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Produce in the Prairies


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Junior - the farmer's market sounds great. I don't know why Winnipeg can't have a better setup.

I was surprised to see Crampton's Market open already. Apparently they've been open for a couple of weeks. They don't have much in terms of produce yet, but if you're planting a garden - get down there. I picked up some edible flowers that I'm going to try to plant in a pot in the house (I don't have a garden). They also had a ton of herbs ready to be planted - it was a little windy and I was getting cold - but I noticed some interesting things like 'ginger mint'.

They also have a bakery on site - and there was some bread just out of the oven :wub: . I picked up a couple of varieties and tore into the still-warm (can't recall the name of the bread - but it was similar to a ciabatta) one when I got home with some butter.

They also had some local (but hot-house) tomatoes. They looked and smelled like tomatoes so I got a couple.

I can't wait for more veg and fruit to become available.

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Hello Kids...

Ahhh...the eternal produce debate, primarily focused upon veggies.

I think that you've summed it up...among the supermarkets, Asian Markets and - in the summer - the St. Norbert AND Assiniboia Downs produce markets (along with places like Crampton's and some new one that has JUST opened at the corner of McGillivray and the Perimeter), you pretty much have the gamut. One alternative...for those with a garden space, why not try growing your own unusual produce? The staff at garden centres such as Shelmerdine's or St. Mary's Nursery and Garden Centre can advise what stands a good chance of growing here. In fact, Shelmerdine's always has very interesting veggie plant material, although the selection is somewhat limited so one would have to move fairly quickly in the spring to source it. I always plant herbs...loads of herbs...there's a small greenhouse out south St. Mary's Road almost to the Floodway that has a fabulous selection of herbs...something like 10 kinds of thyme, 6 types of oregano, 8 types of basil, etc... I also plant tomatoes - usually three different varieties that all mature at a different rate so there is always something "coming in" during the season.

Another possibility if you have the connections is the mega food service distributor, Serca Foods, which often brings in interesting produce for restaurants, etc. You will have to have a restaurant connection, however, to purchase anything from them and it's often in case lots unless you can share the case with your restaurant-owner/chef friend. DeLuca's warehouse often brings in fascinating produce as well for food service - especially interesting mushrooms in season.

On another note, I've been out 4 times picking spring morels and while they are elusive, I have managed to gather approximately 20 lbs. in total over the 4 pickings. I'm going again today, but I think this will be the last of the season. I found half-free, or "cow's head" morels early - blonde in colour with a tall stalk; then I managed to find a fabulous patch of common morels that had the "burn-site" look to them...they were large, meaty and amazing in a lovingly-crafted risotto! Finally, I've found lots of blacks - to some the most amazing morels of all - with one patch yielding mushrooms that were huge! Others have not been so lucky...thankfully my secret spot paid off this year...hopefully there will be a few more out there today! Oh, FYI, most of my morels are given to my chef-friends...believe me, the goodwill attained by dropping off those morels to the chefs bodes well for favours that I might need throughout the year!

Happy hunting everyone...and if anyone checks out the new produce place at McGillivray and the Perimeter, please post about it.

Happy Cooking, Eating and Wine Drinking!

's'about the wine...or the food, no - the wine...maybe the food...definitely the wine...but it has to be the food...oh, stop whining! Aarrghh!!!

Winefellow - Proprietor, Kenaston Wine Market. Winnipeg, Canada

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  • 10 months later...

Just got an email from Crampton's Market - they're set to open during the second week in May. In addition to the produce and bread, they'll be selling Mario's Gelato by the scoop. I'm looking forward to my first visit this summer and I'm hoping they'll have some new things to try.

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  • 4 weeks later...

New email from Crampton's Market. They have local fiddleheads - and will be open from 11-1 tomorrow if you want to pick some up. (Not officially open for the season yet.)

Opening for the season on Wednesday, May 9th. (Mon-Fri 9 AM-9PM, Sat-Sun 9AM-6PM)

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  • 2 months later...

Had my first SNFM visit of the season last Saturday--had my requisite farmer's burger and also had a butter tart from my bakery guy. They have a lot more vendors now--some good stuff out there. I still get farmer's burgers from my usual sausage guy, but there's also a stand that makes their own bacon that is very good. We didn't buy any this time around, but I'm sure we'll pick some up sometime soon.

For great fruit, St. Leon's on St. Mary's Ave (Road? The one in St. Vital--I can never remember which it is) has very good quality fruit. We bought some Ranier cherries for $3.90 a pound that were the sweetest I had had all season. Really great raspberries and blueberries, too. Their produce is, in general, much better quality than what I've seen elsewhere, but I've only been back for a couple of weeks so I've not seen everything, yet!

