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Farmers Markets


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Hmm,

For the record on Sunday at Ambleside there was a cherry and walnut stand (the cherries were amazing, my wife and I ate a pound each), Janes Bees was there selling the first batch of honey (blueberry blossoms) of the year.  A strawberry guy showed up late and sold out in about an hour and a half (we ate about a pound of those too, as good as the cherries), and the mushroom guy was amazing.  The Oysters he had were beautiful.  Just white ones though.  He said he screwed up his pink culture.  We had a big discussion about propogating fungii in sterile technique, since I enjoy making beer myself, I keep a "ranch" of yeasts for the beer.  Anyways, I'm rambling now.

Mark.

Hi Mark

I was just going by what the strawberry guy had told me about the produce vendors not being there because of father's day.

The strawberries were good too.

But I didn't see any cherries.

I was there at about 4, maybe they had already left.

I'm sure as the summer goes on it will get bigger and better.

Hope so anyway.

And I'll come say hi next time!

cm

Edited by Chef Metcalf (log)
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I am posting particularly regarding the Ambleside market.  The market as far as I understand was not a sure thing before last Thursday.  The locals were scared we would defecate in their stairwells.  I heard that rumour before, but I am not sure it's true. Regardless, they were not sure they wanted us.  So, Lyn, the lady who organizes these events for the Artisanal Market Soceity asked many of the Lonsdale vendors to fill a spot.  And we did.  My guess it was just too late for produce vendors. They need to have much higher lead time.  Please give the market another chance.  There will be produce venders there (I am a foodie too, so I love the produce venders).

Please give Ambleside another try.  It will be every Sunday from 1 until 6. And if you see a cute Chinese girl selling soap, and a less attractive guy hanging around her selling some pottery, come and say hi.

Mark,

Thanks for the update - I got there at about 1pm - so I may have beat the food vendors. I am really hoping that you guys are successful - so I will continue to come down and visit - just to support the market.

West Van government and the locals can make things needlessly tough. I would think the Ambleside store owners would like to see events that would draw more people to the area - in fact there was a sign at the farmer's market encouraging visitors to also support local stores.

BTW - I did see the pottery that you were selling - and it is good stuff. My house is so full of nick nacks and clever little bits of crap (isn't amazing what you thought was cool in your 20's) - that I may have to open an Ebay store to get rid of some of it and make room for some new stuff.

So if you see a overbearing Asian guy harrassing the cute chinese girl over getting a two-fer on the soap and asking why she does not stock Gucci or Armani - it is not me - that's my brother.

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And if you see a cute Chinese girl selling soap, and a less attractive guy hanging around her selling some pottery, come and say hi.

BTW - I did see the pottery that you were selling - and it is good stuff.

So if you see a overbearing Asian guy harrassing the cute chinese girl over getting a two-fer on the soap and asking why she does not stock Gucci or Armani - it is not me - that's my brother.

Thanks for the compliment Lee. We were only planning on Saturdays, so we were a little low on quality pottery. We sold the nice pieces at Lonsdale the day before Ambleside. Now that we are upping to two days for every month, my hobby will have to step up production.

I will watch your brother amusingly. I think my wife will harrass him right back asking why she should sell at half-price. I have a feeling they are the same breed. I'm sure I'll be able to talk her into a deal for any eG'rs that stop by and say hi.

Mark.

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Has anyone been to the UBC Farm Market? It is every Saturday from 9:00 to 1:00 and you get to go to the farm instead of the farmer coming to you. I haven't been myself and wonder if it is worth a trip.

I'll also give the Ambleside market another go, Mark.

Cheers,

Anne

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mtigges,

Glad to see you posting and sticking up for the artisans. I was going to say something before about all the craft-bashing that goes on here. Coming from the prairies, there has always been room for craft stalls at farmer's markets, and they are part of the fabric of the culture of the market. So some are twee-so what.

Some are artisans who are trying to make a living from their craft or at least make enough money to continue to pursue what they love-working with their hands.

Welcome to the forum, Mark.

Zuke

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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Glad to see you posting and sticking up for the artisans. I was going to say something before about all the craft-bashing that goes on here.

Who's craft-bashing? I have no issue with crafts. God knows there's not enough macrame to go around :wink:

My complaint is with the amount of craft stalls at a farmers' market. We truly have no idea what we're talking about in Vancouver ... a quick visit to the Portland Farmers' Market will prove that. That particular market is limited to producers only 3 out of 4 weekends, with no more than a few craft stalls permitted. You go there to by FOOD, not hats or photos or tea cozies. Can you honestly say you can go to Trout Lake, or GI Truck Market, or any lower mainland market and buy everything you need for dinner? It's rare.

I love the local markets, and support them every week ... sometimes twice a week. We've got a LONG way to go, and filling market space with yet another craft person isn't going to get us there.

A.

