was record breaking snow fall, which has continued all week. I cannot remember when we have had this much snow, it is unreal. I heard on the news today that we have not had this much snow since 1989. That is 22 years people! It is all piled high off the roads and sidewalks and driveways. It is supposedly was caused by La Niña, the same weather pattern that caused the horrific flooding in Australia and Brazil. Luckily for us, it did not come in liquid form. But there is just so much of it. In some areas you feel like you are walking in a canyon, it is piled so high. It is becoming such a chore to shovel the driveway, you have to throw it way over your head. Our roof is groaning under the weight of it. I am so sick of it, so tired of the cold… I often get annoyed at the weather this time of year, the heavy slog of January when spring seems so far away. The days are so short. Today I got out at lunch time in hopes of feeling the sun shining upon my face, and was sadly disappointed that it was still so low in the sky that it could not make it over the downtown buildings. Sigh.
The point is though, that I made it out to the large farmer’s market this weekend. It was -25 C (-13 F) but I made it out. It was great. Here is my story:
I walked in and first stopped at Sunworks Farm, a local meat producer who I now think is a leader in this industry. They are certified organic, certified local sustainable, certified by the SPCA. The man who runs the operation was cooking up samples of chicken sausages on a little barbeque. I told him that I saw him on a video online. He laughed and started talking about it, talking about his operation. It felt good talking to the person running this farm, raising the food that I am taking home to my family. He told me that he has a family farm day in September and invites all his customers to come see his farm, see how the animals are treated, see how they are raised. I looked down at their brochure. At the bottom it read “We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children“. Yes, I thought, so true. I purchased 2 dozen eggs and some chicken sausage. I had some initial sticker shock over the chicken breasts (more than double the price!) so left those for now.
I wandered on. I purchased beets and cabbage from a certified organic vegetable grower, thinking I would make borscht soup. If you have never had it, borscht is the perfect comfort food in winter, it warms you up inside.
I passed the honey vendor, not purchasing since I already had 1 kg of organic local honey at home.
Next I came to a vendor selling canola, hemp and flaxseed oil. They call themselves Mighty Trio Organics, with the trio representing the farmer, the producer (them) and the customer (me). How great! They are a husband and wife team that produce oil using natural methods, largely mechanical with no chemicals or alcohol. As the man explained it to me, his wife sat behind the booth with their baby son fast asleep in her arms. This is a family, I thought. They are doing this together to provide people with a local, chemical-free choice. As I looked on at their sleeping baby, I felt gratitude. It is because of them, that I can choose better for my family. I purchased a beautiful bottle of canola oil.
Next I came across the BC fruit vendor. I noticed that besides fruit, they also had hazelnuts. I decided to ask the guy if he knew if any nuts grew in Alberta. “Yes!” he replied. He went on to tell me a story about a time last summer when he and his friends found a huge crop of wild hazelnuts, growing in the city’s river valley. The nuts were a bit smaller than what you find in BC, but they managed to fill four grocery bags. They got them home, shelled them and then ground them up into hazelnut butter. They ended up with one small jar. Hmmm. That is a lot of work for one small jar. Next time I see him I should ask him where this hazelnut patch is found – perhaps I will take the kids on a nut hunting adventure this summer. I told him I wanted to eat more local and asked him if pears grew in Alberta. “Yes!” he replied again. They are small, but they grow. Next time I see him I will ask if he knows of anyone who sells these little pears in the summer. In the meantime I bought the best BC pears that he recommended. Yum.
I came across another organic grower and purchased some beautiful cherry tomatoes and a jar of homemade pickles. I found some leeks and bought them too. I have never bought leeks before. What the heck, I thought, let’s try something new and make potato leek soup this week.
I carried my stash back to my car and felt good. I learned more about my food, had some interesting conversations, and came away with my arms heavy with local products.
I made a quick stop at Bulk Barn and then headed home. I happily realized that I did not need to go to the grocery store this week. I had everything I needed.my Farmer’s Market food