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I got some great berries at Vic's last weekend - they had saskatoon, local strawberries and blue. Also picked up a few things at Cramptons - like my first pickling cukes.

Have got to make it out to the farmer's market - maybe this weekend, if it isn't going to be too hot.

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Sorry to have just found this thread. I'd like to delve into the banana blossoms question. First of all there are two kinds of banana blossoms, the dried/semi dried kind and the fresh kind (usually called a banana heart).

For pics and some background on the Dried Banana Blossoms: Click here.

These can be used in Chinese braised dishes like pork hocks or pork belly. It adds a distinctive flavor and texture to the stew.

For pics and background on the fresh banana blossoms/banana heart: Click here.

These can be cut into wedges or quarters and is an essential ingredient in the Filipino dish called Kare Kare (Peanut stew). These can also be used in a light a refreshing salad ( first boiled and then lightly simmered in coconut milk, vinegar and some pepper). This type of salad is great with fried fish.

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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  • 9 months later...

The emails have started coming from Crampton's Market again. They're open for the season and have local fiddleheads (for the next week or so), asparagus, rhubarb and wild morels.

I haven't made it to the store yet, but hope to get there this weekend to see what else they have.

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It's been a SPECTACULAR year for local wild morels...I've been out about 6 times picking and have gathered at least 200 mushrooms per pick. I believe the slow, cool (and not overly wet) start to the season has fruited many more 'shrooms than usual and the season has lingered nicely due to the absence of excessive "mushroom-frying" heat. I've pigged out numerous times on these delectable spring treats and have, as usual, gifted many to culinary-oriented friends and colleagues. My favourite way to cook them is perhaps the most simple; sautéed in butter in a large pan with crushed fresh garlic cloves until the natural juices have precipitated from the mushrooms and cooked off. If you're doing a sauce, the juices make an important contribution. Discard the garlic and eason the mushrooms with salt, pepper and a drizzle of fresh lemon juice just before serving. They make a fantastic accompaniment to veal (scallopine or chops), chicken or pork and are très sympatique served in concert with fresh fiddleheads, asparagus, spring peas or pea shoots.

Having said that, Chef Masa of Yujiro Restaurant on Grant Avenue was going to prepare his "goody-bag" of morels tempura-style...that had the potential to be amazing!

And the best part...

Folklore has it than when it's been a great Morel year, it will also be a fantastic Chanterelle year! Can't wait 'til July!

Cheers, all. Happy cooking, eating and drinking!

's'about the wine...or the food, no - the wine...maybe the food...definitely the wine...but it has to be the food...oh, stop whining! Aarrghh!!!

Winefellow - Proprietor, Kenaston Wine Market. Winnipeg, Canada

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Sadness of all sadnesses! My beloved farmer burger stand is no more!

My mother just gave me the report of the first market day of the year. There were a lot of empty spaces, but whether because the season is still young, or because a lot of businesses aren't participating, she did not know. She ran into the guy from whom I bought a farmer burger every Saturday morning, and he's not opening this year. He said 20 years was enough! :sad: Other stalls have farmer burgers, too, but no one has homemade relish like his! Perhaps I'll have to drive out to Plum Coulee or wherever his farm is and try to buy some directly from him!

At least my lemon tart guy is still there!

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There's a new weekly market opening, according to the Free Press. Starting June 26th, you'll be able to visit the 'Village Market' at the corner of River and Osborne (Gas Station Theatre) on Thursdays.

According to the article in today's paper, all of the vendors will be selling food (and other items) grown or made within a 100-mile radius of the city.

The rest of the article is here.

I think it's an interesting idea and seems like a good location for it. I'm not sure what the hours will be, but I don't see myself making a point of getting there. It's nice if you're in the area, and there are plenty of people in that area.

Think you'll check it out?

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Interesting. I think it's a great idea in theory, and it could do very well given the area and some of the psuedo granola types out there.

But the traffic and parking situation out there is already hell (I read it would be even worse this summer while they do some watermain work), and the "regulars" who hang out at that corner don't inspire a lot of people to linger. I can't imagine it's going to be popular with anyone who doesn't live in the immediate area. It seems like it will be quite small, though, so they may not need a very large customer-base to be successful.

But I'll still go at least once.