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Well, if there is a quota of food stalls vs. artisan stalls in Vancouver, maybe the artisans would be better served holding their own market with their own advocate.(?)

Of course in the country space is usually not an issue and many farmers sell crafts along with their foodstuffs. I'd love there to be more produce stalls at the markets here, but I am nostalgic for the REALLY big farmer's markets.

Zuke

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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I believe it should be whatever gets people there. If people are attracted to shrinky-dink window stickers, and while they're there they buy some rhubarb, that's a good thing. Maybe next week they will come particularly for the rhubarb. I am sure it is a struggle for the organizers to achieve a balance.

In the present situation, I doubt there are enough growers to provide sufficient density of vendors to attract sufficient numbers of shoppers. There are two solutions to that problem, reduce the number of markets, or increase the number of vendors. The latter is the choice that the AMS has opted for, and I (though I have an admitted bias) believe it to be the correct action. The former would put the markets out of geographical reach for all but the most dedicated of eat-local fans.

As Zuke pointed out. I use the Farmers Markets as a tool to be able to continue my hobby. It's expensive being a hobbieist potter, and there's a problem, what to do with all of the pots. Somebody made reference to how much stuff they have filling their homes, so it should be obvious that I can only give so much to one person. If I ever learn that I am taking the place of a produce grower, or even a potter trying pottery as their vocation I will be the first one to give up my space. We should all appreciate the Farmers Markets to provide a venue which allows artisanal efforts to be pursued, whether they be grown, made, or baked.

I should probably refrain from posting on this thread because of my bias. I will try very hard to make this my last post on this thread.

Mark.

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I should probably refrain from posting on this thread because of my bias.  I will try very hard to make this my last post on this thread.

Bias? That's never stopped anyone else Mark!! :laugh:

Zuke's comments about a craft fair is valid. And just to repeat myself ... I have no problem with craft people being at farmers' markets. I just remember an article in Business in Vancouver last year that reported something like 25 of 27 stalls in the Yaletown Farmers' Market being fashion or craft oriented. WTF???!!!

However, considering this is a food board, we probably should move the conversation back towards food.

In the present situation, I doubt there are enough growers to provide sufficient density of vendors to attract sufficient numbers of shoppers.

Is this true in the Lower Mainland? What about the rest of Western Canada? If so, what can be done to change that?

A.

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I should probably refrain from posting on this thread because of my bias.

Please don't. Your opinion is as valid as any opinion can be, and provides us with a different perspective and insight into the situation.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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  I just remember an article in Business in Vancouver last year that reported something like 25 of 27 stalls in the Yaletown Farmers' Market being fashion or craft oriented.  WTF???!!!

OK maybe I'm late to this party but you're talking about a Farmer's Market in Yaletown?

:wacko:YALETOWN?????. :wacko:

I don't think there's a shortage of Farmers as much as shortage of time.

The demands of a small business often combined with a family and the difficult logisitics of trucking fresh produce to the city mean only the ones with a solid support system are able to make a go of it.

Market administration is no doubt important too-I note that the Farmer's Market in Mission died a quick death under an avalanche of so called 'crafts' which were in fact nothing of the kind.

On a happier note I like the sound of the UBC Market and have shared the URL with some friends.

EDIT-In terms of bringing produce to market in an orderly/timely and profitable manner Farmers Markets in developing countries are an interesting study.

Everything from prosperous free hold farmers to poor Co-ops and everything in between compete in an ever evolving swirl of dust/diesel fumes and chickensh*t.

Edited by Sam Salmon (log)
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Went to UBC farm this past weekend! By the way makes for a glorious walk around all the gardens & forest nearby, although i am concerned for the hens the fence should probably be higher! Anyway makes a change from the masses at trout lake, while offering some nice produce. Picked up some nice, eggs, radish, lettuce......also available(if early) garlic tops(why so popular?)artichokes, herbs, strawbs & beets seem almost there, with lots to come!!

This is a great market to support with regard to the strong educational emphasis it provides, showing & explaining to school kids exactly where & how food is produced. Also a well supported local initiative can help drive further ambitions as far as UBC farm is concerned, which does not receive great funding but rather relies on the efforts of volunteers & students.

Perhaps you dont have to get your kids' face all painted up to enjoy themselves! Chickens :cool:

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I didn't see any garlic when I was there, but I did get a beautiful pound of BC Cherries. I have to go every Wed just to get my local cherry fix. I also picked up some lamb chops from Jay Springs and some salmon from the Seafood guys. The market this year seems much better than last year. I'm not sure if the vendors are different or if the products are better but I actually spent money this time. A great way to relax after work.