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I agree. There are a lot of condos and apartments in the area though -- if I lived on River, Wellington, Evergreen, etc. it could be a really nice addition to the area. And this could be something that helps turn that little part of the area around.

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And the seniors in the area might appreciate it, too. My grandparents used to live in Villa Cabrini, and a lot of the seniors don't walk much farther than the benches in front of the building. It would be nice for them to have access to something a little more interesting.

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  • 1 month later...

My mother and I dropped by the FortWhyte Farms Market today. There wasn't much there--just some mixed greens, spinach, radishes...a couple of other things I can't remember. It's a nice little space (indoors), and in a few weeks they'll have more, but they had a slow start this year, they said. They also had whole chickens for sale, as well as honey produced on the farms (we bought some earlier at the gift shop--a large bottle on sale for $8!).

Prices are a little high (it was $4 for 1 bag of spinach which I think was either 1/2 lb or 1 lb), but I appreciate the work they're doing.

Open only Tuesdays and Thursdays 12-6, and it's located before entering the Centre, so you don't need to pay admission to go to the Market.

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Thanks for the info, Rona. I've never been to their market. I just got an email update from Crampton's. She's got strawberries, Saskatoon berries, local carrots, local sweet onions and local garlic. Plus a lot of other things.

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Brandon has 2 farmer's markets: one at the Riverbank Discovery Centre down the hill from my house, and the other in the parkade of the downtown mall. I haven't been to the one downtown, but have frequented the riverbank one every summer.The latter is only on Saturday mornings, and the riverbank is every Thursday evening and Saturday morning. Like Fortwhyte, there isn't much available yet.

I didn't get there last week or tonight, but the organizer, Jesse, sent some garlic scapes up with my son who does massages at the market. I've read about the scapes on eGullet but haven't had them, so it was a new item to enjoy. They were really pungent when I was peeling the stalks and cutting them up, but they didn't taste as strong as they smelled after stir-frying. I liked them.

By the end of next week, there should be lots more vegetable varieties, flowers, plants, beewax products, local honey, baking, strawberries from the Portage farm, organic black Angus beef and bison. Quite often there is a young musician busking.

Jesse and his wife grow a lot of different vegetables: various squashes, ground cherries, etc. There's always something new every week. I enjoy trying whatever they recommend. Prices are a little higher but well worth it.

There is also a "u-pick" about 5 miles from my house. It's runned by an elderly couple. I've been going there for years picking peas, beans, carrots, corn, raspberries, beets. This was before the farmer's markets started. I loved spending a morning there and usually end up way more than we can eat fresh, so I share with my elderly neighbors along our street. The couple stopped for a couple of years due to health problems, but it seems they've started up again.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Daughter has bought a house on Elgin. She mentioned a new branch of Young's grocery will be opening one block from the house soon. Have you heard anything, Rona?

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Daughter has bought a house on Elgin. She mentioned a new branch of Young's grocery will be opening one block from the house soon. Have you heard anything, Rona?

I haven't heard anything! We were just at Young's a couple of days ago, and didn't see any notices or anything. My mother's comment was, "But that's weird! It's so close!" Maybe we'll go by again and ask what's up.

As an aside, the "new" Young's is nicer than the old Young's, but it's well on its way to looking just like the old one, especially in terms of cleanliness.

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  • 3 months later...

there is Organza on confusion corner, I got some fiddle heads there this last summer.... never forget the viriety of veggies that can be pickled, like Veitnamiese eggplant, they are white and small, round, crunchy, really nice....

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  • 6 months later...

St Norbert Farmer's Market is opening this Saturday, and will be open till Halloween this year.

AND, I just checked the vendor's list, and it looks like Pembina Valley Meats is back!! I only went to the market twice last summer, because it just wasn't the same without my weekly farmer burger fix. If PVM is really back, I'll be making my usual weekly trip!

I'm excited, and I'm not even in Winnipeg, yet!

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I just read this in the paper. I hope the weather doesn't ruin it -- frost warning tonight, low of 1 and it'll only be 6 in the morning. That also makes me wonder what will be available -- if the weather we've been having will reduce what would normally be available.

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  • 2 months later...

Just a note--Pembina Valley Meats isn't back, and the St. Norbert Farmer's Market website is in need of an update. I'm still annoyed that it got my hopes up. :sad: Spenst is an adequate substitute now that they've got homemade relish to add to the burgers.

The Farmer's Market seems to have fewer vegetable stands this year, but more other stuff--more prepared foods for sure (Danny's Whole Hog kiosk gets bigger ever year, and lines get longer, but seriously, it ain't that great).

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