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Well made it out to Krause Brothers last week..it was so busy for a weekday..strawberries were good in a shortcake..only a small handful were bloated. Did GI last week bought some nice rib eye from Armando's but boo hiss on the ground beef..had to bin it..fat was rancid. Not worth the drive back to return it (had it in a cooler for the trip home) Loved Oyama..got some chorizo but haven't tried it yet. Bought some cold cuts..nice to taste real meat again. Grabbed a coffee and watched the boats and the tourists.The cherries were wonderful but not sure where they were from. Found the baguette from B&E quite airy..not what I remembered..have they gone downhill? The pastries looked great. Had a wonderful afternoon. Went to Nat Bailey today..babies and buggies just babies and buggies everywhere! There was a guy doing the sugaring off thing with crushed ice and hot pure maple syrup..roll the stick in the hot syrup and end up with a maple candy stick..brought back memories of school trips. Bought some Bad Girls..but haven't tried them yet. I can't remember the name of the bread place but got a really good loaf of sourdough. I missed the garlic too but will be back.

Bev

Dr.Who..no..Monty Python..yes

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I'll put in a word for the UBC Farm too. I haven't been to the actual market but they do occasionally sell produce elsewhere; last year they were at the Apple Festival or whatever it's called at the Botanical Gardens.

Lots of squash, mostly, and good varieties. They had those super-sweet small pumpkins and about 3 or 4 odd species. I forget what the other produce was but it all looked very, very good and the prices were reasonable. I would suggest checking the market at the farm out for sure (at least, if you have a car to get there!) especially since if Martha Piper and her development cronies gets their way the farm may soon be no more. So if you like the farm, support the market, and write the board a letter!

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Checked out the Ladner Village Market today and, boy, was it crowded!

Bought 7 stalks of garlic from Gabriola Gourmet Garlic; they were selling fast. He also has pickled garlic, garlic chutney, etc. He can ship his garlic almost anywhere.

Also bought several soft drink fountain dispenser. Good for those who want to prolong the bubbles in the 2 litre pop or anything carbonated. It's like a sprizter used for cocktails but these ones are plastic.

Bought a loaf of garlic bread and feta/garlic bread from Fieldstone.

Had a not-too-sweet chewy cinnamon roll from Blackberry Hill, who do business from their Marpole (Vancouver) location.

Bought some sweet peas in pods but had to pass up the beautiful raspberries, nugget potatoes and carrots as my arms were full.

There were only a few tables selling produce and the rest were basically crafts (most of which, I must say, were of very good quality.) For those into grandma/grandpa crafts, the pop can airplanes and the lady knitting tea cosies were there, too. Despite this, I like this market as the crowd were very pleasant and it was CLEAN!

Later, we checked out the Broadway Greek Festival and was disappointed. I was looking forward to eating through many different food vendors. It was all generic -- exactly the same food, same price and long long lineups. I won't comment on the entertainment lest I offend someone. Should've stayed at Ladner longer or gone to the Jazz Festival instead.

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I want to put a word in on the West Van market and things were much much improved. There were local berries on sale (are blueberries in season yet? - I always think of them as a late summer kind of thing), mushrooms, and cherries.

Another fruit vendor was setting up as I was leaving and there was a decent crowd. So things are much improved - not worth a trip from the other side of town - but good for the locals. As a market should be.

However, no pottery or soap this week. Where did you go?

But also not rats, public defacation, or fake pradas. So WV Council should be not too unhappy. They did have an officer keeping an eye on things - too much smiling got you a stern warning and if you giggled, it was the public stockade for you.

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Lee, I'm glad to hear that the Ambleside market improved. I was briefly at the Quay on Saturday, fish shopping (beautiful white spring salmon) for dinner, (see below), and there was a vendor I had not seen before. Kettle cooked popcorn. Man, did it smell good!

However, no pottery or soap this week.  Where did you go? 

We are hobbiests (is that spelled right?). We can only maintain enough production for one weekend a month. We use the third weeked of each month. Saturday at the Quay and Sunday in Ambleside.

Saturday we tended to our garden, stringing up the tomatoes on stalks. We have many small green tomatoes now, sweet million, they're delicious. The romas are a bit behind. And I cooked snow peas from our garden for my mother in law on Saturday.

Sunday, I tended to my pots.

Mark.

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There were local berries on sale (are blueberries in season yet? - I always think of them as a late summer kind of thing)

We were at Driediger Farms this weekend and they also had blueberries for sale. I was as mystified as you were. Partly because I need a break between the strawberry, raspberry and blueberry seasons!

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Local blueberries aren't ready yet. They must be southern imports.

That's what I thought - but these were labelled as "Abbotsford" blueberries - that's why I was confused. The only explanation I could think of was hothouses - but I am not sure. It made me suspicous.

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That's what I thought - but these were labelled as "Abbotsford" blueberries - that's why I was confused.

Looking at the BC Blueberries website (Wow! There's something I never thought I'd write!) I see that harvest starts early July. I'd be very skeptical if with this crappy June we're experiencing led to an extraordinary early start to harvest. I'd guess they're "mislabeled" to state it charitably. I'd not pay a premium for local organic berries for sure.

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